Family Fun Adventure: Gaviota Wind Caves

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Hey there Lovelies, Today I’d like to share our latest family ramble in Goleta, California at the Wind Caves located in the Gaviota State Park. After seeing a few reviews on these caves I put this hike on my California Adventure pinterest page and there it sat for a few months waiting for life to slow down and allow us another opportunity to explore a great outdoor excursion.

 

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The trail starts out just above the Gaviota State Beach Campground. There is a cougar warning sign at the trail head. ¬†Although we did not see any ‘big kitties’, afterwards I read about someone that saw many fresh adult and baby tracks! Yikes, that would have scared me out of going ūüôā Our large noisy bunch probably scared them off. The trail starts off on a paved service road (see picture on left) and then climbs¬†a dirt track up a¬†hill. This hike is one of mostly climbing uphill, even though our just turned¬†3 year old could happily make it, we pretty much had to hold his hand the entire time! It was a bit difficult to keep Mr. Independent constrained, but it was also a safety precaution. There are some steep parts that require hand holding and some dangerous drop¬†offs. At one point Hubbs tied his belt around the tiniest adventurer to make it less¬†nerve racking for the parents and keep¬†him¬†from wandering too close to edges. As long as your little one is pretty happy to hold a hand, you might¬†have to wait until the child gets a bit older. Our six year old was completely fine with most of the climb, only needed a tiny bit of help and he was able to keep himself well back from the edges without making us nervous. Joggers/strollers are out for this trail, but I could see some people carrying baby in a back pack if you are use to it.

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Beautiful views on this hike!

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When you climb to the top of the first hill you start clearly seeing some of the caves. There are many dotted among the hills, but only a few have trails to them. You can also see the freeway from here and many reviews disliked this about the hike, personally it did not bother me. You can also get a great view of the ocean. Turn left and keep climbing and you will come shortly to the first caves. They are very easy to find and you can tell many people have been here. Everyone has scratched their names in this one, its large and you can climb right through it. As you go higher, the caves are less marked up.

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Pretty cool looking wind caves, but honestly the views on this hike were the star attraction for me.

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Exploring a wonderland for the kids

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These beauties dot the hills and sandstone creations line the walls.

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This guy was all about drawing pictures of what he saw. And yes, everyone got very dusty.

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This cave was huge, plenty of room for all the kids. I could imagine a native tribe gathering here telling stories around the camp fire at night. It has a super slanted floor to one side, perfect for sliding down.

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Happy hikers taking a small rest at the top/end of our climb.

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Hubbs guarding a hole at the end of a very slanted, slippery slope.

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The said dangerous hole…awesome view though!¬†This is where we turned around to head back down and have a picnic on the beach. I’m sure you could climb around much more and explore plenty more caves, but this was a good stopping place for us. All the kids had a good time and we certainly enjoyed this hike as a family. Some reviews weren’t too ¬†happy that the hike is short, about 2 1/2 miles, but it is just the right length for us. There were a several groups of hikers and a few kids/families.¬†It was nice to know other people were around incase of an emergency.

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Next we stopped at the van to grab our lunch and walked down the hill to the beach. There are a couple of picnic tables and bathrooms at the campground beside this old train bridge.

We found this massive dead crab! (My 14 year old’s hand for comparison) It was really windy and we were a bit tuckered out so we didn’t explore much of the beach, though there did seem to be some tide pools further up and there were a few people fishing. Hope that inspires a few of you to get out and see what adventures your neck of the woods holds. Have a blessed weekend.

Memory Keeper: This Week In March and April

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Our last Hoorah at LEGOLAND

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L: Battle of the Books that Cole participated in. R: A beautiful sunset that reminded me of the daily ones in the Philippines

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L: Homemade tandoori chicken  Recipe link: http://www.budgetbytes.com/2012/06/tandoori-chicken-bites/

R: Kale Apple Raisin Salad

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Loving the warm weather and celebrating with more salads and some black bean burritos

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L: Tiny boy doing addition on Starfall site R: A plateful of snack. Green beans are his new favorite munchies

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L: Brecks decided to not be scared of the toilet and is potty trained during the day! Thank goodness.

R: This guy snuck into our bed as I was getting up & he wanted me to take a picture

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L: Aunt Joan sent us a couple of her wonderful story books! We LOVE them. Azure brought them to school for National Read Across America Day at school

R: Someone was SO excited about the loose tooth, he let Dad pull it with pliers!

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L: Orange Banana Yogurt Smoothie with Chia seeds R: Banana Pear Yogurt Smoothie with Chia seeds

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L: Azure checking out the displays at the Science Fair at his school last week R: A fish Azure’s class made for the Science Fair d√©cor

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L: Azure’s pastel art based on a Paul Klee R: Holding a lizard with a beautiful purple spotted tail at the Science Fair

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Azure’s and a couple other classes performed a darling play called “Go Fish” about friendship in spite of differences.¬†Azure was a crab.

Sorry for the bad picture, we were SO far away. He was so cute, after every song he waved to us and wiggled his second loose tooth with his finger nearly the whole time when he wasn’t singing. I couldn’t figure out what he was doing? And then he got to choose a treat!

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L: Anyone that has littles between 2-5 yrs. should absolutely invest in a train set. We have been adding on to this one for 10 years.

R: Four snugglers on a couch in a blanket from Grammy watching a whole lot of Myth Busters this spring break.

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And this little guy has been sleeping part of the night in his own bed! Hope you all enjoyed/are enjoying a lovely spring break. Have a great week.

Recipe: Orange Cranberry Chia Muffins with a toasted Coconut topping (Vegan)

 

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Ok People, I am seriously excited about these wonderful vegan adapted muffins. The smell and taste are amazing and the texture is¬†perfect! Now we aren’t vegan, though when I have the opportunity to try out a new vegan recipe or I vegan adapt and it turns out really well, I’m so pleased. This recipe came about due to not having the called for ingredients on hand and since¬†I’m not one to run out and grab grocery items all throughout the week I tried to adapt it and it was magical. Yes, I’m a little nutsy about these babies.

So without further ado…enter Orange Cranberry Chia Muffins with a toasted Coconut topping.

Ingredients: (Makes 24 muffins, half the recipe if you want less)

2 cups fresh frozen cranberries (I stocked my freezer after the holidays and sadly I’m on my last bag)

zest of 1 orange (optional)

1 tsp. orange flavor

2 1/3 cups of orange juice (I used 7 medium oranges)

1 1/2 cup of sugar + 2 tbsp.

4 heaped tbsp. of chia seeds

1 cup oil (coconut oil would probably be amazing as well)

2 cups unbleached white flour

2 cups whole wheat flour

2 tbsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

1/4-1/3 cup of sweetened shredded coconut (could probably go with unsweetened as well)

Instructions:

1. Get a pan on the heat with your frozen berries and add the 2 tbsp. of sugar. You don’t need to add any water as juices will come out of the cooking berries. Stir every now and again. When berries pop and soften, turn off the heat and leave to cool down.

2. Juice your oranges and just get everything into a big mixing bowl. I always sift baking powder into the mix with a small hand held strainer to avoid the dreaded clumps of powder in the final product. Other than that, it’s pretty much a one bowl dump. Add the cooled berries and prepare your muffin tray or baking dish of choice. I used silicone baking cups which I sprayed with my misto can of olive oil and measured out the batter into the cups. As an after thought I sprinkled some shredded coconut on the tops, really good idea if you have it on hand as it adds a wonderful toasty crunch.

Bake in a 350 degrees oven until toothpick comes out clean and muffins are lightly browned. Turn down your oven if they look toasty but aren’t quite done. Eat immediately for the full yummy effect.