Slide Ranch

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Editor’s Note: Matt Lauer turned up in a field of tulips in day two of “Where in the World is Matt Lauer?” Today, Lisa & Brent share some fantastic adventures that feature our own beautiful wildflowers & scenery all accessible on one tank of gas.

Lisa BernardSaturday (April 26th), we awoke to a beautiful day: sunshine, no fog, and at least two out of the three kids seemed to be in an agreeable mood. We got in the car, strapped on the child restraints and pondered where to go. I had heard of this place called “Slide Ranch”: a farm with hiking trails by the ocean. Sounded intriguing. We drove to Highway 1 off of 101 in Marin County and followed signs towards Muir Beach.

Funny thing…these cardboard signs started popping up periodically on the side of the road saying

“Slide Ranch Spring Fling April 26.” We followed the signs (essentially stay straight past the turn off for Muir Beach, up a little way more and you’re there). After successfully unloading my 1 year old daughter and 3 and 5 year old sons with their sippy cups, their goldfish snacks and their suntan lotioned bodies we were startled by a very loud groan.

It was a goat. Just a few steps away. There were about 7 of them. All different shapes and sizes and a nice man, with a name tag that said “volunteer,” was letting anyone who wanted to pet them go ahead and do so. We were right in their pens with them. Water, food, poop, the whole deal.

After we’d had enough of that we started walking down a small hill and found ourselves on the most beautiful hiking trail above the coast. There were wild flowers everywhere. Purple ones, yellow ones and the stunning orange California poppy. There were a lot of smaller trails off the big one… one led us to the shade of a huge tree… where we discovered the nearly complete skeleton of a deer or some other medium sized four legged animal. My kids thought it was a dinosaur. A little further along was a great hut in the shape of an octagon. We snooped around (the combination lock was lying next to the unlocked door) and discovered a rustic wooden table, chairs, a stove, cooking utensils and a sign about renting the place out for overnights. Very cool.

After a little picnic in a pretty field we continued on a path that led right down to the ocean. The kids were splashing in tide pools getting soaked and sandy while we wondered how we’d get them back up the hill (on our shoulders). After tiring of the ocean, we completed the loop which led past some more rustic wooden dwellings. Because it was “Spring Fling” there were activities throughout the area. On this day there were people demonstrating how to shear sheep. There were people making crowns out of flowers. There was face painting. There was an acoustic guitar performance and barefooted people dancing. There was a great energy.

I’m told most weekends there is some kind of family activity. Milking goats. Tours of the organic garden, lessons on churning butter, instruction on how to make soap and candles. Ocean exploration. There is a real emphasis on learning about the organic farm and making nutritious food. It is a public parkland so anyone can hike the trails from sunrise to sunset for free. But the programs cost $20 per person, $75 for a family of 4 (scholarships available, you must pre-register and they are all basically full already…go to www.slideranch.org for more info).

When we finally returned to our car my son said “Wow, this was a really nice place.” And all three kids fell asleep on the windy ride home. A perfect day.

Lisa Bernard
NBC11 Reporter

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