The Four-Train Loop Hike

I had another wonderful Pearl day yesterday: worked all day at home in my sweats, then walked up to OfficeMax and Safeway, and a friend came over for dinner. He took off, and another friend came for dessert — I’m such a social hub — but first we went for a walk.

To this point, I have basically always walked west — that is, into the Pearl. This time we decided to head for the river, crossing a vacant lot at 11th and Overton. This is a doggie leash-free park, and there’s a big sign on the corner, but in a month of living here I never bothered to read the sign. Probably just says “leash-free doggie park,” right?

Well, no. The lot is going to become The Fields Neighborhood Park, with all kinds of cool features — and right across the street from my new pad! Across the other way is Tanner Springs Park, where the other night I saw a heron stalking the pond. Amazing.

We scooted across the lot and the railroad tracks, visited the Portland Police horse headquarters, then found out that the glassy shiny towers across the road have some really cool water features. Just pas that was the river, amazingly high right now, and when we got there Maria saw a beaver! It was just hanging out among the flooded blackberries, doing its thing, paying us no mind whatsoever. This is two blocks from my apartment!

We walked along the river for a while, then skipped over Naito Parkway to the bridge at the train station. Up there we saw a freight train headed north, the Amtrak coming in from Seattle, and a Max coming over the Steel Bridge. Knowing we would also seea Streetcar very soon, I have now labelled this the Four-Train Loop. We went past Union Station and up onto the Broadway Bridge for a beautiful walk over the river, then back down for some gelato — but no heron tonight.

Downtown is a magical place to be when all the workers have left and it’s just me, my friends, and the critters.

Paul Gerald

I am the author of several books on hiking, camping, eating breakfast and chilling out. I am also a freelance travel writer, publisher, hiker, and inveterate traveler.

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