Monday, February 27, 2012

Cigar & Charcuterie - McMenamins Edgefield and Olympic Provisions

A rainy, manly Saturday in Portland...

Rain. For the third weekend in a row. Now, I don't mind a little rain on a hike. In fact, I often prefer it. It makes for fewer crowds and a more natural and mysterious feel to nature. But when you're towing around expensive camera equipment (expensive to me, at least...), you don't typically want to risk getting caught in a downpour.

I woke up this morning to a juxtaposition of snow, sleet, and rain. I knew that chances were slim of a full-blown hike, but cabin fever has become intense and I needed to get out. So, I decided I'd check two items off my Portland Area Bucket List: a cigar at the Little Red Shed at Edgefield, and the charcuterie at Olympic Provisions. I grabbed my camera and the novel that I'm currently obsessed with, grabbed the largest cigar out of my humidor (a Gurkha Grand Age: 7.5 inches long with a 54 ring gauge), and hit the road.

Cigar @ Little Red Shed, McMenamins Edgefield

How do I describe what the McMenamin Bros. have done for Portland? For one, they have kept it in tact. For another, they have made it more fun. For yet another, they have provided for Portlanders and a growing number of tourists truly authentic pubs, each with their own history and character. Who are the McMenamin Bros.? They are two guys who have bought up old historical buildings in Portland, renovated them, decorated them to look like surrealist English public houses, and turned them into pubs, restaurants, brew-n-view theaters, hotels, music venues, or in some circumstances (including Edgefield), all of the above. Their establishments consist of an old school, poor farm, Universal Studios movie theater, Church of Sweden, general store, Polish Catholic Church, ballroom, brothel, pioneer homestead, a Masonic retirement home, and a funeral home, to name just a few. Frankly, I am thankful for the McMenamins for what they have done around Portland, not only preserving history, but planting gorgeous and unique pubs all over the city.

Edgefield is the largest and most touristy McMenamin properties. Built around 1911, it was a "poor farm" that was run by Multnomah county to offer jobs to the poor, elderly, and mentally disabled. Then, in 1950, the building became a hospital for tubercular patients. In 1964 it housed emotionally disturbed children. Killer cool, if not macabre, history! In the 1980's there was a lot of county talk of the building being torn down and the land sold to developers. But in 1990, then the manor became listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the McMenamins bought the property and started to transform it into what it is today.

And what is Edgefield today? I like to think of it as a resort for your stereotypical Northwesterner. Edgefield is not a bar or a restaurant, it is a "grounds" containing several of both, a hotel, and many more. The 74 acre Edgefield grounds, located on the very farthest eastern fringe of Portland before getting into the Columbia River Gorge (another plus for Edgefield, its proximity to the Gorge!), contains over 100 guest rooms, 2 3-par golf courses, a distillery, a brewery, a winery, a spa, a rentable wedding reception venue, a brew-and-view movie theater, a soaking pool, and multiple gardens, restaurants and bars (some of which I have dubbed "nook-and-cranny" bars, since they have seating for about 10-15 people only and are located in tiny sheds/shacks, like the cigar bar viewed below).

Here is a photo of the iconic water tower in the center of the grounds.

Water Tower - McMenamin's Edgefield (m)

Ah, yes. The "Little Red Shed", the only bar at Edgefield that allows cigar smoking. It is, indeed, a shed. It's weathered, ramshackle, and barn-like, but that is exactly how it should be. A bonfire roars in a fire-pit just outside with several picnic tables surrounding. The inside features a very small bar with taps, whiskey bottles, port, and that's about it, a fireplace, and seating for roughly 15 people maximum. It is, in every sense of the word, cozy. I absolutely love this little shed. I could sit here all day, and indeed I nearly did. This may perhaps be the perfect place to smoke a cigar (where it's still permitted) in the country. With so few places left out there that allow cigars to be smoked indoors, I cannot see how anyone could have the McMenamins beat for having a more cozy and quintessential "cave" in which to smoke a cigar (and that comment includes not just Little Red Shed but other McMenamins cigar bars like the brilliantly named Detention in Kennedy School, Greater Trumps, and Little White Shed out in Hillsboro).

My Gurkha Grand Age, at 7.5 inches long, burned slowly and evenly for 2 hours. Accompanying it was a pint of McMenamins' own Hammerhead Pale Ale and the novel Number9Dream by my favorite living author, David Mitchell.

