Like most fitness enthusiasts I’m always looking for a variety of exercise activities that’ll keep me motivated to walk daily. If I can find it outdoors all the better. After the Holidays and during the winter months there’s nothing better than a mid-intensity fat burning walking activity, especially on an uphill grade with multiple switchbacks and preferably in a wooded area. If such a place exists, you’ve just found nature’s Best-In-Class Stair Master. Not only will an uphill walking effort challenge cardio and muscular endurance, it uses more body fat fuel as opposed to walking the flats.
Within the City of Tigard, OR a public-use wooded trail system like this exists. I’m happy to share its location for those looking for a different type of mobility challenge and experience. If you want to burn even more calories and get in better shape, consider making it a habit to walk in places like it – even during inclement weather.
Those of you who served in the military with boots on the ground recall, “If it’s not raining we’re not training. It’s a fact, when it’s cold and rainy, the resistive forces on the mind-body just increased a notch. Anyone can use nature’s outdoor StairMaster throughout the year to personally challenge themselves and increase fitness levels regardless of rain or shine.
The well-designed dirt trail runs approximately half a mile with multiple switchbacks and is located on the West side hill of Bull Mountain Park where Kruger Creek cuts through its slopped base in a valley-like wooded environment. I’d estimate the trail grade varies from top-to-bottom, 4-11 degrees. There are seated areas along the switchback segment of the pathway to rest and reflect on all that matters. Molly our red Irish setter loves the rest area approximately 2/3 way up the switchback segment. And believe me she doesn’t slow down a bit once closing in on that spot.
Glancing back at me only momentarily with excited eyes and happy pant, she pulls with full gusto. “I sense she’s concerned if I’m keeping up with her. And in that moment we lock eyes and both know, It’s all good – onward and upward we go!” If you need motivation to walk with purpose an energetic dog will definitely do the trick. Once in this peaceful place the sights and sounds of nature do its thing. In itself is worth the effort, simply for a peace of mind.
While observing the surroundings in this spot, anyone would be drawn to read the two small plaques posted next to the picnic table where Molly proudly poses for the picture. The first one reads, Hiking Trail and Picnic Table, Eagle Scout Project of Nikolai Hanson, Troop 419, June 2013. The second one reads, Stairway railing and rock wall, Eagle Scout Project of Benjamin Love, Troop 799, and September 2014.
I’d like to personally thank those Eagle Scouts and community volunteers responsible for this trail system and rest stops along the way. And of course the newly developed park.
If you’ve not been to Bull Mountain Park, or walked the switch back trail segment here’s how to access them. Park and walk the Morningstar Greenway trailhead beginning at SW Greenfield Drive and Benchview Terrace to experience the uphill hike to the switchback trail segment – ending in Bull Mountain Park.
SHORT VIDEO: FROM TOP OF PARK TO FIRST SWITCH BACK AND PICKNICK TABLE
Or drive to the park – If you want to access the switchback trail segment from Woodshire lane once parkedâ€¦ continue walking straight ahead [Westerly] past the maintenance shed, outhouse and playground structure.
Walk just a little further forward and as the asphalt turns to bark chip, look for the ground level plaque on a rock to your left. The trailhead plaque reads: Beverly Dawson Paul, MSW and David Parameter, M.D. “They loved this place and lived here from 1979 to 2008.” Walk down ~100′ to the first switchback and 100′ more to the picnic table, have lunch and enjoy nature.
The official ribbon cutting ceremony recognized all involved in raising the money necessary to develop Bull Mountain Park and its trail systems, 15 October 2017. This 10-acre neighborhood park is comprised of woods, open space, and riparian areas. The park features accessible trails, a picnic shelter, a nature play structure, and interpretive elements. Learn more about the park and how community came together to raise funds and develop it. http://www.tigard-or.gov/community/bull_mountain_park.php
Tigard parks development and recreational outdoor events hosted in them continue to grow popularity. Events and activities in parks are directly supported by city council’s 5-year recreation goal #2 – Expand outdoor events (movies, concerts, popups in the park; including programs and classes with outside providers; and partnership opportunities, etc., 2012-17). On March 7, 2017 the City Council updated those goals for the next two years – 2017-19. Learn more about them.
I must say, when city leadership and community recognize the value of the fit healthy benefits city parks and recreational events and activities provide within them – COOL things like Nature’s Best-In-Class Stairmaster come to life. What’s next, a Zip-Line with tree tower, repealing base camp and Ninja Warrior style obstacle courses throughout the trail system area?
Recreational activities, partnership opportunities and possibilities are only limited by the imagination, recreation personnel and public support. Regardless of whether a Zip-line and Ninja Warrior-like obstacle challenge course becomes reality in Tigard, I know one thing for sure…
When parks and trail systems become connected and accessible they become activated. More people spend their leisurely and play time hours in and around them.
When community plays together anything is possible.
Good health to you and your family!
Marc Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, ARNG, CPT, RET., is a member of the Tigard City Council. He is a strong proponent of City involvement in providing recreational opportunities for its residents. 2017 Copy right. All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Inc., www.mirrorathlete.org