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Snowshoeing Away the Winter Blues

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The best Portland winter getaway is to head up to  the mountains. Even on a dreary winter day, the mountain can provide the much needed respite to get rid of the winter blahs.  We aren't much of a skiing family, but we do enjoy a nice tromp in the woods a la snow shoes.  Before kids, we really enjoyed the beauty and ruggedness of the North side of the mountain where the Tilly Jane and Cooper Spur trails allowed you to trek in the woods without barely encountering many other beings of the two-legged variety. Realistically, it's not the type of trail that would endear a nearly four-year old to the joys of snowshoeing.  After much debate, and to-ing and fro-ing about where to go on the mountain, we settled on our stand by - Trillium Lake.   Trillium Lake is much more on the child-friendly side with open meadows for the entire to family to make tracks in without fear of messing up the ski trails.

Even with the little ones, you can enjoy the winter outdoors.  Here are some tips to make sure everyone (especially those that are along for the ride) stays warm and the outing more pleasurable:

  • Dress children warmly using boots, hats and mittens.  I've found that winter boots that zip up in front are the easiest to get on.  We like Kamik.
  • Layer clothing.  For the little guys,put them in a pair of warm tights to prevent skin exposure when sitting in the pack.
  • Dress children in water repellent outer clothing.
  • Make sure clothing is dry and stays dry.  The second part may be hard to do so pack extra dry mittens, socks, and hat because inevitably the first pair will get wet.  Leave an extra change of clothing in the car.
  • Limit the length of exposure.
  • Bring a thermos of hot cocoa on your outing.  Miniature marshmallows add a nice touch and an extra treat.

Any tips from the mama community on favorite winter trails?  Any additional tips you can add to ensure a safe and fun outing?

Comments

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Frog Lake on Mt Hood is very nice, we like it a bit more than Trillium Lake, as there is no big hill at the end!

We love Trillium Lake but also often stomp around on the Barlow Trail because it offers a nice combo of trail and hills for sledding. We haul a sled in tow in case of flagging energy and to take advantage of the hills along the trail.

I took Mila there a couple of days after Gael was born. We are planning on heading back up to Hood tomorrow for our first snowshoe outing as a family of four. Wish us luck!

we've enjoyed going to white river, just off hwy 35 on the east side of mt. hood... it, too, has a good combo of snowshoeing and sledding.

A friend recommends Mirror Lake. Great tips, Hau! And, I'd also add play equipment and sleds to the list. We use our beach toys (pails, shovels, etc) in the snow and let the girls build snow castles or igloos.

Hello everyone! I lived in Portland for 7 yrs but have been in Bend for almost 5 years now.

I have a 5-year-old and a 2-year-old. The 2-year-old rides in the backpack but the 5-year-old has snowshoes. However rather than walking he dives into the snow and lolls about, tries to step in every stream, and then --remarkably for a guy who can ski all day long -- claims to be too tired to go further and says Carry me!

Any tips on keeping your kids interested in actual snowshoeing, rather than just snow play?

I'd agree that Frog Lake is a great kid-friendly trail. It's short (1.5 miles rt) and offers more wooded terrain than Trillium Lake. As for Mirror Lake--it's one of my favorite trails--but I wouldn't recommend it for kids. The entire first half (1.5 miles) is uphill with switch backs.

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