Jul 312016
 

Last weekend was derailed by my poor planning so we made sure to make it out this week.  This should have been called the All Slug Challenge as there were so many slugs and snails on the trail you had to watch closely where you stepped to avoid them.  We should have been counting slugs instead of dogs this whole time it would probably have been more interesting.

Again, we went out to Germantown road but this time we went on the north side.  I had never been to the north of Germantown so most of this walk was new.  It was very peaceful and an absolutely perfect morning.  I think this was the first hike where it was a sunny day.  Most mornings, thankfully, have been overcast and cool.  In fear of it getting really hot like the last two days we wanted to get out early and beat some of that heat.  Fortunately most hiking in Forest Park is shaded so it is never too hot.  The trail head was packed indicating how popular this area is.  The nice thing about the park is the size.  It is so huge you never see that many people.  Especially in the more remote areas.

Because of the All Trails Challenge we often do quick little out and backs to hit the lesser used trails.  We have to hit ALL the trails so we end up backtracking a bit.  This time we had a very short but steep out and back on Firelane 8.  This was slug paradise.  They were everywhere and they were huge.  I have a couple of pictures below.  The one on the tree was massive.  I did not put my foot up there for scale but he was bigger than the one by my foot in the first picture.

We continued along Wildwood until the intersection of Firelane 10.  Headed down Firelane 10, with a little diversion on Keyser Trail, until we got back to Germantown road.  Did a quick crossing and up Cannon Trail back to the car.  It was a relatively short hike but we had lots to get done today and thought this would be a nice quick section to knock out.  I think we can wrap this area up with two LONG hikes in the coming weeks.

In the pictures below I had my first opportunities to take some shots with the sun dappled light creating some nice shadows; highlighting what I love about this park.  I mean, seriously, where can you find such and awesome place right in the city?  We have green all round us year round with these amazing trails.  Each hike I wonder, who the heck made all these trails? (the photo of the Bruno Kolkowski memorial bench got me thinking about that this time) How and why was Forest Park even created?  Who had the forethought to set this in place so many years ago.  I never think of people from the 1800’s and early 1900’s as “nature lovers” or “environmentalists”.  I always thought of them as “exploit the environment and bend to the will of man” types.  Clearly I am wrong in that perception thanks to a few individuals that took it upon themselves to save areas for future use.  Look at the national parks as an example.  This curiosity about Forest Park has lead me to do a little research on the net.  I have found some books and have them reserved at the library.  As I find out new and interesting tidbits I will try and include them on these posts.  Forest park is something special in Portland and seeing how this is a fundraiser for the Forest Park Conservancy so think about a donation if you have the means and interest -> DonateHere

In my preliminary research I found this article from the Oregon Encyclopedia on Forest Park -> Link

I wanted to highlight one point with an excerpt below:

The first person to recommend that the forested hills be made into a park was landscape architect John L. Olmsted, who developed a citywide plan for Portland in 1903 in conjunction with the upcoming 1905 Lewis and Clark Exposition. Olmsted, stepson of the famed landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, strongly recommended that the “romantic wooded hillsides” be preserved as parkland, saying, “It is true that some people look upon such woods merely as a troublesome encumbrance standing in the way of more profitable use, but future generations will not feel so and will bless the men who were wise enough to get such woods preserved.”

Looking back at what the Olmsted family did for this country and the amount of amazing parks and public spaces they had a hand in creating is stunning.  All over this country in many major cities you can see their work; most done over 100 years ago.  It would be interesting to talk to them about it now. Forest Park park is a great reminder of what makes Portland such a special place.  It is the largest forested natural area in any city in the United States.  BUT just because we have this amazing Forest Park, don’t move to Portland.  We are getting to big for our infrastructure.  Instead find an amazing place where you currently live and help make it great.  I found a reference to a website (The Trust for Public Land) that ranks cities based on their public parks.  What a fantastic resource -> ClickHere for the list. Portland is only ranked #6, Minneapolis is #1, St Paul #2 so move there.  I hear it is beautiful in the winter, ay.

Here are a few more links about the park:

  • Great info on the park here -> Link
  • From the Forest Park Conservancy Page -> Link

In the pictures this week I love the random small flowers and the hints of development in the park of times past.  You can see where roads were, old water pipes, street lights, that ancient crumbling infrastructure from the turn of the century.  Fun to see odd/random man made stuff in the middle of this forest.  Also, I want to note, it is good to look up once in a while.  The tree canopy with a blue sky in the background and sunlight making the leaves glow bright green is often overlooked.  Plus, you can see all the moss on the trees, watch them sway in the wind, maybe see a critter or two.  Such a different perspective from the endless vertical trees looking ahead or the winding of the brown dusty trail (or the slugs on the ground).

