Wildwood Trail

Back in July, Jonathan came to stay with us for a while, partially because the training situation he was in wasn’t working out as well as he’d hoped, and partially because we have all the makings of an awesome summer cross-training camp here.  The area is hilly and bike-friendly, and he had one of his bikes shipped out here in the spring, so there’s a lot of good riding out in the country – and we have the Wildwood Trail.  Quite steep and quite long, it’s evidently just the thing for running up and down.  It works out well for Max and I also.  Jonathan’s still learning on the stick shift, so I drive us to the Pittock Mansion, and Max and I have a nice hike down and up the trail, while Jonathan has a (terrible looking, but that’s just me) workout.  At any rate – here’s our morning from a few weeks ago.

It started out badly for Maxwell, who wanted to take a bike ride instead of some stupid hike.

“Ugh, don’t want to walk.  :P”

But being much bigger and stronger than him, I won.

When we got to the hill, though, it got worse for him – I realized I’d forgotten his leash and collar – but we persevered, rigging up a substitution with Jonathan’s kindly-lent belt and the shoulder strap from Max’s travel crate.

It worked, although I don’t think Maxwell liked it all that much.

The trail is lovely, snaking down a hillside with huge trees on all sides, although the forest is not very dense.  (For Portlanders reading, we went down the north side of the hill from the Pittock, toward the Audubon Society instead of toward Burnside and Washington Park.)

I didn’t adequately catch the feeling of being enveloped in this huge forest…  something to work on.

We found some interesting mushrooms …

… which of course I had to photograph for a while …

… and a Massive Slug.

At first Maxwell didn’t notice it …

… but he was as shocked as I was at its size when he finally saw it.

We admired some interesting tree trunks along the trail…

… and had gone further down than we’d meant to before we knew it.  It’s a lot easier going down than up, and I spent the return walk encouraging Maxwell rather than taking any photos, at least until we reached the Slug again.

Whoa.

Thankfully Maxwell was more interested in the scents at the base of the slug’s tree than he was in the slug.

We kept at it up the hill, and after getting passed another 10 times (or so it felt) finally made it back to the parking lot.

Humiliation and slugs aside, it was a nice walk for me – and I think Jonathan likes his hill running workouts, and Maxwell got over his early disappointment to enjoy himself as well.

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19 thoughts on “Wildwood Trail

    • You should definitely try to get out here, if you can! The land here (and especially the forests) are beautiful. It’s not a place I knew much about, having spent most of my life in Illinois and the midwest, but I’m so glad we live here now. It’s like winning the Olympics of hometowns!

  1. Forest Park is great! It’s not really a very healthy Forest type forest but for an urban one, it’s pretty great for the nature walking/working out. If you go to the far end, out by Germantown Rd., it’s less trafficked and you can get that in-forest feeling a little better. But truly, even in the populated end nothing beats Forest Park for easy access to really long trails and getting off pavement is super beneficial.

    Maxwell is a cutie.

    Great shots of the Indian Pipe! It’s a fairly rare find. I’m surprised you found it in Forest Park.

    • Yes, we love Forest Park. Austin seemed so dry and desolate, so it’s wonderful for us to have such a lush and verdant place so close to home. I’ve read a little about the English Ivy problem, and how it’s invading and impeding the forest’s natural growth, but not much else. What else makes it an unhealthy forest?

      I’ve had other recommendations to go out to the north end, and while John and I plan to go sometime, we haven’t yet. And of course with Jonathan around we need a long and steep hill – do you have any other ideas of good workout hills in the area?

      Thanks for the ID on the Indian Pipe! I know almost nothing about mushrooms, so I’m excited to add a species to my personal catalogue. :)

      • Well, lets see… If Jonathan is looking for a hiking/running hill, as opposed to biking, Dog Mountain on the Washington side of the Gorge, is a good choice. It’s quite a hill. Even the dogs poop out so you might need a backup plan for when Maxwell lays down and flat-out refuses to go further. A lot of people use Dog Mountain as a training hill for climbing Mt. Ranier etc… I would only torture myself with this hike in the spring, though, because in May, the wildflowers are worth the torture! But I suppose if you’re training, the torture is inherent anyway. :)

        • Wow, thanks for the tip. Part of why we like Wildwood is because it’s close to home (since we live in a Portland suburb) but I think we’d all be willing to make the drive for an excellent running hill. Jonathan probably won’t be here again until next spring and/or summer, but I think John and I will try to scope it out before then…

          I think Jonathan found some good biking hills while riding around the farmland, but if you have a good suggestion for a particularly long and steep one, I bet he’d appreciate that also…

    • Very funny about the slugs – our Maxwell hasn’t had one on his fur, but he did step on (and squash) one once, which none of us were very excited about.

      Do you have any photos of your Maxwell? Do you know what breed he is? We call ours a “cutie pie mix” because he was a stray and of course we don’t know the breed – and of course it doesn’t really matter, but I am still curious…

      • There are a few pictures of Max one of my posts from a few months ago: http://wp.me/p2mlPL-1i
        He’s a rescue dog – he was maltreated before we got him and used to be a real biter, but he’s got over that now he knows that people can be trusted. He is, apparently, a terrier x Lhasa apso… but I think “cutie pie mix” is a good description for him too.

        • Aw, thanks for the photos. I realized why I couldn’t find any on your blog – I searched for “Maxwell” instead of Max. He is adorable, although probably not quite what ours is – ours has a much shorter snout. I do think he probably has a good deal of Lhasa Apso in him, though…

  2. actually any hike in the Columbia Gorge will work, as you usually start at river level and climb up to the top of the gorge. Plus it’s SO BEAUTIFUL there. I recommend all of the gorge hikes.

    • OK, great – we will keep these in mind also. We went out to the gorge once, the first time we were in Portland (as tourists) and were in awe at the beauty – but unfortunately got a flat tire on our rental car at the 3rd or 4th waterfall and had to cut the afternoon short. We didn’t do (or see) any upward hikes, but we’ll have to keep an eye out next time we go – which will hopefully be soon.

    • I have a question about the Gorge, actually – does it stay cooler than Portland in the summer? Our one trip out was in November, but it seemed as if the weather might be more mild. If it’s 90 in the city & surroundings, might it still be comfortable hiking weather out east?

      • Actually the temps out east are usually hotter in the summer if you’re past Hood River any because it’s high desert. Of course if you’re in the shade & by waterfalls then it’s cool. But hiking in the heat – whew – it’s not for me.

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