I spend a great deal of my time telling other people that taking their kids outside is not only a good idea, it’s a great idea! Think of all the things they’ll see! Think of all the things they’ll learn! Think of all the mud you’ll get to track back into your house! So, when the weather turned not as rainy in Portland, it was my turn to put my teething toy where my mouth is, so to speak, and get outside with my baby.
To get outside is not as straight forward as grabbing your keys and an Ergo. I’m a new mom and I’ve got a six-month-old. Having a November baby meant I didn’t have many mom-and-baby outdoor excursions under my belt. I’d have to pick a shorter hike, as I didn’t fancy bringing the diaper bag or a backpack in addition to the baby in the front pack. That’s a lot of pack.
I grabbed “Take A Walk Portland” by Brian Barker from my bookshelf which offers up a ton of baby/kid/family-friendly trails. I chose a hike that was short enough I could manage it before another diaper change or feeding, but long enough that I felt accomplished. I find it cumbersome to bring a nursing wrap on a hike, mostly because it takes place in the middle of the woods and, you know, I don’t feel bad about flashing a couple ferns and a squirrel.
With my guide book in hand, I headed to Tryon Creek Natural Area to get outside. It has a ton of little wooded trails that you and your kids can scoot down. They not only have plenty of options for trail lengths and difficulty, but they have a beautiful nature education center. The center gives you more insights into Tryon’s specific ecosystem as well as upcoming events and guided hikes. I chose a two-mile loop packed with spring trilliums, verdant undergrowth, and two bridges. One of these bridges is a fantastic wooden suspension bridge that my dog wasn’t super fond of, but I found entirely charming. Plus, the suspension bridge sway put my baby to sleep, so there was added appreciation.
Did I forget to mention I brought my dog? Taking my baby hiking wasn’t challenging enough. I needed the extra responsibility of walking my pup and trying to snap pictures of him majestically posing near streams and on stumps, because, I have a pet photography problem. That being said, your furry adventure buddies are welcome at Tryon, but are required to be on leash at all times.
Before I hit the trail, I changed my son in the car and nursed him. The trail I took was doable in tennis shoes despite hitting some muddy stretches. Having my baby in the Ergo meant I could make good time, but it also meant that I was hunched forward. Did you know babies weigh a lot? Like, a lot when you’re going uphill for an extended period of time. Bring water, and stop the selfies halfway through so you don’t show up as a sweat monster. Or, if you’re like me, and see that as proof of hard work and awesomeness, start snapping those selfies.
I made it out in a little over an hour with my squirmy but otherwise content baby, and my dog happily covered in mud.
It’s hard work, Portland mommas, but getting outside with your kiddo is totally worth it for some fresh air, even if they sleep through 85% of it and spend the other 15% sucking on your shirt.