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.
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.
Last Thursday, I hiked up Monitor Ridge to the rim of Mount St. Helens. This was the most physically demanding hike that I’ve ever taken. According to the red book, it was a 9.4 mile hike with 4500 feet of climb. Sullivan rated it as Extremely Difficult. As usual, he really wasn’t kidding. Every hike that I’ve taken in the last couple of months had been to prepare me for this one, and I was still brutalized.
This last weekend I hiked up to Cooper Spur on the eastern side of Mt. Hood. This was the most physically demanding hike I’ve ever undertaken, with an ascent of approximately 2800 feet in about four miles. As if the constant climb wasn’t hard enough, the last half mile to the peak was a trail-less scramble over volcanic rock and sand. Oh and for some real icing on the cake, we started at 6000 feet of elevation (thin air) and there was little or no shade for 80% of the hike. Yep, awesome.
On Saturday, I went on a long hike up the side of Mt. Hood to McNeil Point. The guide book said that it would be difficult, and I must say that in this case, Mr. Sullivan was telling the truth. By the time that we stumbled back to my companion’s car, we were both beat to exhaustion. On the other hand, this was probably the single most rewarding hike we’d ever taken.