Today we thought we’d try a totally different part of Portland than we’ve been familiar with so far. We left the apartment around 9:15 this morning and went for a hike up to Pittock Mansion in Forest Park. Pittock Mansion was the home of a well-known owner of the Oregonian newspaper just after the turn of the 20th century. The house was completed in 1914 and has amazing panoramic views of the entire city as well as the famous volcanos nearby.
Because the trailhead for this particular trail (Wildwood Trail) was at the intersection of 30th Avenue and Upshur Street, we thought we’d walk. For those less familiar with NW Portland’s grid, the street names are alphabetical going north and numerically the streets increase going west. So the trailhead was eight blocks to our west and eleven blocks north. In all it was about 1.3 miles each way from our apartment.
Once we got there we were amazed at how beautiful, quiet and wooded the area was, despite being within Portland’s city limits. Balch Creek, a snaking drip of a creek, wandered through the early part of the hike. Balch Creek was named for an early homesteader who owned a 650 acre parcel that included a lot of what is now NW Portland. Of course Mr. Balch was also the first person legally hanged in the territory of Oregon, so he had that going for him too. Finally, after crossing the creek, we began to climb. In all we climbed about 1000 feet in elevation from the creek to the mansion above. The trail wound back and forth and mostly uphill as we passed through massive evergreens, wild flowers, mossy logs and sheer cliffs.
Finally we reached the peak and got to see not only the very impressive Pittock mansion but the amazing views of downtown Portland and the volcanos. Well worth the hike! We then descended by the same route, which took less than a quarter of the time it took to go up. Eventually we walked home once we cleared Macleay Park at the bottom of the trail. In all we ended up walking about 7.5 miles, round trip. Not a bad way to get a Saturday started. Of course we’re going to be feeling this fun excursion for at least the next week!