Saturday, January 16, 2021

Hinkle Creek Loop Trail, Folsom, CA - A Magical, Family Friendly Hike in Pure Nature

7000 Baldwin Dam Rd, Folsom, CA 95630

Park Hours: 7am to one hour after sunset

If fairies were real, this is where you would find them.  

Lush areas of green grass, a winding dirt trail among tall, whimsical trees, rocks overgrown with moss, a creek with an inviting stone pathway leading to the unknown, and the indescribable feeling of being surrounded by magic will get me coming back time and time again.

Me and my family visited BOA Vista Orchards (open year-round) one weekend and ran into a minor problem upon arrival- we had forgotten our 2-year-old son's shoes back at home 1.5 hours away.  The nearest place we could find a store that had his shoe size was in Folsom.  After buying shoes, we looked up a family-friendly hike nearby and Google pointed us to Hinkle trail.  

The fact that we found this place in unforeseen circumstances makes it very special because it's not often you'd find such a special place. 

-36 acres
-1 mile loop
-address brings you to the nature center where you can learn more about nature animals and plants and educational programs in the area 
-if traveling in winter, be sure to check that the roads high in the mountains are clear of snow. If taking the 80, check weather for donner pass as it is one of the highest points on the route to Folsom. If taking 50, check the weather at adventure mountain, also one of the highest points on the route
-trails get muddy in wet weather during the winter
-equestrian and dog friendly
-there is seating at some areas including the beginning of trail and at nature center ideal for picnics
-lots of space to step to the sides for social distancing
-half of trail is in among grass and trees. Other half on paved path back to parking lot.
-you can find a makeshift fairy garden near the beginning of trail
-Folsom Zoo is nearby if you want to make a day trip complete with entertainment.  You can also find the Folsom Railway in the same area.
-coyotes out early morning
-Folsom is practically neighbors with the bay area and the bay area always has the best bubble tea (or commonly known as Boba).  I always take advantage and get Boba when visiting these areas.  We found a great place called T4, if you're interested. Online ordering available.
-More attractions in Folsom
-From Reno, you can take pass by South Lake Tahoe and BOA Vista orchards on the way to Folsom by taking highway 50
-You can save seven miles from Reno by taking the 80. On the way, you can stop by Truckee, a scenic city with winter sports and restaurants.

Reccomended Gear
-Sunscreen (after trying so many options, this is my family's favorite)
-Water Bottle (definitely a must in Reno's dry climate)
-Portable potty Liners (priceless gadget that makes any hike with kids a breeze)
-hiking backpack (great view for kids, storage, nap friendly, shade)
-carrier (more afordable, light weight, shade, storage for keys)

*As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you.

©Katherine Fung,
All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Damonte Ranch Park- Biggest Playground in Town, Epic Sunsets & A Flat and Enjoyable 3 Mile Paved Loop Trail

1950 Steamboat Pkwy
Reno, NV 89521

When I first moved to Reno, I was determined to find the coolest playgrounds in town for my kids to enjoy, and Damonte Ranch Park was what Google considered most worthy.  Google knows best, so I made a trip out to the park and since have been visiting it often for six years.  With the little experience I've acquired throughout the years, me and my family can enjoy the park year-round with no inconveniences at all.

If I could find a park that really has something for everyone, I'd say that this is the park. Wildlife watchers, wetland lovers, flat trail walkers, eager joggers, playground heads, parents-only club, dog walkers, hill rollers, epic sunset seekers, beginner bikers, skaters on wheels, bridge enthusiasts & picnic go-ers are some of the types of people I see here all the time; that pretty much covers everyone.

