Thursday, February 18, 2010

Long Walk

I had a crazy idea early this afternoon. We finished a significant amount of school this week. Swimming class was canceled. The sun was shining. The temperature was warm for this time of year. "Let's go for a long walk!" I thought.

Well, I continued thinking until I remembered how I used to stick Mika in a backpack and choose someplace to walk to. Having a destination in mind was much more motivating than aimless walking. So, I thought about where we could walk that would be a challenge for the kids but not too far and settled on Krispy Kreme. The route had the added bonus of walking over the freeway where we could stand and wave to the passing cars.

So, I got the kids ready, pulled the stroller out of the car (for Madelynn), and we headed south. About a mile into our walk, Josh was done and joined Madelynn in our single stroller. I put the seat down and he sat in back with Madelynn in front and between his legs. When we got to the freeway overpass, we stood there for several minutes waving to the cars. Lots of people waved, some honked, and we even got several trucks to sound their air horns. It was a first for the kids, and they thought it was great fun.

We continued to the next turn and headed north until we reached our destination. There, the kids each picked out their doughnut and chocolate milk. We enjoyed the rest and snack before continuing on our way. We also had fun watching them covering cake doughnuts with chocolate using a 2 inch diameter hose. I was thinking it would be great to just drink the chocolate directly from the hose. : )

We took a different route home. A interesting moment for the kids was when we reached an odd triangular intersection where you have to cross a couple of lanes of traffic to get to the crosswalk button (in a triangular area in the middle of traffic). Then you cross to another triangular area in the middle of traffic again to press another button to cross a different direction. The kids thought it was mildly worrisome to be standing in the middle of the road in a very busy intersection. I was glad Josh was in the stroller.

Finally, we headed for a special walkway going over the freeway. As we were heading up the ramp, we saw a hawk! It was just sitting there look so cool and tough and majestic. I got the kids attention and got them to quiet down. We looked. We walked a couple more steps and stopped again. We watched it some more and took a few more steps. We ended up studying him from a mere 6 feet away! When he did fly away, he simply perched further up the ramp. So, we got to see him again before he returned to his previous perch. He looked so lovely swooping down to his old perch.

We aren't entirely sure what kind of hawk it was. We looked through our field guide to try to identify him but we are going only on our memories of what he looked like and our inexperience. I think he looked like a ferruginous hawk but they are rare here (endangered) and I don't think our hawk was big enough. Red-tailed hawks are common in this area, including being seen in urban areas and this time of year. But we don't remember seeing a distinctive red tail. Then we read about how the juveniles don't have a red-tail. So maybe it was a red-tailed hawk. The picture above is of a juvenile red-tailed hawk. Our hawk looked very similar, perhaps not quite as dark.

After the hawk excitement, we continued home, stopping to wave at the passing freeway traffic again. People were less enthusiastic with their waving and honking later in the day. We saw two ginormous pit bull type dogs. We stopped at Safeway to rest for a few moments, use the restroom, and break a Starbucks travel mug (oops!). Then, finally, we reached home again.

I mapped our route on a jogging website. We walked 3 1/2 miles!

Photo credit: / CC BY-NC 2.0

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Suswan said...

This sounds like so much fun! What an adventure! A series of adventures! I love Krispy Kreme donuts, especially the butter cream filled ones. I love it when they are actually making the donuts. So interesting to see how the machines work.
And what a neat opportunity to see some wildlife in the middle of the city!

The Four Week Vegan said...

Certainly sounds like you should do it more often. What a great day!

Rosalie said...

What an adventure for all of you! I believe what you saw was probably a juvenile Red-Tailed Hawk. Juvenile birds rarely look like their adult counterparts. My favorite, Bald Eagles, are another good example of that. You can check them out live here: Put your cursor over "Interactive", then click on "Eagle Nest Cam". There are 3 choices, but the West End nest cam is down right now.
You're doing a great job! Keep it up!