Monday, February 26, 2018

Week 8 of my 52 Week Challenge - Two Hikes, Three Museums

Week 8 of 52 Week Challenge

Busy week! Sometime I don't realize just how much we do in a week until it's time to sit down and write about it. It never feels like it too much in the moment, we get to see and experience so much. I've said it before, I'll say it again, I'm so glad that G and I were already fully committed to moving to Portland when we learned that we were going to be parents. Five months earlier and we might never have made the move, and we would have missed out on so many opportunities for Lake, for all of us. I love Humboldt, and I know we would have rocked it there too. I know many awesome Humboldt parents rocking it right now...and still I'm super happy we made the move.

This post will start with a bonus hike from week 7 and then cover the hike and park for week 8. In addition, this week we visited two history museums and the Chinese gardens.

On Wednesday last week we took a drive up to Christina and Bobby's  in Washington and got to go along with Bobby's nature pre-school for the day. It seems similar to the Free Forest School, with an opening intro and song, a hike with a few nature things pointed out, and snacks free play after.
Lake is not crazy about the Oaki suit, but I'm glad I put it on him because we experienced the full range of spring weather, sunshine to big ol' raindrops. And because his suit looked awesome with the others, I think we had most all the Oaki colors represented.

Hike #8
Date: February 15, 2018
Place: Morse Wildlife Preserve, WA
Route: Boardwalk loop; Douglas Fir loop
Distance: 1.6 miles

Park #9
Date: February 20, 2018
Place: Marshall Park

This was originally scheduled as Hike it Baby hike, but due to a combination of snow, road conditions and life we had our second week of no-show. We almost didn't go, but the roads weren't as bad as they could have been and I'm so glad we ventured out. The snow was beautiful and made perfect snow balls. Lake and I decided to hang out at the park and play and count this our new-park-for-the-week. I decided to reschedule this hike the following week and look forward to checking out the trails in this canyon.


First of the two museums we visited was the Organ Historical Society downtown. Someone recently asked me if I enjoyed the exhibits at the museum, and I told her that when one has a young child, one does not get to read about the pictures or artifacts or history of the exhibits...but that what I did see, I liked. To knowledge Black History Month I made sure we went through the current exhibit Racing to Change: Oregon’s Civil Rights Years. He's too young to understand very much, but I remind Lake that humans come in all shades and one color is not better than another.

After the Historical Society, we walked three blocks down to the building currently, but not for long, known as the Wells Fargo Building. The building recently sold, and although Wells Fargo is going to be renting the office and banking space back, they are not going to keep their very cool Wells Fargo History Museum on the second floor. The attendant was obviously happy to see us and gave us a coin/token book, two tokens, a coin bank, coloring book and croyons. There were several interactive things for Lake to enjoy, a ride on one of those coin operated ones you sometimmes see outside grocery stores, only this one was free. There was a telegraph to try, checks to cancel, pictures in front of the big coach and lots to look at. As of right now, they do not know where they will be moving the museum, I sure hope they find a place, because that was great.

Friday was coming fast and we still had not gone on our hike for the week. I made a quick change of plans and decided instead of going to Free Forest School to fit in one more cultural event for the month as well as a hike. We stopped at Lan Su Chinese Gardens and learned a little about Chinese New Year and saw some amazing floats and smelled the first of the spring flowers.

And finally, our last adventure for this week, we headed to Marquam Nature park, up behind OHSU. I was surprised at how much snow was still on the ground up there, it's was so pretty. Lake did not want to go we "went for a walk to help mommy warm up"...1.3 mile walk. The trail starts to climb right away, up what is apparently an old road, although it was hard to tell with all the snow. It then took a sharp right and we followed along a trail cut into the side of the ravine, about half way between the top and the bottom. A fall off the trail and down the hill was a serious concern once or twice as I watched Lake hike along in front of me. Don't get me wrong, he was doing great, he's a surefooted hiker and I had no extra ordinary reason to be worried...just normal mama worry.

The worry is worth it, I'm so happy to be out with him, watching him find his way down the path.