-3.1 mile, no elevation gain, loop trail
-8 acre park
-completely exposed so in the summer, making it out at early morning and before sunset will be ideal, unless you're looking for some heat and a tan.  Sunscreen is always a good idea, esp. being at a higher elevation here in Reno where the sun is more intense.
-Enjoyable in the winter at any time of the day 
-There are no water fountains so don't forget to bring water
-There are two play structures. One for smaller kids and one for bigger kids.  swing set- 2 baby swings, 2 big kid swings. 4 way seesaw, chimes, tic-tac-toe, climbing structures, many slides, sliding pole, balancing steps.
-This park is very popular and can get busy during weekends, after school hours and holidays.  When the weather is cold and windy, you can have the park all to yourself.
-1 picnic shelter with 4 tables, BBQ, Year-Round Restroom nearby
-Basketball court with two - 1/2 opposing courts
-There are a couple of cute hills that my kids love running/rolling up and down.  During winter, when snow is abundant, it's the best place to sled down.
-There are nice open grassy areas ideal for flying a kite and playing fetch with dogs.  Though the grass is pretty stripped so when it gets wet, it can get a little muddy. 
-great for photography. beautiful views of epic sunsets, snow covered mountains, nature & wildlife
-During peak hours, parking lot can fill up. In this case, you can park along the street.
-in the summer when the plants are tall, there's a fun maze kids love to run through.
-Keep an eye out for yearly events hosted at the park, under normal circumstances of course, like 4th of July where they put on a grand display of fireworks, set up tents that hand out treats, and provide live music.  Or in winter, meet with Santa and trunk or treat during Halloween.
-The trail is perfect for bicycle family riding or those learning how to use bikes.  paths are wide.
-The trail is lined with people's backyards. 
-Poop bags available at a couple of places.
-There's a plaza down the street with Mc Donald's, Starbucks, Home Depot, Pizza, Subway, Kid's Haircut Place and a soon to be Safeway, if you're looking to get things done while in this part of town.

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

In-N-Out, The Only Burger You'll Need and Want in Life

8215 S Virginia St.
Reno, NV 89511

(800) 786-1000

Do you know how you can tell how awesome In-N-Out Burger is? I think the lines coming out the street to the stop light speaks for itself.  

I've been eating here since I was a child, and there's a lot of tastes associated with childhood, but all that aside, you will not find a fresher burger anywhere. Do you know how fast the turnover rate is for their ingredients? Weekdays, weekends... they are busy 24/7. They're like the DMV for hamburgers. Coming back to my point- their ingredients don't have time to spoil and they cook burgers so fast that they don't need to freeze their meat.

What's special about their burger is how it all comes together. You can have the freshest ingredients in the world, but putting them together in a balanced way is what makes a burger outstanding. In-N-Out does it with ease. No matter how you alter the burger to your taste- protein style without the bun, animal style with grilled onions and pickles, or 4x4-style with four patties, you cannot go wrong with taste.

The cherry on top is In-N-Out's fast and friendly service. You would think that there are thousands of minions working inside. They are just so fast and efficient that a line never scares me away when I'm craving burgers.

Did I mention how affordable their burgers are? You can go all-out for the whole family and it will likely not break the bank.

-Why only four stars?  The low reviews are from people that are trying to shoo away others so they don't have to wait any longer in line. 
-If you want extra crispy fries, toss them in an air fryer for a few minutes. If you want them in stock at home, fresh fries freeze well. 
-Do you want an impossible In-N-Out burger?  Go across the street and order the impossible patty from Burger King and toss it into a vegetarian In-N-Out Cheeseburger. Yes, I've done it for my father and he loved it!
-We love animal style: mustard grilled into the patty, pickles, chopped grilled onion and an extra helping of their famous sauce
-I always get animal style with yellow chili peppers, raw onion, & extra tomato added. Beyond delicious!
-you can get a whole grilled or chopped grilled onions!
-You can ask for extra spread packets, whole chili peppers, ketchup, salt & pepper on the side.
-animal style fries- fresh cut potatoes fried in sunflower oil topped with their famous sauce, cheese and chopped grilled onions
-You can regulate the salt on your burger and fries.  You can also ask for your bun extra toasted if that's your thing.
-their milkshakes have always been too thick for my taste but you can remedy it by ordering a side of milk and adding it in to your shake to thin it out, leave room in the cup. Neapolitan is a combination of all three flavors- vanilla, chocolate & strawberry
-you can pay with Apple or Samsung pay for a contact free transaction
-There are plenty ways to customize your burger. 
-I always wear a mask when ordering and picking up from the window to keep everyone safe.  A Covid outbreak at In-N-Out would definitely not be good for everyone's sanity, soul and tummy. 
-There have been little to no changes to their menu throughout history.  The old-fashioned way is the best way.  
-The workers are always nice to my kids. Some have offered stickers to them
-They control all their ingredients. process their own meat, make their own buns, source the best produce from farms.
-tables available outside
-you can go in and order take out
-always open late night

