Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Shanghai: The Bund, the Pearl Tower, and Acrobatics

Not a Good Start


The day didn't start out so great. I'm tired, cranky, and sitting on a bus with a guide who talks nonstop. I'm not sure I'll ever take another tour like this again because of the feeling that I don't have any choices.

I feel the urge to run off the bus, hands in the air and scream "I'm free". But that would lead to the locals taking photos of the strange American and who knows where I'd end up. But I did pay for this, so I calmly sit in my bus seat and just imagine myself on a calm, warm beach.

The Pearl Tower
The Pearl up close


Our first stop was the Oriental Pearl Tower and I've done absolutely no research on what we'll find here. I've been to towers before and being in my current mood I'm only slightly impressed with the tower itself.

We wait in line to go to the top and I like the view from the top. Overlooking all of Shanghai, it's quite nice. Then we head down a level where the floor is see-through.

Me and the see-through floor
Now I'm slightly happier. Many people won't go onto the see-through floor. Those of us brave enough to step out spend time trying to take a fun photo while looking straight down on the tall buildings below us.


My only photo I took in the arcade
because I was too busy having fun
Feeling slightly better, we head to another part of the building. My heart skips a beat when we walk into an arcade. I'm in heaven and I'm no longer thinking about escape. I walk up to a Pac Man game and don't stop playing until Jim herds us to the next stop. Many of us don't want to leave.

I reluctantly move on with everyone and longingly glance
back at Pac Man.

Next in the Pearl Tower is the wax museum.  Here in China, I've noticed that English signs are a bit off - someone could make a living going around and fixing all of the poorly translated signs, but then that would take out the fun of reading them. The museum is no different. I enjoyed it!

Note "It keeps your motor younc"


View of the Pearl Tower from The Bund
District

The Bund


From the Pearl, we set out to The Bund, a business district of Shanghai. Once a muddy waterfront, it's now a beautiful river walk along the Huanpu River with imposing colonial buildings.

Our group was given time to wander a little, shop, and take in the views. Then it was back on the bus to head for the hotel.

Dinner and a Show


I'm not sure which was more of the show, the acrobats we saw, or the vegetarian group going ballistic over their meal that included meat (again). Not that we wanted that kind of show.

Road around Shanghai
They screamed so much at Jim that the group started feeling sorry for him. But I'm left thinking, why couldn't Jim make sure that they had vegetarian dishes delivered to their table? It doesn't seem like that difficult of a request to
me, and I feel for the vegetarians.

Taken from the bus to the hotel.
No clue what they sell, but I love
the giant ant.
I also have to say I'm getting tired of Chinese food. But then I'm one of those people who don't like to eat the same thing every day. Rebecca is still completely happy eating the same type of food over and over. (Update: When we got home to Albuquerque, Rebecca wanted to go out to Chinese food. I refused for about two months.)

By the time we got to the Shanghai Acrobatics show, I'm
exhausted from the long day. I bought a fleece jacket with the acrobatics show's name on it because I'm all dressed up and hadn't brought a jacket with me.

Photo is from the Shanghai Acrobatics Show's website
The show was exciting! Motorcycles zooming around (upside down and around) in a small globe on the stage makes for exciting entertainment, especially as they keep adding more motorcycles to the globe and they zoom around at high speeds.

I'm looking forward to tomorrow's optional tour my friends and I purchased for seeing a couple of canal towns, Suzhou and Tongli. We'll be visiting a silk factory in Suzhou and I know I have to buy some silk for my sister.

I no longer feel the urge to run amok, for now.

Hello. I’m Sonja Dewing. I am a Writing Professional: Technical, business, and instructional writing, as well as a freelance writer for magazines and newspapers.

I'm a dedicated fitness fiend, outdoor enthusiast, and adventure seeker. I'm also a fiction author and I blog about my travel, backpacking, and other adventures.


Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Temple of Heaven, Pearl Shop, Olympic Birds Nest & on to Shanghai

Early to Rise


I'm not sure how I felt about these fire exit masks.
Would they really work in case of fire?
Sara got out of bed at 5 am. I didn't want to get up quite so early but I'm glad I did. It gave me plenty
of time to pack, do my hair, and get downstairs for my last breakfast at the Trader's Hotel. Later today we'll leave for Shanghai and I'm glad of the change.

Meanwhile, I'm starting to get to know some of the others in the group. Adrianna is a chef and her boyfriend Daniel, a doctor, make a cute couple and get along well. Then there is Sean and his friend from Puerto Rico, Christian. They seem a strange pair of friends, but then some people might think that of Rebecca and I due to our twenty year age difference.

What gets me is how much Jim (our guide) talks. Rarely is there a quiet moment on the bus and I think that's starting to get to me. I'm happy with quiet time once and awhile.

Temple of Heaven


The Temple in the distance
Anyway, this morning's first stop was the Temple of Heaven. There are a series of temples here and then the main, round building which is considered to be the center of earth and heaven.

FYI: You'll see wires on the tops of the buildings at all of the historic sites because most of the buildings, especially the roofs, are made of wood. The wires are meant to conduct lightning strikes and save these ancient buildings from fire.

The locals have a good gimmick to sell items.
Christian playing with the Jianzi
We arrived early and many of them seemed to be waiting. When we started to file in they suddenly began playing a game like hacky sack but with a bag with feathers (Jianzi). They encouraged some in our group to join them. Before we moved on most everyone had bought a bag to kick around.

Pearl Shop


Next, it was time for the pearl shop. This time I was completely disinterested. I'm not a fan of pearls. My friends really liked it though, so if you like pearls, it's a good stop.

They did show everyone how they find pearls and there were many beautiful settings.

Christian, Patrizio, Sean, and dude (because I
can't remember his name) hanging out
Meanwhile, me and most of the guys hung around and waited for the boring lull to be over.

I'm starting to feel like this trip is very commercial, but for a tourist, it's a good trip to get all the things you might want to take home with you.

Olympic Bird's Nest


Adorable Chinese girl for a photo op
Our last stop before the airport was the Olympic area. I would have liked to be here at night when the buildings show off their lights and look their best, but we were there during the day. You can't go in the buildings, but there are some statues of the Chinese Olympic Icons and other structures to see.

One of the things to see around the
Olympic complex
So today wasn't that exciting, but I'm hopeful that Shanghai will be more interesting. Day one in Shanghai we'll see the Bund, the Pearl Tower, and we've paid for the optional addition of dinner and an acrobat show.

Additional days in China will be added soon!

You can check out:
Day 3 in Beijing, China
Day 2 in Beijing, China
Day 1 in Beijing, China

If you'd like to see more of my travel posts, check out the trip to Costa Rica:
Day 1 in San Jose, Costa Rica

Hello. I’m Sonja Dewing. I am a Writing Professional: Technical, business, and instructional writing, as well as a freelance writer for magazines and newspapers.

I'm a dedicated fitness fiend, outdoor enthusiast, and adventure seeker. I'm also a fiction author and I blog about my travel, backpacking, and other adventures.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Day Trip Around Beijing: Summer Palace, Ming Tombs, Jade, Great Wall of China

A Rushed Morning


Ugg! I set my alarm for earlier than the standard wake up call at 6:45 AM, but it didn't go off!

Bar in the Hotel
OK, it could be user error, but I didn't start my day off right because it started in a rush. Before the bus left I needed to have things ready to take with me (journal, travel information, layers of clothes), and I have to get dressed for the day, and I wanted a good breakfast. But somehow I got through it all.

Because this is a big hotel breakfast is a mishmash of American, British, and Chinese options. For example, hard boiled eggs soaked in tea, egg rolls, and fruit are among the many choices.

And so far, Rebecca and I haven't had much trouble getting our coffee fixes - If you've read more of my blogs you'll realize we are over-caffeinated as often as possible. We brought instant coffee but haven't had to use it very often.

