Saturday, January 19, 2013
My girls like ladybugs. Really like ladybugs. Who doesn't, they're the cheeriest and friendliest beetles around.
So when my friend E told me about a short hike, practically in our back yard, that would reward us with thousands of ladybugs, all piled together I immediately said, "when can we go?!"
Just 2 miles from our house, as the crow flies, is Redwood Regional Park. It's many trails wind through the rolling hills, ridges, and canyons that separate Orinda from Oakland. With oaks, bay and eucalyptus making the top of the hills fragrant, the bottoms shaded by serene redwood, Redwood Park offers many wonderful hikes close by.
And every winter, between November and Feb, thousands, maybe millions of ladybugs descend on the park during their migration. They stop. They wait. They huddle. They rest. I have no idea what they are doing there but it is quite magical.
We started off on the 3 mile loop at the Skyline Staging area, heading down the Stream trail. The shaded, peaceful hike took us half way through the loop, where the Stream trail met with the Prince trail.
This was the place.
There were thousands of ladybugs. A red carpet of ladybugs. So many ladybugs!
Mostly they were massed together in clumps along the ground, covering leaves, stems, branches. A few were scattered along the trail and it made me nervous to step anywhere lest I smoosh some of these beautiful little beetles.
The littles couldn't resist saying a gentle "hi" to one or two of the wee red friends.
The ladybugs showed us which way to go. How considerate.
All too soon it was time to go. We still had 1.5 miles to walk back, and it was mid afternoon. We had another small snack and headed back up the Prince Trail, then back to the car via the Ridge Trail. If the girls and boys were tired their energy and spirit soon returned, as the Ridge trail is a favorite off-leash area for walking dogs. We petted every single dog on the way back.
I was so impressed with the kids. Erin did the whole hike and never needed to be carried. Robin only went in the Ergo a few times, and only briefly. The other two boys we were with were just as energetic. The 3 miles took 2.5 hours, but that included LOTS of stopping, examining, exploring. We were all happy, and exhausted.