So once again, Portmandia Jr. and I biked across town and into Forest Park to take a little hike. The previous week, we had spied a trail leading up and away from the fire road, but since we were already very near the limited range of my son, I decided to go back on another day. This time we simple rode our bike into the park and locked up at the trail head.
The bike that I have been using to pull our Trail-a-bike is a hybrid, built with mountain bike components to ride on city streets. I figured that I would be able to ride over rough terrain without too much difficulty apart from the possible lack of traction (this bike has large slick tires). I was pretty much correct. The hardest part about that last half mile of rocky road was the rigidity of the bike’s frame and drivetrain. Where I could raise partially out of the saddle and use my legs as shock absorpers, this was lost on the boy and he simply bounced along making suitably goofy sound effects.
At the trail head, there is a short section of wooden fencing that was perfect for locking up our double bike monstrosity. From there, we stashed our outer layers and helmets in my pack and unstowed my camera. I had charged the battery the previous night, and I was looking forward to getting some good pictures of the boy in the woods. That part of the park was pretty busy with runners and walkers with dogs and not. Luckily, once we got underway, we had fair solitude for our little walk.
Heading up from Leif Erickson, the Wild Cherry trail is decidedly up hill. It certainly wasn’t of the same caliber as some of the hikes I took this summer, but I found myself a bit worried that the boy might not want to hike up such an incline. Happily, he didn’t balk. He just tromped up the hill and kept on going.
Overall, we probably only hiked about a mile and a half, but for a three year old, I feel that that is a pretty decent range. We talked about the mushrooms and slugs that we saw and he was very concerned about the various fallen logs. For a while, we walked near a woman and her great dane. Portmandia Jr was quite pleased to say hello to the dog and give it some pets, as well as to explain to the woman, in his limited vocabulary, about the tree nearby that had fallen down and then been cut up with saws. There were sound effects and hand gestures. As usual, he charmed.
Eventually, we decided that it was time to go back and return to our bikes. There was a much needed slice of pepperoni (pizza) waiting for us back in town. So ended another of our little forays into the wilderness. We rode a total of about 16 miles in order to hike about 1.5, but it was completely worth it. In fact, as I write this, I have a set of Forest Park maps on my desk and a Sullivan‘s guide to hiking the Oregon coast sitting on my desk. I’m thinking about more trips.