This is our second trip to Portland Oregon but the first time Sharon had wrist surgery and was in a cast and on pain medications. She is certainly enjoying our second trip since she is now able to enjoy our hikes and the wonderful crafted beer selections found here in Beervana. In addition to sampling as many breweries as we can during our three and a half weeklong stay, we certainly wanted to revisit the quirky downtown area.
Like Austin, Texas Portland is a very laid back place and both cities advertise they want their towns “weird” and both are friendly, walkable cities. Portland claims to have the largest per capita number of breweries and, according to a Time Magazine article, the most strip clubs. Our plans certainly don’t include visiting any of the strip clubs but we did get a laugh reading about one local club boasting its girls were all Vegan and only the clothes were not composed of animal products... only in Portland! Another club advertises breakfast “legs and eggs”. Definitely weird (smile).
We decided to hike around Portland on Saturday and found a parking garage charging $3.50 for the whole day. After parking we headed straight over to Voodoo Donuts. a real road treat, where I ordered their signature maple bacon bar and Sharon had a plain maple bar. Voodoo Donuts is one of the iconic places that represent Portland and is fun just to stand in line, people watch and check out their very interesting assortment of weirdly named pastries… Our selections were very delicious. From there we walked over to Pioneer Courthouse Square where we luckily ran into an Italian Festival with very lively music. We stayed for a while and enjoyed the atmosphere and music before embarking on a hike Sharon found to the highest point in Portland, Council Crest Park. The hike was supposed to be a loop back to Pioneer Park with one leg of the route to be taken riding a free tram downhill. It sounded good so off we went.
Unfortunately we (Sharon) misread the starting point so we actually reversed the trail. Normally this would be no problem but the reverse route negated the tram ride. This meant that our walk turned out to be an almost 11 mile hike and not the 6.5 we originally planned. None the less the hike was fun and we started out hiking through through city streets, then through a park to a Maple forested trail that went straight up via many switchbacks to the crest. As we crested we saw a wedding taking place and we could see why as the views at the crest were fantastic.
One direction we could see a panorama of the city from above and another direction we saw Mt Hood which on this day was free of clouds. We returned a slightly different way via some neat neighborhoods back to Pioneer Courthouse Square. We loved the architecture in these very unique neighborhoods with their beautiful interesting homes and how they were designed to fit in the rolling and steep hills. Returning to Pioneer Park three hours after we started, the Italian Fest was in still in full swing so we stayed and listened to some more music there before taking a walk down Park Street through some lovely greenery over to 5th Avenue.
After all that hiking we were tired and thirsty so we found a brewery called Pints Brewing Company a couple of blocks from where our car was parked. So we simply had to stop and check out their crafted beer selections. We had some good brews and even though our feet were pretty tired, we did hike a lot of the city on this day so even with our snafu with directions, it was a fun-filled scenic day… and a great urban hike!