Looks like we got about three trail miles.  Add a little section on the road to cross over, that is ballpark a tenth of a mile, and that puts us (according to map numbers) at 3.18 miles or so.

7/30/2016

my iPhone tracking -> http://cyclemeter.com/e270d94f4da916b7/Walk-20160730-0922

Day 6 – 1.5 hours and iPhone said 3.00 miles.  I calculated 3.18 on the map so we will go with that.

Total – 27.17 of our now guestimated 100 miles so 27.17%

Total Dog Count: 4 more so now we are at 34

Total Time: 11 hours 32 minutes



 

Jul 232016
 

When the weekend hits we are off to the NW corner of Forest Park.  There are so many trails out there and it takes a bit longer to get to so it is nice to have the extra time to drive out that way for a hike.  We headed to the trailhead just across from Skyline Tavern.  The only problem is, there is no parking up there except for the Tavern parking lot and it is plastered with no parking signs. We decided not to risk it even though it was early on a Sunday morning.  We drove down German Town road to start at the bottom and work our way to the top and back.  Again it was a nice overcast day so it was perfect hiking temperature.  It sure would be nice if the summer was like this, nice cool mornings and warm afternoons.  We started up Tolinda Trail to Waterline Trail, did a quick out and back on Wildwood (North) to knock out that section then up Waterline and back to finish it off.  Once back to the Wildwood intersection we headed south to tie back into Springville road and completed the portion we started back on July 4th.  All the way down to the St Johns bridge road then back our trail head off Germantown road.

All in all a nice day and quite a few people given the remoteness.  But then with all the trailheads off Germantown it makes sense.  Oh and it happened to be STP weekend (that is the Seattle to Portland bike ride) so we got to see a few TIRED cyclists rolling into town.  Not that many interesting photo opportunities this time around.

my iPhone tracking -> http://cyclemeter.com/e270d94f4da916b7/Walk-20160717-0904?v=1

Day 5 – 2.5 hours and iPhone said 5.78 miles.  I calculated 6.2 on the map so we will go with that.

Total – 23.99 of our now guestimated 100 miles so 23.99%

Total Dog Count: 10 more so now we are at 30

Total Time: 10 hours 2 minutes

Jul 222016
 

So after our Day 3 adventure we wanted to wrap that area up.  Plus we wanted a quick and easy to get to hike and I was thinking of doing something short as I road the trainer for an hour while Jessie went to Dance Class in the morning.  We headed out at 3 in the afternoon to complete the Jay trail at the Audubon Society as we did not realized a when we were there on Wednesday that it did a full loop around the preserve.  It was a great trail and there was almost no one there.  The sun was out with a few puffy clouds and we had nice tree cover so it was still pretty cool.  When we were there the birds were away.  The center was still closed but Ruby, the local Turkey Vulture, was out.  So we got a better picture than Wednesday.   On the loop Jessie found a perfect tree to fit into and I found a nice clump to climb on (pictures below).

After completing our loop we headed across the street to Collins Sanctuary.  There are a couple of nice loop trails here with quite a few man made bridges to keep you out of the mud.  Jessie again was enamored with a tree and we found a monster slug.  This guy was a fatty (pictures below).  As we looped around and got onto Founder Trail we came into an area affectionately known as woodpecker alley.  There were some amazing trees here that had really cool patterns from the local woodpeckers looking for bugs.  Amazing to see what they can do to a tree. (pictures below)

Once we completed the Collins loop I wanted to call it done but Jessie wanted to keep going.  We had trails to hike!  Off to Upper Macleay trail and Pittock Mansion.  So up we went and it was such a beautiful day I could understand not wanting to stop.  After being in a place where we saw maybe 3 people the Wildwood trail was packed in comparison.  We diverted up the steeper Upper Macleay to bypass a large group that smelled like they were doused in perfume and would not move very fast.  Intersected with the Wildwood and continued up the hill to the parking lot at Pittock Mansion.  We then crossed the parking lot and headed down the Wildwood to the road.  We considered that good then headed up to walk the mansion grounds.

It is funny in the 11 years we have lived here we had never been to Pittock, now in less than a month we had been here twice.  It is really a magnificent place.  Do the tour once (and if you are a local you can get a pass from the library for 2 adults and 2 kids for free admission).  Then just come and visit the grounds.  They have some amazing plants and the view is stunning.  (see pictures below)

After our wonder around the mansion we headed back down and did a little loop out to one of the local neighborhoods on the Macleay trail.  That is one thing that makes Forest Park so fantastic.  There is trail access all over town and on many neighborhood streets.  I would love to have that access from my house.

Once back from our loop we tied into Wildwood and finished back at the Audubon Society parking lot where we started.

