I recently went on the 4T Trail, which comprises of hiking trails, tram (Portland Aerial Tram), trolley (Portland Streetcar), and train (MAX). It links urban living and outdoor adventure, made possible by mass transit.
You can start at any of the points along the circuit and then continue from there.
Started the day with breakfast at The Fresh Pot (724 SW Washington St). Hiking takes a lot of energy, so it's important to put in the fuel that you need so that you’re not running on fumes all day. Skip low-cal, low-fat foods. Calories and fat are code words for energy.
After breakfast we got on the train and headed to Oregon Zoo, where there is a hiking trail that heads up to Council Crest Park, which at 1,073 feet is the highest point in Portland and affords a great view of the city as well as Mt. Hood and Mt. Ranier.
Camera's don't do justice. If you really want to see this place, just go there!
Tip: Since you will be outside all day it's important to wear sunscreen.
The venerable trip connects so much of what makes Portland fantastic: Hikers traverse the trails through the Washington Park forests which is never far from the hustle and bustle of the city.
We were hungry so we stopped for lunch at Oishi Thai (907 SW Gibbs St) owned by an amazing Thai Family, we had Thai tea, spring rolls, chicken fried rice, a beer and Thai donuts for only $20.
From the restaurant the trail continues to the Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) making a total hike of 4.5 miles (7.3 kilometers). From OHSU, you take the Portland Aerial Tram to the rapidly-growing South Waterfront neighborhood. From there, it's an easy hop on the Portland Streetcar and go downtown.
Tip: There were times where we had no signal and couldn't use google maps, so we got lost a few times but eventually made it; so learn how to read an actual map, so you can identify the landforms you see outdoors in order to find your position on a map. This is an even more basic skill than using a compass and one that you’ll use much more frequently.
Completing a hike is primarily a mental battle. Your legs will get rock-hard and you endurance will skyrocket. Keeping a level head while your tired, thirsty or hungry is really important. There are lots of ways take mental breaks along the way that will keep you composed. Brief stints of reading, writing, photography, music, and podcasts are common ways that thru-hikers take the edge off. Everyone deals with mental challenges differently, so make sure to find a system that will work for you. Also, always take a hiking partner so you have someone to support you.