Sometimes friends and family members say things about my 8-year-old daughter that simply drive me crazy.
"She's SUCH a girly girl!"
"You're gonna have trouble with her when she's a teenager!"
Miley is an outgoing ball of personality and is quite fond of clothes and shopping and hairdos and singing and dancing, and well, I guess things that make her a "girly girl" – whatever that means.
While I know I am not raising a tomboy – although I am impressed by her soccer and gymnastics skills – I don't see any reason why I can't instill a love of the outdoors in my little ... girly girl.
It was high time I took her on a hike. She always has loved hiking, biking and camping with me, but it had been a while. Somehow in the mix of balancing school, work and sports activities, we had not been out on a trail for some time.
But I knew I needed to be careful and tread lightly – too long or arduous of a hike or too long of a drive to the trailhead and she might never want to go again.
After some map checking, I settled on the North Fork Trail at Tumalo Falls.
I know what you're thinking: real original.
But this trail seemed to offer quite a few things that make it kid-friendly: Except for the start, it's not that steep, the payoff comes pretty quickly with several waterfalls along the trail, the trail is not that rocky or technical, and it's just a 15-minute drive from Bend.
The trailhead was packed on a glorious spring day. We viewed the falls from the lower and upper viewpoints, then turned onto the North Fork Trail to start hiking in earnest.
Even for a crowded area, it was amazing how many fewer people we saw along the trail than we saw down by the falls. I guess many folks don't bother with hiking.
Miley hiked quickly and with a sense of purpose. She took in views of Tumalo Creek and stopped to listen to the birds. She stayed with me even when I picked up the pace.
I could see my daughter changing before my eyes until ... that high-pitched scream with which many parents of 8-year-old girls are unfortunately familiar.
"There's a bug on my shoelace!"
I grabbed the tiny insect off her shoe and threw it off the trail, then continued hiking and tried to pretend that didn't just happen. Miley did the same.
We started to get a good rhythm going when she said this: "Have we gone 2 miles?"
I looked at my Garmin watch. "No, we've gone point 2 miles."
"Oh. How much longer are we gonna go?"
I ignored the question and continued along the trail. Then, something happened that made Miley forget about the length of the hike – we arrived at Double Falls. She seemed to enjoy viewing the picturesque set of two waterfalls, while I fretted over her getting too close to the edge of the cliff side.
We ventured farther to Upper Falls, as Miley continued to ask when we would turn around and head back. I finally decided to do so after she asked for the third time.
The hike ended up being about 3 miles, and I think it was about the right length. I can take her on a longer, more adventurous hike next time, and work our way up.
I gave her a granola bar on the way back down to Tumalo Falls. As we got into the car she said, "Well, this was fun, right?"
Perfect. I know she'll want to go again.
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
TO SUBSCRIBE TO ADVENTURE AND FITNESS
This column/content is for subscribers only. It is sold separately and is not included in your Tribune News Service subscription. To subscribe, please contact Rick DeChantal at Tribune Content Agency, (866) 280-5210 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or you can purchase individual columns a la carte at www.tribunenewsservice.com .
PHOTO (for help with images, contact 312-222-4194):