Despite my promise to do a “pure fun” ride or walk every week this year, this challenge trailed off a bit as April began. It’s not that I didn’t want to do something, but either the weather would be crap or I was just too damn busy, as was the case of one week when I had only one day off because I covered for someone at work. I wasn’t happy about this, nope. So when my “weekend” hit for the week of April 12, I was primed and ready. And thankfully the weather decided to get good again: after a rainy Tuesday, Wednesday April 15 was going to be a sunny day. Not super warm, maybe a high pushing 60F/16C, though it would near 80F by the weekend. In any case, it was a perfect day for a ride!
I had to finish up some stuff in the morning, so by afternoon I was ready. But the question was: where to? The original idea I had for the day was maybe a bit too ambitious now (especially since I had to meet folks in the evening) so I scrapped that. But I had no readymade Plan B option. Oh sure, there’s lots of places I could ride, but I wanted to ride to somewhere different, and also wanted to stay in North and Northeast. Decision paralysis! I knew I had to do something, so I left the house with no real aim, other than to head deeper into North Portland.
I basically went on autopilot, hitting up some of my favorite bits o’ dirt on the peninsula. Soon I was in Columbia Park and on a whim, decided to head further north to the mouth of the Peninsula railroad tunnel, which is visible from the edge of a grassy lot in the New Columbia development. And just my luck, a freight train was heading into the tunnel at that moment!
From there I figured I should check out the Columbia Slough since it was so close. I used the Peninsula Crossing Trail to get there, but in the greenspace near the sewage treatment center I noticed a dirt trail heading off into the riparian forest. I’ve seen this trail before but for some reason I never decided to go down it…until today. It was a lovely little trail, mostly free of roots, and it led to a spot with a view of the Slough right next to the UP rail bridge. When I find spots like this in the city, I’m expecting them to be obviously used and full of trash, or show evidence of camping. But here, remarkably little of that. Besides graffiti on the trestle (which is going to happen, no matter what), the only thing that I noticed was a well-beyond-used couch under the bridge and evidence of a campfire on the sandy beach. It was a great spot to sit for a bit, make some tea, listen a bit to the radio and a bit more to the birds and rustle of the leaves. While industry is close-by, this area felt very calm and peaceful. I’ll need to come down here again.
I rambled for a bit on the Slough, headed back into North Portland for a burrito, and decided to make an appearance at ye old Rivendell Ridge (aka The Horsehoe) on the Willamette Bluffs. Quite a bit of people were out and about, many dogs down on the bottom of the horseshoe. Atop the bluff next to the Dead Madrona Tree someone has placed four wooden benches/chairs and a couple planters, facing west to catch the sunset. I highly doubt the city has done this (this area is under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Environmental Services), so I’m guessing a neighbor has put them out here for everyone to enjoy! Nice. I hung out for a bit until I got a bit cold then moved on to meet friends for drinks.