Got back to the Inn, and duh, realized I didn't get anything for lunch for the hike. So we left a half hour earlier than anticipated to go to the El Cerrito Trader Joe's (this time with my own cloth bag!) and picked up a pack of Laughing Cow Swiss Garlic & Herb Cheese (a bit weak on the garlic-ness for my taste; $2.99) and Force Primeval Bagel Bars (sure didn't feel like there were the percentage of nuts and fruit advertised on the bag, but nevertheless heavy and filling bread for just $3.29).
My friend got oranges, apples, and two bags of Roasted Plantain Chips, which are apparently a hit with kiddies.
First time I met her kids (day 1 for the Off The Grid food cart festival) they were kind of all over me since I was the novelty. They were really grabby -- and sometimes nibbling! Thank fully by now they'd mellowed out more, and I got to observe them and other kids as they interacted with Lime Ridge Open Space in the City of Walnut Creek. We were in the supposedly no-dogs-allowed wildlife preserve area, but there were nevertheless dog walkers.
My friend had previously mentioned that more kids = less work for parents, strangely enough, and today that proved true. The kids played with their friends and as long as they weren't doing something stupidly life threatening, they could scramble around and do their thing while the parents chatted.
The young children (probably all under 10) were also surprisingly destructive. Their "curiousity" led them to destroy things, and fortunately in this particular habitat, they could do so "safely". No one is going to mind if a chunk of limestone got chipped a bit smaller, for example.
But they also disrupted animal habitats, like pushing sand or dropping rocks into burrows; or tearing off the bark from a fallen log, causing a yellow lizard (?) to frantically dash away for its life. I didn't see where it went but I hope the kids didn't crush it beneath grass. The poor fellow probably needed the cool shade to keep moist during the hot day.
Yes, they are kids and they are just curious. But they seemed utterly unaware their curiosity had a sometimes terrible cost. That log was someone's home, a someone who almost got trampled to death.
If you can't be respectful in someone's home, you don't deserve to be there.
Later we went to a proper playground, and though nature was obviously paved over to make room for it, at least nothing they did there could really hurt anyone other than themselves.