Summer Palace


It's hard to get a view without people, but
I managed!
The first stop today was the Summer Palace. Brrr! It was overcast, windy, and cold. Glad I brought extra layers.

Marble boathouse at the Summer Palace
The palace is beautiful with intricate paintings and unusually shaped windows. The long, curving walkway is beautifully painted with scenes of everyday life and symbols.

Things are starting to feel a bit repetitive with all the gardens we've seen, but this was different enough to be interesting, and a great location for photography.

Rebecca bought a fur-lined hat (40 Yen) in preparation for the Great Wall where we're sure it's going to be very cold in the open.

From the palace, we made it to the jade factory.

Run-Ze Jade Garden


The Run-Ze Jade Garden is a jade store and restaurant (kind of a brilliant combination).

A ship made of jade!
We heard about the history of jade and were shown to different areas of the store with different quality levels for purchase. Such beautiful and amazing work. I found a purple jade bracelet and a set of lions (its good luck to display a set of lions).

And how do you know which lion goes on which side? The female lion clutches a baby lion in her paws, and as you exit a building, she is always on the right (you can imagine there are some jokes about this, and you'd be right).

From the Jade Store, we headed upstairs for lunch. So much food! I loved the pork balls. The beer here is good too - a little light but good flavor.

Be in the know: The vegetarians on this tour are having issues with getting vegetarian-only dishes. The tour guide explained it to the servers, but their table still ended up with meat dishes and one of the diners accidentally ate something with meat. Being devout vegetarians due to their religion, they aren't happy and I don't blame them. I'm not sure what the fix is for this, other than either having the tour guide at the vegetarian table so he can keep checking or learning Chinese and talking directly to the servers. So if you are a serious vegetarian - keep a watchful eye.

Then it was back on the bus for the drive to Ming's Tombs.

The Sacred Way to Ming's Tombs


Me and the giant camel
What I didn't realize was that we weren't going to see any of the actual tombs (there are thirteen imperial tombs in the area). Instead, the tour only visits the sacred way - a long entrance to the tombs with giant statues guarding the path. We did have fun though, getting photos with the statues.

The Great Wall


Then we headed to the Great Wall of China. The wind was cold and biting, but it was more than worth it to see the wall.

It and the mountains it follows were steeper than I imagined - think of it like a wall following the contours of a stormy, rolling sea. It's hard to imagine people working in such steep conditions to build it.
Me, Sara, Rebecca, and LuAnn. You can see more of the wall
in the fog behind us.


We went as far as we could in the time we had, then headed back down. Again, I would have loved more time on my own to explore longer. When we got back to the bottom we found everyone huddled in the back of a shop, drinking coffee or hot chocolate.

On a totally different subject, I find it weird that KFC (that's right, Kentucky Fried Chicken) is everywhere and most are open twenty-four hours. I couldn't help stopping in one near the entrance to the Great Wall to take a photo (below).

KFC Wall Art

All in all a busy but awesome day. As you can tell, there is a lot of walking involved in this tour, so if you go, be prepared with comfortable shoes!

When we got back to the hotel, Rebecca really wanted to go eat a scorpion (we had seen them sold out of small vendor stalls).

I said, "You have fun!"

I'm happy that her, Sara, and Luann went on without me, I can live without eating a scorpion.

Next up: Temple of Heaven, Pearl Shop, the Olympic Birds Nest, and a hop to Shanghai

You can check out:
Day 2 in Beijing, China
Day 1 in Beijing, China

If you'd like to see more of my travel posts, check out the trip to Costa Rica:
Day 1 in San Jose, Costa Rica

Additional days in China will be added soon!

Hello. I’m Sonja Dewing. I am a Writing Professional: Technical, business, and instructional writing, as well as a freelance writer for magazines and newspapers.

I'm a dedicated fitness fiend, outdoor enthusiast, and adventure seeker. I'm also a fiction author and I blog about my travel, backpacking, and other adventures.


