It has been a couple of weeks since I did a hike of any significance, so I was itching to get out yesterday when I woke to blue skies over Portland. I opted to start at an apparently popular trailhead (20 parked vehicles) along Germantown Road where Leif Erikson Drive heads south. I took the Cannon Trail uphill for the start of a loop.
The sky was blue overhead, yet fog loomed in the valleys. I couldn’t help but be reminded of the Velvet Underground playing “Foggy Notion”–and I later discover there is a bar named The Foggy Notion close to my new neighborhood. Synchronicity rules. Meanwhile, back on the trail, the sun star-burst through the fog and did a halo silhouette routine on a tree or three.
For a while, I encounter more runners than walkers, including part of an apparent boys’ cross country team. Oh for the days when I was that lean and fast! Of the walkers, there are more women than men, and most have dogs.
At first I am frustrated having to leash Niko, since he is so used to going off leash in the mountains where there are few people. We jerk each other regularly without meaning to do so. After the first couple miles, we come to terms on a pac, a hiking truce if you will. He doesn’t try to sniff every tree trunk and I don’t push for a four-mile-an-hour pace. Works for me. There are many times I have to pull him to the side of the leafy, muddy trail to let runners pass.
There are a lot of muddy calves out there today, although it only sprinkles a bit. This is the Northwest, and there is always moisture in these hills. We turn downhill onto Springville Road, which is like a firelane, then cut back north on Leif Erikson Drive, open to pedestrians, equestrians, and cyclists. It has less traffic than the Wildwood Trail, but it is almost as pretty. By this point, we are on cruise control, ticking off the white distance makers every quarter mile. The miles pass quickly. I encounter only one cyclist, and one person on a cell phone. There are fewer runners here, too. Perhaps it is not considered as tough as the Wildwood Trail. Fine by me. Niko and I return to the parking lot in just over an hour and a half, content with our loop, having walked about four and a half miles. My boots and pantlegs are nice and muddy, and I got just enough of a workout.
Not a bad hike for inside the city limits. Not bad at all.