Portland's Springwater Corridor
Saturday 16 May 2015 — Category: Outings
While researching Portland’s Eastbank Esplanade for last month’s photo outing on the east bank of the Willamette River, I came across another urban pedestrian / bicycle pathway called the Springwater Corridor. This former railroad track begins only a quarter of a mile south of the Eastbank Esplanade’s southern end, and makes its way east and south 21 miles to the small town of Boring.
After my discovery, I was eager to explore this trail. About a week ago I got up at 4:00 a.m., left my house in Albany at 4:30, grabbed breakfast at McDonald’s near the Clackamas Town Center mall, and then parked my truck at the Clackamas Town Center MAX station parking structure.
Scurrying down a few flights of stairs, I took the 6:02 Route 72 bus north on 82nd Ave (Oregon state highway 213) to the Crystal Springs stop. Crossing 82nd Ave, I came to the beginning of my walk for the day at 6:15, heading west (sometimes southwest, and later, north), on the western third of the Springwater Corridor.
The Weather Channel had promised that it would be a glorious sunny day, but it ended up being dull, gray and overcast during my entire 4-hour, 7⅔-mile journey. So much for weather forecasts!
However, the weather the following week, when I had originally planned to go, did turn out to be even worse, so in the end I suppose it was a good decision. Nevertheless, when I see how some of my photos turned out under the overcast skies, I am tempted to redo the walk in order to get better images. Oh well!
Along the way I saw many interesting sights. Sometimes I felt smack-dab in a big city, as I actually was. But in other sections of the Corridor it looked like I was a hundred miles away from Portland. Most of that beauty was due to the path generally following the course of the reportedly-polluted but nonetheless-lovely Johnson Creek.
Before I had left for this outing, I had told my wife that it was mostly a walk, and that I would not be taking very many pictures. Trigger-happy photographer that I am, I ended up with 242 images, 80 of which have been deemed worthy of being presented in the new Portland Springwater Corridor 2015 album. This includes three panoramas, one sequence, sixteen black and white photos, and seven color splash images.
Because I am a dyed-in-the-wool perfectionist, I was greatly disturbed by the inaccuracies of the mile posts along the Corridor. Using the science-fiction-like capabilities of Google Earth, I was able to verify that the distances between Mile Post 9 and Mile Post 8, Mile Post 8 and Mile Post 7, Mile Post 7 and Mile Post 6 were indeed one mile.
Unfortunately, the distance between Mile Post 6 and the next mile post at 3.5 miles — don’t ask my why they skipped the four mile posts in-between — was not the expected 2.5 miles, but merely 2.0 miles. Even worse, the distance between Mile Post 1 and the Springwater Corridor trailhead, at the intersection of SE Ivon St and 4th Ave, was approximately one-third of a mile instead of the expected one mile.
These discrepancies mean that the distance I walked was about 1⅙ miles less than what was indicated on the mile posts. Before I had headed out, I had plotted the path in Google Earth, which was 7⅔ miles long. So imagine my astonishment when the first mile post I encountered a third of a mile west of 82nd Ave was marked with 8.5 miles!
Ultimately, the physical mile posts are not to be trusted, and Google Earth gave me the correct mileage in the beginning: 7⅔ miles from 82nd Ave to the western trailhead at Ivon St. I desperately wish that those responsible would adjust the mile posts accordingly!
There were not many restroom facilities along the path, but there were enough to prevent any embarrassing disasters. I wish I had known where they were located so I could have looked forward to reaching one rather than desperately hoping I would find one in time!
Because of my early start, when I reached the Springwater Corridor trailhead at Ivon St after a four-hour march, it was only 10:15 in the morning. A bit early for lunch! Therefore I decided to extend my walk so I could cover the southern portion of the Eastbank Esplanade which I had missed on my previous outing, when, starting at the northern trailhead at Steel Bridge and heading south, I had turned off the Esplanade at the Hawthorne Bridge.
So I proceeded north on 4th Ave and west on Caruthers St until, after a quarter of a mile, I had arrived at the southern trailhead of the Eastbank Esplanade, next to the Portland Opera. Another 250 yards brought me to the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI). After an additional third of a mile I arrived at the end of my walk at the Hawthorne Bridge, at around 11:00.
All that remained was for me to make it back to my truck at the Clackamas Town Center. I could have taken a more direct route by bus, but for some reason I preferred rail. Therefore I walked about a third of a mile east on Madison Ave to the Portland Streetcar CL Line stop at SE Grand & Hawthorne, from which I took a streetcar north to the NE Grand & Holladay stop.
Around the corner and a bit down Holladay St at 7th Ave, I caught the MAX Green Line train for Clackamas Town Center, where I arrived at almost exactly noon. All in all it had been an 8¾-mile walk. By this time I was quite tired, hungry and thirsty.
In order to resolved those issues, I headed to my favorite restaurant in Portland — Gustav’s German restaurant — which, luckily for me, has a location only a third of a mile (as the crow flies) from where I had parked my truck, just on the other side of I-84.
After a while I was enjoying a tall stein (24 oz!!) of one of their great European beers, and a plate of their killer cabbage rolls with spätzle (knöpfli).
As I was enjoying food and drink, I was reviewing my pictures on my iPad Mini, and dreaming of a future photo outing along the central section of the Springwater Corridor between 82nd Ave and the Portland city limits, which falls between 174th Ave and 182nd Ave, just south of U.S. Route 26 and just north of Jenne Butte Park.
The meal at Gustav’s was a great way to end a great photo outing along the western third of Portland’s Springwater Corridor. Until next time, prost! (may it be good!).
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