Tales From The Trails:

No Senior Left Inside

On a sunny, brisk Saturday afternoon in March, the first “No Senior Left Inside” Forest Park Discovery Hike took place, with a group of 18 enthusiastic walkers led by Marcy Houle. The inaugural hike was truly enjoyed by all, and marks the start of a series of similar walks for seniors who wish to explore our beautiful Forest Park!

The group of intrepid adventurers came all the way from McMinnville, Oregon, in a van provided by their resident facility: The Hillside Retirement Community. For two hours, they explored the Bristlecone Pine Trail, and others in the Hoyt Arboretum – where there is a wonderful paved trail perfect providing safe walking for those of all abilities. They came to see trilliums – and see them they did! Beautiful white patches of trilliums graced the trails on this early spring day. The keenly observant seniors were also on the lookout for other native Oregon wildflowers, and were not disappointed. They enjoyed seeing green waterleaf just unfurling, wild ginger, luxuriant sword ferns and salal, red flowering current beginning to blossom, and delicate yellow wood violets bordering the trails. They also heard our northwest songsters: song sparrows, brown creepers, and pileated woodpeckers!

Along the way, leader Marcy found herself enthralled by the seniors’ stories – of their interesting lives and adventures. Listening to their accounts, Marcy encouraged them to write down their life stories and share them with their family and friends. And also, to come back for another Discovery Hike to recount them! (They said they would.) She also gave them an assignment: to remember the five facts about Forest Park that make it unique among all city parks of the nation, and to pass them on to others.

At the hikes conclusion, they enthusiastically repeated the Forest Park unique features, or:

U-WILD:

U: Urban Wilderness

W: Wildlife Corridor

I : Interior Forest Habitat

L: Longest Hiking Trail

D: Diversity of Wildlife

Everyone left (the leader included) with a sense of renewal and refreshment that being in nature can bring. They felt revitalized with what they learned, and were eager to learn more. Truly, no matter what age, a walk on our beautiful trails reminds us all: Life is good!

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