Presidents Day brought concrete skies and drizzle, enticing me to take a fun hike in the West Hills of Portland. I walked down the Vista Ridge, crossed over the Vista Bridge above Goose Hollow, entered Washington Park, stopped for a moment of reflection at the Holocaust Memorial, meandered through the Rose Garden and entered the Japanese Gardens (a no-fee day).
The five separate gardens situated within 5.5 acres are considered the most beautiful and authentic Japanese garden outside of Japan. Walking through the tranquil environment is always good for the soul. The streams and small waterfalls are among my favorite urban settings. After moments of reflection and taking some photographs, I jumped on the Wildwood Trail, climbed to the top of the ridge, passed the Oregon Zoo, paid my respects at the Vietnam Memorial, joined the Marquam Trail, crossed the Sunset Highway Overpass, ascended through the forest to Patton Street, hiked to the top of Council Crest (the highest point in Portland), took a breather and then walked the last 1 1/2 miles to home partially on the Marquam Trail.
All in all the trek was a pleasant eight miles with 1,200 feet of elevation gain.