Sunday, March 30, 2014

"Take a Walk in the Park" Day

Today, March 30th, 2014 is national "Take a Walk in the Park" day. Don't worry if you can't get out to a park today; April 2nd is The American Heart Association's "National Walk Day." So you have two chances this week to participate in a national step-away-from-the-computer-and-move day.

We have so many parks in Portland, it would be impossible to list them all. And why should I? We do have the Parks & Recreation "Find a Park/Facility" website. It is information packed and you can search for a specific area of Portland or for specific amenities/activities.

I thought I would highlight a few of my favorite in town parks. There are certainly more. And with a little bit of a drive, we can have pretty much whatever we want in terms of the surface under our feet. That's one of the great things about living here: within a few hours, we can have a larger metropolitan setting (Seattle), the high desert (Bend, the Painted Hills), the cliffs and water activities of the Columbia River Gorge, the Oregon Coast - pick your favorite for view or walking or shopping or hiking, and the fields and the Willamette Valley to the south, and with a little longer drive - probably an overnight trip - the rivers and rocks and theater of Southern Oregon.

Where is your nearest park? Or your favorite park. For me, the nearest is just a short walk up the hill and I'm at the entrance to Mount Tabor Park.

A sampling of parks around Portland.

Forest Park : great hikes and trails, a forest in the city. It's beautiful and there are many options.

Laurelhurst Park : an inner city lake, with plenty of trees, a playground, picnic tables, and a trail around this very inner city park. Great if you need a trail with little incline and self-contained. I would say it's nearly impossible to truly get lost, although don't take that as a challenge.

 Springwater Corridor : this is definitely a park for the active outdoor users and it goes for miles; literally - 21 miles. It has a multi-use trail for walkers and bikers. It goes through town from along the waterfront of the Willamette River out through East Portland and clear out to Boring.

 Powell Butte Nature Park : wildlife and trails and trees and shrubbery in the 'burbs. This is a beautiful park. But I'm including it because of a fond memory. A friend and I went here a few years ago and it was beautiful. It was a great day. I had my new hiking boots (red flag number one) and it was on the edge of town (not too far of a drive from where we were) and despite there not being a trail guide in the book in which we had found it (red flag number two), it was small and we knew we'd be fine. (Isn't confidence a great thing!) The trail guide maps were out at the trailhead (we were still confident; the book had said something about following the animals stamped or carved into markers along the trails). And we were having a great time. The markers were not so clear or were missing. And we kept walking. And walking and felt a bit like we were going in circles, but, no, we couldn't be. And then we knew we were. We searched for a way out and - well, obviously we did eventually find out way out. It wasn't funny when we finally got out of this little forested nature park four hours after we intended to be home. But it is funny now and a fond memory. It was early in our "let's go for a hike" days and we learned so much. And we were fine. It is beautiful and worth another trip.

And, of course, Mt, Tabor Park : It has water, hills, stairs, flowers, trees, playgrounds, trails. It is gorgeous with gorgeous views. An extinct volcano right here in town.

There are many parks. Pick by area. Pick by activity. Pick randomly! Just pick one and go for a walk.