Categorized under "Good Eats"---> "Burgers"

Witness A Millionaire's Creation During the Comstock Load Mining Boom and Enjoy Beautiful Grounds at Bowers Mansion Regional Park

Upcoming Event: Bowers Bluegrass Festival (August 24-27, 2023)
Purchase Tickets

Nestled among the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains is Bowers Mansion Regional Park, only 15 minutes away from South Reno on the way to Carson City.

For 100+ years, people have been visiting this park for its scenic views, swimming pool, mansion, beautiful grounds, history, events, outdoor recreational activities, and more. 

*Experience a pleasant picnic under towering shade trees on a lawn that seems endless

*Swim in a secluded pool in the middle of nature, big enough for everyone to enjoy

*Rent out one of the pavilions for life's special occasions

*Retreat from summer heat under shade trees over a good read

*Take in a piece of history through educational plaques & tours in the most elegant building of its time

*Let the children run wild and free while exploring, swinging, sliding, & climbing at the playground

I'm so thankful to have such a special and beautiful park nearby, a park that has served and continues to as the perfect place to learn, have fun, grow, live life to the fullest, and create precious moments.

2020 hours of operation.  Opening + closing dates are around the same time every year.

Bower's Mansion Tours

Take a trip back in history and walk in the shoes of past millionaires Eilley & Sandy Bowers with a guided tour offered seasonally, usually from Memorial Day through Nevada Day. 

I have yet to take it, but from what I've researched, it's popular and led by people who tell the story of the mansion in an entertaining manner (such as the person in the walk-through video tour below).

The park usually hosts special events like Programs on the Porch (free live music), the Civil War event, & more.

-49 Acre Park
-Due to historical significance, there are no pets allowed in the park, with exceptions to service animals.
-plenty of day use picnic tables with BBQ grills that are spread throughout the park on a first come, first-served basis
-There are two pavilions on each end of the park that are big enough for special events like weddings.  Comstock Picnic Pavilion & Washoe Picnic Pavilion. Horseshoe and volleyball next to each pavilion
-There are two play (partially shaded) structures on each end of the park
-Plenty of grass for all activities
-There's a trail behind the mansion leading to great views of Washoe Lake and the Bower's family cemetery. Up some stairs and less than 5 minutes up on a dirt trail
-The swimming pool always keeps a lane open for lap swimmers. There's a new gated splash pad for toddlers, easy entry ladders and hydraulic lift available.
-There are plenty of trees around the property that change during fall
-An amazing spot for photos
-Great shade in the summer
-Davis Creek Regional Park is only a couple of minutes away and is family friendly, with trails ranging from easy to difficult, camping grounds, picnic areas, and a place to fish when water is abundant. 
-I love taking my kids to the Chocolate Nugget Factory after a long day of fun and exercise just down the street, about 3–5 min. away
-The park is surrounded by farmlands.  You can easily drive around Wahoe Lake and find lots of farm animals to look at. 
-flushable toilets available
-Huge parking lots, one on each side

My kids learned how to bike here.

©Katherine Fung,
All rights reserved.

***Information subject to change.  All opinions are my own.