One area which had remained unexplored, however, was a trial that meanders along the river on the outside of the park. My sister introduced me to it about a year ago.
This was the destination for our third mile. We were meeting family there for an early Father's Day and had some time before the festivities.
If ever there was an easy trail, this is it. If you aren't sure if your kids can make a mile, test them here. Even Lily did it...mostly. Well...she could have. Oh "baby-girl-at-the-end" syndrome. The boys were a little testy with each other which prompted a "family regrouping" and continuation of the talk that we are "in this together." It ended with a cheer of "50 miles!"
Also discussed was the idea of helping the weaker among the group and each contributing. It was suggested that perhaps they take turns giving Lily a piggyback ride when the road got too hard. Oliver was quick to volunteer, which of course prompted a response of "No, I can do it" from Lily.
Max, still recovering from a sickness, was not his usual trail-blazing self and so he held the rear with me. We enjoyed the slower pace benefit of noticing the wildflowers along the way.
The walk ended with a stop at the lower playground where Jake and Ollie promptly took a position atop the play structure to scout for first sight of his cousins.
About the trail:
To get to the trail, (from HWY 20/34/Philomath BLVD)
Turn south on 15th St and take a right into the parking area. The trail starts at the entrance along the river where you just came in. It meanders around grass and forest areas and then comes shortly back to the park. If you follow the road on the right side of the park, there will be another trail entrance. This trail will continue to follow the river. You will come to a place perfect for throwing stones. This is a swimming destination during the hot summer months, but it is quite deep with no wading areas
Keep walking and you will find a field of tall grass (formerly community gardens) and come out eventually into the upper section of the park near the train. Cross the parking lot and follow the sidewalk around until you get back to where you started. It is a one mile loop.