Hazel Wolf Wetlands

Tuesday kiddo hikes are back in action. A few weeks back, I decided Tuesdays will be hiking days. With kiddos. I’ve managed to keep Tuesdays totally free from all things school and activities as we approach fall. Another point for homeschooling, before it was Covid cool. I like to do what we want, when we want. Like hike on Tuesdays.

We kicked off the first Tuesday in August hiking Garfield Ledges. Then we were in California the following Tuesday, and last Tuesday we were set to hike Heybrook Lookout until we didn’t. I had a migraine, and Brian and the kiddos were still tired from our California trip. We bailed.

This Tuesday, Hazel Wolf Wetlands. Which isn’t really a hike? Maybe more of a stroll? It’s listed as a hike on WTA. I’m not sure what defines a hike. (Brief pause.) Turns out a hike is defined as a long walk, especially in the country or wilderness. Then Hazel Wolf Wetlands is, indeed, a hike.

The kiddos’ buddies met us there. There is a tiny parking area in the midst of beautiful homes. If you feel like dropping a mere $3 million dollars, you can have Hazel Wolf in your neighborhood, and hike it daily. We live in such a ridiculous bubble area. I wasn’t even sure if I was in the right spot, it’s literally a small semi-circle that almost feels like a driveway. Turns out it was the right spot… I parked as our friends arrived.

The crew.

Covid hikers, with masks and neck gaiters. I hear neck gaiters may not be the best? But maybe they are? I imagine we’ll look back in five years and have clarity. Until then—or next week when we learn neck gaiters cause you to grow another nose or some other claim—the kiddos hike with neck gaiters. They posed for the obligatory picture. Bonus of neck gaiters, they can hide their annoyed faces.

The stroll hike kicks off after the parking lot, walking on a nicely maintained trail behind a few homes. One home has a kickass play structure, complete with a tall climbing wall and ropes course. Lucky kiddos. After the homes, the trail splits in two. We went right. Left would have taken us to the right eventually since it’s a big loop.

Just before the trail splits.

Knowing in advance it’s a relatively flat hike, I considered taking the BOB stroller. I opted for the Dueter. Good call. While the trail is probably wide enough for a stroller, it’s not stroller terrain. There are tree roots of all sizes protruding from the trail, and there is plenty of tree and shrub overgrowth that needs to be moved out of the way.

Baby and I were the rear of the group, stopping to look at the tall trees. Baby wanted her picture taken and also asked for one of this tall tree.

Parts of the trail. A nice bridge and the one trail section that has elevation.

The wetlands aren’t visible at first, if you go right at the split. It’s thick, overgrown forest for about a mile before glimpses of the wetlands are seen on the left. Eventually the trail leads to an overlook, with a beautiful view of the wetlands and Tiger Mountain in the distance.

Standard forrest stuff before a glimpse of the wetlands.

More glimpses before the overlook. And a totally overgrown trail section.

Taking in the view and another obligatory picture.

Hazel Wolf Wetlands. That’s Tiger Mountain peeking through the trees waaay back there to the right of center. It was more obvious in person.

The kiddos found a spot under a tree after taking in the view from the overlook. They’re funny, they packed snacks galore. I don’t carry stuff for them. If they want water or snacks, a sweatshirt, or anything else—Laine brought a stuffed animal pillow thing?!—they have to carry a backpack themselves. With five kiddos, and having to carry Maive and her supplies, I would need a massive pack to carry everything they all want to bring. Even just the necessities. They’re cool with this though. It’s their normal.

Snack time before play time.

Snacks, check. Water, check. Laine’s stuffed animal pillow, check. Next up, they played a game called Scouts and Raiders, I think? It’s a game Blaise, Laine, and their two buddies have played at one of their outdoor wilderness classes. The game went on for about 20 minutes before we packed up and continued on the trail loop.

From the overlook to back where the trail splits, there are several viewing spots of the wetlands between trees. But I’m still glad we went right at first, saving the prettier loop section for last. A nice way to end the loop. And not that the other way isn’t pretty, just a different pretty. A dense pretty.

Wetland views looping back around.

Apparently we were on Ann’s Walking Trail. I have no idea who Ann is… I thought the information board would provide some insight but it’s about Hazel Wolf, the older woman pictured.

Fun trees along the trail. Why not?

Heading back to the car after about two miles. Maive didn’t last the whole time… she was conked out when I took her off my back.

A nice outing, checking off another Tuesday kiddo hike. And by nice, this includes: Baby was moody; Blaise had a moment of frustration with Laine and one of their friends, and rightly so; Saige kept wanting to hold hands when the trail wasn’t wide enough for two; and Maive discovered she can pull my hair from the backpack. But still nice, regardless. That’s hiking with kiddos.

We have all of our September Tuesday hikes on the books, including locations… fingers crossed it all goes as planned.

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