Walking local on cold and rainy days

McCormick Park raining rainy St. Helens Oregon Columbia County

As the days shorten and the skies turn dreary, mist and rain frequenting the landscape more often than not, it can get hard to get outside. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a real thing, the result of too little sunlight and too much time indoors. But don’t despair!

All of our towns have close hikes and walking parks that you don’t need to go far to enjoy, and they’re worth a visit even on the soggy days. Clatskanie has Scout Lake, Rainier has Fox Creek Trail, Rainier Riverfront Park and the Trojan Park complex, Vernonia has Vernonia Lake and trailheads to the Crown Z and Banks-Vernonia trails, Scappoose has the Scappoose to Chapman Landing and Pisgah to Bonnie Falls stretches of the Crown Z Trail, and St. Helens has McCormick Park, Nob Hill, Dalton Lake, and the Columbia Botanical Gardens. Make an effort to get outside at least twice a week and you won’t regret it.

On a recent rainy day Rose, Sophia, and headed out to McCormick Park with a couple of friends. The mild showers meant we had the park pretty much to ourselves.

McCormick Park has a ton of open space available, including the picnic areas near the creek and the exercise trail around the ballfields, but we chose to take the bridge over to the Disc Golf course for today’s walk.

McCormick Park bridge trail st. helens oregon columbia county
Does anyone know if camping might ever reopen again?

Milton Creek was fairly swollen with rain. Reminds me of the floods of ’96 when we came here after a long day of sandbagging homes and watched the enormous rapids.

Milton Creek at McCormick Park bridge st helens oregon columbia county
Please don’t play too close to that thing in these conditions

Sophia soon found that rain = mud, which she just loves.

Sophie McCormick Park St. Helens Columbia County Oregon
And that is why you put the rainboots on her

Soon her friend joined right in.

McCormick Park raining rainy St. Helens Oregon Columbia County
One of the universal little kid joys

Not every path was walkable.

flooded at McCormick Park St. Helens Oregon columbia county
“Papa can we go through it? Please?”

But we found enough high ground to have a good time.

playing at McCormick Park St. Helens Oregon Columbia county
In case you’re wondering, my sister sewed that outfit herself.

Even in the rain, you can’t take little kids past the brand new playground without them giving it a go.

McCormick Park playground St. Helens Oregon columbia county
And they had the place to themselves!

Progress up was a little slower and more careful than usual.

McCormick Park playground st. helens oregon columbia county
You think this is slippery, you should see what happens when a kid goes down a slide in a raincoat. Be ready!

A good time was had by all.

McCormick Park merry-go-round st. helens oregon columbia county
This is supposed to be a self-driven merry-go-round but the upper body strength isn’t quite there yet.

Even in the busy-ness we’re making sure we get out as a family at least once a week. Get a little wet, it’s worth it!

McCormick Park at a glance

What: city park, stream, nature trail, exercise circuit, birdwatching

Where: In St. Helens turn east off Highway 30 onto Gable Road, then left onto 18th Street until you reach 475 South 18th Street (45.8529, -122.8148).

Hiking: 2.3 miles of looped nature trail / walking path / exercise circuit. A map can be seen here.

Camping: None

Notable Wildlife: woodpeckers, warblers, vireos, flycatchers, Northern Red-legged Frog, garter snakes

Property status: City of St. Helens

Website: City of St. Helens: McCormick Park

Published by Jonathan

Educator, Herpetologist, Hiker.

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