Monday, April 27, 2015

Tyler's First Hiking Trip: Part I - Columbia River Gorge

When spring comes in the pacific northwest, I can't resist going waterfalling. This year, though, we brought Tyler and his babysitters along with us. Myla and Kienna had never been out of the state, so we thought it'd be fun to take them on a tour of some of our favorite waterfalls near Portland. And Tyler is mature enough now that we thought he could have a day of adventuring without too many meltdowns. He stayed well entertained by them on the drive down, even when they tied up his hands and feet with his shoelaces. He got a 45 minute nap, which is less than I would have liked, but he didn't cry from boredom until we were all the way into Oregon, which is a travel record for him. On the recent trip to Utah he kept saying "down," meaning "get me out of this car seat!" We stopped off at a McDonalds to get lunch and let him run around before we started our adventures. He was a bit timid at first, but once he got going, he couldn't be stopped.

Our first stop was Chanticleer Point. This doesn't have quite the 360 degree view as the Vista House, but I like being able to see the Vista House from here, and you're a bit closer to the river.

Next stop was at the actual Vista House. 

Ty was getting a bit grumpy since he'd only napped about 40 minutes in the car, and by then it was well past his usual nap time. Oscar entertained him a bit by sticking him in his jacket.

Cute boy! I look forward to the day he can actually enjoy and remember all these pretty places. At this point he just puts up with it. I wouldn't have even tried to bring him on a trip like this as an infant. It would have just been melt down after melt down the entire time.

And finally we made it to our first waterfall, Latourell Falls, where we took the small hike down to the base. I'd bought a backpack with a leash for Tyler, which is something I never thought I'd do. But the closer the trip came, the more I worried about him falling off a cliff if we ever put him down, and I knew my wiggly boy would get tired of being in a carrier the entire time. Fortunately he responded well to it, much better than I was expecting. He loves it! He giggles when you pull on the leash, like you're playing a game and catching him. Glad he doesn't find it humiliating (yet...).

Ty was very cute, but he didn't want to leave daddy's side, even for a quick picture with mommy. He always enjoyed the waterfalls though! It was hard to get him to face the camera since he kept wanting to stare back at them.

I'd seen this waterfall several times before ever realizing you could hike down to to the base. The stairs down are near the parking lot, but the lot faces a different hill that will take you to the upper lookout and upper Latourell Falls. You don't even think to look for the stairs off to the side, but the view from the base is quite a bit better than the upper lookout.

Next up was Shepherd's Dell falls, a waterfall right next to the road, but it's a bit hidden and you'll pass it if you don't know it's there.

Then we did a little more hiking at Bridal Veil Falls. My friend Kathryn had loaned us her Deuter Kid Comfort carrier, which made hiking with Ty much easier. It's by far the most supportive carrier I've used. We may need to invest in one.

The right pic shows how difficult it was to get Ty to look at the camera. He was too distracted by the waterfalls.

Cute pics of our family and me with the girls. Bridal Veil is a beautiful waterfall, but it's one of the few I think actually photographs better with less water. The first time we saw it in the fall, you could see why it was named Bridal Veil Falls. It's still gorgeous in the spring, but not at all veil-like.
We all attempted a few selfies, most of which just looked terrible, but Oscar had fun taking selfies with Tyler while imitating whatever expression Tyler made. These were the two best. Ty's mastering the art of scowling lately, but he's still super cute and smiley. Such an expressive little daddy's boy!

I hiked back up the trail while carrying Ty, which was a bit challenging while pregnant, but definitely doable thanks to the nice carrier.

Next we dropped by Wakeena Falls, but just made a quick stop while Oscar stayed in the car since we didn't want to get Tyler in and out of the carseat. It's very close to Multnomah, and we knew we'd be getting him out there since they have flushing bathrooms and a changing table. The other waterfalls along the gorge only have outhouses, if that.
We didn't take many pics at Multnomah since we've visited several times and have great pictures of it already from when waterflow was even higher. But the girls took this lovely family picture for us, complete with Ty's cute little belly.

Next was Horsetail falls. This was another where Ty stayed in the car while Oscar and I took turns at the waterfall.
The girls took selfies and laughed while photographing Oscar making silly poses.

Last we strapped Ty into the carrier again to take the hike to Elowah Falls. This time the girls wanted to carry him. Ty was starting to get very tired...
The waterfall was as lovely as ever, and Oscar snapped this fantastic quintuple selfie of all of us.

And on the hike back, Ty completely zonked out on Myla. It's one of the very few times Ty's fallen asleep outside of a crib since he was a small infant.

We'd originally planned on one last waterfall, Wahclella Falls, but it began pouring rain as we were loading Ty into the car. This was intense rain, too, not something I was willing to take Tyler hiking in. We decided to nix that one and go straight to the hotel. The girls enjoyed having their own enormous room and their own queen beds, and Ty enjoyed running around in a new environment with so many new things to play with. The next morning he even managed to lock our bathroom on us, and luckily didn't lock himself inside. It took a bit, but eventually Oscar figured out how to unlock it with the end of a shoelace.