Little Red Shed Cigar Bar - McMenamins Edgefield

Gurkha Grand Age & McMenamins Hammerhead Pale Ale

Little Red Shed - McMenamins Edgefield
Gurkha Grand Age & McMenamins Hammerhead Pale Ale
Two hours later... time to call it quits.

Very unexpectedly, the sun reared its beautiful face for an hour or so, lending me a chance to wander around the Edgefield grounds for a little while before an early dinner in SE Portland at Olympic Provisions. Those who love art will love the feel of the McMenamin's establishments. The original art throughout their buildings is almost always eccentric and surrealist, and often macabre or eerie. I for one am in love with the way they decorate their establishments. Very classy yet "out there," always very homey yet often almost fairy-tale like, very "traditional English Pub" yet something distinctively different at the same time.

(more on my views on McMenamins at the bottom of the entry, but for now, here are some shots of Edgefield)

McMenamins Edgefield - Troutdale, Oregon
Edgefield Porch
One of the nook-and-cranny bars at Edgefield
An Edgefield "archway" 

Inside Edgefield

Typical Surrealist Art you find within a McMenamin's establishment
In a perfect world I would've spent a few more hours at Edgefield; and in the future, I will post many more photos of the grounds, the various buildings on the grounds, some of their food and more of their drink, the inside of a guest room hopefully, etc. But here's the deal. I've been chomping at the bit to try Olympic Provisions ever since I bought one of their deli meats at New Seasons market. I had decided, before even arriving at McMenamins, that I was finally going to have Olympic Provisions for an early happy hour dinner. That being said, the hungrier I grew at Edgefield, the more and more eager I was to get to Olympic Provisions before Happy Hour ended. So, goodbye for now, Edgefield, but I'll see you again very soon.

Charcuterie @ Olympic Provisions, SE Portland

If you love meat, then you need to know about this place. Olympic Provisions is Oregon's first USDA-approved salumeria, or, cured meat shop. They sell their products wholesale but also operate two restaurants in Portland, one on each side of the river. To quote their website, "both Olympic Provisions operate as European-style restaurants, bustling neighborhood delis, and onsite meat-curing facilities." So true. But what they humbly neglect to tell you on their website is how savory, addicting, and god-dang unreal their meats are. Holy hell. I mean these guys know what they are doing, to say the least.

For those of you that are unfamiliar with the word charcuterie, click here for a definition, provided by Wikipedia. Basically, it is the art of doing outrageously delicious things with meat.

Vegetarians, I hate to say it, but when it comes to Olympic Provisions I do feel a little sorry for you. Words can hardly describe what you are missing out on here. But at least O.P. is honest about what they do. Right as you walk into their SE restaurant you see a giant illuminated MEAT sign on the wall (see below). It is no secret what they specialize in here. But, vegetarians, don't let that stop you from coming here. Coincidentally, O.P. are also master picklers and have a great selection of wine.

I am shocked by how reasonable their happy hour prices are too. Needless to say, I love this place. It is unique, outstandingly high quality, and quintessentially Portland (not just in the food and warehouse-y atmosphere, but for the heavily tattooed staff). This is the kind of place I will bring visitors to because, to me, it stands as one of the key representations of Portland's emergence as a hotbed of artisan talent in the national culinary scene.

Inside Olympic Provisions
Happy Hour @ Olympic Provisions

The happy hour menu is just right. Divided into two sections, one labeled EAT and the other DRINK, my eye naturally gravitated first to the DRINK side. Here I found the "Olympic Old-Fashioned." Now, I love me an old-fashioned, but this was above and beyond the Old-Fashions of my past. Under the word "Olympic Old Fashioned" it read "bourbon, baking spices, brown sugar, two bitters." For the love of black jeans, I'll take one!

House Bourbon Old Fashioned, $5 - Olympic Provisions Happy Hour

Next, the EAT side of the menu; and how on earth could I neglect the "Chef's Choice of 3 Charcuterie Items"? But I saw a staff member preparing one of the "Sweetheart Ham Sandwiches" too and it looked ridiculously good! (I am a ham sandwich aficionado) So, torn between the two, I decided to wave the white flag and get both, along with a small plate of pickled vegetables. I rolled a late lunch and early dinner into one meal. When in Rome...

