>Never Too Young

>

After a recent trip to Mammoth Mountain in Mammoth Lakes, Calif., I returned to the office gushing about how much fun I had. It wasn’t my first time there, or even my second. In fact, I am up there so frequently that I think my coworkers were surprised I was so excited about my trip. What was all the fuss about? Mammoth Mountain’s Adventure Center, which offers a bevy of activities such as mountain biking, scenic gondola rides, ziplining and a climbing wall.
We had gone up to visit the Adventure Center with our two small children, so even though we could have taken turns mountain biking and watching the kids, my husband and I had planned to just hike around Devil’s Postpile National Monument, where visitors can take short hikes to the monument, swim in the river and hike up to Rainbow Falls. We also thought we would ride the gondola to the top of Mammoth Mountain and check out the Interpretive Center — and that was about it.
When we got to the Adventure Center, however, Ava, my 2-year-old, ran straight to the zipline, where there was a line of older kids – all at least over 4 – waiting their turns. She carefully watched as the kids zipped down from a 20-foot platform, and I knew she wanted to climb up there and go herself, and I wondered how to explain to a 2 year old that she was too young without enduring a tantrum. So I just started to lead her away. She cried. She stomped her feet and then a woman came over and told us that Ava wasn’t too little, and I was shocked. I guess I should have asked first, but, bad parent that I am, I just assumed.
So, we got her a harness that surprisingly fit and a helmet that was WAY too big and off she went. And with the utmost determination and more patience than I have ever seen her display, she negotiated the step ladder all the way to the top of the platform, waited her turn and then zoom….off she went!
Afterward, she headed straight for the climbing wall and 10 minutes later, she was hanging 25 feet in the air, at the very top, smiling for a picture.
http://www.mammothmountain.com/

>Parking It Poolside

>

Every year the Fourth rolls around and the heat wave kicks in and I, like everyone else in the Valley, want to make a break for the beach. I envision cool breezes, cold drinks and palm trees — but in reality, what I find is traffic jams, sunburnt children and a purse filled with sand.

This year, I vowed that it would be different — and to my amazement — I discoverd that you can find cool breezes, cold drinks and palm trees in the Valley…you just have to find someone who has a pool.

My brother-in-law helped us out in this capacity, and my husband and two daughters and I spent a relaxing three days less than a 1/4-mile from our house soaking up the rays, a rare gust of the santa ana’s or two and juice boxes galore for Fourth of July. Party on America!