Urban hiking the parks along Willamette River

With ice and snow covering the Cascade foothills, urban hiking the parks along the Willamette River all from my front door made for a perfect cold but dry March morning. Hikes at OR coast or in the valley were considered but required >1 hour of driving each way – just not worth the carbon karma when I can hike 20 miles through quiet urban parks along a picturesque river without driving at all.

Note: photos w/ rounded corners can be opened for higher resolution, better qualitysquare corners are boring images

Urban hike route

Starting around 0630 with headlamp on the Ruth Bascom river trail through Alton Baker Park to Island Park. From Island Park, a short street walk up and over the hill to Dorris Ranch. From there it was along the Clearwater Path to its end, and then turned around back to home, using Pre’s Trail bark dust as much as possible on the return.

While most of the paths are concrete or asphalt, most miles have ‘off trail’ footpaths along the side. While not good Leave No Trace practice, park trucks made most of the tracks, and avoiding cement is good thing for my knees. The route was flat and very fast, 3.1 mph pace for >6 hours.

Early morning Alton Baker Park and Pre’s Trail

Oddly, out on the field from Alton Baker Park, a truck was driving around it’s lights piercing the fog. It turned out to be Eugene Police.

Passing underneath the I-5 bridge was beautiful in the fog – so seldom are these massive concrete structures beautiful

Mid morning Dorris Ranch Park and Clearwater Path

Passing through town to get to Dorris Ranch is not that wonderful and industrial sights do get in the way

The parking lot was empty, the meadows frosted just enough

Return trip along Willamette River

After turning around, the fog lifted, the sun broke through – some flowers even poked out just in time

Friends along the Willamette River

A couple of birds had to show off and everywhere one looked pairs of birds were getting ready for the big event coming … eggs! One dark red-tailed hawk met me at the beginning of the Dorris Ranch trail, though quickly flew off. This dove just sat on the fence and i probably could have reached out and touched it.

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