Monday, April 6, 2015

Beijing in a day: Tiananmen Square, Forbidden City, Peking Duck



Today’s tours have been insane. Jumping from one place to another, and it’s been fantastic.

First stop is Tiananmen Square


A statue near the entrance to the square
With its giant sculpture, giant screens celebrating the local artists and/or museums, and open space,
you can almost forget what happened here years ago, and it's obvious they are not interested in visiting that history. Expect a sea of open cement, plenty of vendors, ubiquitous cameras and guards.

I purchased gloves from a vendor because it's colder here than I thought it would be, and we wandered the area a bit, checking out the memorials and sculptures. There is a museum along the periphery but we didn’t have time to check it out. Then it was time to move on.

Be in the know: Ensure that if you are going to buy anything from street vendors that you are carrying small change. Also, if they walk up to you without a cart, get the item handed to you first, then pay. The last thing you want is to pay up for something and watch as they dash off with your money.


The Forbidden City


One of the beautiful areas in the Forbidden City
A walk through Tiananmen Square, then through the Tiananmen Gate and we are in the Forbidden City. Not really a city, but a city-sized, ancient living quarters for royalty from 1417 to 1911.  

I would have genuinely liked more time to look through the Forbidden City, but I understand that Jim has to keep us moving. We have a lot to see in the next few days. But this is also a 700,000 square foot palace – I’m not sure anyone could see everything in one day, let alone a few hours.

So many beautiful things to photograph here.
The City is a series of open squares, surrounded by beautiful, artful buildings with golden roofs. In each square, Jim gave us some time to wander around, then we meet up again.

Be in the know: Once the amazing beauty of this place wears off just a little, make sure to check out the side rooms and areas. We found rooms with displays and museums along the way that showed us more of life in the palace.

The Optional Old Beijing Tour


For the fun of it.
Luckily, my friends decided to join me in the afternoon for the optional tour. For $55 we got to ride pedicabs through Old Beijing, have lunch at a local residence, visit a garden, and then a special dinner of Peking Duck.

The pedicab drivers had a good time racing and knocking into each other, but keeping it safe to get us to our lunch destination. The lunch at the local residence was wonderful. A family-style meal with plenty of rice, beer, and some wonderful meat dishes. We spent some time with the homeowners, listening to what it's like to live in that part of town and perused cutouts done by the families patriarch.

After a great meal, we hopped into the pedicabs again to a lake and then walked into Beihai Park. The park is beautiful, with some historic artwork as seen in the photo below.

Close up of the Nine Dragon Screen from Beihai Park.
Back at our hotel, Rebecca and I took advantage of the workout room. I figure it’s a good time because I’m about to go to what I hope will be my favorite meal.

I have only ever had Peking Duck once before. I have an aunt who is Chinese and she ordered us a special menu once. It was the first and only time I really enjoyed duck. So I was excited to try Pecking Duck on this tour.

Rebecca and I trying to stay
warm in the pedicab
I was not disappointed. The meal was fantastic. Light, paper thin noodles to wrap around the duck. Kind of like a Chinese version of a burrito. The duck was superb. Crispy and sweet outside, delicate and moist on the inside. The vegetables and the thin noodles were perfect accompaniments.

We have another early start tomorrow, it will be a rush to get through the next few days. Tomorrow will be the Great Wall of China and the Sacred Way of Ming Tombs, as well as some other stops.

You can check out:
Day 3 in Beijing, China
Day 1 in Beijing, China

If you'd like to see more of my travel posts, check out the trip to Costa Rica:
Day 1 in San Jose, Costa Rica



Hello. I’m Sonja Dewing. I am a Writing Professional: Technical, business, and instructional writing, as well as a freelance writer for magazines and newspapers.

I'm a dedicated fitness fiend, outdoor enthusiast, and adventure seeker. I'm also a fiction author and I blog about my travel, backpacking, and other adventures.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Trip to China: ABQ to LA to Beijing

Our first park we found - people were dancing
and enjoying the outdoors, even though it was
a bit cold.

