Posted by: David Stewart | September 6, 2010

Deep Forest Stumps Dave

I’m a bit of a creature of habit. I usually simplify my decision-making on many things by having the same cereal for breakfast (Quaker Oat Squares and skin milk), use the same kind of soap in the shower (Dr. Bonner’s Magic Peppermint Soap) and run the same routes around my house.

An extra day off work for Labor Day in the US is a nice time to break up that routine.

Portland, Oregon has an amazing undeveloped tract of land called Forest Park. The main trails that cross the length of the forest are Leif Erikson Road and the Wildwood Trail. I love both of these running tracks, but I’m locked into the stretches closest to downtown Portland. So to break the routine, I switched to the west side of the park, a section of the trails I hadn’t run before.

Germantown Road crosses the the Wildwood Trail and a very nice parking area.

Wildwood Trail at the Germantown Road trailhead, Portland, OR

In spite of a few rains recently, the trail was not noticeably wet, and I didn’t need to worry about muddy shoes. About three miles east on the Wildwood, you make a left on the Hardesty Trail, rumble down a short way, and you come to a big stump:

The Old Stump, Forest Park, Portland, Oregon,  Sep 2010

This old growth tree was felled for lumber ages ago, and if you look closely, you can see the notches where the platforms were set for the loggers when downing large trees.

From the stump, I continued down to Leif Erikson Road. It looks pretty much identical here to the stretches close to downtown: wider than the Wildwood, big enough for bikes and horses. Then after less than half a mile, I turned up Springville Road for a short steep uphill back to the Wildwood, and then back to the car park.

About six miles on the trails. Marvelous deep green all around. The only bit of wildlife I saw was a big slug crossing the trail.

This is “Loop 8” from the Forest Park map set published by the Forest Park Conservancy, available from many running and outdoors stores. It’s very walkable or runnable, with only one kind of steep uphill.

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