A Day in Stumptown
Photos and Story Contributed by Theresa Silverya
Leaves transforming from green to gold. Crisper air and cooler temps. Sweaters and scarves coming out of hibernation. The transition from summer to fall in Portland is something I look forward to every year. With the absence of sun-baked sidewalks, dry and dusty trails, and overwhelming heat, it is also one of Cascade’s favorite times to be outdoors. Although there are plenty of nearby national forests and state parks to experience the wonders of fall with our adventure pup, the city itself is a mecca for outdoor-loving dogs and humans alike! With no planned hikes or climbs for the weekend, we set out to have a spontaneous Saturday exploring our city.
Our first stop of the day was Forest Park. With nearly 80 miles of trail crisscrossing its 5,200 acres, the hiking and trail running options here seem infinite. We opted for a favorite route of ours: Lower Macleay to “The Witch’s Castle.” It was a chilly day, so we threw on Cascade’s Stumptown Jacket over her Front Range Harness. We enjoyed relative solitude on this usually crowded trail as it was still early in the morning. The rushing water of Balch Creek was the only sound that filled the air as we walked beneath moss-covered fir and hemlock trees. It was the perfect start to our day. Mack and I got to stretch our legs, and Cascade got to sniff to her heart’s content.
The trendy Nob Hill neighborhood is just a few blocks away from the park. After finishing our hike, we headed to Salt & Straw on NW 23rd for a “nutritious” breakfast of ice cream. Even on cold days, this place is a Portland classic. Cascade indulged a little bit, but we knew it was time for her to have some treats of her own. Fortunately, Java Hound (located within Hip Hound pet store) is about one block away! She was treated to a free “puppuccino” as soon as we stepped inside. Dog-friendly desserts lined the counter and I splurged on some delectable-looking peanut butter cups for her as well.
Our day may have started with sunshine, but the rain arrived as soon as we left Java Hound. That wasn’t about to put a damper on our day though! We drove out to Cathedral Park so Cascade could enjoy some off-leash fun in the rain. Located beneath the iconic St. Johns Bridge, this park holds a special place in my heart. We used to live just down the street, taking walks here regularly, or running across the bridge to access the north end of Forest Park. It was also the first place we took Cascade when we adopted her. As I watched her romp around in the muddy grass chasing her favorite glow-in-the-dark ball, a giant grin spread across her face whenever she dropped the ball at Mack’s feet, I reminisced fondly on our very first days with her.
We finished our afternoon on the eastside. Despite living in Portland for several years, we’d never once visited any of the food cart pods that the city is known for! We changed that with a late lunch at Cartopia, where you can choose from chicken dishes, pizza, burritos, Egyptian food, crepes, and even French fry-related recipes. Sheltered from the rain beneath a spacious tent with ample picnic table seating, we feasted on giant burritos and PBJ fries, as well as regular fries for Cascade, who remained propped up on the table in hopes of scoring more than her fair share.
Of course, no day in Portland is complete without locally brewed beer, too. We headed to Base Camp Brewing Company, a place that vibes well with our love of outdoor adventure. We grabbed a seat in their covered patio and washed down our food cart meals with a couple of drinks. Cascade curled up on Mack’s lap, already starting to drift off to sleep after a busy day out and about. The rain was still coming down hard around us, but we were dry and cozy, already scheming up our next fall adventure as a family.
Theresa Silveyra is a music teacher, writer, and outdoor adventurer based in Portland, Oregon. Follow her adventures with Mack and Cascade on Instagram: @theresasilveyra.