Originally we were going to hike Cascade Head near Lincoln City for our ninth hike. However, when the weather channel said there would be about an inch of rain, we nixed that idea. We are Oregonians, don’t get me wrong, we love a good rainstorm and we don’t mind getting out in it. We just didn’t want to be two hours from home when we were soaked to the bone. My sister has a ton of water proof stuff because of her job, but I do not. We scrambled and looked for a new hike. That is when I discovered the Forest Park All Trails Challenge. There are 80 miles of trails in Forest Park. Now we have to do all of them. You throw the word challenge at me and I’m all in.
We have hiked in Forest Park before, but not with any direction. We headed toward the Thurman Rd. gate entrance and hopped on Leif Erikson Drive. There were a lot of people, more than we are used to, lots of static stretchers blocking the parking area and making me want to ram my car into their open doors. Fun fact: in Oregon if you open your door into traffic you are 100% liable for the damage. It took every single ounce of restraint I had to keep my mouth shut. For those who know me well, I deserve an award for that.
Since Forest Park doesn’t have a lot of elevation change, around 500 feet, we decided to go for distance. We went in to Salztman Rd and back. It was 12.4 miles. I figure on another day we can go to the other end of Leif Erikson Dr and get in a nice 10 miler to help us meet the All Trails Challenge.
It turns out the people who spent a half hour static stretching, something my sister and I don’t believe in before a workout, only ran like two miles. Once we got more than three miles in we saw an occasional runner and a few mountain bikers, but for the most part we were alone. The trail was a road, so it was wide and well- maintained. It did rain, hard. We did get very very wet. There was a lot of tree cover though and the hard rain was sporadic so we didn’t mind. The trail was slightly uphill most of the way, but it wasn’t tough. We didn’t stop to rest at all. No “let me catch my breath” breaks were required. We did walk under one dry spot at about mile 5. My sister was hungry so we just plopped down mid-trail and ate our Subway. She didn’t eat breakfast before. Bad idea. While we ate only two people passed us. Rain has a tendency to thin out trails.
We kept heading upward and it seemed like we hit Salztman really fast, 6.2 miles, halfway to go.
We turned around and headed back down. There was this weird optical trick on the trail though. For most of it, no matter where you are standing, it looked like it was slightly uphill both ways. It’s the mythical road your grandparents used to walk to school (uphill both ways). It really made us laugh for some reason. You could seriously stop anywhere and look both ways and they both looked slightly uphill. We also noticed on the way down that the mile markers are every quarter mile. It’s annoying. You don’t need that much info. Sometimes not knowing is better.
My sister’s hands turned blue again and we did a tiny amount of prancercizing right as we got back to the Thurman gate. Mostly we were covered in mud to our knees. It was a beautiful day. I’m glad we hiked so far. I like longer hikes.
For information about Forest Park click here.