Back Home

Logan, Stevie, Maya and I drove home from Seattle Tuesday afternoon. I had mixed feelings about heading home. We were ready to go home and be in our environment and routine, but the air quality was still terrible in Portland. The predicted rain kept changing, but in the end I decided to just head home. It WAS nice to be home in our own beds…

The cats were super happy to be home, not quarantined in the bathroom anymore.

Even Bella was happy to see everyone! 😉

I had so much to catch up on with work, even though I did some teleworking from Seattle (minimal). So Wednesday was VERY busy for me. Logan was happy to be back at preschool with his friends.

Portland was ATROCIOUS. The air was absolutely terrible. I did not leave the house for several days and honestly, I stayed in the upstairs or the dining room of the house for several days. I don’t know if I mentioned it but our house is a 1920’s bungalow and the front part of the house where the office and living room are, the windows are original. So……yeah….they smelled like smoke.

The rest of the house was better. The upstairs and the dining room was an addition and have newer windows so the smoke didn’t come in. But it was so bad in the rest of the house I could barely breathe. 🙁 It was such a bummer.

Then on Friday it rained. Like an epic, the clouds opened up, thunder and lightning, the storm of the century rain. Everyone in Portland, I think, woke up at 3am when it happened. I laid in bed listening to the rain and felt so grateful. Friday it rained off and on all day and then on Saturday it was BLUE SKIES. Blue skies and NORMAL AIR QUALITY. I could cry.

I woke up and opened all the windows in the house for several hours. I washed everything. Floors, walls, couch covers, blankets, anything. I just wanted to get the smoke smell out. Maybe I was being paranoid but I felt like smoke was just everywhere.

Saturday afternoon I took Bella for a super long walk. We were both SO happy! It was the first walk she’d had in almost 2 weeks! As we walked I marveled at how the ground was full of orange and red leaves. In a blink of an eye summer was over and now it’s Fall.

Sunday we went for a hike in the morning and it was SO nice being outside.

Then Stevie went to the vet for his last post-op check up and got the green light. No more cone!

It was also our 6 year wedding anniversary. It was such a busy day we didn’t have much time to celebrate. We will do something soon. So we had dinner and shared a piece of German Chocolate Cake.

It’s really nice to be home and back to the “norm”–whatever that means!

Urban Hiking

This post will probably mostly appeal to locals.

When everything shut down here in Oregon, 12-ish weeks ago, we knew we still wanted to get outside and get fresh air and exercise. The Governor shut down the Gorge and Mount Hood and the Coast, so no hiking there. For awhile we mostly went for walks in our neighborhood and we still do as much as possible.

With a toddler out of preschool/daycare, we definitely needed some options. I started looking for places that WERE open still. A lot of parks and nature parks are still open near us, but playgrounds are closed. Bathrooms are closed at trails and nature parks.

Obviously, we are as smart as we can be. We only go to places that are open. We go at times when there won’t be as many people. If there are a lot of cars in the parking lot, or we see too many people, we leave and go somewhere else. We bring our masks, although we don’t necessarily wear them unless we see other people. We don’t touch anything (you shouldn’t in nature parks anyways). We are taking as many precautions as we can and still get outside and get exercise and sanity.

In a way, this time has turned out to be good for exploring new area of Portland. In the past we had favorite hikes we’d go on, they were usually out in the Gorge or on Mount Hood, or Milo McIver Park, or Stub Stewart Park, but all these places closed down so I looked for places that were 5-8 miles within our house so we could stay close.

Here are some suggestions we like:

Forest Park

Forest Park never closed during the quaratine. There are a TON of trails and different trailheads and so many places to explore. We never went here during the covid-19 stuff because I knew there would be a LOT of people there. But it is a good place to hike close to town.

Mary S. Young Park

A pretty big park in West Linn with a lot of trails, a dog park area, river access, picnic areas. There are 5 miles of hiking trails in the woods. There are bike trails and bird watching.

Maddax Woods

Another West Linn gem. It’s short but kid friendly. 7 acres of woods and trails, river access. There’s a trail up to the West Linn Library, or a trail to the river. It was about 1.1 miles roundtrip.

Scouter’s Mountain

A great little nature hike in Happy Valley. NO DOGS. There are a few trails that all connect. It’s hilly so you can get a workout but it’s not long so it’s kid friendly. There’s a parking lot and a nice view of Mount Hood. You are in the woods and the trails are all well groomed. It’s very good for families. And we saw deer!

Mount Scott Nature Park

This is another Happy Valley hike. It’s a nice little find at the end of a cul-de-sac in a neighborhood. The trail is short but steep. It’s kid-friendly because of it’s length and there are old cars with trees and plants growing in them hidden in the woods!

Cooks Butte Hike

This was a cute little hike up at the top of a neighborhood hill in Lake Oswego. This was another one where the trailhead was nestled at the end of a neighborhood cul-de-sac. The trails were all connected and had variations in grading so you can get a workout, but kid-friendly enough (no cliffs, no big dangers, not super long). It was a nice trail in the woods. Dogs are ok (on leash). This one is definitely one we would do again and again.

Tualatin Hills Nature Park

This is a great park! It’s very flat, so not a great workout for hiking. Some of it is paved (so ADA and stroller accessible). It is a great park for running and biking, not so much for hiking. There are some trails off the paved areas that you can hike on and lots of off-shoots to explore. You could spend the whole day exploring. It’s great for kids! NO DOGS.

Springbrook Park

This is a nature park in Lake Oswego. Beautifully groomed and maintained and it looks like they are making some new trails. There are lots of trails that are offshoots into neighborhoods, or schools, and a lot of the trails connect. It’s really pretty. Pretty flat. Mostly gravel and dirt, which is nice because when it rains it’s not too muddy. We’ve already done this hike twice! It’s great.

Tualatin Greenway Trail

This is a cute little paved path in downtown Tualatin, right behind the mall area right off I-205. We discovered it recently and it’s perfect for toddlers! It’s wide, paved, there’s information about the Ice Age and dinosaurs along the way and it’s right by the river. It’s super cute!

It’s about 4.5 miles long, I guess. We only did part of it. We will definitely go back and do the rest sometime! And it looks like the river is a GREAT place for kayaking!

Happy hiking!