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.
I’ve taken three hard hikes in my Fivefingers, and I must say that I continually impressed by them. I saw them at Rei back in spring and they sparked my interest. I’d been hiking in a more traditional hiking shoes, but they never really worked for me. I tried a number of different sock configurations, but no matter what I did, I usually came home with a blister somewhere on my toes. About the same time, I’d been talking to one of my co-workers about minimalist running shoes, so I decided to see if I could do some hiking in these goofy
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.
Tomorrow I’m taking a hike. I’m hiking up the Cooper Spur trail to Tie-In Rock (8.2 miles with 2800 feet of elevation gain) with a couple of other guys. Tonight, I am preparing my gear and provisions. My ride is picking me up early, so I set everything out the night before to cut down on my prep time in the morning and to make sure that I actually take everything that I might need.
To me, there is really only one name in hiking guides: William L Sullivan. Being that I live and generally hike in Oregon (I usually seem to regret the hikes I’ve taken on the other side of the river), Sullivan’s guides have me pretty much covered. He’s been hiking around Oregon since he was a kid and his knowledge of the trails and parks is second to none.