“In the spring time, the only pretty ring time,
When birds do sing, hey ding a ding;
Sweet lovers love the spring.”
So wrote William Shakespeare ages ago, and I think the sentiment holds today. As we emerge from a long, wet spring into summer, the love endures, and it’s time to head outdoors. In Portland and the surrounding area, it couldnít be easier to find a way to get out and hear that ding a ding.
The city offers hikers plenty of trails. At 5,100 acres, Forest Park boasts more than 80 miles of paths, including the Wildwood Trail, a National Recreation Trail which stretches for more than 30 miles, connecting historic Pittock Mansion, Hoyt Arboretum and the Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary. Along Portlandís southwest border lies Tryon Creek State Park, a 670-acre forest with a fully staffed nature center and a network of trails winding past trickling streams.
Donít just settle for land-based treks, though. On the Willamette River, you can float beneath Portlandís bridges and discover the protected nature preserve Ross Island by kayak. And on Sauvie Island, paddle tranquil Multnomah Channel and the Columbia River in search of blue herons and bald eagles.
If youíre up for a day trip ó and a little more exertion ó pick from dozens of trails in the Columbia River Gorge, or give windsurfing a whirl in the town of Hood River. South of this artistically and agriculturally rich town, you canít miss 11,249-foot Mount Hood, home to five ski and snowboard areas and more than one million acres of national forest, all within a two-hour drive of town.