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September 05, 2019
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School and Soccer and Sun, Oh My!

userBy Gwen Dildine user0 Comment

It is a busy time of year. I get that. I’m currently writing this on the second night of school realizing I forgot bath time. I love late summer, early fall. Every morning you can feel incremental change–the light, the cool air. Those hot ridge-line trails are about to transform into breathtaking fall foliage overlooks. The balance of work, obligations, and family fun is delicate. All of the activities in this post were selected with time in mind. Enjoy a few adventures close to home. You can do school and soccer and some sun, oh my!

West Tiger Creek Trail

The West Tiger Creek Trail is close to town and provides great views of the valley meeting the mountains. It is a fun, accessible option for outdoor recreation in the Blue Mountains. The Blue Mountain Land Trust Blues Crew worked hard to restore this trail. The trail follows Tiger Creek and crosses it a few times, making it a fun, family-friendly option to get outside.

This trail doesn’t require a huge investment of time. A few hours before or after your extracurricular activity of choice is all you need. All ages can enjoy this trail, and it provides a great opportunity to test everyone’s hiking legs.

Grouse Mountain

The Grouse Mountain Trail is a family-friendly hike. The views are big the entire trail, and there is little elevation gain. Typically, trails in this area start diving down the mountain to their lower trailheads near the Umatilla Forks Campground area. Traversing up and down a mountain with little ones is often challenging. In contrast, this trail stays on the ridge and overlooks the North Fork Umatilla Wilderness. Clocking in at under an hour from town and only three miles of gravel road to the trailhead, it really is a spectacular area to enjoy the Blue Mountains.

Fort Walla Walla Recreation Trail

Enjoy almost a mile of paved trail on the south side of the Jonathan M. Wainwright Memorial VA Medical Center. The trail starts near Fort Walla Walla and ends at West Chestnut Street. As an added bonus, have fun learning a little about our solar system via the planet walk. The Fort Walla Walla Recreation Trail Planet Walk was created by the 2007 Sherwood Trust Community Leadership Class with support from many other community organizations and businesses. This walk really puts things in perspective. No spaceship required. Satellite data shows the trail is 0.9469 miles and is well-maintained. Enjoy open views of the horizon. Use this trail and save yourself a 3.7 million mile space walk trying to accomplish the real thing.

Arthur G. Rempel Nature Trail

The Arthur G. Rempel Nature Trail at the Fort Walla Walla Natural Area adjacent to the Fort Walla Walla Museum and west of the VA Medical Center is another spot that provides in-town outdoor recreation. This pocket of nature offers walking paths and birding opportunities. With over a mile of trails and many different paths to explore, this trail feels longer than it really is. Choose your own adventure, and perhaps you’ll spot a Great Horned Owl or Red Fox. Next time you are wanting to put off errands, give the Arthur G. Rempel Nature Trail a try.

Photo Credit: Gwen Dildine

We are often inspired to go on a creature adventure walks (thank you Wild Kratts) in the evenings. She is ready to spot anything that moves. This trail is the beginnings of the National Recreation Loop at Jubilee Lake. Walking 2.6 miles just before bedtime sure makes that process easier.

Twin Sisters

After years of living in the area, it is easy to get used to having the Columbia River just down the road. In reality, this historic, geologically fascinating area deserves a visit from time to time. Though slightly outside of the Blue Mountain region, Twin Sisters is a short hike that offers expansive views of the Gorge.

Our young kids managed the short, slightly steep climb. Definitely monitor your little ones around cliff edges. There are plenty of places away from the edge to enjoy the view as a family. This short hike is ideal when the weather cools off a bit or if you can time a sunset just right.

Photo Credit: Gwen Dildine

We are often inspired to go on a creature adventure walks (thank you Wild Kratts) in the evenings. She is ready to spot anything that moves. This trail is the beginnings of the National Recreation Loop at Jubilee Lake. Walking 2.6 miles just before bedtime sure makes that process easier.

Family Hiking

These activities provide an opportunity to explore even when the schedule gets crazy. You can recreate on the way to Costco or on the way back from an out of town game. It is possible to enjoy some family time on top of a mountain. These are all great trails to enjoy as a family. They are also great beginner trails. Everyone is busy. Getting outside is a magical way to slow things down a bit. Just try to remember to give the kids a bath when you get back to town!

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