Laurelwood Park – City of Eugene.

Oak skyview at Laurelwood Park.

Lovely place to meander. Visit the top of the park off of Central St. It is quiet and low management in the section which is not relegated to public golf course. (although you can legally walk your pooch through the course with leash) PICK UP after yourself and don’t be an ass to neighbors who live next to this park. Parking is minimal. This seems to be a user-friction-free zone because of respect and lower use. Connects to the Ribbon Trail at the top, which gives you access to Hendricks Park backside and top of 30th Ave. They just completed this section over the winter and did a fantastic job on it!
Definitely our urban south town favorite.

more details to come…

Carly takes a break from all the great ball-fetching spots in this park!

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Mt. Pisgah North End Trail (better known as The Cowpie Trail)

North pasture near river looking northeast at Mt. Pisgah.

There are many hikes around Mt. Pisgah, little more than a hill when compared to our Cascade Range. Pisgah is located within a Lane County park known as Howard Buford. Just a few miles southeast of Eugene/Springfield and off of Frank Parrish Road. It’s somewhere in the range of 2600 acres +/- with a fantastic variety of trails and settings.

The trail we walked yesterday is on the North end of the park and due to our recent wet weather – very mushy in spots. There are periodically cows grazing on that end of the park (there are actually pros to it if you care to really look into the matter). The cows also enjoy using a relatively short section of the northernmost trail. The views are fabulous up higher and what bovine doesn’t enjoy a nice view while merrily chewing her cud? Quit worrying about the green stuff on your shoes and enjoy your surroundings. It washes off. Splash away!

Harry doesn’t mind the cowpies and occasionally likes to take a nibble of one. Fortunately he’s not one of those dogs that wolfs down pounds of dung when we’re out (though he does have a weakness for the horsey variety). Don’t anyone bring up cat roca or I may be sick. Give me herbivore poo anyday.

We drug our friend Marcia along. Her nickname is “Skully” due to the scary Skull necklace with battery-operated flashing red eyes she likes to wear. Fortunately she only breaks this out on Halloween night or we would all be even more scared of her. Pray you never hear her cackle on a dark night. Bringing these types of people on walks really livens things up because you never quite know what might happen. (Giant fruit bats appearing around you on corpse-like dead branches, etc.) It is extremely motivating to follow Marcia’s tiny well-muscled rear end up the hill. I can only aspire to glutes like that. I think it might take a few more squats and less pizza. Like 20 years worth.

Back to the walk, gorgeous Oak Savannah habitat, followed by a shady, mossy section through Douglas Fir trees and Big-Leaf Maple. You can do a simple loop when you get up on the saddle to get back to your rig, but we made it a bit longer and followed Trail #3 to the main Summit Trail and came down that, took a right before the Arboretum parking lot and headed back toward the North end on the trail just above and parallelling the entrance road. I’m guessing no more than 1 1/2 +/-. Just enough elevation to get your heart rate up withought keeling over.

We also ran into an old friend who works as the wildlife bio for McKenzie River Ranger District. A perfect opportunity to get info about what wildlife she spotted on the hike, but no, we had an energy-filled exchange about where and when to do a Pub Crawl. Practically talking over each other in excitement about our booze junkett. That’s what I miss about working for the Government. We had our priorities straight.

Notice all the gorgeous moss and lichens in the trees coming down the Summit trail toward the bottom? It’s because the air is just that much cleaner from pollution than in town – only a few miles away! They like a cleaner enviro and only grow about an inch or so per year. The hangy ones are Old Man’s Beard and Fishnet Lichen…

* Pisgah gets a 5 Bones except for a few aspects…if you’re deathly allergic to Poison Oak, yellowjacket season in hottest part of summer and the Summit Trail which has a bizzillion people and gorgeous powerlines along your walk. Yuck. We rarely do it. Although it is a kick-butt workout and the view at the summit is marvelous.

* Bring $2 parking fee and pay at yellow box near main lot, or buy an annual county pass BEFORE you go. Mt. Pisgah Arboretum Membership Pass is completely separate and while it’s a GREAT thing to support – it’s only good for parking in the main lot. The ticket for not having the correct pass is around a $140.00!!! BEWARE!

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Harry at Alton Baker Park

Harry loves to swim. He’s not THE most amazing swimmer, but the guy has passion. I like to take him to Alton Baker Park and swim him in the canal. There’s a sweet bridge you can stand on and throw the ball. Why do all dogs take sadistic pleasure in shaking ice cold water on humans?

It was a beautiful Oregon day. Cottonwood trees blowing, sky bright blue like the stuff of poems. Harry played and I spaced out with my friend Heather. What a genius. Yes, she’s typing this.

Alton Baker is a big park, just east of Ferry Street Bridge. The section we visited is behind Autzen Stadium, and unless there’s a game – it’s quiet. An ideal place to walk your pet. For easy canal access, park in the BMX (yeah, it’s actually a BMX track, route, hill thing – pretty cool for the kids) parking lot.

This is a “leash required” park, which if you have a psycho pet or the dogcatcher/city cops are around, you need to follow the rules. More on psycho pets later… Harry’s got his challenges, but he’s no psycho and keeps his head on and listens. We weren’t bothering anyone, didn’t have a leash and the park was minus all dog cops. Sweet day all around.

There IS an off-leash dog park nearby: Alton Baker Dog Park. I’d give it a 4 Bones during dry weather, weekday when not crowded. (But no direct water access for swimming within) When ya got a swimming dog – you gotta swim ‘em. It mellows them out like nothing else. Kinda like feeding Heather nachos and a double margarita.

If you walk east on the trail, you’ll come to a LARGE pond which is another great area for swimming. Watch out for disrupting wildlife (lots of Great Blue Heron/ducks feed and nest in this area) and folks fishing.

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