Mountains one week, lush forests the next, and beautiful beaches in the future! Lily and I have been using our free days wisely, which obviously means exploring all of the beauty Oregon has to offer!
As I think about my hike up Multnomah Falls or at the Magness Tree Farm, I begin to compare the two environments. I was at both on a Saturday, the clouds looked as if they were on the verge of crying, but one was a major tourist attraction and the other wasn’t.
Even on a cloudy Saturday, we found ourselves pressing flat against the wall to allow the (mountain?) runners to pass by as we took photos. Not only were the main trails packed, but so were the trails that people weren’t supposed to be on. Despite signs in both English and Spanish, people were still going off trails. 5 p.m. at the base of Multnomah, as we huffed and puffed our way to our car, there were still hordes of people buying ice cream, trying to keep up with their youngsters.
We had similar weather when we visited the tree farm, yet the experiences at both were completely different. Although we ran into a few people going on hikes, it was nowhere near as packed as Multnomah. This may not be the best way to measure use, but judging by the size of the trillium and the width of the trails at the tree farm, I figured there weren’t as much people trampling all over the trails. Nevertheless, the marks of human activity were also present at the Tree Farm, with signs, cabins, and paved roads.
Which has me thinking, although these places are quite nice and full of trees, how good of a habitat are they? We want people to go to these spaces, but to what point? Mt. Everest, one of the most climbed mountains, is now covered in poop from climbers that don’t pack out what they packed in, which is causing all sorts of health and ecological problems.
Though most of my trips are for recreation, I have definitely learned something that I could pass down to my own students; the importance of respecting nature.