I didn't make much of a plan. I just drove my kids up to Tilden and said we're going to explore.
I didn't know where I was going. I have driven from the Little Farm to the Carousel about 100 times over the past 7 years of parenthood but never stopped at one of the picnic spots along the way. I figured we'd start there.
I didn't tell the kids what we were doing, except that I wanted to see what was there. I didn't make a big deal out of it or over-explain things in the way that I'm really good at doing most of the time. I didn't tell them that they HAD to do this. I didn't say much, really.
I didn't pack a backpack with a first-aid kit, extra water bottles, a change of clothes, a blanket to sit on, snacks for any type of craving that just might strike one of us, or one of many bird books or other identification books/thingies we have so we get to know nature better. I didn't pack anything.
I didn't bring my camera or my phone. There's no cell coverage in the crevices of Tilden so the phone part of the phone was useless, anyway.
What did we do?
My sons and I spent an hour and a half exploring. We parked the car and got out. I brought the car keys and that's it. We found an owl pellet that was super hairy and old. We crouched UNDER a redwood tree and all of its enormous roots! We saw (and accidentally stepped on) a banana slug. We sailed boats (branches, twigs) down the creek. We climbed an old bay tree that could easily pass for a very still octopus. We were kings and the kings' mom. We navigated a tricky creek crossing. We saw a Townsends warbler which is my favorite bird and a sign I wait for that says that the season is changing. We stood very still to watch a Chickadee, which the 7-year-old in the group said is his favorite bird. We decided to go home as a group when we were ready to leave.
I don't have pictures to share. But I have a feeling that I won't forget anytime soon. It's a good feeling and I highly recommend it to everyone.