Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Hoyt Arboretum

Nice rainy afternoon, good day to hike in the forest. Being a plant fanatic, Tonia picked Hoyt Arboretum in Washington Park. We went to the visitor's center first to get a map and then proceeded down to the trails. We picked the wildwood trail, a 2 mile loop that started and ended at the visitor's center.

As we headed out, one thing became very clear. The people who made the map and, of course, the trail signage, knew the way very well. They didn't need a map. Because if they had, the map would have been a lot different. The trail we were following changed names every few hundred yards, corresponding with the part of the arboretum, I figured that out, but not before we had managed to follow a trail that led us to a neighborhood, exiting the park altogether. We followed the road  and eventually met back up with the trail, but ended up lost again when we followed another wildwood sign not realizing that we were now on the magnolia trail. This lead almost to the Japanese gardens before we realized our mistake and turned back.

The magnolia section was definitely the highlight of the hike, beautiful plants, a few flowers, and super awesome seed pods. By this time it was raining pretty hard and we were off the trail again -?- and the only option was to take the trail leading back to the visitor's center, cutting our loop in half. Where did our trail go? It's a mystery. My only guess is that maybe you need a pocket mirror to see the secret coded paths as several times it seemed that the fork we were at should have been mirror imaged in order to match the map. And yes, I turned it upside down, this didn't help.

We warmed up at the Tao of Tea by my house, I had a rooibos tea blend and Tonia had chai. Fantastic chickpeas and dumplings. So exciting i didn't even think to take a picture until I was done!

After a long time and lots of tea, we walked several blocks in the opposite direction of the car( on the wrong side of the main street nonetheless) before circling back and figuring out where we had parked. I made a mental apology to the makers of the park map.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Bagby Hot Springs

Ok, for real this time.

Today Kelly and I headed out to Bagby Hot Springs. 61.7 miles south east of Oregon City on HWY 224. Sounds close enough? It was not close. It was very very far. 61.7 miles, oh ya, 61.7 miles, that's like an hour, right? Maybe it is on the 205- but when you are winding through the national forest at 15 miles per hour it's more like 3 hours. And then you have to hike in. The hike was lovely, 1.5 miles, manicured path, no hills. It was more like a stroll along a creek.

The hot springs themselves were an experience I had not prepared myself for. Built in the 80's, they consisted of hollowed out trees that served as bathing tuns, some private, some not. We started off each in our own private tub room. Pull the stick out of the plug, fill the tub. The water was insanely hot, i'm sure somewhere in the neighborhood of 1000 degrees ( fahrenheit). You were provided with your own personal 10 gallon bucket to carry cold water from spring to cool the tub, just down the flight of stairs and to the left. I think i made 8 trips.

That's my bucket!

On the walls were etched and written all of the names of the couples who had, um, well, "enjoyed" the private tub before I had gotten there. A small squirrel ran through several times. It was really nice to lay back in the hot water and have the canopy of trees above you. But it was really hot. And kinda gross. We moved down to the communal tubs after this and shared a large round one, no pics here, there were lots of naked people.

Relaxing on the benches after all the soaking may have been the best part. Looking up at the trees, cooling off after boiling ourselves. The hike out was just as long as the one in but somehow the drive home was shorter. Maybe because we knew where we were going.

Bottom line, would I ever make this a day trip again? No.

Would I go back if we had planned ahead, knew where we were going, brought lots of food, and added the hot springs as one activity on a longer camping trip in the national forest? Yes. That sounds awesome.