Why Eugene? Well, aside from the running, I was chatting with a colleague who's from Eugene and after listening to how beautiful the area is, I decided to go! I arrived early Saturday morning and started the day by renting a bike and riding around town. There are two rivers that run through the area and one of them, the Willamette River, has a paved multi-use trail that runs alongside it.
The area also has some amazing duck ponds.
I've never seen anything quite like them, beautiful. I spotted a great blue heron resting on a branch in one of the ponds.
Alongside the path there were blackberries growing so I stopped to sample a couple. A bit tangy but enjoyable.
I stopped again for lunch - a burger and salad at a trailside restaurant. Plus an Amber Ale from Oakshire, one of the local microbreweries.
Back on the bike and off to explore the town's running history. The paved path intersects with Pre's Trail, a 4-mile wood chip and bark trail created in the 70's at Pre's suggestion. Of course I had to hop off my bike and run a bit on the trail. It actually felt really good to stop pedaling and start running! I think my legs have some triathlon muscle memory.
|Me, with Pre's trail behind me.|
You have to wonder at times what you're doing out there. Over the years, I've given myself a thousand reasons to keep running, but it always comes back to where it started. It comes down to self-satisfaction and a sense of achievement.
Day two was all about nature. Well, nature and bridges.
I hiked roughly an hour in before finally accepting the river's irresistible invitation to get in the water. Chilly! But so refreshing. I'd brought along some trail mix and fruit and that essentially became lunch.
|My lunchtime swim spot|
What a beautiful day! Back at the car and off to explore a waterfall I'd read about, Salt Creek Falls. It was a 50 minute drive, up into higher elevation and through my first experience of real Oregon rain. But it was so worth it! The falls were amazing.
|Salt Creek Falls, 2nd highest in Oregon|
On the drive back to Eugene I stopped in Oakridge at Brewer's Union Local 180 for dinner and an IPA. What a cozy find that place was...good stuff all around, almost more than one person can stand.
Well, that's my trip. Back to reality. I loved the area and I hope to get to know Oregon more in the future. Obviously so much gorgeous outdoors to explore!!