Calling this section “preparation” is probably not quite appropriate, given that this hike was actually nothing short of a whim. I started “planning” yesterday afternoon after I returned from work. The weather forecast indicated clear skies with a temperature of 92 degrees. The day would start cool and hit the peak around 5pm, giving me a window that I could use. Key items in my kit included:
- Jam 2 pack
- 1 3-liter water bladder (water is scarce and sketchy on the trail)
- 2 1-liter platypus bottles for refilling my bladder later on the trail
- Lumix LX-3 camera
- Grub consisting of 3 Honey Stinger Energy Gels, 2 Honey Stinger Organic Energy Chews, 1 Probar, 1 Mini Cliff Bar, and a package of GORP
- Clothing worn consisted of a Patagonia Merino 2 shirt, REI Sahara Shorts, and Keen Newport H2 Sandals (w/merino socks–I know . . . LAME)
Total weight for this venture totaled 15 lbs, mostly of consumables. I figured that I could likely average 3 miles/hr on the trail given it’s relatively flat elevation profile (outside of the ~700 feet of elevation gain from the stone house to Pittock Mansion), getting me from start to finish in 10 hours.
Due to some navigational opportunities in the dark, I hit the trail @ 5:30am, after nearly heading to Cornelius Pass. Breakfast consisted of a blackberry fruit pie, now that I’ve completely shunned dry oatmeal (for obvious reasons).
Given that lack of light, I had to search for the 30-mile marker, not knowing it was above the first bridge on the trail. This afforded me with an opportunity to double-back a bit.
Fortunately the lighting improved greatly by 6am as I started my hike along Newton Rd on the way to the Germantown Rd trailhead. The trail here is extremely sheltered, affording beautiful views of the park/forest with only occasional fire lanes, BPA roads, etc.
I reached Germantown Rd @ around 7:27am, knocking-off the first 6 miles in pretty rapid fashion. I encountered my first runner with a dog at this time (note: this would not be my last), exchanging a polite “hello.” This was an interesting PDX people study. Very few individuals (or groups) that I encountered on the trail said anything to me, which was kind of funny. It’s not really surprising as trail runners, at minimum, in PDX tend to be focused on themselves and not much else!
Germantown road is one of the nicest trailheads at the park with ample parking and a big color sign with the slogan “Wildwood Trail at Germantown Road: Into the Wild.” Hopefully I would fare better than the protagonist of the novel of the same name; I would have to see.
This next section would take past several more fire lanes, gas and oil lanes, power lines, and various park trails including the Hardesty and Trillium. I passed “Saltzman Rd,” which was humorous as there was no signage nor indication of this being a road at all. On the phone with McLovin at the time, we pegged my progress @ 13 miles, not realizing until I hit the Koenig trail that I was, in actuality, nearly 16 miles in. I hit firelane 3 at 10:43am, bringing my total to 16.5 miles in just over 5 hours.
At approximately 17 miles on the trail, it was time for a quick break for some foot maintenance not because I was particularly hating it, but because I would be travelling further than I’d ever hiked before in a single day (previous record was about 23 miles or so–Franken or McLovin can correct me here if I’ve misrepresented). I applied some Glide to my feet, grubbed a Probar and paused to capture a self-portrait on the trail. I hit the trail again at about 11am.
This next section would eventually take me to known areas of the trail, starting with the Wild Cherry trail where I’ve hiked with my son. That was a mere 5 miles away from my present location. I would pass firelane 2, the Chestnut and Nature trails, firelane 1, Alder trail, and Dogwood before reaching this location. By this point, I’d consumed 3 liters of water and stopped at the first trail bench in a long while to pour the contents of my Platipi into my bladder for easy access. I had travelled 22+ miles and grubbed nearly all of my food by this point, which was good. The time was approximately 12:30pm.
I set my sights on the Stone House at this point, which was ~3 miles from my present location and only 5.5 miles from the Zoo. This is a popular trail destination from Macleay park. I reached this location at 1:22pm, giving me 1.5 hours to reach my rendezvous location at the zoo at 2:45. I was feeling, at this point, rather worn to say the least and knew that I would have to really suck it up to be able to maintain my pace on the hilliest section of the Wildwood.
Given that this section of the trail has been covered nearly weekly this year on our Friday hikes, I won’t go into great detail here other than to say that the weather, although hot, was perfect affording great views of the surrounding area.
All things said, I arrived at the Wildwood trail sign at the zoo @ 2:43pm. My total time on trail was 9 hours 14 minutes for 30+ miles.
- I finished this hike @ 3.33 miles/hour or 18 minute miles
- Although not really clear from other sources on the web, it’s easy to park at Newbury Rd as long as you arrive early. There’s easily space for 10 cars at the “trailhead.”
- This is a beautiful trail and a must-do for anyone who wants to see the beauty of unspoiled forests from within the city limits
- I brought about the perfect mix of gear, food and water for this hike in warm weather
- I’m now a firm believer in sandal hiking. For 30 miles on the trail my feet ended up in great shape. This will likely be my footwear of choice for the Wonderland Trail in September.
- The Merino 2 tee is killer, keeping me cool and rather stink free!
Here’s a great source for topographic maps on the web, courtesy of the Art of Geography.