My iPhone tracking -> http://cyclemeter.com/e270d94f4da916b7/Walk-20160710-1506?v=1

Day 4 – 2 hours 45 minutes and iPhone said 5.99 miles.  I am not going to mess with trying to figure out the miles on three different areas on the mape to get a closer approximation so I am calling it at 6 miles.

Total – 17.79 of 80 miles but the backtracking issue % is jacked now.  We heard it was closer to 100 miles with backtracking so we will call it 17.79% complete (this is not scientifically complete).

Total Dog Count: 5 more so 20 (should have been counting slugs – as you can see below, Jessie wanted to get into the action)

Total Time: 7 hours and 32 minutes

Jul 222016
 

We had some great friends want to go for a hike with us so we knocked out another few miles on the all trails challenge.  Shawn, his fiance Dianne, and his daughter Hailey (she is featured below holding the salamanders).  It was actually very nice to go for a walk in the rain again.  We have had a fairly cold and cloudy July and that has been nice for the guy that is not a big fan of 80+ degree weather.  I prefer those 70 degree days.

The 5 of us met up at Lower MacLeay park and headed up the trail to the Audubon Society [audubonportland.org].  They have a nice bird hospital there where you can take injured birds to be rehabbed.  They also have a great learning center and some very nice trails.  If you go while they are open you can see several birds they have that cannot be released as they are too acclimated to humans.  Often they will have them out on display.

Lower MacLeay park is probably my most visited area in all of Forest Park as we just work down the street and it is a nice lunchtime escape.  I also spent two cold rainy days searching for one of the Cross Crusade Grail pieces in that park several years ago.  It was great fun but believe me I have looked behind every bush, structure, stream log, tree in a half mile radius.  I never found it.

The hike is great as it is a well defined trail that follows Balch creek up the hill to an old stone structure that was from an original settlement.  Known as the Stone House (Picture below with Jessie looking at some recent storm damage) it is a popular place to rest on the trail or for high school kids to smoke.  It is also where the Lower MacLeary trail officially ends and the Wildwood trail continues up the hill to the right.  We stopped for a few moments to explore and then headed up the hill.

Once we got to the Audubon Society we found it closed but we could still wander around on the trails.  As a change up we got a nice picture of a snail, Hailey with the salamander, some wild berries, AND the ever present Forest Park trail slug.  This time on the tree.

According to our iPhone mileage it was 4.33 miles.  When I added up from the map with some guestamation for the Audubon trails (based on their map) I get more like 5.02 miles.

 

Day 3 – about 2 hours and 5’ish miles.  BUT we are not sure if the Audubon trails count as part of the All Trails Challenge

http://cyclemeter.com/e270d94f4da916b7/Walk-20160707-1844?v=1

Total – 11.79 of 80 miles completed so about 14% done. BUT we had to backtrack down the trail we went up so that % is wrong.

Total Dog Count: 15 (still, no new dogs on this hike)

Total Time: 4 Hours 47 Minutes

Thanks to Shawn, Dianne, and Hailey for a nice evening stroll.

Jul 042016
 

So today we went out and did a little loop on the Wildwood connecting from Trillium trail and going back to trail head via Springville Road.  It was a perfect temp in the upper 60’s and we saw 15 dogs on trail and lots of runners.  According to the Forest Park map we got for signing up for the All Trails Challenge we did 4.72 miles.

Day1 – About 2 miles in around an hour

Day 2 – 4.79 miles in 1 hour 47 minutes

Total – 6.79 of 80 miles completed so about 8% done.

Total Dog Count: 15

Total Time: 2 Hours 47 Minutes

The Intrepid hikers – The First Intersection – Local Fungi – the gratuitous slug shot – and a woodpeckers delight….0704161223

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Jun 302016
 

Today we started the all trails challenge. The goal is to hike all 80 miles of trails in Forest Park. We did about a mile of the Wildwood Trail (a popular trail that runs the length of Forest Park for 30 miles) and explored the Oregon Vietnam Veterans Memorial. It was a very pleasant evening for a walk.

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The all trails challenge is a fundraiser to help support Forest Park. If you are local think about joining our team – Team Food Baby or donate to the cause. If you are a hasher think about donating a weeks Hash Cash. As you know we run in here all the time. If you have no idea what Forest Park is you probably don’t live here.

Forest Park is a 5200 acre park right in the city of Portland filled with trails and unfortunately invasive species. The Forest Park Conservancy is a local non-profit trying to help protect and restore Forest Park. They have a 20 year plan with a wholistic view integrating Forest Park with the surrounding acreage so wildlife can move throughout the area.

Forest Park is a key contributor to making Portland an amazing place. Help keep it that way. And don’t move here. We are full.

Info on All Trails Challenge: Link