Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Keira - April Edition

The Many Faces of Keira

Santa Clara - Keira just turned 5 months old on May 8th. It's really hard to believe how fast the time goes.

In the past month she has mastered her back to front roll and throws in a front to back roll every now and then. She likes sitting up, but tends to want to reach for things, which in turn causes her to either tip over or fold in half. Hand eye coordination is getting better and she is now well aware of her feet. Anyway, if you haven't seen her for a while you should come over and give us a visit.

Here are some photos from April:

Here is a link to the slide show:

Keira - April Edition

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Mount Diablo State Park - April 22nd to 24th - Baby's First Camping Trip

Erhhung and Vera up early at the Juniper Campsite, Mount Diablo State Park, CA
Santa Clara, CA - About a week or so ago Suwei and I took Keira out for her first camping trip. We joined up with Erhhung, Yin-Yin, and Vera for two nights out at Mount Diablo State Park. We figured it's only about an hour away from home so if anything went horribly wrong we could get back fairly quickly. Well, nothing went wrong and the little nugget did great. Although the little bit of rain we got Saturday night did wake her up for a short bit. Here are some photos from out trip:

Hanging out Saturday Morning at the Juniper Campsite, Mount Diablo State Park

After a slow start, a big pot of oatmeal, and a good nap, we were ready to take on the Devil, the peak of Mount Diablo, looming a daunting 900 ft above us.  The trek was planned out to the most minute detail.  Diapers... check.  Potato Chips... check.  Squeaky toy... check. We had over 1 mile of terrain to cover (in each direction.  Remember reaching the peak is only half the journey) and we needed to make it back to base camp before dark (a mere 7 or 8 hours of climbing time).

Mt. Diablo Hike
As you can see Suwei and I are learning to re-adjust our pace.  It was great to be out on the trail with Erhhung, Yin-Yin and Vera as we got a nice dose of fore-shadowing showing what it'll be like hiking with a 2 year old.  You definitely learn to see the trail in a different light.

Both Keira and Vera did great.  Keira, in the Baby Bjorn, still sleeps most of the way.  Vera is in her independence stage, where she wants to do things for herself.  Most of the time she refused to be carried, but then would get tired and distracted.  A few potato chips however, strategically inserted at the correct intervals, helped keep her going.
Hiking up Mount Diablo
If you some how manage to complete the entire 1.25 mile walk from the Juniper Campground (3000 ft) to the peak (3864 ft) you will be rewarded with great views, a massive parking lot and the Summit Museum. Ok, the parking lot is not much of a reward, but the other two well worth the wander. We got up there a little after lunch and the place was bustling.

The View North From the Peak
The Summit Museum
While strolling through the museum I learned a few things about Mount Diablo that I didn't know. The most interesting to me was the bit about its name. Before Mount Diablo became Mount Diablo it had a few other titles. The Ohlone Indians from the San Jose and East Bay area, called the mountain 'Tuyshtak', meaning 'at the day', while the Nisenan Indians of the Sacramento Valley called it 'Sukk├║ Jaman', and the southern Miwok called it 'Supemenenu.' Most of Mount Diablo however, lay within the homelands of the Volvon Indians and as early as 1811 it was called 'Cerro Alto de los Bolbones' or 'High Point of the Volvon'. Ok, not so interesting so far, but it gets better.

It has been suggested that another Indian name for the mountain was Kawukum or Kahwookum, but there is no evidence to support it. Supposedly the name Kahwookum was completely made up in 1866 and had no Indian connection what-so-ever. The name resurfaced in 1916 as a real estate gimmick with the translation of "Laughing Mountain", attributed to the Volvon Indians.
Views from Mount Diablo

Why Mount Diablo you ask? As if to say, "Get to the point." Well, as with many names in the USA, it was due to a bit of a screw up. In 1805 several Chupcan or Bay Miwok Indians escaped from the Spanish and hid in a nearby willow thicket. Well, they were incredibly hard to find in that thicket so the Spanish named the area, "Monte Del Diablo" or "Thicket (or woodland/forest) of the Devil". That name was also applied to the Rancho Monte Del Diablo,with later became Todos Santos or All Saints, and then eventually Concord. Monte Del Diablo become Mount Diablo when English speaking new-comers mistakenly attributed Monte to the Mountain rather than the settlement.

Mount Diablo State Park
This is where the story gets silly. In 2005 there was a petition to the federal government to change the name of the mountain due to its current name offending those with Christian beliefs. The petition also claimed that Diablo was a living person and thus the name was banned under federal law. The name proposed? "Mount Regan," which was quickly rejected on the grounds that a person must be dead for at least five years before a geographic landmark can be named after them. The proposed, Mount Regan, was brought up again in 2009, spurring a unanimous vote by the council against changing the name, citing historical significance.

Afternoon view from the Juniper Campground
Campground on a rainy Sunday Morning.  We opted for breakfast down in Danville.
By the way, "Concord" comes from the Latin for, "Harmony". Ok, Enough with the names.

Here is the link to the slide show:

Mount Diablo State Park - April 22nd to 24th