The 4T Trail – Urban Hiking At It’s Finest

14 07 2010

One of the dilemmas about hiking is that you usually have to get in the car and drive for hours to get to a neat place before you actually start hiking.  Luckily I’m in Portland, and although you can obviously drive as far as you’d like to get to tremendous trails, you can also choose to stay close if you want to, which I spoke about previously with Forest Park.  However, I found a hike that’s even closer, and in my opinion, much more interesting… the 4T Trail.

The 4 “T”s that you hike on are the trail, tram, trolley and train.  How cool is that?!

I decided to start with trail.  I parked at the zoo and then crossed over to the east side of 26 and found the marker to dive into the forest.  I should also say that the trail is very well marked, which is important because not only does it cross other trails in the forest, but more importantly it goes through random neighborhoods and through downtown.  Anyway…

Nature was the 1st part.

You go through nature but also walk under/past some very nice and cool looking homes, like the one below.

Metal and glass protruding into the trees.

The walking part is about 4 miles, and there’s a lot of up and down, nothing too difficult though.  Even on the forest part some of the “trail” is on the streets between the trails which really gives that urban hiking feel as you walk up a street lined with houses with your Camelback and Merrells on.  But then, out of nowhere the 1st part of your hike ends!… you’re tired and you look up, and boom, OHSU rises out of the forest like the monolith from 2001, or… something monolithic like that.

Monolithic structures rising from the forest floor!

Then you head to the tram which will take you down to the waterfront.  This is where the trail markers could use some help, however I got to know the hospital campus a lot better through my random meandering trying to find the tram.

Tram down from OHSU.

Downtown Portland, and the back of a bunch of chump's heads blocking my view!

Trolley time.

You take the trolley from the south of downtown to the center of it.  The beauty is, at this point, before finishing the the last T (train) you can just hang around downtown for as long as you like and taste the local flavor, get ice cream, buy some records, whatever! I got some ice cream at Ben & Jerry’s and then headed back to the zoo on the red line.

To the zoo!... and the end.

This was great fun, and there are very few cities (any others?) that can offer a trek like this.   Excellent hike!

Do You Like Waterfalls?

10 05 2010

Because if you don’t like waterfalls, you will not like this post.  Antiwaterfallites beware because there are 10 of them on this hike!!!!  Which, is kind of amazing if you think about your average hike.
Anyway, I joined a fellow hiker, which was awesome (for anonymity’s sake let’s say their name is… uhh… “Tony”) and hiked the Silver Falls State Park trail to see some… falls.


And without further adieu, a bunch of waterfalls over a 7 mile hike…

#1 - Just a primer of the falls to come. BTW they all have names but I simply number them here because that's easier for me 🙂

#2 - OK so look at the trail going behind it. This was a big one.

#2 - Another view from the opposite side, just huge.

#3 - I like this one for its simplicity and surrounding greenery.

#4 - A bit more in line with "rapids" than "falls", but nonetheless... #4.

#5 - I really like this one because it falls so straight and even, but then has to hang a hard right.

#6 - Another big one, that be a trail through the middle.

#7 - More "rapids" type of falls.

#8 – I don’t think this is an official “falls” but it’s pretty and mossy and has water falling down a hillside and therefore it’s #8 in my book.

#9 - The "worth the hike" falls. Huge. Period. You walk under it all the way to the far left under tons of rock and the water and vegetation above. Impressive, yes. Creepy, yes. But obviously amazing.

#9 - The same impressive/creepy/amazing falls from way back behind and underneath.

#10 - The most scenic and relaxing falls was the last. A beautiful falls that.. falls, into a relaxed lagoon like setting.

This was a longish but not difficult hike right outside of Salem (and can be shorter if you wish depending on your route).  A really great hike with scenery that goes far beyond the falls you see here because it blends into the unbelievable beauty of the forest.  This is one to do as often as possible.  Personally, I have this one on my list for an Autumn trek.

Escape To Saddle Mountain

8 05 2010

I took out my trail map, threw it on the bed, closed my eyes, and pointed at a random trail.  To Saddle Mountain we go!

The map said this was an “advanced” hike, and for the last third it really was.

The start.

I did have sturdy shoes, I didn’t have a dog, I made it all 1630, I brought my own water (some people didn’t and they were not happy campers), I did NOT pick flowers, and I stayed on the trail!

The views on this trail were spectacular.

This is the view from the top, and obvioulsy this picture doesn’t do it justice, but that’s the Pacific Ocean.  And, I know we have to log, but man that would sure be a sweet view without the brown patches.  So, I love this hike.  I almost want to do it again tomorrow.  Not necessarily difficult, just very steep, I was definitely sucking air pretty good towards the end.  Between the views, the challenge, and the proximity to the ocean….


Sea Anemonemonemoneas (sp).

And with my foot, I shall end this post!

Mt. Hood Does Indeed Exist

2 05 2010

I was told by many people that “you can see Mt. Hood on a clear day”.  I’ve now been in Portland 3 weeks plus a week over the summer and not even seen a trace of it.  I can’t say that’s totally been “clear” for the entire area, but it hasn’t been cloudy all the time either.  Point being, I wasn’t convinced it really existed!  This weekend I decided to finally get up there and find out, it could be the biggest Snipe hunt of all time!

Yeah so it was there.
But the top wasn’t visible, bummer.  And although the picture looks cloudy it was actually really sunny, I think it was so bright it played mind games with the iPhone’s camera.

Click for full size picture.

Here’s the view looking away from Mt. Hood.

Click for full size picture.

So then after that I went back down to Government Camp and stopped in a ski shop where I met the nicest people ever, at their store Mountain Soul (website, not so good).  I want to give them a big plug if anyone in the area is looking to buy ski equipment.
The opposite could be said for the Ice Axe Grill down the street.  After going in and sitting for 5 minutes while no one acknowledged me, I left.  The interior was very basic as was the menu, so there wasn’t much to keep me there in the 1st place.  So no lunch for me today, off to the trails!

I wasn’t really dressed or equipped for a big hike, so I thought I’d do a short and popular one, Mirror Lake.

But 1st I had to buy a pass to park at the trailheads?  So I did.  I have no problem supporting the parks.

Hmm, looks like I need to clean my windshield once in a while.

It’s a good trail, short, but a lot of climbing.  Going up I passed no one which is always cool.  So, here are some pictures…

About 1/3 up, just hitting the snow.

Things were melting, so there was a nice lite fog along the trail.

A little log bridge across the brook.

Alright here is Mirror Lake.  So yeah, not so mirrorish, eh?  I didn’t think about the fact that at this time of the year it would actually be “Frozen Over Covered In Snow Lake”.  Oh well, just have to go back later I suppose!

Click for full size picture of a bunch of snow on a lake.

A Real Forest Park, Not Like That One In St Louis ;)

16 04 2010

I went to Forest Park near downtown Portland yesterday for some hiking.  There are about 5000 acres with about 70 miles of trails.  I did about 6 miles, half on roads that double as fire access and half on pedestrian only trails.  The pedestrian trails were better obviously, they were scenic, fun and not too challenging.  There are tons of trails, so I have a lot of exploring to do.  It’s cool having so many trails so close to where you live.  Although I went during the week, I was still shocked that in 6 miles I only passed 2 people, that rocks.
I’ve quickly realized that trying to take pictures of treescapes here in the NW is pointless, as the trees are so tall that you can’t fit them in your viewfinder, so I mostly took some shots of other things I liked.

I have no idea what kind of flowers these are, but they were everywhere. All sorts of different colors too.

Ferns are always cool when they’re coming out.  If you do not agree I will fight you.

That right there… is big.