It is the last full week before my daughter starts first grade and leaves me to my own deafening loneliness. It’s ok, I’m sure I’ll be fine. Plenty of moms have survived this sort of thing before. I know people who even look forward to the start of school. I’m sure I’ll get there, maybe when she’s a tween. For now, I know I’m going to miss my ever-enthusiastic hiking buddy.
As adults we so often become cynical and easily bored. Kids just aren’t that way. I hadn’t though of visiting Big Tree because it isn’t much of a hike. That’s no matter to my daughter, she only cares if there will be sticks. Sticks and maybe dirt, because what else do you need?
Lapine State Park is a short drive from home and offers a quick awe-inspiring outing. The park is home to the largest Ponderosa Pine in Oregon. It would be the largest in the nation if it weren’t for a pesky wind storm that blew it’s top off. “Big Red” is an impressive 500 years old. This tree started growing at the same time that Michelangelo painted The Mona Lisa. That’s pretty old and very humbling.
There are a series of trails that wind around and along the river here. I am particularly fond of a big hill just to the East of Big Tree. Our little family would come here often when our daughter was a toddler. We would carry her up and set her at the top. Always the daredevil, she loved to run down as fast as she could. Back then she needed her dad’s hand, now I have to tell her to wait for me. I couldn’t be more proud!
Big Tree is located within Lapine State Park. The park is open year round and offers 80 campsites, 5 deluxe, and 5 rustic cabins. There is a log cabin meeting hall and RV dump station. The Day Use Area and Boat Ramp are also popular.