Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Hiking Games & Buenaventura Trail

Do your kids ever complain when you try and do something fun as a family? No? Yeah...neither do mine...

Ok...let's face it.  My kids whine as much as the next.  (But they're cute, so I still love them.)  
Every now and then I make my children turn off the screens (which becomes the main source of whining), and we head outside for some family bonding time. Sometimes they need some incentive to keep going on a hike or to stop hitting their sister.  And sometimes I just don't want to answer the question, "When is this going to be over?" one more time.  So we make up games.  On this day, while walking the Buenaventura Trail, we tricked our children into having fun by playing three games.  (Yes, one game was not enough.  So I had to get creative.)

Games that keep kids entertained while hiking. Great blog about things to do in Northern California.

Game #1...Geocaching.  For those of you who are not familiar with geocaching, it's basically like real life treasure hunting.  Using GPS coordinates (we use our phones with a geocaching app) you search for hidden caches.  They are everywhere.  If you are going on a hike just about anywhere, there will be one or more caches marked to find.  Once you determine which geocache you want to find, then the search begins.  We searched for and found one at the head of the Buenaventura Trail.  Most caches have small little trinkets inside.  Geo caching  etiquette is that if you take something, you need to replace it with something else for the next explorer to find. So be sure to bring small items to put in the cache.  We have used Hotwheels cars, coins, bouncy balls, and the like. Find out more about geocaching here.

Game #2...Count the bridges.  I know it doesn't sound like much, but on the Buenaventura Trail, there a several footbridges to cross. So to keep my six year old engaged, we counted bridges.  It's amazing how something so simple can distract enough to keep kids from asking "How much longer is it?"  On this trail, we counted 10 (or was it 11?) bridges. No bridges on your trail? That's ok, try counting other things like how many steps to the next big tree or rock.  How many animals can you find? Be creative!

Buenaventura Trail, Redding, CA  Great blog about things to do in Northern California

Game #3...Disneyland Training.  At the time we were on this outing, we were only a couple months away from our family trip to Disneyland.  So we told our kids we were training for Disneyland.  If they couldn't walk this trail, then maybe they weren't big enough to walk all day at Disneyland.  Well, as you can imagine, they were in fact big enough! Gee mom, how could you even suggest such a thing.  So we walked our way through Disneyland (in our minds of course).  It went something like this: "Ok kids, we just walked through the gates at Disneyland.  What's our first ride going to be?  How about Space Mountain.  Well, it's a long way from Main Street to Tomorrowland.  I think probably about 73 steps." And then we would count off the paces as we walked.  Then someone else would pick the next ride.  "Haunted Mansion? Really? It's all the way across the park.  Ok...that's probably about 100 steps." And so on until we reach our destination.  It turned out to be a great distraction.  And we had some fun conversations about planning our family trip. I'll be using this game again for sure!

There are other games you could play like "I Spy", or singing songs.  The possibilities are endless.  

But enough about whining children and playing games.  Now on to the stats of The Buenaventura Trail. Which was a fun walk.  It's not far from our home so it is a favorite of ours to walk or bike.

The Stats: (From
Length: 1.25 miles one way
Difficulty: Easy/Moderate; terrain varies
Type: Walking, Biking
Dogs: Ok on leash
Location: See map

Pro Tips:
  • Take plenty of water. There are no drinking fountains. 
  • Bring a sack lunch. There are a few nice places to sit, on the trail and by the river. 
  • The trail connects to the river trail system. So even though it is only 1.25 miles to get to the river trail, you can make it as long or as short as you would like by utilizing the Sacramento River Trail.
Have you been on the Buenaventura Trail? Do you prefer to walk, run or bike?

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