A couple weekends ago, Sadie and I packed a picnic lunch and headed off to explore an open space park in Castle Rock that was new to us. Memmen Ridge Open Space isn't too far from home...just a 5 minute drive.
Sadie loved having space to roam and explore. I encouraged her to check out anything she was interested in and tried not to impose much of an agenda on the day. Although I brought a carrier to put her on my back (and was planning on it), Sadie wanted to walk the entire way, which ended up being just over a mile. The topography varied throughout the hike and Sadie loved running down the hills.
She played in the dirt...
And gave kisses to all the trees.
We stopped for lunch when she decided she was hungry and then we laid back in the pine needles and listened for birds (and then tried to spot them in the sky).
From my perspective, this wasn't my ideal place to go for a hike. It appears to be heavily used...I noticed litter occasionally, and way too much dog poop near the trailhead. It's pretty much right in town, and so it wasn't incredibly quiet (town sounds were more prevalent than nature sounds). But it was absolutely an ideal place to take a toddler. The loop we took was short enough for Sadie to walk the whole way, and the surface was well-worn and soft without a lot of tripping hazards for little legs. The outing was just long enough, but not too long. In all, we were gone from the house for about an hour and a half and home in time for a nice early nap.
I'm really looking forward to doing this as often as possible this summer and exploring some of the other great trails in our community.