Hike 36 – Washington Park Loop

Spring is finally here. Things are blooming. We can’t wait for the wild-flower hikes in our near future. Spring is much better for hiking than winter.

I’ve had a hard week. Despite my efforts to distance myself from my ex there are just too many people in this world that we both love. There are too many ways in which I accidentally get information about his life that I don’t want. It upsets me. It shouldn’t after a year, but it does. I’ve learned over this experience that sometimes you just have to feel what you feel and wait it out. Right now what I feel is hate. So so much hate. Hate is a waste. It sucks the energy out of you. I am fully aware of this. I am fully aware that indifference would be much healthier. I’m not there yet. I hate him, so much. I can’t help it. In time, it will morph into indifference. I often wish I had a time machine. Maybe I”ll order one off the interwebs like Napoleon Dynamite. This was a hate-filled week. The hike today was able to lessen that, as it always does.

My parents are retired (lucky!). Last week on one of their many adventures they went up to Washington Park. They mentioned the numerous trails there and I decided to check it out. I had no idea that part of the 30 miles of Wildwood Trail went all the way up to the zoo. That is a crazy trail. We parked at the zoo and headed toward Pittock Mansion on the Wildwood Trail. We hiked a total of 6+ miles and did about 800 feet of elevation. Like most southwest Portland trails, there were a lot of ravines and hills, that means lots of uphill on the way in and lots of uphill on the way out. My sister hates that. The hike was seriously lovely though.

Because we started at the zoo, we did a lot of talking about zoos and aquariums. For a long time now, both my sister and I have been strongly philosophically opposed to both. Many of my friends have children and I’ve thought that maybe when I have children I will change my mind. After talking to my sister today though, sharing some stories and some info, we have decided we will never give money to a zoo or aquarium. We just cannot support them. We do not believe in their work. It would probably require a longer conversation to explain.

After leaving the zoo parking lot, we headed into the Hoyt Arboretum. The variety of trees is unreal. There were trilliums everywhere, glowing white and bright pink. We walked through Hemlock, Spruce, and Redwoods. As we continued north we also walked around the Japanese Gardens. We did not go in, but from above we could see most of the main features. It looked amazing today. Eventually, after a lot of climbing, we reached the Pittock Mansion and could see the entirety of Portland. We didn’t stay long. This was our second hike that ended at Pittock.

On our way back we took a loop up the Creek Trail and hit another section of the Hoyt Arboretum. It’s truly amazing that we have such cool places in our city. When we crested the hill above the zoo we were right above the Vietnam Memorial. Neither of us could remember having walked through it before, so we headed toward it. It really is an amazing memorial. I learned a lot today just reading its many monuments. When we were standing in the 1968-1969 section there was another woman there. She was looking for her husband and couldn’t find him even though she knew he was there. I looked for a minute and found him.  She was incredibly grateful. She explained that she had loved him since she was 16. It was so sweet. We talked to her for about 10 minutes about the Vietnam War and how it is so sad that we can’t learn from our mistakes as a nation.

We left the memorial and headed back to the car. All around, it was a really awesome day. I love hike suggestions that work out. As we were driving back toward home we took the Fremont Bridge. My sister loves driving on and around the Fremont bridge because she claims that its many entrances and exits “look like the future.” This was our conversation:

Her: It’s the future!

Me: It smells like a fart (because it did).

Her: Yeah, the future smells bad.


For information about Washington Park click here.


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