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Walking Distance

Sunday, May 24, 2009
Those who know me will know that I love to walk. More often than not they'll hear me say, "oh, we can just walk there" or suggest destinations that are designed to be within walking distance. Many may not know, however, why this is.

It turns out that I have a strong self-sufficiency streak that runs in me, combined - perhaps - wish a slight lack of faith "in the system". In inclement weather, for instance, when roads are closed and Tri-Met shuts down (or at least fails to visit anywhere in SW Portland and beyond). I hate feeling helpless, so I need to know that I can walk anywhere I need to truly go.

With that in mind, today's walk - on a beautiful, sunny Sunday afternoon - was designed to be a one-way trip. While last week's walk-that-was-longer-than-I-planned-on was about 9.5 miles round-trip, I wanted to head downtown and planned on taking public transportation back.

I started out walking past the University of Portland along Willamette Blvd, overlooking Swan Island. I found it interested that I could clearly see the Fremont Bridge, but could just barely make out the Steel Bridge beyond it.

After following Willamette Blvd basically to where it ends, I cut over on Skidmore to MLK because I wanted to pick something up at the Nike store there. A quick stop, then I continued down MLK until I got to the Oregon Convention Center. I hopped down the the Eastbank Esplanade and walked down to the Hawthorne Bridge.

Since part of my whole plan for this trip was to stop at Saturday Market and get my favorite spring roll, I crossed over the Willamette and started walking back north in Waterfront Park. I didn't expect the Rose Festival to be going in full swing! Lots of people were around; it was fun to walk among them.

After eating my spring roll in the shadow of the Burnside Bridge, I walked over to REI on NW 14th and Johnson. I looked around at cycling accessories for a bit (I had hoped to have a bicycle by the weekend but that didn't happen), then figured it was time to head home.

At this point, my feet were killing me. I was developing a super-sized blister right next to the ball of my right foot, and every step was a reminder that it was there and getting worse. Rather than walking home - something I was tempted to do because I wasn't that tired - I realized that I should call it a day and take public transportation. The nearest yellow line MAX stop, however, was either way south at Pioneer Square or across the river near the Rose Garden. I decided to take Lovejoy to the Broadway Bridge, cross that, but then turn north and catch MAX at N Mississipi & Interstate. This, over course, means that I started and ended my 13+ mile trip in North Portland!

So, in all, I managed to walk through parts of North, Northeast, Southeast, Southwest, and Northwest Portland. Not a bad day... next time I'll just have to find better walking shoes!


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