Sunday, September 15, 2013

Forest Park, Hike 26

Ever since I shifted from walking to running, I haven't had much to post here. Then, a few months back, I rediscovered Forest Park and it's many, many miles of trails (80 miles in all, if you count all the side trails and firelanes). I've found that a mix of running and walking/hiking works best, as about half the trails are fairly flat, while others (especially the firelanes!) are quite steep. The soft ground is great for the feet and knees, but one must be careful, as I've tripped more than once on some of the roots growing across the trails.

I've been starting to work my way through a wonderful book called One City's Wilderness, Portland's Forest Park and have officially completed eight of them. I've been going at it randomly, based on how I feel that day: Steep or flat, long or short, close-to-city or farther north... Today was Hike 26: Firelane 5, Leif Erikson Drive, Cleator Trail, Wildwood Trail, and Saltzman Road Loop (4.1 miles), listed as moderate with a 413 foot cumulative elevation gain.

Starting at the Saltzman Road Trailhead, I parked my car and started down Firelane 5, first wide and gravelly but soon more earthen and "natural," passing a nice lookout point with emerging fall colors, and eventually connecting with Leif Erikson Drive, where I walked past an interesting looking, now abandoned water tank that used to be available for fighting wildfires but now is a spectacular habitat for ferns.

After proceeding along Leif Erikson Drive for about a mile, passing under some mossy fallen trees, I turned sharply to the right up steep Cleator Trail.

At the intersection of Wildwood Trail and Saltzman Road, I was suddenly taken by the absolute stillness, and silence, of the spot. I pulled out my camera and tried to capture what it looked and felt like. (Sorry, but camera phones just can't do it justice).

I then turned up Saltzman Road and walked for about another mile before returning to my car, a bit tired but quite refreshed. A nice way to spend an hour and a half on a Sunday afternoon!