Day 6 – All Trails “Slug” Challenge

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.


my iPhone tracking ->

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


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