Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Who's Ready for a Little Adventure?

 "Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than those you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from safe harbor. Catch the wind in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
 — Mark Twain, Great American Writer
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My family loves adventure. We love to explore and see new things. So when I heard about an old shipwreck on the coast of Rancho Palos Verdes that you could hike to ... we were OFF! 

It is fairly easy to get there. From Pasadena, it took us roughly 45 minutes. We went on a Sunday and I was expecting it to be more crowded but it wasn't at all and there was ample street parking. We parked near the intersection of Paseo Del Mar and Cloydon. Between two houses (ok, fine, big, huge, sprawling mansions - you are in Palos Verdes, afterall!!) is a drainage pipe that heads down the cliff. This is where you want to head down. There are other areas along the coast that you can try to maneuver down, but with 2 kids, this seemed like the safest way to get down. Concrete has been poured on the cliff to make it less slippery heading down. Take your time and it is fairly easy. 
Once you make it to the bottom, head West (for the more navigational-challenged, go left!) 
You will be walking on rocks the entire time so I HIGHLY recommend wearing good hiking boots that keep your ankles stable. We all were wearing tennis shoes and paid the price later on with sore feet & ankles. 

The shipwreck debris is roughly 2 miles from this point. There are many things to see along the way ... we happened upon this makeshift wall where people before us had added things to the wall. There was a big shell there that my daughter wanted to take. I asked her is she liked looking at the wall with all the things people had left and she said, "Yes". I then went on to explain that if she took it, it wouldn't be there for other people to admire and instead of taking the shell, why don't we find something interesting and on our way back, we can add to it. This made her very excited and the 2 mile trek to the shipwreck debris was spent exploring for what she wanted to leave behind.

We picked a great day to hike. It wasn't too warm and the sun kept playing peek-a-boo behind the clouds so it was never beating down on us. This made for a much more pleasant hike. Along the way we saw many abandoned lobster traps strewn along the coast. We also saw many dead lobsters, and a few dead birds as well. We briefly spoke to a couple that we passed on our hike and they said there was a dead fox, a dead sealion and dead squid as well, However, we did not see them but at times during our hike, we sure smelled something dead!!! Eeeeew.
We also encountered seagulls, pelicans and sandpipers. 

Before you actually get to the debris site, you will start to see scattered rusty metal pipes & other other pieces here & there. In the distance you will see what appears to be a tractor or a crane. When you see that, you know you are close, as the shipwreck is just around that bend.

Once you see the crane, you know you are close!

There are a couple of big pieces of the shipwreck as well as many smaller pieces scattered around. They are very old & rusty so please exercise caution, especially with younger children. 

As well as the scattered remains of the shipwreck, there are hundreds of tidepools with crabs, sea urchins, starfish and other marine life. We have a rule in our family ... you can pick up and be gentle, but you must put it back. Both kids loved having the crabs crawl on them and their giggles as the crabs "tickled" them was so cute. But after a few minutes, they gently put the crabs back into their home. 

Sadly, the sun was beginning to set and we had to leave and start our 2 mile trek back.(trust me, the 2 miles back is much harder than the 2 miles there!! My legs will testify to that!) The sun gave a spectacular show as it was setting on us, begging us to return another day, which we will surely do!

The most rewarding thing of the day was as we were leaving and headed home, both kids thanked me for all the adventures we go on! I am so grateful to be able to share these experiences with my children and I can only hope that they get us much out of our precious time as I do. 

Goodnight, Palos Verdes. Thank you for a wonderful Adventure! 

The story doesn't end there, though! When we got home, I had both kids do a little research on the Shipwreck and then they shared what they learned with Mike & I. At first, both kids groaned a little bit when I asked them to do it, but afterward, they both said it made their adventure that much more interesting. If you are interested in learning more about the shipwreck of The Dominator, here are 2 fascinating websites:

And that night, when the kids added their Thankful Leaves to our traditional Thankful Tree, both kids shared how thankful they were for adventures! I hope that their love for adventure never ceases! 
Our 2014 Thankful Tree

"I am thankful for adventures
because they always have
something new"
"I am thankful for the beach
because when I go it takes me on
fun adventures"