Hike #9
Date: February 23, 2018
Place: Marquam Nature Park
Route: Shelter Loop Trail
Distance: 1.3 miles

Monday, February 19, 2018

Week 7 of my 52 Week Challenge

Week eight in my 52 week challenge. So far this challenge thing is working great for me. I like the accountability and responsibility I feel when I put a hike on the Hike it Baby calendar. It just the right type and amount of pressure I thrive under. It's a similar feeling I get working the HHBB booth at the Beaverton Market. This week we met both of our weekly challenges in one day...and will most likely add a couple more as we head up to Christina and Bobby's for a couple of days.

Hike #7
Date: February 13, 2018
Place: Smith and Bybee Wetlands Natural Area
Route: Interlakes Trail
Distance: 1.9 miles

Well, for the first time I had what is known in the HiB world as a No Show. No one showed up for the hike in the Smith and Bybee Wetlands that I posted on the happens, and there are a million reasons why, no biggie. It was a beautiful day, so Lake and I went on the hike/walk anyway. This place is built to be accessible, so we enjoyed a paved path pretty much the whole way. There was one part of the trail with a raised metal type boardwalk, with so side rails, leading out to a viewing deck. We didn't view very many birds, I was hoping for a bald eagle...pretty sure it had nothing to do with the loud running child in my company.

One of the things I think is amazing about Portland is the public art that seems to be everywhere...especially sculptures. Both the places we went on Tuesday had public art in the form of sculptures that were designed and intended for interaction. I love being able to touch, feel, climb on, become part of the art. It's one of the things I really enjoy about the Winter Light Festival too.

Anyway, this is what I found on line about the really cool sculptures at Smith and Bybee Wetlands:
Ecology Stones ...
Near the parking area are pieces of sculpture - "Ecology Stones" - which look like seedpods, skulls, flower buds, diatoms, native tools, and even a turtle egg embryo.
According to the Portland Regional Arts & Culture Council's website (2016):
Artists: Fernanda D'Agostino and Valerie Otani
Title: Ecology Stones from the group Flows and Eddies
Date: 2004
Medium: Basalt
Discipline: sculpture
Dimensions: variable
Location: Smith & Bybee Lakes, parking area
Description: "Forms found in the natural habitat of the lakes are carved in monumental scale basalt boulders, creating a "teaching landscape" that awakens viewers to the rich plant and animal life that surrounds them." 
 As I was looking up info for these sculptures just now I remembered that these sculptures look a lot like ones I've seen at PSU when I've driven down SW 6th St. So, as I've said before, there is no reason to have a question with the all mighty Google around, I looked it up and sure enough, those sculptures of giant diatoms at PSU are made by Fernanda D'Agostino as well.

Park #8
Date: February 13, 2018
Place: Arbor Lodge Park - Harper's Playground - 2525 N Dekum Street

 From the Portland Parks and Recreation page:
Constructed in 2012 in Arbor Lodge Park, Harper's Playground is the result of a public-private partnership between PP&R and the Goldberg family. It is named after their daughter, Harper, whose enjoyment of this neighborhood park inspired them to spearhead a community fundraising effort to build a universally accessible playground. The thoughtful design allows people of all ages and abilities to easily play together. Features include an elevated sand table with a water pump, a xylophone, climbing walls for ages 2-5 and a separate wall for 5-12 year olds, and a pair of universally-accessible adaptive swings. It is the first of its kind in the Portland area.

Knowing that Lake would still have some energy to burn off after our HiB walk at Smith & Bybee, I looked at the map for a park not too far away. There are a fair number of parks in North Portland, but I remembered reading about Harper's Playground and wanted to check it out. It was a great choice.

Like the last place we went, like many places in Portland, there was a collection of public art sculptures to folks to interact with....these were all ocean themed, sea turtles, star fish, and octopus...and a crocodile, which is not form the ocean, but was there, standing proud next to the sand box.

 Lake really loves hammocks, he swings in the one at his school all the time. He was eager to get on this cool disc type hammock, I think it's one of the pieces of adapted play equipment. Lake loved it and wanted me to swing him higher and higher in it, he was practically sideways in it.

