Toddlers, Trails and Tips-Staying Safe

Warning:  Adventures in Oregon provide spectacular  opportunity for joy but with anything so wonderful, risk is involved.  Without proper preparation, adventure can quickly turn deadly.  The three tips below can save a life. Adventure wisely.

Life Saving Tip #1– When adventuring in Oregon, one should be prepared for sudden changes in the weather.  While one often hears, there is no bad weather in Oregon, just bad clothing choices for said weather, few realize that denim acts like a sponge in the rain so WEARING JEANS CAN KILL YOU.

Columbia  and Nike  are local companies that make appropriate clothes for the Oregon weather.

Life Saving Tip #2-Hikers should always notify others of their plans so search parties have a place to start looking if an adventurer doesn’t return. There are so many choices and delightful distractions that tempt adventure seekers to change plans mid-adventure so updates to the plan are often necessary.

Life Saving Tip #3-Location devices save lives.  In the unlikely event of an avalanche, locator beacons further assist search parties in identifying the whereabouts of missing adventurers.  On Mt. Hood, these can be checked out at the ranger station.

The Perfect Storm–Hiking with a Toddler

When the  rest of the nation experiences weather woes, it seems there is always something to celebrate weather-wise in Oregon.   When the sun shines, it beckons and before I know it, the toddler I spend my days with and I are off for a walk in the woods.  Because our community values green space, the wooded patch we explore is nestled in our neighborhood.  (The Tualatin Hills Parks and Recreation Department serves our area and the map on their website shows just how many parks and trail are in this small part of Washington County.  There is a lot to see and do!)

The toddler trail adventure got me thinking about safety and I had to ask myself an important question.  If an email falls into your inbox but you’re not there to hear the notification because you’re with a toddler in the woods and your phone is on the kitchen table at home does it still make a sound?  YES!

On this particular hike, my great child was much more energetic than I expected and though he stopped to examine every yellow flower along the path as he simultaneously experimented with his boots in the leaves and mud-CRUNCH, CHRUCH, SQUISH (much like Peter did in The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats), we were suddenly much further away from home than I expected and I had inadvertently created the perfect storm for disaster.

In jeans and hoodies, having told no-one where we’d be and without a phone (aka locating device for family members with stalker app), we were wandering as the sun was setting.   The baby’s mama would return home soon to find us gone.  My heart pinged as I realized my mistake.  Greatchild, though a man of few words, let me know that he was not happy that it was time to turn back. I scooped him up and carried the kicking, screaming toddler home.

Now the important question changed.  If you are carrying a screaming, kicking, toddler through the woods, do your fellow hikers express concern?  Goodness no!  They give you plenty of room to pass by.  There is nothing more terrifying than a tantruming two year old so just as you would when you encounter other wild beasts, back away, make yourself big and don’t make direct eye contact.

Luckily, on this outing, my heart rate fell into the aerobic zone (thanks to lugging the little one back home) and we made it back safely before anyone noticed we were gone.  In order to be better prepared for future adventures, I have added a notepad and pen to the foyer table near the raincoats so I can leave a note.  Someday I also hope to add a charging station to this area so I’m more likely to remember my phone as well.





1 Comment

  1. Love the comparison of a tantruming toddler to a wild beast, with advice to passers-by to back away, make yourself big, and avoid eye contact.


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