The trail was supposed to be the Washington Park Loop, but after missing a right hand turn, we did our own thing.
I had initially wanted to check out Pittock Mansion, which was supposed to have an excellent view of the city. However, looking at alltrails, I didn’t think I’d make it there and back by dark given our late start of the day. But with our abbreviated “loop” to a more like an a very thin oval, it appeared the mansion wasn’t that far away.
The most delightful thing about Oregon thus far is that we don’t have to get up at the crack of dawn to go for a hike. We can meander through the morning, and then sometime in the afternoon head out for a walk. The temperatures are in our perfect zone: 50-70 degrees, even in mid-afternoon. That said, as winter approaches, it does get dark earlier and earlier.
We had till around 6:30pm, and as we came upon the trail crossing that read “To Pittock Mansion”, I took my chances. We could make it back in time.
It was a bit of a climb, but it meant it was all downhill on the way back. So up we went, through the woods. Up and up and across a road and up and up again. If Tuck and I could do Twin Peaks in San Francisco, we could certainly do this.
Much like Twin Peaks, while the hike up was pretty solitary, the landing point was quite busy. As usual, there was an easier, faster, and less sweaty way to get here. I always tend to choose the hard way.
There, past the chain link fence and crowds of people was Portland proper.
There were many ways back, and I was having some difficulty figuring out which way would get us back before dark. I was trying to outrun the sun, as the sun lazily slid toward the horizon. It was winning. I was panicking.
We stopped for a brief moment to catch a sight of Mt St Helens.
I stopped a couple who was coming up from one side and asked how to get back.
“You can’t miss it,” the guy said as I explained here I needed to go. He started to get into some pretty specific details on what I would see to find the right track. Finally his female companion broke in with, “You’re making it was may more confusing than it needs to be. Just head down this path, turn right, and you can’t miss it. You’re so close. Honest.”
I thanked her (and him, for his valiant effort) and Tuck and I headed across the lawn to the path they pointed to. Sure enough, only moments later, feeling rather stupid for not just trying, we found ourselves on the quickest path back to the parking lot.
Indecision is oftentimes has way worse of an outcome than the wrong decision. Especially in hiking, since really there are no wrong paths, just different ways to get to the same place. And as with all hikes and life, the point of doing it isn’t to finish but to experience and enjoy the every twist and turn of the journey along the way, always staying one step ahead of the darkness.