(side note: Double Mountain Brewery is quickly becoming one of my favorite breweries on earth. last weekend I sampled one of their cask-conditioned India Red Ales (IRA) at Horse Brass and believed it to be one of the best beers I've ever had. With my ham sandwich I ordered Double Mountain's golden German-style Kolsch and, yet again, felt it was one of the best beers I've ever had. I'm dying to make a trip out to their brewery in the beautiful Columbia River Gorge town of Hood River.)

Enough of that, let the photos of Olympic Provisions food speak for themselves... (cue the choral music...)

Happy Hour Charcuterie Plate - 3 items, chef's choice, $5
Pickled Vegetables: cauliflower, pickles, onions, carrots, and celery

Hour Hour Sweetheart Ham Sandwich & a Double Mountain Kolsch German-style Ale

Final Thoughts:


I have something to say here:

For annoying reasons, McMenamins gets a bad wrap in the world of pretentious, hypocritical, anti-establishment Portland hipsters (and no, hipsters, by no means do all of you fit into this category). True, in Portland's brewing community McMenamins is larger than life in that it owns and operates over 60 locations, most of which are right here in the city. So, in the hipster mindset, McMenamins has become "corporate." If you so much as mention McMenamins to a hipster here chances are they will bash it in some way, shape, or form. It's too "big-business" for them. To use an all too common and all too frustrating hipster-colloquialism (satirized by the television show Portlandia, which, of course, most hipsters hate as well) : they view McMenamins as "over."

But please do not listen to their rants. McMenamins is, first and foremost, a local, Portland institution. It is not even close to being an Anheuser-Busch or Miller, it is a significantly smaller "micro-brewer" (among many other things) that started here in Portland and is greatly contributing to Portland's economy, its history, and its reputation for being a killer place to live and have fun. It saddens me that the very people who claim to support local businesses criticize McMenamins for being too corporate. Yeah, it's a lot more corporate than Migration Brewing or Alameda Brewing but it is still, no matter which way you look at it, local! 

I for one would greatly prefer to NOT have to picture a Portland without Greater Trumps, Edgefield, Bagdad Theater, Kennedy School, Imbrie Hall, Ringler's Annex, White Eagle Saloon, and Ram's Head, just to name a few. I believe that McMenamins should be put on a pedestal for what they have done for Portland, not criticized and bashed by the very same people who claim they support local businesses yet get all anti-establishment as soon as those businesses grow to a size larger than one mere dive bar on Alberta. If you took McMenamins out of Portland, you truly take something great out of Portland's charm and character, regardless of what any schmuck twenty-something hipster (most of which aren't even from here) says about it.

Olympic Provisions:

Olympic Provisions has a great and growing reputation around Portland, so I do not have to go to bat for them. But if I could, I most certainly would. This place is AWE-some. It has a very authentic character and persona and is producing some of the best meat you can get in Portland today. You can taste the meticulous attention to detail and strive for perfection in their products. The people behind O.P. clearly love what they do and it shows in their food. In the future, every carnivorous guest that visits me in Portland will be ushered here within hours of their arrival.

Additional Info:

2126 SW Halsey Street
Troutdale, Oregon

Olympic Provisions
107 SE Washington Street
Portland, Oregon

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Day Trip: Oregon Coast - Smugglers Cove & Cannon Beach

Discovering that the weather forecast for the Northern Oregon Coast called for 61 degree and sunny this past weekend, my wife and I decided to hit the road. Being Super Bowl Sunday, we also hoped for lesser crowds than usual on sunny weekend at the coast.

I have been eying the neighboring Kings Mountain and Elk Mountain hikes, both among the most strenuous hikes in my guide books, located off hwy 6 in the coastal range, so this is the route we took out to the coast. I wanted to get a glimpse of their trailheads.

Hwy 6 spills you out at Tillamook, one of the nation's cheese capitals (and boy, you know it when you get there due to the ubiquitous cow manure odor lurking in the air here). From here, we went northbound toward the quaint "Carmel-by-the-Sea-like" town of Manzanita, the wild Oswald West State Park, and the artsy and touristy town of Cannon Beach.

Our first real stop was in Rockaway Beach, a small beach town north of Tillamook. Here we stretched our legs on the beach and made friends with the gulls.

Rockaway Beach (m)
Seagull on Rockaway Beach (m)
Reluctant to leave the beach but eager to get to an even better one, we continued north through the quaint towns of Nehalem Bay: Wheeler, Nehalem, and Manzanita. My wife and I adore this part of the coast. We were too busy taking in the charm of this area to stop and take any photographs of the towns themselves, but I will in the future. We both agreed that to one day retire in one of these towns, especially Manzanita, would be absolutely wonderful.

