After a hearty lunch at one of my favorite Oregon breweries, Bergen and I (solo mother and son travelers) were looking to explore the town just a bit more before getting back on the road to drive to our ultimate destination of Nehalem Bay State Park on the coast. I was thinking we would just wind up and down the historic streets, giving me a chance to marvel over the many Victorian homes with the hope that my little passenger might nod off, and as well as give me a bit of a break. But then, signs began to appear pointing us toward Coxcomb Hill. I was intrigued. I figured, given the fact that we were winding our way up the steep streets of Astoria, that Coxcomb Hill must be the highest point in town. Continue reading
I recently shared 10 tips for hiking with toddlers and young children, and since getting out on the trail whether here in Western Washington or in our travels around the country is our favorite outdoor activity to do as a family, I wanted to dive into each tip even deeper. Over the course of the year, I will dedicate one post for each of the 10 tips to give you more depth and detail into how we put the advice into practice and what it looks like for our family.
Tip #5: Ration Snacks and Use Treats for Motivation.
There’s no denying that my son loves to hike. As I’ve mentioned before, these days, anytime he sees any kind of natural area, mountain, forest, tree, or patch of grass, he asks if we are going to go on a hike. Lucky for us at this point, he’s not picky. Even the little sections of trees around the campsite during our recent trip to the Oregon coast could be considered “hikeable” in his eyes, and he loved exploring under the guidance of his older cousin.
Even with such a great interest though, he still needs motivation, and little energy boosts here and there to keep him moving along. That motivation can come in many forms (extra verbal encouragement, playing a game, shifting his focus to something ahead), but the easiest and probably one of the most successful ways is to offer a treat.
Incidentally, in addition to moving kids along the trail and providing a necessary snack, I’ve also found treats to be a way to prevent the “turn-around meltdown”. You see, Bergen (2.5 years old) loves hiking so much that he never wants to turn around and go back. Loops are great, but not always available, so I’ve finally learned to anticipate the turn-around point, and provide the snack then!
10 Favorite Treats for the Trail
1. Trail Mix
Whether you call it “GORP” or trail mix or some other fun name (I hear that are some great variations in Europe), the basics of this combination of treats is perfect for hiking. Personally, I love a simple mix with raisins, peanuts, and some sort of chocolate. Add in other nuts like cashews, walnuts, almonds, and that’s great too! Other dried fruit (cranberries, pineapple, cherries, etc.) gives some variety, along with add-ons like granola, seeds (sunflower, pumpkin), and pretzels.
Our toddler (now 2.5 years old) is curious. He also likes to push the limits constantly checking to see where his boundaries lie. In other words, he keeps us on our toes, and in our adventures and travels we must constantly be aware of potential dangers or accidents lurking around the corner.
Enjoying the outdoors with him obviously has so many benefits, but like everything in life there are always things to watch out for. Thinking of our most recent camping trip to the Oregon coast, along with getting enough sleep, planning out meals, and staying dry and warm from the elements, keeping Bergen safe and unharmed from our campfires was at the top of the list.
Like many toddlers, he’s a mini-scientist. He wants to know how things work, but we’re not about to let him test out how a fire might feel and risk potential burns and a visit to the emergency room (especially while on the road). Instead, we’ve done our best to prevent any mishaps.
4 Tips for Keeping Toddlers Safe around Campfires
If I had to pick my favorite aspect of spring in Seattle, it would be our gorgeous cherry blossoms that pop open all over the city letting us know we made it. We made it through yet another dreary, gray winter, and it’s time to celebrate.
It’s no secret. The “quad” at the University of Washington is one of the best places to view the beautiful bloomig blossoms. The surrounding buildings add a great backdrop, the brick walkways tie it all together, and just being on a college campus brings a sense of wonder and possibility.
This spring we’ve actually made it to campus twice. The first time by bike just before the flowers were at their peak. Sure, the trees didn’t quite have the cotton candy effect of when the blossoms are truly in their prime, but I’ll take that experience any day over what happened when we returned a week or so later. Let’s just say a sunny, warm (for Seattle) Sunday isn’t the best time to enjoy a relaxing, leisurely stroll around the quad.
So my mental scrapbook of our collegiate cherry blossoms will look something like this:
With spring well underway here in Seattle, new life is popping up everywhere from the flowering trees to the blooms lining the sidewalks and edges. Cherry Blossoms, magnolias, rhododendrons, daffodils, hyacinth, and more recently even tulips are making an appearance. Leaves are sprouting all over adding some much needed color to the dull backdrop of the winter months.
Deciding to visit zoos in the towns and cities that we travel to is a no-brainer. First off, with our membership to our zoo here in Seattle (Woodland Park Zoo), our entry to other zoos is often free or discounted. Secondly, it’s one of those win-win places for kids and adults. Plenty for grown-ups to enjoy without feeling like they are missing out and sitting at the kiddie table all day, but also so engaging for children with exhibits designed just for them. It would be hard to find a kid who wasn’t interested in animals, right?
We usually straddle our meals for before and after our adventures on the trail and just stick to snacking for a little energy boost. However, seeing some of my fellow hikers’ delicious looking fare and enjoying that downtime in nature, I was curious to see how a full serving of food would impact our hiking experience.
Great Outdoors Food gave us a chance to ease into the idea of packing a trail lunch.