Friday, May 01, 2009

Places I Like to Run Barefoot - Portland

These following pictures are taken of a beach on the Portland side of the river, where the Columbia River joins with the Williamette River. This is an area I sometimes go in between my longer runs where I can just take it easy in the sand and water and give my feet some relaxing therapy.

To the left is the beginning of a trail from the parking lot through the woods to the beach. This is a nice surface of hard sand. This area is known to have a lot of stinging nettle, so I don't venture off the established trails! This is a favorite area for people to brings their dogs and let them run free on the beach. Often I bring some dog biscuits to hand out, just because I love dogs.

This is a grassy area used for group picnics and parties. Sometimes I run through here just for the fun of it. To the north of this area is the Columbia River. To the west is the Williamette River. The two rivers converge near this park.

This is looking north onto the Columbia River at the beach entrance.

This is the beach along the Columbia River. Laying on the log is a fisherman "hard at work." The river was at high tide this day, so the beach is really narrow. When the tide is out, I sometimes find these bad rusty wires and spikes in the sand. One time I got a nasty gouge in my foot from one of them. This area is not well maintained at all. I have spent a little time trying to pull the metal out and move it some inconspicuous place up in the trees where nobody will ever come across it. In the distance is a port where they sometimes load and load cars from large ships.

This is looking south on the Williamette River shore. Off in the distance is some industrial shipping port. Near that port is the 'beginning' of this little beach. It is about 1 1/2 miles from the beginning point to the end point on the Columbia beach side, so one up-and-back run is 3 miles. I sometimes double that to get in six miles on this beach.

Just up from the beach front are woods with some trails in them that lead up to the parking lot. As long as I stick to the trails I can avoid the stinging nettle that grows in the area. In the Spring there are edible mushrooms called Morrells growing in these woods, and I see quite a few people foraging for them.

This is looking towards the south end of the beach, on the Williamette River. There is usually a ship docked there getting filled with grain or something. Those look like grain elevators.

More trails in the woods leading to the parking lot.

More trails and logs to leap over. Some wimp put up some cross-boards. Too lazy to leap, I guess.

Trail in the woods.

Beach looking north next to the Williamette River.

My footprint in the wet sand.

Wide trail leading back to the parking lot.

More of the same trail.
Where I Run Barefoot -- Vancouver Pics

I decided to go out and take some pics of some parts of my favorite running routes in and near
Vancouver, Washington. (The OTHER Vancouver! The OTHER Washington!)

These pics are of the areas I run when I go from my work. You can click on any of t
hem to really see the details. Depending on which shortcuts I take or don't take, the
distance can be anywhere from 4 to 12 miles. Most of the run is on cement sidewalks,
with a sandy river beach at the far end - if I go that far.

The following is small city park about 6 blocks from my office. They have a small wading
pond where lots of parents bring their kids to splash and play on hot days. One day I
stopped to dip my feet into the water to cool off. I got a lot of strange looks from people.
They probably thought I was some kind of weirdo, so I haven't done that again!

The following is looking the other way from the city park, looking south, in front of a
new Hilton Hotel. This part of the sidewalk is the smoooooothest section of my run.
I love it! Its about a 1/4 mile from here to the Columbia River which separates
Washington from Oregon. When I get to the river I can go up onto the bridge and go
over to Portland or I can turn and run along the river-side sidewalk that takes me to a
nice park with lots of beach sand.

The following is on the river front sidewalk, about mile 1 from work. It has a grass
border available in case my feet need a soft change of pace. I try to just stick to the
cement for training and toughening purposes. Some sections of the sidewalk have
a corrugated pattern scratched in which can be a real challenge. In the Spring these
trees drop this nasty little seed casings that have some kind of goo on them. They
end up sticking to my feet and act like flypaper - everything ends up sticking to the
glue-like tar which requires me to stop and try to scrape it off frequently. It takes
days to get the black gunk off my skin after I run on those things.

The following shows a foot bridge I sometimes cross. It goes over a freeway and some
train tracks. Its very nice. The surface is weird -- something between packed dirt and
cement. Its mostly very smooth, sometimes with sandy grit in places.

The following is looking at the path on the other side of the foot bridge. This is the
historic Fort Vancouver site. The path makes a bend to the right and connects up
with "Officer's Row" on Fort Vancouver.

The following is Fort Vancouver, on the right, taken from the foot bridge.

I reversed my direction and came back down to the river front. The following is
looking eastward on the river front sidewalk.

The following is looking back towards the I-5 bridge that crosses the Columbia
River. Washington on the right, Oregon on the left. I have crossed this bridge and
run around different parts of north Portland.

The following is approaching mile post 2 on my run of a rough sidewalk that goes
past a bunch of condominiums and some fancy restaurants. I run this when I want
to really give my feet a hard workout (and when I feel like 'showing-off' because
the restaurants have outside tables where I always get a lot of curious stares from
diners.) At the far end of this row of buildings I can either veer to the north and
eventually connect back to Fort Vancouver and return to my office to complete
a nice 4-mile run, or I can continue eastward to eventually get to the parks and
beaches along the Columbia River.

The following is taken at the beach near Marine Park. This is a little past mile post 3 on
my run. The river was at high tide, so there wasn't much of a beach to run on this day.

The following is further up the beach, looking east. In the distance is the I-205
bridge that connects Washington and Oregon. That pole in the water has an
osprey nest on top. Every Spring there is one or two fledglings in the nest. There
is always one parent or the other baby-sitting them. The other parent is always
close by.

The following is another sidewalk along the water's edge. It goes past a bunch of
new condominiums and takes me to Wintler Park, just beyond the little spit you see
in the distance. I can run on the beach a total of about two miles in each direction,
making a total 4-mile beach leg to my run. Its a great chance to experience a change
of surfaces and some cool water. While I am on the beach I always do my civic
duty and pick up any pieces of glass and deposit them where they won't hurt anyone
or any animal. If the tide is low enough, I run on the sand you see on the right. This
day the tide was too high.

The following is the view to the east and right of this sidewalk. It shows the Portland
International Airport tower sticking up in the distance.

The following is looking further east from the spit. Usually this is a wide sandy
beach, but it was high tide this day. This is probably my favorite part of the entire
run. This beach goes to a public beach called Wintler Park and on past a bunch of
million dollar homes. I've had home owners thank me for picking up glass from the
sand in front of their homes. I wish the beach went all the way to the I-205 bridge.
That would be a fun extension to this run. The bridge is almost two miles from WA
shore to OR shore. When I run to the end of this beach and back to my office, it
makes it a 10 mile or 12 mile run (depending on if I add any extension loops along
the way.)

While I was on the spit taking photos, I noticed this animal swimming close by. I
think it is a beaver, which is odd because they usually aren't seen during broad
daylight. I see a lot of places where the beavers have gone up on shore , chewed
off branches and dragged them across the sand to the water. Odd thing is, I have
never seen any beaver dams anywhere.

The following is of a couple of other water friends I saw along the way. These two
were actually quite close to me. The geese I have seen are usually very comfortable
being around me. Perhaps my white baseball cap looks like a bird-bill to them and
they think I am just some weird, big bird. Or else they think this ridiculous guy with
no shoes on cannot really pose any kind of threat to them!