Hike 18 – Springwater Trail/Steel Bridge/Hawthorne Bridge

hawthIt’s Thanksgiving week! That means three things: I have an entire week off work, my sister will be turning 32 on Wednesday, and it’s pumpkin pie time at Costco. During the holidays Costco sells so many pumpkin pies that it requires the bakery to poach employees from other departments to keep up and get all the work done. My sister works in the bakery every day for the week before Thanksgiving and Christmas. She used to do a graveyard shift, but now it’s a swing. In other words, our hikes have to be done in time for her to make it to work by 2. That is certainly limiting.

When she couldn’t hike on Sunday (we went Thursday) a few weeks ago, I took a solo walk along the Springwater Corridor. We decided to do that walk again, but together. It’s totally flat and altogether just about 10.5 miles. We found out the hard way that walking on pavement is actually a lot harder on you that walking on dirt and rocks, even when it is flat. We both got blisters and other weird aches and pains.

The walk is lovely, especially on a cold, crisp, but sunny November day. The leaves are mostly down and the water is cold and clear. We started in Sellwood where Umatilla meets the Springwater Trail. We walked toward Oaks Park and the Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge and then continued on the trail toward Ross Island. The island, the river, the wildlife, it’s just lovely.  We continued walking past OMSI and onto the Vera Katz Esplanade and then crossed over the Steel Bridge. This weird duo ran past us as we were nearing the bridge. I think I noticed them because the older of the two was wearing a non-running friendly backpack with jingly keys in it. My sister and I decided they thought we were slow because we were wearing jeans and hiking boots, but we quickly caught up to them and then passed them. Then they ran around us again. My sister laughed. She said, “Three minutes and we’ll have to pass them again.” Sure enough, we passed them again on the west side shortly before we walked back across on the Hawthorne bridge. We may not have fancy workout clothes, but we don’t mess around. We are tall and we have long legs. We walk very very fast.

As we headed back toward Sellwood, we both started to get blisters and sore joints. The number of people who use the Springwater Corridor gives me a renewed faith in humanity though. Hundreds of people braved the cold to get out in the sunshine and get some exercise. I approve. I also got to see SteveZ as he rode by us in the opposite direction. It’s always nice to see a friendly face. Last time I walked the trail by myself I saw Eric Tsai. Apparently I can’t go for a walk in Portland without seeing someone familiar. Portland is beautiful, but I can’t wait to be back in the wilderness next Sunday!

For information about the Springwater Corridor click here.


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