When I had my first child – he’s now ten – it was a no brainer: spending time outside in nature would be part of raising him. There was simply no question to it. We lived in Bozeman, MT at the time, so I quickly learned which trails would be good to take him on walks – first with the stroller, then in a child carrier, and finally on his own two feet.
When we moved to Portland, finding out about the city’s parks, natural areas, and trails was a priority – and we explored all over the metro region. We eventually had a second child – she’s now four – and again with a stroller, a backpack, and on her own two feet.
I fell in love with the diversity of nature one could experience in the city, so close to home. Adventures in nature for my kids did not have to come during long backpacking trips or drives to far off wilderness areas. The wild could be had in the city, and it could be part of our regular daily routines. Boundless wonder and adventure awaited us so close to home.
With several rivers, forests, wetlands, a handful of volcanic buttes, and even a landscape dotted with boulders deposited in the region from a gigantic Ice Age flood, the Portland metro region does not disappoint with its varied places to play in nature – in any season.
On their own two feet, my kids have scrambled along creek-side rocks, searching for aquatic invertebrates.
On their own two feet, they have hiked through forests, spying banana slugs and searching under bark and near decomposing logs for salamanders.
On their own two feet, they have overlooked wetlands, watching birds of all variety go about their day.
On their own two feet, they have played and jumped from logs and boulders at some of our favorite city parks, those that incorporate natural elements into the playground design.
And on each of their own two feet, we’re happy to have KEEN footwear. As a parent, it’s a comfort to know that through all their jumping, scrambling, and hiking, their shoes will last. I hope the fun and boundless wonder they experience while exploring nature in our city will last, too, and that they will look back on these days with fondness and a desire to instill a love of nature with their families.
All photos by Sammy Prugsamatz. Visit her at nekosam.com