Sunday, August 2, 2020

Hiking the Small Stuff: Mill B South Trail

For those just catching up, this summer is The Summer of Small Hikes for this little family. After all, I'd love some memories that are not strictly associated with Covid-19, right? So, our previous two hikes, Lisa Falls Trail and Temple Quarry Trail clocked in at a mere 0.3 miles. Today, today, we were going to take on Mill B South trail, and it's whomping 0.5 mile to the waterfall! Bum-bum-BUUUUUUM!

As noted before, my kids are young, and I have a baby either strapped to my front and wiggling like mad in my Ergo carrier (which I love) or strapped to my back in a thrift store pack (which I hate.) Thus, we're looking for very doable hikes that will leave our family of five with happiness, joy, and a sense of wonder at the beautiful nature in the Salt Lake Area. This means short, easy hikes.

So, Mill B South trail, up Big Cottonwood Canyon, seemed to fit the bill: a paved, shady trail that ends in a waterfall? We were in. So in.

The parking lot is small, but we followed the lead of others and found parking on the shoulder along the road. Back at the lot, we found a nice, broad, paved trail flanked by trees. This "Mill B South Trail" is, apparently, the start of a longer "Lake Blanche" trail.

Despite its stroller-friendly nature, I again had Gummy Bear on my back, which, in the end, was fortuitous. Though the trail is short and paved, the boys found it a wee bit steep and claimed they were tired. Still, we made it to the waterfall without too much trouble (or grumbling).

After throwing some rocks in the water, the boys magically regained their energy and wanted to head up the rocky trail towards Lake Blanche. My hunch was right; they prefer clambering over rocks to walking on pavement. However, we weren't sure how far to go with the little ones; they obviously wouldn't make it all the way to the lake. However, there's a bridge a ways up that made a nice turnaround point, complete with a bench for sitting and snacking.

Overall, it was a lovely hike with lovely views, lovely trees, and lovely flowers.


Saturday, July 25, 2020

Hiking the Small Stuff: Temple Quarry Trail

Well, folks, we not only survived but thrived on our Lisa Falls Hike, and less than a week later, we were at it again! We again took to Little Cottonwood Canyon near Sandy, Utah, to try our next baby-preschooler-six-year-old-friendly hike: Temple Quarry Loop. It has its own dedicated lot, but we missed the turn and parked at one nearby, figuring we'd just walk over. It's nice to know there's nearby parking if the lot is full; however, that's a busy road to cross with kids, so dad brought the car down to us after the hike was over. Lesson learned.

Here's the deets: Temple Quarry is a paved loop only 0.3 miles long. The elevation gain is 19 feet, so this is a mellow, peaceful circle. Did I mention it is paved? Yes, this appears to be a stroller-friendly hike!

Stroller-friendly, that is, if you stay on the path. The concrete loop is interspersed with signs and placards that give the history (and insanity?) of quarrying and dragging giant blocks of granite for the Salt Lake City Temple to the valley using wooden carts and oxen. However, there are also dirt trails off the main trail that lead to the nearby river, and our boys loved scampering up and down those to the water's edge. Again, they love water. Throwing rocks in the water will amuse for a very long time...

The vistas and wildflowers were beautiful in late May.

The hike was yet another win, and we plan to go back, maybe with grandma and grandpa. We suspect they'll enjoy the history and beautiful views (and their knees will hopefully like the even, paved trail.)

Sunday, July 19, 2020

A Very Tiny House in the Middle of the Woods (or Playroom)

Several months ago, I had a chance to combine two of my favorite hobbies--woodworking and making doll things for my granddaughters. While browsing Ana White's woodworking ideas for a different project, I happened to see plans for building a cabin hangout for 18 inch dolls. It seemed like a perfect joint present for two of my granddaughters who are sisters and have birthdays just a few weeks a part.

Here is a photo of the project from her site and a link:

I already had some of the wood I needed, but my guess is that even if I had started from scratch, building the cabin itself would have cost less than $50. The current list price for a similar, plastic cabin at a retail store is $185. Accessories add to the cost but can also be done on a budget. More about that in a moment.

I followed her plans as outlined with one exception. Instead of painting some of the wood white, I chose to paint only the back wall (forest green) and then, after sanding, I coated the rest of the cabin with clear polyurethane. I like the look of the natural wood but wanted to protect it as well. Here is a picture before I added the roof and the back wall:

And here is the completed cabin.

The Ana White site also has plans for accessories, including a darling cot. I chose to go a different direction with things I already had. Instead of building a cot, I created a hammock out of the cover that came with a hammock I purchased for our back porch. It stretches across the cabin from the left back to the right front. I simply used cup hooks. When it's not in use, it hangs out of the way in the back corner:

Knowing that I might build this at some point, I purchased several cabin appropriate ornaments after Christmas last year. One of the funnest things I found was a small string of  battery operated fairy lights decorated with twigs and pine cones. I hung it along the eaves and secured the battery back with velcro strips on the back of the cabin. It is out of sight but easy to access to turn the lights on and off.

These lanterns are a little large scale wise, but I love them and used them anyway. I hung one on each side of the cabin with small hooks.

The gingham bear picture, tackle box, fishing tales sign, and checked backpack are all repurposed Christmas ornaments. I made the wooden shelf from wood scraps left over from the project.

Both the fishing pole, resting in the back corner, and the picnic basket were thrift store finds. (The picnic basket was my five year old granddaughter's absolute favorite part of the cabin.)

Happy Camping!