 He played until he couldn't even hold himself up any more! Totally tuckered out, fell fast asleep on the way home. Score another one for this adventurous duo.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Week 6 of my 52 Week Challenge

This week we drove up to Washington and hiked to Woodburn Falls, and we went for a second hike with Lake's school.  We also played at two new parks, neither of which was 'planned' in our schedule.

Hike and Park #6
Date: February 6, 2018
Place: Lacamas Lake, WA
Route: Woodburn Falls, Lake Loop
Distance: 3 miles

The drive to Lacamas Lake is an easy one, about 30 minutes from our house, up the 205 then east on the 14 to Camas, WA. We met up with folks in the parking lot for Lacamas Park, and hiked around Round Lake with a short detour to see Woodburn Falls. There are three bodies of water at this location, the largest is Lacamas Lake, to the south of that is Round Lake which is separated from Mill Pond by a dam.  The trail was mostly flat/very slight incline, with a little downhill, and then up, from the main trail to and from the falls themselves.

This was the largest group of hikers yet! Anna and her kiddo made it again, a few seasoned HiB hikers and two new families. I was reminded that I owe my parents some thanks for giving me the outdoor experience of my childhood. A) It gave me a lifelong love and appreciation for nature, and B) it gave me experience such that I know how to hike, what to expect one the trail, what to bring, or not bring...things I kind of take for granted now. It was nice to be able to support and share with new hikers.

The timing for this hike was fantastic, nice dry, chilly winter weather and the volume of water in the creek was as was just right for a beautiful site. The falls were totally worth it.

Back at the trailhead there is a playground and one of the ways I kept Lake moving on the trail, was to tell him he could play there once we got back. I always bring more than enough food and water for the day and we didn't have anything else to do, so we had no reason not to stop at the playground....and it meets the Challenge for the week for visiting a new playground/park per week. We stayed for two hours, Lake made a friend and played and much for sore feet.

Hike: Bonus hike - we've been here before
Date: Wednesday February 7, 2018
Place: Lower Macleay Trail - Witch's Castle
Route: Out and back
Distance: 2.7 miles

On Wednesday Lake's playschool class meet at the Lower Macleay Trailhead and took a hike to the Witch's Castle and back. Lake and I have done this hike once before, last year on Halloween. I really like the old stone structure, it looks so well built and yet abandon long ago. Last fall the trees were in full color, dropping leaves like crazy, it was beautiful. I was happy to return to this trail and see how the area looks in the winter. Now, the trees are covered in emerald moss, bare limbs letting in the winter light.

Lake's class quickly separated into two groups, the handful that included Lake ran ahead, and the other ones, who enjoyed the scenery. We all met up again and explored the old stone castle together. On the way back the kids separated again, and then gathered together for story time and snack at the end/beginning of the trail. I'm sure we'll come back to this trail again, maybe in the spring to see flowers and bright green leaves.

Park #7
Date: Wednesday February 7, 2018
Place: The Fields Park, 1099 NW Overton St.

On the way home from our hike with Lake's class, I took a couple 'wrong' turns and found myself driving around a part of The Pearl that I don't think I've been to before. I could tell Lake still had some energy to work off so when I saw a park with a playground on the corner, with parking, I pulled over. The Fields Park has a great view of the 405crossing the Willamette River, the Fremont Bridge. I have a fondness for the industrial, it's part of what I like about living in the city.

While we were there, kids from some type of school program, or maybe it was an after-school program, came pouring into the playground. There was a mixture of ages, but all were older than Lake. A group of boys started a chase-ball-throwing game and Lake was all about it. He chased them around the play area, even into the field that is the dog park before I could stop him. He wanted so bad to be included in the group and had the tenacity to keep trying. He never got the ball, but the older boys seemed ok with Lake chasing after them. One thing for sure, he did run off a bunch of energy....and fell fast asleep in the car on the way home.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Week 5 of my 52 Week Challenge


Week 5 - A hike, a park, a festival and free forest school...and although the ground was wet, no rain on our outdoor adventures this week!

