Here’s our May 1, 2018 column as seen in PASO Magazine (but edited for the blog to add some additional details).
Walking along Centennial Trail in Paso Robles is a wonderful activity for families. It feels like a hike but without all the effort of actually hiking with little kids, And there’s lots to see along the route.
We bring baskets and pick up treasures we find along the way. This activity teaches our littlest adventurers some beautiful lessons, such as to:
- Be aware of their surroundings.
- Find value in everyday things like rusty coins, funny shaped rocks and cool looking leaves.
- Take in all aspects of nature.
Centennial Trail is a roughly 1 mile stretch of flat, paved pathway from Lana Street to Mohawk Court on the city’s east side. It’s stroller-friendly, completely off-road and at the halfway point it opens up to the slide playground at Centennial Park.
To start the walk, you can find easy neighborhood street parking at the end of Mohawk Court (reachable via Navajo Avenue) to enter the west side of the trail. There’s another outlet on the Lana Street side but I can’t vouch for the parking there because we never go that way.
This city trail also features a seasonal creek, a canopy of beautiful twisty oaks and spots to see deer. The trail is popular with joggers and dog walkers, but we like to buddy up when venturing anywhere off-road or out of view of others.
I’ve also been known to bring one of those plastic push cars there so my two year old can ride if he peters out. Or, when I convince him that strapped-in car cruising is way cooler than walking to spare me from having to chase him during this crazy daredevil toddling stage. You know, whichever. 🙂
I also have to point out that this trail is the site of one of my favorite pictures EVER … and that’s the time where I asked the kids to smile and this was Clara’s reaction. The Death Stare. Those four year old dagger eyes makes me totally fearful of the teenager years! Am I in trouble or WHAT?
If you follow my blog, then you know I’ve written about Adventure Walks before, but not at this location. But, as I wrote about in PASO Magazine, this trail is a great place to Adventure Walk! To refresh your memory, here’s a recap of the Adventure Walk Activity:
Adventure Walks are particularly good on, say, Mondays when the kids are relentlessly ramped up from the weekend but I’m still clinging to that third cup of coffee.
All you do with this activity is walk around outside and pick up things you find on the ground. Then go back home, lay out your treasure stash and talk about each item.
Three key elements make this walk successful:
- Baskets for each child.
- A route along a neighborhood sidewalk, trail or park.
- Questions to discuss when you get home, such as where the treasure came from and what it was once used for.
- The secret fourth step is, when the kids aren’t looking, go into mom stealth mode and throw away the gross/sharp/weird discoveries that are now unapologetically sitting on your kitchen table. (Kid: “Mom, look at this awesome beer bottle thing some random dude had in his mouth! Cool!” Mom: That’s greeeeeat, honey.” *grimace*).
No baskets? PASO Magazine publisher Nic Mattson suggests using sticks with rubber bands and twist-ties to attach the treasures to. Or, try covering the sticks in duct tape (sticky side out) to attach flower petals, leaves and grasses. T
hat’s the beauty of this activity. You can easily customize it to work for you. Strapped-in toddler push-cars in all.