As the mother of two small girls, I had to share this feminist campaign video from FCKH8. Its message is a strong one–what’s more shocking? A sweet little kid dropping f-bombs or the sexist and hateful history that continues to plague our country (and really, our world). (Click here to go to Buzzfeed if you don’t see the video).
One of the my favorite spots in Oregon is Shorts Sands Beach in Oswald West State Park. Short Sands, or “Shorty’s”, is accessed via a beautiful half mile trail through the woods. The trail itself is stroller friendly (and small kid friendly) but once you get to the beach there are a handful of steps to go down so you either need to park your stroller and walk down to the beach or carry it down the steps. Above the steps are a few picnic benches, providing a gorgeous place to dine with a view … and without the hassle of eating with kids in sand.
The beach is in a secluded cove surrounded by dense forest and sandstone cliffs. Along with its remarkable scenery, Shorty’s is a popular surf spot; watching all the surfers walking down to the beach with their boards made me feel right at home. I don’t know if I’ll ever brave the cold, but they certainly made it look enticing.
One of the first hikes we took with both girls was to the Audubon Society in the Northwest situated between Forest Park and Washington Park. Along with having an informational center and a bird sanctuary, behind the center is 4.5 miles of trails which all connect next to a small pond. Although I did see a couple of people with strollers, I do not consider this to be a stroller friendly hike as there are a few places with steps and large branches, not to mention some steep slopes. But for small children this is a great area of trails on well worn paths with some beautiful scenery.
It took us about 45 minutes to walk around the park with Beatix in a carrier and Violet walking. There is one short section which runs along Cornell Road and allows you to connect to trails in Forest Park if you want to extend your hike. (Here is a trail map.)
Have you ever noticed how challenging it is to figure out if a hike is kid or stroller friendly? When you have a toddler who is too heavy to carry in a pack or walks slowly, a jogging stroller is a great option, but locating stroller and kid friendly trails is tougher than it should be. I’ve been on countless “family friendly” trails where a few stairs or too big tree stumps have blocked my path, or I’ve wanted to put my toddler down only to have a dangerous cliff nearby.
With that said, I’ll be writing about good stroller friendly hikes when I come across them, and if you have any suggestions please send them my way!
Trillium Lake is about a 90 minute drive from downtown Portland at the base of Mt. Hood, making it a great hike pre or post lunch at Timberline Lodge. Parking is $5 and is plentiful. The trail runs the perimeter of the lake, providing gorgeous views of the mountains, trees and water, and it’s an easy walk for children and most strollers as it’s flat and fairly wide.
One of my favorite parts of the hike was seeing all of the fun activities people were up to on the lake, from fishing to canoeing and paddle boarding. I’ll definitely be back with my swimsuit!
Two years ago Tim Kreider wrote an article for the New York Times titled The ‘Busy’ Trap which talks about the issues within our modern-day culture of constantly busying ourselves–if only as a means of seeming productive, desirable and meaningful–and how it leaves us with little time to reflect, rest and live in the moment. He wrote:
“Idleness is not just a vacation, an indulgence or a vice; it is as indispensable to the brain as vitamin D is to the body, and deprived of it we suffer a mental affliction as disfiguring as rickets.”
Reading this article woke me up to the fact that I was, indeed, in my own self-inflicted busy trap, and I started to step back from all the tasks I had lined up for myself and quickly felt like a more focused, peaceful human being. Of course, between moving states, buying our first home, having our second child, raising a toddler, and everything else life throws at you, it’s been easy to fall back into that busy trap.
This last week Kate Murphy wrote an article for the New York Times Sunday Review titled No Time to Think which delves deeper into Kreider’s thoughts on the negative impact of busyness by looking at some recent studies in psychology and neuroscience. By studying people’s reactions to being left alone and their response to it (i.e. shocking themselves as a means to not just sit in boredom), it was made quite clear the lengths to which people will go to avoid their own personal thoughts by busying ourselves. Not surprisingly, the more we avoid our negative thoughts, the more power we give to them and the more we need to busy ourselves to avoid them. And the less time we spend resting our mind, the less creative, empathetic, and joyful we become.
Overall Murphy’s article is a great reminder of what Buddhists have said for ages–meditation is important for our health, and not just spiritually. Especially in this day and age when our constant observation of each other affects our perception of reality and we suffer from relative deprivation and FOMO, it’s easy to get caught up in the negatives and not see the power our minds play in our happiness. I’ll end on one of my favorite quotes:
“Happiness lies in the mind, not in external circumstances”. – Geshe Kelsang Gyatso