Again reluctant to leave, this time downtown Manzanita, we drove out of the Nahalem Bay area and up into Oswald West State Park. There are several places to pull off the 101 to take in views of the bay and Manzanita down below. The photo below is an example of what to expect from the views you'll get from these hwy 101 turnouts.

Manzanita and Nehalem Bay from a turnoff on hwy 101
Finally, we arrived at one of our main destinations: Cape Falcon and Short Sand Beach (aka Smugglers Cove). A short and very easy path along a creek and through old-growth Sitka spruce leads to Short Sand Beach, a picture perfect place to beach bum, watch surfers, wade in both the ocean and the mouth of a creek, and have a picnic.

The most intriguing and romantic thing about Smugglers Cove, however, is that legend has it (and apparently, it is more than just legend and actually true) that Sir Francis Drake, the Englishman who first ventured north of California along the Pacific, buried treasure that he pirated from the Spanish (who pirated gold from the Aztecs and Incas) somewhere in Oswald West State Park, namely somewhere up on Neahkahnie Mountain (which towers over Smugglers Cove). They came ashore via Short Sand Beach! So not only is this place naturally breathtakingly scenic, but there is also the looming wonder for all who visit as to whether or not there really is Incan and Mayan gold, pirated first by the Spanish and then by the English, burried somewhere in the area. There is something about this place that reminds me of The Goonies, which coincidentally was filmed not 40 miles to the north of Short Sand Beach in the gritty, wind-blown fisherman's town of Astoria, Oregon.

Here is Short Sand Beach / Smugglers Cove, as well as the path that leads one to it:

A towering old-growth Sitka Spruce along the path to Short Sand Beach
The path leading to Short Sand Beach
The path leading to Short Sand Beach
Surfers on Short Sand Beach - Smuggler's Cove
Short Sand Beach - Smuggler's Cove
Short Sand Beach - Smuggler's Cove
The intent was to hike out to Cape Falcon, which is apparently among the best coastal hikes in Oregon, with outstanding views of Smugglers Cove and Neahkahnie Mountain, but alas, we encountered wet mud puddles thick and gnarly enough that we agreed not to continue on (the day was hardly half over, and neither of us wanted to spend the rest of the day in wet, muddy shoes). If you look to the left of the picture below (thanks to William Sullivan and you will see Smugglers Cove, Short Sand Beach, and Cape Falcon. The dotted line is the trail that I will have to save for another, drier day.

Photo thanks to W. Sullivan and

Here are some photos of the beginning of the trail out to Cape Falcon, and an example of the mud puddles that forced us to turn around.

The trail to Cape Falcon
Typical mud puddles encountered in the coastal range during the rainy winter months
The trail to Cape Falcon
The Picnic area at Short Sand Beach has to be one of the best places on earth to have a picnic. My wife and I were regretful for not stopping at a market in Manzanita for a make-shift picnic to bring here. From now on, whenever we come out here, we will bring lunch with us. It's that perfect.

Smuggler's Cove
Short Sand Beach
We returned to our car hungry and ready for some sort of seafood lunch, so we head just slightly north on a very scenic section of the 101 into Cannon Beach, a quaint, artsy beach town that is typically very crowded with tourists, and rightly so. Today, however, the Super Bowl kept many Oregonians indoors, making Cannon Beach a lot quieter and calmer (and therefore even more enjoyable) than I had remembered it. But then again, I had only ever visited on Spring weekends.

Oh, and why is it called Cannon Beach? Because a cannon from a shipwrecked Navy schooner washed up onto the shore here in 1846. How badass is that? You really understand the force and power of the ocean when you realize it can toss around a freaking cannon.

My wife and I made a break for Ecola Seafoods in downtown Cannon Beach across from the Visitor Center, which William Sullivan, author of my Oregon Coast guidebook, highly recommended. It was, to say the least, just what we needed. We ate phenomenally fresh seafood at typical yet reasonable prices. We ordered smoked mussels, a bowl of clam chowder, and a Fisherman's Platter (a glorified fish and chips that came with cod, salmon, shrimp, scallops, and oysters). Everything was absolutely outstanding, right down to the homemade cocktail sauce. I assure you, readers, that every trip to Cannon Beach from here on out will include a purchase from this establishment, whether it be hot food to be consumed on the spot, or some of their own canned, smoked seafoods, salmon jerkies, etc.

