It’s only natural that a PNW blog includes environmentalism! Today I packed my toddler son on my back and hiked Camassia Natural Area.
I love this hike for several reasons. It’s beautiful of course but what makes it special is its variety of terrain which keeps it interesting especially for kids. You start in the forest and come out into oak savanna (meadow). There is exposed bedrock and large boulders. When you come, be sure to read the fascinating history of the boulders on the sign that greets you. The loop here is only about a mile long and you can do it once or twice or go the reverse direction to get more exercise and variety.
I’ve seen wildlife here to include newts like my Rough Skinned Newt friend below (poisonous, don’t touch!). I’ve seen a deer here before too, and even more magnificent was actually feeling the ground beneath me shake as the large animal ran off. There are osprey nesting there, screech owls, frogs and various birds.
In April there are many wildflowers here including the park’s name sake the Camas flower.
A few tips for hiking here with children and about accessibility. It is an unpaved trail that gets very narrow at points. Some of the trail is a wooden raised low bridge (like the above photo) and it gets a little slippery when wet (it’s Oregon so let’s face it, that’s frequent). There are some spots where you’ll climb down or up rocky parts. My preschooler has been able to walk it safely since she was 3 and my toddler can walk some parts but needs to hold hands. I wear him in my Tula carrier the rest of the time. There are a couple parts where there is a cliff or steep edge not too far from the path. Keep your eye out and don’t let kids run far ahead.
I did not know much about The Nature Conservancy, so I looked at their website. The Oregon branch held the Mt. Tabor Restoration and Celebration event in September (you know that’s one of my favorites!). There are two upcoming events in January at Powell Butte and Tom McCall that you can volunteer for, take a look here. Considering the news that the new president-elect’s stance on climate change is that it’s a hoax (and my resulting dread that our environment is doomed), I was thrilled to see their pages about climate change threats and climate solutions they are working on. Preservation of natural areas and systems plays a large part in combating climate change. Especially impressive was this article Climate Solutions for the 21st Century in its explanation of the physical and financial consequences for inaction that we face globally.
Friends, HERE is where you can contribute financially to The Nature Conservancy’s effort to preserve the natural world. I made a small contribution today in recognition and gratitude for the natural spaces I enjoy and for the fight that organizations like The Nature Conservancy are going to put up against the threat to our natural world and to all of our health, well-being and future.
Thank you for reading.
Photos taken by me.