Early October in Portland is one of the most pleasant times of the year. It’s sunny and crisp; that perfect fall campus weather for being outdoors without freezing or sweating. As we had today off from work (statewide inservice day), Courtney and I decided to tackle our last leg of Forest Park’s 30.5 mile Wildwood Trail. Back in July, I posted about our experiment to see if we could do the entire 30.5 miles in one day. We discovered that 22 miles was about all our bodies could handle and agreed that we would finish the final 7ish miles on a separate hike.
But 7 miles sounds a bit weak after both a 14 and 22 mile hike. As we’ve always finished at Skyline Tavern (as the view and the pitcher of beer are a critical element of success), we decided to start and finish at the same destination, rounding out at 14 mile hike again. This way, we’ve covered all 30.5 total miles of the Wildwood trail in respectable chunks.
Skyline Tavern is right where Waterline and Skyline meet (see below).
The morning was great. We filled up at Taco Bell for breakfast (guys, you really have to try to Naked Egg Taco) and hit the trail.
Like I said, a crisp and sunny morning. It was so warm that I had to strapp my light rain jacket onto my backpack, and pack away my gloves. We made our first 7 miles in almost exactly three hours, and took a short rest.
Once Wildwood officially ended at Newberry, we doubled back.
At this point, the story takes a bit of a turn. The clouds rolled in, the rain began to fall, and we saw a questionable pile of bear scat. Within a mile, we heard a roaring sound in the distance, upon which a massive hail storm unleashed upon us. I threw on my pathetically light rain jacket and we picked up the pace, but really when you have six more miles to go – none of that matters.
One of my Danner boots began to fill with water and my iWatch was so wet it began butt texting everyone with wild abandon (sorry, everyone). While the hail occasionally let up, the rain did not, and then new mountains of hail were pelting us among claps of thunder. For reference, KATU Weather did not predict this storm when we checked in the morning.
We trudged through it, and the weather cleared close to the end. While we knew we should stretch a bit before sitting down, our wet and cold bodies just wanted to hunch over mugs of hot water.
The goal was never to knock out all 30 miles in one day (although that would be sweet), but through this process we actually covered 50 full miles, which is considerably more than originally intended. We can now successfully check this 30 miles off the bucket list, and think about what other hiking feats we might consider when the weather clears…in nine months.