I'll admit, I could've sat there and ate seafood for the next two hours, regardless of how full I felt.

One of the greatest things to do in Cannon Beach is to walk up and down the main street, Hemlock Street, and take in the galleries, shops, confectioneries, wine shops, etc. We did just this after lunch to burn up some time before the main event: a sunset behind Haystack Rock. My wife started foaming at the mouth when she saw salt water taffy for sale at Bruce's Candy Kitchen, which has been around since the 60's, so we made a point to fill up a bag to take home.

But shortly after om-nom-nomming several pieces of salt water taffy each (I fancied the huckleberry ones, myself), it was finally time for one of the most beautiful sights you'll ever set your eyes on: a sunset over the pacific ocean at Cannon Beach and Haystack Rock. I have been trying to find the words to describe how magnificent a sunset is from this beach, but am having difficulty doing so. Rather, I'll let some photos speak for themselves, below. These photos are not photo-shopped, enhanced, or edited in any way: this is, in its rawest form, what is like to watch the sun set from Cannon Beach, Oregon.

Sunset at Cannon Beach, Oregon
Sunset at Cannon Beach, Oregon
Moon over Cannon Beach homes
Sunset at Cannon Beach, Oregon

Few sunsets the world over rival the one witnessed from Cannon Beach. Today's hike made me yearn for the coming Spring, where temperatures on the coast are the best in Oregon, when wales return to Alaska from Mexico, and when the seafood you savor at restaurants can be eaten on outdoor patios.

The Oregon Coast is wild yet civilized, beautiful yet beastly, pristine yet gritty. You, viewer, will be seeing much more of the coast in its various forms in future entries. WCYK5A5GWKWW

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Forest Park - Pittock Mansion, Wildwood Trail, & Balch Creek - Portland, Oregon

My first hiking experience back when I first moved to Oregon in 2008 was right here, in Forest Park. I walked from my apartment on the corner of 23rd Ave and Hoyt over to a trailhead under a bridge off Thurman, passing Firefly, one of my favorite coffeehouses, along the way. I hiked up Balch Creek and was captivated by how such a wonderful "fairy-tale-like" place could literally sit at the edge of a city the way Forest Park does with Portland.

For those of you who have never been to Portland, you would hardly believe that such a park exists so close to downtown, the most urban area of the city. Forest Park is only 3 miles from Pioneer Square, in the center of downtown Portland. It is as if one moment you can sip a cup of coffee at Powell's Book, located on one of the busiest corners of Portland, where downtown meets the Pearl District- and the next moment you can be walking along a section of the 30 mile long Wildwood Trail. And you wouldn't even have to get into your car to do it! This is one of the hundreds of reasons why I think Portland, Oregon is the greatest city in the country. And best yet, one of the cities greatest neighborhoods, the Northwest district (aka Nob Hill), the neighborhood that butts up against the park, is full of excellent restaurants, coffee shops and tea houses, pubs, and eclectic shops, many of which operate out of old Victorian homes.

A quick factual snapshot of Forest Park, just so that you can get an idea of how big it is:

Forest Park:
occupies 5,171 acres
stretches for 8 miles along the Willamette River
includes over 70 miles of hiking trails, one of which, the Wildwood Trail, is 30 miles long.
contains 112 different species of bird and 62 species of mammal
has a creek (Balch: see below) with a resident trout population

The Hike:
In this blog, I hope to cover all 30 miles of Wildwood Trail. In fact, living as close as I do to this park, ideally I would like to hike all 70 miles worth of hikes contained inside the park. However, for now, I present to you the old hike that I used to do just about twice a month back in 2008, when I first moved to Portland.

The hike posted below starts at the parking lot of Pittock Mansion, follows Wildwood Trail down across Cornell Rd. to Lower McLeay Trail/Balch Creek Trail, then rejoins the Wildwood Trail at the stone ruins of the 1930's rest area, and stops at Wildwood's junction with Birch Trail. All in all the hike rang in at about 7.3 miles.

When you view the photos below, keep in mind that every one of them was taken within a 5 mile radius of downtown Portland!! We're not talking the outskirts of the greater Portland Metropolitan area here, we're talking 5 miles from downtown!!

First up, the beginning of my hike: Pittock Mansion, perched high above Portland like a castle!

