Hike 47 – Oxbow Park Loop

Friday was not a very pretty day in Oregon. Although it’s officially summer, someone didn’t get the memo. For those of you who are from Portland, everyone knows that it isn’t really summer in Portland until July 5. I have some very beautiful hikes in mind that I want to do this summer. I do NOT want to do them in the gray rain. As such, I decided to look for something new and different.

I have noticed in the many times that my sister and I go swimming at Oxbow that there are several hiking trails around so I looked it up. It turns out there is a complicated path of trails that wind together and eventually take you through all of the areas in the park. They are alphabetically labeled A through O and if you follow them at the end you have seen everything. Unfortunately, following them requires some rather intricate navigation and I did not read carefully. When we paid our fee at the gate the woman asked us if we wanted a map. Of course I said no. Oops.

We found A really easily and nestled Sid into the plant life. I actually took a pretty great picture because I mention our trusty steed quite frequently, but I never give him any photo cred. Pics or it didn’t happen, right? Anyway, we headed down A, which led to B and we thought we were doing awesome. That is until the trail just ended. Then I went back and read the hike description (which I always save in the notes on my phone in case there is no service) and we had totally screwed it up. We needed to cross the road and hit C like 2 miles back. We walked back on the road and looked for B so that we could do it right. We figured we would just backtrack a little. Then, we couldn’t find B and we were all the way back at A. We got back to Sid and we thought about just calling it quits but we had only hiked for an hour, so we trudged on. There was a mama and two baby deer right by Sid. The mama wanted to eat our faces because we were too close to  her babies. We scampered away. We like our faces.

Sooooo, we started the exact same hike over again. The second our feet hit the trail is started to pour down rain, just soaking us. My sister did not bring rain gear, because “it’s summer.” In solidarity, I left mine in the car against my better judgement. This time when we hit B we followed the directions. This side of the hike was WAY better. It had awesome views of the river and amazing plant life including the creepy alien plant life pictured above. There was no one in Oxbow Park. It was a ghost town.

We continued to follow the trail hoping we weren’t missing some crucial turning point again, because quite frankly the directions were garbage, until we hit the boat ramp. Then I did look up the directions and they led us into oblivion. By that time we were done with directions and really regretting not taking that damn map, but oh well. We got fitness and beauty, our always overarching goals. We saw deer. We saw “baby bunnies” which is what my sister kept calling chipmunks, for some reason. There were almost-ripe raspberries and LOTS of nettles. Pro tip – do not wear shorts on this hike.

My sister and I know rivers. We have spent a lot of time on them. The Sandy is wicked right now. It is still cold and brown and churning. Wait until it’s green. Brown equals snow-melt equals hypothermia death.  Officially this hike is 7.9 miles and only 600 feet in elevation change. It is basically flat and totally kiddo friendly. I have no idea how much we hiked because when the trail disappeared into nothingness we just walked back to Sid on the road…again. Hikes have names: in and out, loop, lollipop loop. We decided our hike was boob shaped. My sister called it a tata hike. I’m on board with that label. Oxbow Park is kind of amazing and well worth the $5 entrance fee.

Conversation-wise, I spent a really long time telling my sister about the last episode of season 2 of Orange is the New Black and how satisfying it was. If you’ve seen it, you know. The thing about Jessie and me, and to a certain extent our mama, is that we don’t care about spoilers. We love storytelling so much that we can hear an entire intricate plot and still want to see it or read it for ourselves. We have a policy that it doesn’t matter at all to totally ruin a movie, book, or show by exposing the most twisted plot. It’s just how we roll. I have to work very hard to tell people about things without giving too much info because of that.

We have five hikes left; there are three that I know I want to do. We are definitely open to suggestions for our last few hikes!

For information about the Oxbow Park Loop Hike click here.

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