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Age, like real estate, is about location, location, location.
From Forest Park to Pittock Mansion, A Portland Hike.

From Forest Park to Pittock Mansion, A Portland Hike.

The beauty of Portland, Oregon is its proximity to the outdoors, great and otherwise.

We’re not talking about the coast or the mountains an hour away.

It’s Forest Park, and the walk starts under the Thurman Street Bridge.

When you take someone on a hike from Lower Macleay Park to the Pittock Mansion be prepared to hear a celebration.

That’s what you get when you hike in forest shaded trails on a ninety degree day. And it’s so close to major roads like I-5, I-405, and I-84.

What can you expect along the way?

Sweat, but no blood or tears.

It doesn’t take much imagination to feel the deep woods even if you’re not in a Rambo-land of isolation. You’ll see people on the trail so you know you’re not alone.

Take a hike with an experienced solo-trekker and learn how to feel safe. The woman I hiked with knows the ropes. Not only has she climbed Half Dome in Yosemite, she’s done more, and she tells friends and family where she’s going, the time she’s leaving, and the time she’ll be back.

On her hike she gives everyone a cheerful greeting. Start out on the right foot and it’s hard to go wrong. The message behind her greeting is, “I see you and I can describe you if I need to, so behave yourself.”

Is she fearless? Yes, and she’s prepared. This baby boomer woman will not be a victim.

A little backstory: My friend came to town for a funeral of the mom of her and my wife’s high school buddy. She’s a marathon runner and general outdoors nut. In other words, she’s almost an Oregonian, except for the living in California part.

Since I’m a good husband, I didn’t want my wife hogging all the fun, so while she worked Saturday morning, I took our friend, call her, Alraca, out for what I thought was a challenging hike.

I felt the challenge and kept asking her if she wanted to stop, or stretch, or slow down. If she didn’t, I didn’t.

“Do you need to stop and rest?”

“No, I’m fine, but if you need to we can.”

A little later I said, “let me know if you need time to stretch.”

“I get lactic acid build up from my training runs, but so far I’m warming up.”

During an extended elevation climb on the trail I asked if she wanted to slow down. She answered by breaking into a run.

Do you see what’s going on here? I was on the march with someone who took their foot off the gas to stay with me, but was kind enough not to rub it in too much. Got to love that.

The views on the way up were amazing, just like the views from Pittock. It was clear enough to see Mt. Hood, Adams, St. Helens, and Rainier. Someone pointed out Jefferson, but it looked more like a cloud.

We headed down the front from Pittock Mansion, past beautiful Portland houses toward NW 23rd. On another day we would have stopped for lunch, but not Saturday. Instead, I dropped her off at my wife’s office and the two of them made it a day while I put a few hours in here.

Instead of NW 23rd Street, we took the stairs at the top of Overton and cut across toward Thurman. We came out on top of the bridge, not under it, and saw the construction fence barring us. We’d have to go around instead of taking the stairs.

“Look, here’s a break in the fence,” Alraca said.

We squeezed through, took the stairway down, and found ourselves fenced in instead of fenced out.

“No problem,” she said. “We’ll just jump the fence.”

She scrambled up the eight foot chain link and hopped down the other side. This is a lady who graduated high school in 1974. Then it was my turn to show how a ’73 grad gets it done.

I didn’t fly over like her, but after a few starts I got to the other side.

“Here’s the deal,” she said. “We’re baby boomers. We’re not the problem for law enforcement. You don’t have to live afraid. Go ahead and try things. Fall and get up. That’s the key from here on out. We jump the fence because we can. If we get caught, we apologize. It’s that simple.”

Is it that simple, boomers?

Don't be a baby, boomer, just jump the fence. Okay?

Don’t be a baby, boomer, just jump the fence. Okay?



About David Gillaspie
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