Pittock Mansion, 1909
Pittock Mansion, 1909
Flowers already in bloom in early February out front of Pittock Mansion
The view of Portland from Pittock Mansion
Pittock Mansion
Pittock Mansion (see above) was built in 1909 by Henry Pittock, the publisher for The Oregonian newspaper. Consider it a Pacific Northwestern Zanadu, albeit quite a bit smaller than anything the fictional Citizen Kane or real-life William Randolph Hearst occupied. It sits high above the city, with a commanding panoramic view of not only the skyline below, but of essentially the entire city of Portland (including the industrial wastelands along the river outside St. Johns), as well as Mt. Hood and Mt. St. Helens (and even on a clear enough day, the top of Mt. Rainier). According to Wikipedia, Pittock Mansion is a "chateau" in the French-Renaissance style. In 1974 it was added to the national registry of historic places. It is a really neat place to relax or have a picnic at. I could just sit up here for hours looking out over the city.

The photo below is of a lone precocious rose that blossomed early this year next to a park bench in the back yard of the mansion. The lone rose overlooks the City of Roses down below.

After taking in the views from Pittock Mansion, I began my descent down to Cornell Rd and the start of the Lower McLeay / Balch Creek Trail.

Wildwood Trail
Wildwood Trail near Pittock Mansion
Wildwood Trail near Pittock Mansion
A huge fell tree on Wildwood Trail
Wildwood Trail switchbacks
After you cross Cornell Rd. (and take caution doing so, the scenery and curves of this road bring out weekend road warriors with their Ducatis or Porsches) you will drop a little further down into a cold, damp trail that follows a babbling creek. This is Lower McLeay Trail, and the creek you're following is Balch Creek, named, coincidentally, for a man who was hanged for the murdering of a man who ran off with his young daughter. Balch used to live along this creek, hence naming it after him. Below are photos taken from along Balch Creek and Lower McLeay Trail.

Lower McLeay - Balch Creek
Lower McLeay - Balch Creek
Lower McLeay - Balch Creek
Lower McLeay - Balch Creek
1930's rest stop ruins - Lower McLeay Trail and Wildwood Trail
1930's rest stop ruins - Lower McLeay Trail and Wildwood Trail
Don't get too romantic: the stone ruins you see above are from an old rest-stop / restroom area built in the 1930s. Yes, it would be much more mysterious and fanciful if these were the remains of something more "Hansel and Gretel", but alas, it is a large, old stone outhouse. But man, it's a beautiful sight to see along this trail, oddly enough. And it is fun to climb the mossy stairs to the second floor. People litter quite a bit around this area however, which is very unfortunate. And I think it is even safe to say that during the summer the occasional homeless person actually uses this as shelter some nights.

Right at the stone ruins, you can either continue along Lower McLeay Trail, which will dump you out at a bridge (Thurman Street), or you can do what I did: continue along Wildwood Trail. The trail does something very interesting right at this point. The Lower McLeay trail is very damp and cool trail through a dark, wet ravine. However, once you start climbing up and out of the ravine on Wildwood, the sun slowly starts to shine more and more, the trail becomes much drier and warmer, and it feels as though you are on a totally different trail. Whereas Lower McLeay Trail snakes through old growth forest, with massive fell trees and the tallest tree in any city in the country (a Douglas Fir roughly 240 feet high).

Once you start back upon Wildwood trail, however, you quickly escape this damp, dark old-growth and emerge instead into a drier, second-growth forest. Part of me always wants to turn around at this point and just walk up and down balch Creek. It is just so beautiful. But at the same time, it attracts a lot of people, and on weekends in can get crowded with people walking their dogs, trail-runners, and families who can be very slow walkers.

But enough about that, below are glances at Wildwood Trail from Lower McLeay and the stone ruins to Birch Trail.

Wildwood Trail Between Pittock Mansion and Birch Trail
Douglas Fir pinecone
Wildwood Trail Between Pittock Mansion and Birch Trail
Another Douglas Fir pinecone
Wildwood Trail Between Pittock Mansion and Birch Trail
I love this park, and I cannot believe that it is this close to urban living. It boggles my mind, truthfully. I will come back to this park over and over, not just to blog about all 70 miles, but because this place is very nostalgic to me. Forest Park is one of the first wildernesses I walked into as a newly implanted Pacific Northwesterner back in 2008. This place will live in my heart as a place where, in many ways, I found myself years ago.