My friends and I decided we needed an overseas trip, and without a specific location in mind we went searching for a deal. We found a good deal through China Spree, a nine-day trip for $999. 

A hop, a skip, and a giant jump to China


Our flight to China left LA at midnight.  

Special Note:  If you sign up for this trip, we liked the choice to take the midnight flight out of LA, because we had more time on our own for the first day when we arrived in Beijing. 

A first class cabin on China Southern's
Boeing 787 Dreamliner. (Photo/Xinhua)
Twelve, long, grueling hours to China. First class was beautiful, and made me think of a James Bond movie - which unfortunately was not where I was sitting, so I didn't get to feel like James Bond.

My friends and I had thought a window would be a good choice. However, there wasn't anything to see and we arrived too early in China to see anything at all. So after six hours of movie watching and nodding off, I finally decided to take a walk. I loved that the woman in the isle noticed and just started poking the guy in the middle to get him up and out of my way. I had felt guilty about waking him up. Then she exclaimed, quietly, as most everyone were sleeping, that she was amazed at how I lasted in my seat. Just lucky I guess, although next time, I'll get up more.

There isn't much to do though. Freshen up in the bathroom, walk around, get a glimpse of first class, and see my friends sleeping. Then back to my seat.

Listen to your instincts, get money exchanged as soon as you can


We landed to a quiet airport at 5:30 AM. When we got our luggage and made it through customs I
Jim, our well-meaning guide
was going to get some money exchanged. My friend, Ben, had wisely told me to get some exchanged right away. Except, our guide, Jim, insisted that we wait until we got to the hotel. I should have listed to Ben.

Our hotel, The Trader's Hotel, is lovely and it’s connected to the metro and a giant mall that’s spread throughout the underground and many buildings. Other than the supermarket, it’s all high-end stores.

However, we couldn’t check in because it was too early (we were aware of that) and we couldn't get money exchanged because the manager wasn’t there yet. Excuse me? We have all day to wander Beijing and our guide is barely able to exchange $20 for each of us. So we have to stick to charge purchases as much as we can, or search out a bank, which isn't on our agenda.

Be ready to take things as they come


We did get to see a lot of beautiful buildings on our walk
LuAnn has her heart set on seeing a porcelain museum mentioned in a guide book, so Jim wrote down the address in Chinese and we went for a taxi. The taxi driver dropped us next to a tall, ancient wall, pointed off in a direction, then told us to get out. Ah, travel.  

It's spring here, early March, and there is a cool wind. Which is good because it keeps the air relatively smog-free today. Otherwise, we'd have to wear masks to save our lungs.  

We spent the next five hours slowly wandering around, checking out the area, and searching for the museum. We asked many people who couldn't speak English, would show them the address, and they would just shake their heads.

My favorite spot: We walked up to the door of a place that looked like a museum. An old man unlocked the doors and let us walk in. Beautiful antique furniture surrounded us, he waved us to walk around while he looked at the address, then he shook his head at our address too. I don't think anyone was supposed to be in that place, and he let us see such beautiful things. Not that I could tell you where it was after all that walking, but it was awesome.

We never found the museum, and I think LuAnn was a bit sad for not being able to find it. But we can't say that we didn't try!

Check out the crazy Americans

Spring blooms in the park
One of the many curious locals
checking out the Americans

We went back to the wall – part of the old Beijing Wall and spotted a  lot of locals stretching and doing Tai Chi. What a great idea, we thought! Let's stretch our sore, jet-lagged muscles. 

We picked an open area near the wall and started some yoga stretches. Within minutes locals were lined up taking photos of us or taking selfies with us in the background. It felt a bit like being a monkey at the zoo. It didn't really bother me though, I just wondered what they were all thinking.

Metro or taxi?


