Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Day hiking with the family...

I have a problem. I live in a city and I am NOT a city person. Therefore I am often plauged with wanderlust for the good outdoors. Living in such a beautiful part of the country there is not shortage of mountains and rivers and lakes and even the ocean but traveling costs money and burning a ton of gas for a day trip isn't always within budget.
Lately I have been looking closer to the city to get my nature fix and have been happy to discover a few little hidden gems.





 I recently discovered that there are some great hiking spots around the City that we have never been too. I thought we have exhausted all of our semi urban hiking spots in the last 10 years of living in Portland but there are several spots SW of the city that are quite charming for a family day hike. I think we have avoided that area because it is  not fun to get to..located off of a spiderweb of interstate and highways..kind of stressful and not my idea of a relaxing day, but once you get through all that these spots are really worth it.
The first hike in pictures above is Cooper Mountain Nature Park. My family really enjoyed this park. The trails are the perfect distance for families with small children, they all loop and you can chose between a smaller loop and a larger loop depending on the mood of your little tribe. I love loop trails for hiking with children, I think it encourages them to keep going rather than to want to stop and turn back. My kids always start off really enthusiastic and end up burning out quickly. This park also has a neat play area for kids right off the parking area which is a bonus because some times my idea of going to a park and my four year old's idea of a park are quite different, so this is a perfect compromise. I was hoping we would see the resident bobcat, no such luck but we did find little poop piles he left behind.
Another really beautiful spot lies in the middle of a pretty congested suburban area so I was reluctant to visit. Tualatin Hills Nature Park is quite large and quiet with diverse habitats and beautiful trails going through swamps, towering trees and meadows. There are several raised wooden pathways that go right through wetland areas so you can easily spot wildlife. We saw several varieties of frogs and I was excited. Frogs are everywhere in Wisconsin here I grew up, but I have only seen and heard a few living in Oregon. I am sure that is because in live in the middle of the city, not because Oregon doesn't have frogs. We didn't get a chance to explore this entire park in one morning so I look forward to going back again to see more. There are some smaller trails that are better for foot travel but most of the park is paved paths that would be perfect for bringing a stroller if not to push your kid but to carry all your snacks and baby/kid paraphernalia.
Here are a few photos from our day at Tualatin Hills Nature Park:






April said...

Beautiful! I love finding local hikes...

On another note, I might be going to Portland next week to meet an old college roommate halfway & spend the day there. We're probably just going to sightsee/go out to eat/etc... any recommendations? I've lived in Oregon for over five years but have barely spent any time in Portland! I'm super intimidated by city driving, lol!

Josée said...

I know the feeling of being "trapped" in the city. I've always wanted to live on a large acreage of my own, surrounded by nothing but wilderness. Looks like you found some lovely spots to experience nature though.