One of the biggest problems that I have with my car-less lifestyle is the lack of access to the outdoors. Luckily, there is a massive wilderness here in Portland in the form of Forest Park. Over 5000 acres of woodland, riddled with trails, situated in the hills just above downtown. Last Saturday, Portmandia Jr. and I climbed onto our bikes and rode up to the park to take a bit of a walk.
We took an 8 mile ride to get to the park. Google maps did a pretty good job of planning out a bike-friendly route through NW Portland. That last mile and a half were all uphill, and I had my bike in a low gear creeping up the hill. Portmandia Jr. was riding on his Trail-a-bike. He hasn’t quite figured out what the pedals are for, so I did all the work.
At the end of NW Thurman St, we locked our bike to a ‘no parking’ sign (as they didn’t have any designated bike parking). The road ends at a locked gate and continues beyond as a sporadically paved fire road known as the Leif Erikson trail. This trail is open to all kinds of traffic, so we saw runners and walkers and cyclists. The road is marked every quarter mile, which was super convenient for us, as it allowed me to monitor our distance and turn back before Portmandia Jr. started to melt down.
We wandered down one of the many side trails and discovered an enormous reservoir tank. We also spent some time checking out slugs and talking about all of the fallen trees and limbs. He was very concerned about the ‘broken’ trees and the occasional debris on the trail. All in all, we walked about a mile into the park before we turned back. A fair start and a good little walk for a three year old.
I think that on our next trip, which may come as early as this weekend, I may ride into the park a bit so that we can explore one of the hiking trails properly. Once we’ve explored more of Forest Park, I’ll start figuring out how to get out to the gorge for more trails and exploration with the boy.