Bwa ha ha ha ha ha ha! I’ve got my daughter hooked on that insidious drug known as hiking.
Yesterday, I asked her if she would like to go hiking with me in Forest Park. Well, that isn’t entirely true. I told her I wanted her to come with me because I would love to have her company, and she felt sooo compelled by my motherly love, she practically volunteered to come along. Ah, well, that isn’t entirely true, either. It’s more like somewhere between the two. But Willow really did want to come along. Really! Ten year olds love spending time with their mothers!
Anyway, Willow and I took the bus up to Forest Park. I was the beast of burden, carrying along a small backpack and fanny pack, laden with about a gallon and a half of water for us to share, snacks, camera, extra socks, bandages, ID, knife, bug spray, sunscreen, and kitchen sink. I brought both of my monopods, too, so we could have walking sticks, something I later was very glad to have.
We started at Lower MacLeay Park. I had intended to walk to Wild Cherry Trail and take it to Leif Erikson Drive and loop back, because I figured that had a little bit less tough stuff, and Willow is a newbie. She can walk a few miles at a time no problem, but her feet aren’t used to super long walks, especially hikes on twisty up and down trails.
My daughter is very much like me. She loves to explore as much as I do. Only, she’s not constrained by the grown-up notions of proper adult behavior like I am. If you’ve read my blog before, you’ve probably seen all the pictures of trees that I said, “This looks like an awesome climbing tree!” Well, I say that. My inner child is yearning to climb those trees. Willow actually does it. Oh to be a child again…
So I had fun being a rebel. We took our sweet time getting to the Stone House, and once there we had a lot of fun clowning around and taking pics.
After the Stone House, Willow convinced me to take Wildwood Trail the opposite direction of Wild Cherry Trail, where I had originally planned to go. The route we followed kept along the side of Balch Creek for a while and it was really, really pretty. And it also got very, very steep. As in, the path was carved ziggedy-zaggedy up the side of a steep cliff-like hill.
I knew that this path would eventually take us to Pittock Mansion, but I was remembering that it was a five mile hike, which was farther than I wanted to take Willow–that would mean 10 miles round trip! I was pleasantly surprised to learn, however, from chatting with another hiker at the top of one of the ziggy hills that the mansion was actually a five mile trip round trip. Well, that was much more doable. I asked Willow if she would like to go check out the mansion, which is famous in our city. It sits way up high in the hills and has an awesome panoramic view. Willow thought going to a mansion sounded like an exciting thing to do, so we went.
Immediately we were faced with a giant climb up ziggy zaggy paths even worse than what we just encountered. Basically, from the Stone House to the top of the hill where Pittock Mansion sits was just under 2 miles. Of that, about 1.5 miles of that is a super steep climb. Willow admonished me, “This better be worth it!” I reassured her it was. Then she had to tell all the passing hikers and runners (and of course, they were passing us slowpokes), “My mom says once you get to the top it’s worth it; so if it isn’t, talk to her.” Thanks, Willow. I think the scrabbling up the path was causing her to be skeptical…
Once we got to the top, Willow was impressed, though. Here is some of what we saw:
Awesome, isn’t it? I asked her if the hike was worth it. No hesitation on her part with her answer, “YES!”
By the time we made it up there, it was starting to get pretty late. We had played around too much on the paths and the Stone House. If we hot-footed it down, I knew we could make it back before dark. But Willow was complaining about her feet hurting and she was pretty tired after that climb. I wanted to walk down the paths again, and if I had been alone, I would have. With Willow along, though, I decided it was probably more prudent to walk down the driveway to the streets and find the nearest bus stop. So we did. We caught the 20 straight home, which was convenient.
Now Willow wants to go back next week and explore the Mansion itself. It was closed, so we couldn’t take a tour. Pittock Mansion was turned into a museum some time ago, and it’s beautiful inside. I haven’t been inside in probably 13 years or so. So we’ll have to go sometime so she can experience it for herself. Oh, and Willow told me that she LOVES hiking and that she had LOTS of fun. I imagine her speech was capitalized, because that was the way she talked. “MOM, WE HAVE TO DO THAT AGAIN!”
Yep, I’m a pusher. I got her hooked on hiking. The killer hills were worth it. I’m so excited. I imagine lots of fun hikes with my daughter in the future.