Last weekend for my daughter’s birthday we took a trip to Sugar Loaf Ridge State Park off Highway 12 in Kenwood,Ca. Spring is the perfect time of year to visit as the weather was just right! Hiking, picnicking, stargazing at the Robert Ferguson Observatory, and camping are fun activities available at the park. I noticed some campers braved the still, chilly nights and pitched their tents along the stream, but the best reason to visit the park in spring is to catch the wildflowers in bloom! The tall, willowy grasses are green this time of year, blanketing the hills and splashed with colorful wild flowers lining the trails that meander throughout the park. Deep shades of purple lupin, pale yellow lilies and pretty white faces of yarrow and California poppies are throughout the park, to name a few. http://www.calflora.org/ Dogs are not allowed on the trails so my dog and I had fun moseying along the road, photographing the wildflowers while the teenagers hung out at the picnic table chatting; too cool to walk with me I guess! The road leads to the Robert Ferguson Observatory where you can stargaze. http://www.rfo.org I could see the California Mule Deer grazing on the grassy mountains in the distance while I was enjoying the view. When you visit here, you are lower on the food chain, so be aware of your surroundings as mountain lions could be lurking! This is a perfect place to start your summer “hot bod” by hiking straight up the trail to the top of Bald Mountain! If you are super fit then park your car before the park entrance at the trail head that leads to a gorgeous waterfall. (I can never find the parking turnout and trail head so just drive up and ask the ranger). Once you find the pullout and trail head, hike down the mountain to the waterfall which takes you to a magical place lush with green ferns, moss and a beautiful canopy of trees. I think I just saw a leprechaun…moment. Bring your camera and take your family’s next Christmas photo here to send to your friends! Pack your lunch as you will want to hang out awhile before you make the steep climb back up. (I suggest you have your heart checked out first with your doctor before you do this hike!) Also, In the summer there might not be a waterfall, as the creek that feeds it gets low, so ask the ranger first before you go! This is a State Park and has a fee. Click http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=481 for more information. Have fun!