Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Hike: North End of Forest Park 17, Portland, OR


AllTrails map

Getting There

Take NW Skyline Blvd north from NW Germantown Road. The Skyline Blvd Trailhead is 1.6 mi and a parking are available on right (east) side of the road.  

It was such a nice day in March, it seemed like people were out and about in St Johns as I was approaching the bridge. It was already ~4p when I got going. The trailheads on Germantown Road had lots of cards but weren't full. The Skyline trailhead only had two cars.

The Hike

Length: 5.31 mi
Elevation gain:
951 ft
Moving time:
Total time: 1:48:19
Avg. pace:
Calories: 2,581 (Fitbit)
Steps: 11,518 (Fitbit)
: 127 (Fitbit) 

Unexpected Spring-like day in the PNW. I was able to go to Forest Park for a spin. It was really muddy even on BPA Road and Firelanes 12 & 15.

I did a shortened version of my usual workout because my knees are still buggin’ from arthritis. Still glad to get my boots dirty and say “hello” to Benjamin George Collins. (There’s a bench in his honor on the Wildwood Trail.)

Also, I got to see Mt Rainier (“Tahoma", "Takhoma", "Ta-co-bet"), Mt St Helens ("Loowit"), Mt Adams ("Pahto" and "Klickitat").

Wildwood Trail

Wildwood Trail

Mt Rainier (“Tahoma"), Mt St Helens ("Loowit"), Mt Adams ("Klickitat").


Friday, March 11, 2022

Hike: Wapato Access Greenway, Sauvie Island, Portland, OR


AllTrails map

Getting There

Take Hwy 30 to Sauvie Island. Take NW Sauvie Island Road past Reeder Road. The Trailhead/parking lot is 2.3 miles from Cracker Barrel Grocery Store on the left (south side). Be sure to pick up a day pass.

The Hike

Length: 2.37 mi
Elevation gain: 52 ft
Moving time: 56:01
Avg. pace: 23:39
Calories: 494
Total time: 1:01:19


I debated whether or not to add this "hike" to my list. I guess it qualifies even though it's short and almost no elevation gain. I hiked here last year but didn't record it for my stats.

My arthritis is starting to bother me more and more since having to stop taking the meds. Specifically, my right knee has not stopped hurting since my hike in Forest Park on Feb 17th. I just wanted to keep pushing my body and enjoy some sunshine.

I remember thinking on my Hamilton hike a couple of days before "I'll keep hiking as long as I can with gimpy hand and crumbled body." I know I'm going to have to budget extra time and make preparations for longer hikes and "complications" such as troublesome knee that slows me down a lot.

Ironically, I feel like my knee is strong but the inflammation is causing pain. All the conditioning I've done is paying off in some respect.

The Trail

View from the bird blind

Last time I was here at Wapato, the trail was really muddy. In fact, I hiked in my black Dunlop rubber boots. This time, there was still mud but it was mostly dry and/or easy to get around without stepping in the goo.

There were a lot of garter snakes out there, esp closer to the water. I was out in my sandals but I knew they're mostly harmless. I made sure to stay in the middle of the trail and stomp my feet so they know I'm coming.

Red-spotted Garter Snake (Thamnophis sirtalis concinnus)

There were several folks out there but I didn't see enough to correspond to the cars at the trailhead. Some people were fishing and a guy in a group of four older folks said "Are you waiting for a bus?" because I giving them space & waiting for them to go by.

Because of the snakes and my footwear, I didn't attempt to get views of Multnomah Channel. (I saw a bird of prey last time. Possibly an eagle.) Not this time.

The "inside" part of the loop goes through the Oak Savanna.

Oak Savanna

Oak Savanna

Wapato Access Greenway

Heading Home

A lump grew in my throat when I saw Mt St Helens. I really want to climb it again but the fact that I'm starting a new job and my increase of arthritis symptoms makes it seems unlikely this year.

I renews my anxiety of existential dread. The world is so fucked right now. People in Ukraine are dying every day. Inflation (corporate greed) is threatening the simple ability to survive. Maybe I should have sold my house and try to get in as much traveling as I can while my body still can. When I'm bedridden, it will be a small but significant comfort to recall my hikes and roadtrips. Fuck!

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Hike: Hamilton Mountain-Hardy Creek Loop, N Bonneville, WA


Footpath (app) map

Getting There

Take WA-14 from Vancouver, WA east toward N Bonneville. Just after Doetsch Ranch you'll see the Ranger Station on the north side of the road just before the Beacon Rock parking lot, then another road across from the bathrooms. The road winds up the hill for a bit.

The Hike

Length: 6.98 mi
Elevation gain: 2,155 ft
Moving time: 2:48:37
Avg. pace: 24:26
Calories: 1,486
Total time: 3:03:14

This was my first hike in 3 weeks. After my last jaunt at Forest Park, my knee started to hurt. Not sure if I strained something or it's the arthritis coming back. I stopped my RA meds in mid-January due to some abnormal blood test results. Until then, I was feeling pretty good about not needing the meds. 

According to my rheumatologist, it takes around 6 weeks but several Google results says it's upwards of 60 hrs. Really not sure. The re-emergence of my pain seems to correlate with 6 week timeline.

Anyway, while my knee has continued to bother me, I felt strong enough to attempt Hamilton Mtn. I figured I'd see how far I could go. At least all the uphill is in the first half of the loop though I tend to have issues on my descents.

Despite having doing this loop over a dozen times in the last year, I still feel a tinge of apprehension when starting out. Knock on wood I've never had to turn around before reaching the top (except when the trail was blocked by tree branches laden with snow.)

I passed a couple of hikers between the summit and the Saddle and another couple enjoying the views at Saddle. 

On the Hardy Creek Trail, I always look forward to this bend in road. The weather was so warm and bright. It was nice to stop and listen to the wind, birds, and trickling creek.