We decided to take the metro back (our guide, Jim, had discouraged us because he was worried we would get lost). Turns out he was sort of right.

I loved the lighting in one of the metros
The metro itself is really easy. Most posted maps are written using alphabetic letters (not just the Chinese symbols) and we were able to get to the right stops/changes. We did exit the wrong direction though and found ourselves wandering the long halls of the mall (did I mention it's giant!). Once we found our way outside I was able to figure out where we were and steered us back to the hotel.

Our hotel rooms are nice and there is wifi, but no access to Facebook or to my blog, so my plans to keep people updated aren’t going to work. At least I can access email and let everyone know we are doing fine.  

Restaurant Decor
Next for the evening is dinner at a place listed in LuAnn's guidebook where monks serve vegetarian food on wood plates.  Meaning another taxi ride. I didn’t really want to go.  I would have preferred to take a walk around the neighborhood, find some restaurant nearby. But she had read this guidebook so many times and it was our only dinner on our own in Beijing. So off we went.  

The ride was crazy, like being in a roller coaster, reminiscent of other non-US taxi drivers, and we still weren’t sure we were in the right place. The food was very expensive and as you can see from the picture below, no wood plates here. The decor was lots of heavy fabrics, weird lamps. Sort of crystal ball reader with a mix of Mediterranean.  

Klingon gagh or weird noodles?
Rebecca and I appreciated our soups but Sarah and Luann were disappointed in their dinner.  Their noodles make me think of Klingon gagh – only they didn’t squirm, thankfully.

I did my best to lift everyone’s spirits, because we’re in China! And tomorrow is a long list of things to see.  


We had a much less crazy ride back to the hotel and it was time for sleep!

So, not a perfect day, but we've seen some great sights, got plenty of exercise, and had some good laughs.

You can check out my next day in Beijing, China.

If you'd like to see more of my travel posts, check out the trip to Costa Rica:
Day 1 in San Jose, Costa Rica

Additional days in China will be added soon!

Hello. I’m Sonja Dewing. I am a Writing Professional: Technical, business, and instructional writing, as well as a freelance writer for magazines and newspapers.

I'm a dedicated fitness fiend, outdoor enthusiast, and adventure seeker. I'm also a fiction author and I blog about my travel, backpacking, and other adventures.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Frijoles Canyon, Bandelier National Park, New Mexico

It's time to do some more hiking!
Calm waters and colorful rocks

Frijoles at Bandelier


We were looking for a place untouched by the fires last year and we thought Frijoles Canyon would be a good bet. Fire no, at least not on the lower half, but there is a lot of evidence of the floods that came through, caused by the fire ravaged areas above the canyon. Many of the bridges that spanned water crossings are gone, and there is a huge pile of debris along the route.

Frijoles Canyon is part of Bandelier National Monument, about a two hour drive from Albuquerque. Entrance fee is $12.00 per car so it's better to share the ride and the fee with a group. Unless you can make it to Bandelier before 9:00 AM or after 3:00 PM , you'll have to park at White Rock, NM and take the shuttle. This is because of the flooding that destroyed access to much of the parking areas. (Update 2015: This is still the case for the upcoming 2015 season.)
Evidence of the flooding in the canyon

Easy but watch out for stinging nettles


We headed out from the building at Bandelier and made our way along the canyon. The creek crossings are pretty tame, but it does help to have good hiking boots.


The stinging nettle doesn't look so bad.  Just don't touch!
I was hiking along, minding my own business when my hand and wrist began to burn and itch. I had just brushed against a plant. Turns out it was my first run-in with stinging nettle. It's bad enough that there are plants in New Mexico that seem to want to injure you like the sharp, rapier century plants, stiletto cactus, and prickly goat heads; but this innocuous looking nettle was growing right next to the trail in tall, green stalks. From there on out we
all watched out for them.

