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Adventure of the week: A slice of nature within Folsom

Spotting a beaver dam and lodge is among the nature experiences families can share during an early evening walk Sunday along the Humbug-Willow Creek Parkway in Folsom. Tony Loftin of the Mother Lode chapter of the Sierra Club is designing the outing for families with young children. Even those pushing strollers will find smooth rolling along the paved walkways in this park in Folsom.

"This is a gentle urban walk for all ages, from the stroller set to the senior set," Loftin said. "My aim is to introduce the network of trails" that wind through Folsom all the way to Folsom Lake.

The hike will have two short, distinct sections that loop back to the trailhead parking area so families can sign out early if necessary. From the meeting point, participants will drive a short distance to the parkway parking lot. The first half of the hike is a loop that is less than a half-mile long in one direction. The pathway is paved, and the turnaround point is at the beaver dam. There is little shade for this part of the outing.

For the second half, participants will see a new section of the trail and walk in a wooded area. Loftin will leave the distance up to the group. His plan is to limit the overall outing to about two hours.

People who want to picnic, Loftin said, will have to drive a short distance to the picnic tables near the river.

For added fun, Loftin has devised a scavenger hunt. Participants will form small teams and head out to find animals and nature bits on their lists. Some items will test one's memory, such as naming our state animal (the grizzly bear, which no longer lives in California). Others include sighting animal homes, such as bird nests or beaver dams; and signs of beaver, such as gnawed tree trunks. Loftin has small prizes for the young hunters.

No reservations are needed. Details on the meeting location are below.


WHAT: Family-friendly outing

WHERE: Folsom

WHO: All ages

WHEN: 5 p.m. Sunday

MEETING POINT: Parking lot of Jamba Juice at the southwest corner of Folsom Boulevard and Blue Ravine Road in Folsom; from there, it is a short drive to the trailhead

COST: Free

INFORMATION: (916) 448-3230 or e-mail hikingtony@earthlink.net

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