Longer Weekend

In the last year it’s definitely been hard to get excited about weekends or long weekends. Pre-pandemic we’d impatiently countdown the holidays and weekends. Now? Every day is pretty much the same. Weekends are pretty much just like a Wednesday. The only difference is that on nice weekends (i.e. not pouring rain) we try and get outside for a hike as a family.

Saturday we went to Orenco Woods Nature Park. It’s out in Hillsboro, so quite a trek for us. But I’m glad we went.

There were lots of super cool things for kids! A sandbox, swings, climbing structure (Logan got to the top!), bridges, paths, lots of “art”.

It was chilly but not rainy. Logan got the wiggles out running around the paths. There were a bunch of them, little trails and some nature preserve areas (those areas were not for dogs).

The art was so cool! Logan had so much fun exploring. The climbing web was by far his favorite thing there. He didn’t want to leave the park. Often times when we go hiking he loses steam around the 1.5 mile mark and starts whining about going home. But this park was such a hit we practically had to drag him to the car. 😉

When we got home I baked a loaf of sourdough. I am so happy we have a new oven and I can get back to baking bread! My favorite recipe is great and the bread turns out fantastic.

Monday was a holiday, and one that is a little bittersweet with all of the awful racial things that have been happening in our country. And I took Tuesday off because it was my birthday. Another rather bittersweet day. Last year we were in Hawaii on an amazing trip for my birthday.

Monday I took Logan to Fanno Creek Trail in Tigard. It was super cool! We parked at the Garden Home Rec Center and picked up the trail there (behind the playground). I guess the whole thing is 4.5 miles long and it’s ADA accessible (paved) the whole way. A great trail for kids.

It was a really cool trail through neighborhoods. The trail was wide enough for people to be safe. There were bridges, we saw a bunny and a creek. I think the trail is pretty long but we did 1 mile or so and then turned around. Michael’s mom joined us (Michael was working). It was a nice outing!

And then we came home and I tried my hand at making ciabatta bread for the first time. It was a very slow, easy weekend, not much going on but it felt nice at the same time.

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!