Hike #5
Date: Tuesday January 30th, 2018
Place: Oaks Bottom Nature Reserve
Route: Out and back
Distance: 2.02 miles

On Tuesday Lake and I headed over to Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge for our weekly hosting of a Hike it Baby Hike. And, as it turned out, we also got a visit to a never been to before city park. Oaks Bottom is down on the Willamette River in Sellwood. We’ve played in the water at the Sellwood Riverfront Park a bunch of times, but never have hiked the refuge or played at Sellwood Park up on the bluff.

Anna, one of the HiB Portland Ambassadors, has been to all of our hikes so far, and was there again with her little one. And, once again we had a new to HiB mama there with her kids. The first part of the trail was a steep decent down the bluff to river level...with a steep drop off down the hill. Lake was walking/running ahead and I got ever so slightly worried about his ability to stay upright while moving down a rocky trail a high speeds....but we made it down the hill with no disasters.

My plan was originally to do a big loop, heading north along the bluff side and returning via the Springwater Trail closer to the river. But the kids were letting us know that they were done hiking before we got to the looping part, so we just turned around and returned the way we came. We did push the kids a bit so we could check out the the huge bird mural. The mural can be seen all the way from I-5 across the river, and it's huge from up close!

From Wikipedia:
Portland Memorial Mausoleum Mural is a 2009 mural by Dan Cohen of ArtFX Murals and Shane Bennett, painted at Wilhelm's Portland Memorial Funeral Home (also known as the Portland Memorial Mausoleum Chapel) in Portland, Oregon's Sellwood neighborhood, in the United States.

Park #5
Date: Tuesday January 30th, 2018
Place: Sellwood Park

We were able to meet both our weekly goals in one day, score. One of the reason the kids were not too into the hike is because they saw the play ground across the field from the trailhead and wanted to go there instead. We told them they had to hike first. Once we got back up the bluff, back to the beginning of the trail, Lake and both of the other kids took off across the muddy ball field and made a bee line to the play ground. There is a nice tall slide and some cool tunnels to crawl through, fun was had. Lake and I have driven past this park many times on our way to play in the river, good chance we'll stop here again. There is even an outdoor pool here which looks to have much more shade than our own Creston Pool...maybe we'll make it there this summer. 

Thursday, February 1st, was the first night of the Portland's Winter Light Festival. This was the third year of the festival and the third year that I've attended. Lake went with me the first year, but I went alone last year cuz the weather sucked. I really like this festival, it's so beautiful and the art is amazing and so creative and it was great to bring Lake with me this year. 

This year the festival organizers hosted the event in four different hubs throughout the city. I think it is a fine idea to spread out the wonder and lights across the city, however there is no way a person could see it all in one night. Lucky for me, the festival web site was full of information, including schedules for the performances, detailed maps, info on the art pieces and the artists, even sample itineraries for each day, assuming one could/would come all three days of the festival. I was not spending three nights at the festival unfortunately, I only had one night available. So, I spent a fair bit of time looking through the on-line festival info and created my own custom itinerary. We saw a working Tesla coil, a fire breathing dragon, projections on buildings, huge blinking eye ball, got to interact with art pieces, and so much more. Genuine moments of wonder were experienced by us both. I heard it was crazy busy on Friday and Saturday, so glad we went on Thursday. Oh, and the festival was free, even the streetcar to get around to the different hubs was free for the festival, so fantastic.

This robot likes do do a bit of light gardening to relax on the weekends.

 And finally, on Friday February 2nd, Lake and I went to Free Forest School. He was a bit resistant to the idea at first, but as usual, once he got out and started moving around, he was into it. He's one of the older kids in the group, but I think it's good for him. He actually sat and ate his lunch and listened to a few poems being read...that's a win in my book. We probably got another mile, mile and a half in at Powell Butte, at toddler speed, but still, it was nice to be there. We won't be able to attend next week, we have a shift at HFP, but look forward to our return.