Hiking at Christman Sanctuary

Weekend before last the girls lobbied hard for a Father’s Day hike. They disagreed about exactly where to go, so I set them up in front of my list of family friendly hikes to come to an agreement, and they settled on Christman Sanctuary.

We arrived and it was muddy. Unbelievably, might-get-your-shoes-sucked-off, smells-like-a-dank-bog muddy. Experienced visitors took an alternative route to the right, but at the time, we weren’t sure quite where it would go, so we didn’t. But go right!

There was a trail map posted near the entrance, and in a fit of inspiration, I took a photo of it on the way in so that we could refer to it later. Which we DID. So, yay me. There’s your official hiking-with-kids tip.

Right away J found some climbable trees.


And when we approached the water, we were supposed to follow the trail, but M crashed directly down the steep hill. She named this move after our family, saying that she was “going B-style!” Later I asked what, exactly, “B-style” was supposed to mean. I was hoping that she’d say something about how our family is energetic or inquisitive or seeking challenges or motivated. Alas, she was more accurate than idealistic. She said, “Going downhill and almost breaking your neck.”


I had followed M and, indeed, almost broke my neck. I fell a record three times during our visit, so I fear maybe over the winter I got totally old. Either that, or I’m just taking the B-style thing way too seriously.

The girls were excited to find a frog.


And we all loved the twisty, cut-through-the-glacial-rocks trail.


Finding a little shelter is always fun. I’m sure younger kids could spend a long time playing house there.


Cute W enjoyed getting video and still footage of the family, and the girls were somewhat patient with posing, since it was Father’s Day and all.


And finally we found a pretty and slow lizard (Update: duh, you guys, this is a newt. See the comments for details. But I’m impressed, because the picture’s kind of blurry.  And now, hey, who’s going to tell me what kind of frog it is? Or is it actually a toad?).


The hike was short, but with lots of elements that kids love–twisty trails and plenty of water to splash in. A great hike!



  1. @ken b, thanks!
    Also got another comment via FB: “an Eastern, or Red-Spotted, Newt you found there,”

    and my personal favorite, “a red eft, or Eastern Newt and they are our favorite. Be careful, with them, though, cuz they are kinda poisonous. (Not like, drop dead immediately, but you don’t want to lick your hands or eat after handling them…) The one you were handling was a juvenile. Later, their skin turns olive green and then they live in the water.”

    From now on I’m going to misidentify things more often just to see who’s out there!

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