On a rather nice November morning I thought I’d take my three-month old daughter out for a walk. I decided on Tualatin Hills Nature Park in Beaverton, as I’d been there many times before with my son and know that some of the trails there are very stroller-friendly. At such a young age, I sense in my daughter a love of the outdoors. When moving from an indoor setting to an outdoor one, she immediately calms down, eyes wide open, scanning her surroundings. On other walks, she’s been attentive to the trees and sky. (Perhaps this is innate in all children, a preference for the outdoors, but hey, I can think of it as something special in my daughter, right?)
On today’s walk, knowing that we would not see much sky as we’d been under trees, I looked forward to the possibility of leaves falling on her from on high as we strolled down the trail.
Tualatin Hills Nature Park, part of the Tualatin Hills Park and Recreation District in Beaverton, is a gem of a natural area in the middle of a city. At 222 acres, it boasts a wide variety of habitats to see, plants to enjoy, and wildlife to – hopefully – encounter. The current edition of Wild in the City(ASP/OSU Press, 2011) states this park “invites much to be discovered by curious eyes and ears.” While we did not see any of the park’s notable critters – Rough-skinned Newts (a type of salamander) – we did hear plenty of Pacific Chorus Frogs as we walked along the Vine Maple Trail. This is one of two long paved trails in the park – the other the Oak Trail – and each feature several bridges and boardwalks as well. Add to those trails all the unpaved trails in the park, and it’s about five miles total.
Since the rainy season had arrived by then, I was not surprised to see a variety of mushrooms and other fungi along the trails. I am no mycologist, and will only know the species of mushrooms we saw that day after referring to a mushroom guide I have at home, but I always enjoy taking pictures of them and appreciating their diversity of forms.
The Vine Maple Trail cuts east-west through the whole park, so we got to the far end and turned back to return to the main entrance, where the Interpretive Center is.
While no red, brown, orange, or yellow leaves fell into my daughter’s stroller as we walked, I did come across a Vine Maple leaf on the side of the trail that looked to be the largest I had ever seen. I placed it on my sleeping girl, snapped a photo, and finished a beautiful walk with a special memory.
I originally wrote this as an Adventure for The Intertwine, here.