Monday, August 16, 2010

August 14th 1:00 PM

This hike started with a very enthusiastic family of five including a couple from St. Paul and their 3 children Andrew (5), Emily (3), and Olivia (1). Of course, on a hike with smaller children, I do the hike a bit different, but Banning's Quarry Loop Trail is still a big loop and there is no easy way to make it any shorter, so after I gave my routine on the length of the hike and the parents said they had no problem with it, we soldiered on. And to great reward!

In a hike with small children of course it is more or less impossible to do a completely silent hike so we opted to just walk and talk and in some key places, just listen for a little bit. I often asked the kids what they heard and was rewarded by a flurry of excited answers including birds, water, more water, and more water. They loved the water- especially little Emily. So we were lucky that the water features were still going strong and spent lots of time hear the streams and waterfalls and especially the "dripping wall" as I have come to call the quarry area near the north west end of the loop.

This hike was a bit longer due to a bathroom stop, a lost shoe, and a few arguments over the relative merits of carrying a very big stick as opposed to a smaller, very special stick, but it was worth it to see the small kids really get into listening, albeit in between playing in some of the water, which was also very fun to watch.

I think the highlight of the tour might have been the trip through the stone crusher and powerhouse as it gave me an opportunity to lead the kids and parents in a short "jam session" inside each of these unique sonic spaces. We clapped and stomped in rhythm and even though it takes a heavy stomp to activate the powerhouse, both Andrew and Emily were able to see how their foot steps and hand claps sounded inside the massive structure. At least that was the highlight for me, I think the kids like the water the best : )

At the end, the parents were amazed at how good the kids did even though the hike was a total of 2 hours and 40 minutes! But between the walks, listens, and detours, the parents also had a chance to stop for a second and listen deeply and relax. I was glad to have been able to share an experience that both generations could enjoy.

Now I am sitting back at my campsite just trying to remember all the things that occurred. I don't want to forget anything!


  1. thank you, ryan, for being so patient with our family! you were very in tune w/ what the children needed and it was fun to read about the hike from your point of view. song path is a great way to connect kids with the outdoors!

  2. It was my pleasure and it was really great to meet you all and get a few hours to get to know you better. Thanks for coming.