Magazine article Parks & Recreation

A Natural Part of Growing Up

Magazine article Parks & Recreation

A Natural Part of Growing Up

Article excerpt

When I think about it, I guess I owe my very existence to a park. Back in the dark ages, my dad proposed to my mom in San Diego's Presidio Park. Thirty-two years later, those two still hang out in parks whenever they can.

My love for the outdoors began at a young age. From the time I was a baby in a backpack to when I sprouted into a rambunctious kindergartner, my family took a daily walk on the Poop Loop, a three-quarter-mile wooded trail behind our house named for the English springer spaniel, Saint Bernard, and two pet sheep that accompanied us.

Living in Washington State didn't stop us from taking the walk during high winds and heavy rain. Dodging falling tree branches just added excitement to our hikes.

Looking back at my baby pictures, I discovered that many of them feature me in different parks. Some photos show me in the baby swings at a park with beautiful rose gardens. There's a picture of me at a park with my basket for the preschool Easter egg hunt. Another captures me in the park meeting Barney, the purple TV dinosaur, for a special event. Of course, I'm smiling in all of those pictures, enjoying a variety of experiences in parks.

As I got older, parks continued to be a part of my life. My friend Nick had his 5th birthday party in a park with undulating grassy hills. We had a great time sitting on five-pound chunks of ice and sliding down the slopes. (Sorry, we did ruin some of the grass from repeated slides.)

For my 10th birthday party, we took an evening hike along a park trail to a playground. …

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