Portland, Oregon is known for its many walking trails. Entire books have been devoted to the subject. Nature walks are a great way for baby boomers to get fit and escape big city stress. Nearly two years ago, I explored Tryon Creek State Park, Oregon’s lone state park found inside a major metropolitan area. Located on the edge of Lake Oswego, Tryon is just minutes away from Portland’s core. This is what I wrote in 2007:

“I decided to bring my notebook and tackle the trails on my first visit to Tryon. On a mild, overcast mid-November afternoon I began on the Maple Ridge Trail, which is by the Glenn L. Jackson Shelter. The path was covered with fall leaves. I felt relaxed immediately. I could barely hear the roar of the traffic in the distance. There was a faint noise of what sounded like a train. The Center Trail was next, complete with a bench to allow a hiker to read a map or change into more comfortable shoes. The Big Fir and Middle Creek trails provided beautiful scenery on an afternoon that was completely absent of wind. The Beaver Bridge and High Bridge allowed great glimpses of a forest that contains a beautiful display of trees, such as the Douglas-fir and Western Red Cedar. I encountered elevated climbing on the North Creek Hiking Trail. The Lewis and Clark Trail also tested my physical fitness. The Terry Riley suspension bridge was an adventure. One feels an undulating sensation crossing this bridge. I don’t think I sampled every trail on this day, but I knew there was ample opportunity for a return trip.

The opportunity arrived when, after skimming through the handouts provided at the Nature House, I decided to learn more about the treasures of Tryon. On a chilled November morning, a park ranger led a group of hearty hikers on a guided walk called “Conifers of the Creek.” Our guide helped us identify conifers such as the Western Hemlock. At one point, we were able to identify the age of a Douglas-fir, Oregon’s state tree, by using a device known as an increment borer. Although we didn’t see any critters during this visit, we were told owls, coyotes and beavers have been spotted close by.

After re-reading my story, I am realizing that I need to re-connect with nature and explore more of the great outdoors. In the months ahead, I want to visit as many of Portland’s nature trails as possible. I’ll share some of my visits. Does your city have nature trails? Share your experiences.