Relatively Easy Hike


Besides plant dodging, I really do like this trail. There isn't a lot of elevation change unless you decide to do a circuit - meaning you'll follow the trail up and out of the canyon.  We had decided to just go until we wanted to turn around.  If it's sunny, which it often is in New Mexico, you probably won't want to go to the top without a lot of water - there isn't any shade once you leave the canyon.

If you want to see additional photos from the canyon hike, check out the album.

Details


  • Public restrooms are available at the Bandelier Forestry Building.
  • For detailed directions to Bandelier and to make sure trails and/or the site is open, check out the Bandelier Webpage.
  • I consider this an easy hike. 
  • The shuttle is free, entrance is $12 per vehicle.

More Hiking/Backpacking blogs 

Hello. I’m Sonja Dewing. I am a Writing Professional: Technical, business, and instructional writing, as well as a freelance writer for magazines and newspapers.

I'm a dedicated fitness fiend, outdoor enthusiast, and adventure seeker. I'm also a fiction author and I blog about my travel, backpacking, and other adventures.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The 4T trail in Portland, Oregon

Recently when I was in Portland I signed up for a guided hike on the 4 T trail from the place I was staying, the Northwest Portland Hostel.
Great view of Mt Hood from the Council Crest Park

Worth the trip even if the guide was condescending


Only $5 for transportation and it was an interesting hike.  Our guide had us take the train to start at the Portland Zoo. The signs to follow the 4 T are just outside the Zoo entrance.

We moved across a couple of roads and into some woods. Our older male guide said to me "Honey, this is going to be a tough hike but you're welcome to lead if you would like." I didn't bother telling him I came from Albuquerque at 5,000 feet and am an avid hiker. Although I shouldn't have to, I'd never talk down to anyone else like that, why should he?

Anyway, I kind of broke the guide. I was halfway up the hill when I looked back and saw him, red-faced
and struggling to keep up with me, although the other members of the group weren't too far behind. Hard, huh?

The 4T stands for Trail, Tram, Trolley, and Train  


From the Zoo, you'll walk uphill to the top of Council Crest Park. During the hike through the parks, you can still hear traffic, but I was impressed with the amount of green space within the city. We did have to cross some streets, always following the signs for the 4T.
Blackberries on the trail - just a few were ripe

Almost to Crest Park, one of the New Zealanders in the group was blown away by the blackberries growing near the trail. From what I gather don't expect any wild berries if you visit New Zealand.

On to the University Hospital


After taking in the view at Crest Park, we moved uphill toward the Oregon Health and Science University. On the way we stopped at the Marquam shelter so our guide could get a break and sit down.

Some of the clay leaves in process
While our guide kicked back with a carton of wine at 11 AM (at this point I figured I didn't break the
guide, I think he was a little broken before today);  I was intrigued with a group of people gathered at tables and sanding.  Turns out this enterprising group is gathering volunteers to help decorate the small amphitheater here. They'll create clay pieces, paint them, then attach them to the back of the benches. Those of you in Portland interested in helping can check out their website for updates.

At the University we side-stepped a scary looking patient searching for someone with cigarettes; stopped for coffee where the lady behind the counter was the first rude Oregonian that I had met (the rest of the group voiced this same opinion after we sat down); and
View from the University Hospital balcony
then we went outside to sit on a patio and take in the view.

A ride down


We took the tram down to the bottom then went around the corner to catch the trolley.  We took about 3 hours with all of our breaks to do the whole thing.

Details


  • I didn't see many public restrooms on this route, except at the hospital.
  • For detailed directions to the 4T, check out the 4T trail webpage.
  • I consider this a moderate hike as it does have a lot of uphill and it is a long day.  I do recommend it as it was a great way to see parts of the city you might not have seen yet.


More Hiking/Backpacking blogs 

Hello. I’m Sonja Dewing. I am a Writing Professional: Technical, business, and instructional writing, as well as a freelance writer for magazines and newspapers.

I'm a dedicated fitness fiend, outdoor enthusiast, and adventure seeker. I'm also a fiction author and I blog about my travel, backpacking, and other adventures.