Rain Adventures into Lake Oswego

img_3662Too many choices.

Rain got to enjoy a little adventure in Lake Oswego last weekend. We were looking for some new hiking options that were relatively close to home, and searching on Oregon Hikers yielded just a few options that would fit the bill. The Luscher Farm-Cooks Butte Loop Hike seemed the best bet, and was cited in a couple of dog-friendly books…and away we went!

When we arrived at the hike start point Rain was raring to go. We were right next to a big fenced off-leash area, and there were plenty of other puppers meandering around. She barked with excitement until we were inside the Lake Oswego Dog Park at Hazelia Field and her leash had been removed.

I had forgotten to bring any poop bags for our hike. On the way over I thought “gee, it’s in Lake Oswego, I sort of suspect they’ll have poop bag dispensers everywhere.” And so they did! (If you’re not from the Portland area, Lake Oswego is one of the more affluent suburbs. Their public services are much more well-funded than the town on our side of the river, Milwaukie.)

This dog park had plenty of other amenities as well. There TWO separated areas, one for “active” dogs and one for “timid” dogs. Rain did just fine inside the “active” area, but her Uncle Atticus (who was roughly twice her size) probably would have needed the “timid” area. The fences were high-quality, and there were large pieces inside the park for the doggos to play on like a big resin tunnel. They even had a big mound of wood chips for climbing on, which was enjoyed by dogs and humans alike! The place was still a mudhole after our recent rainstorm, but there was a doggy cleanup station set up outside the entrance and exit.

Someone had left hundreds of tennis balls at the dog park. There were so many balls that Rain would chase one ball that we had thrown for her and end up bringing a different one back. There were so many tennis balls she couldn’t decide which one she wanted to play with, as you can see above! It all made for quick work in getting her initial energy out before we set out on our hike.

Once we left the dog park, a paved path skirted Luscher Farm, a historic property technically owned by the City of Lake Oswego but which remains a working farm. Does that sound familiar? About two miles from my house Zenger Farm has a similar relationship with the City of Portland. We’ve been getting a CSA for three seasons now from Zenger Farm, and this is a program at Luscher Farm as well. While we walked we saw patches of beets, broccoli, carrots, and a dried up patch of corn stalks.

img_3659Rain poses in front of a Luscher Farm beet field.

We eventually curved around the field and arrived at the farm house, where we had a gander at the structure and a passing glance at their clematis garden (Rain wasn’t allowed to wander out of the parking area). We noticed the porch sported a vintage milk delivery box from Portland’s Alpenrose Dairy even though the dairy barn behind the house was in great shape. They also had a fowl coop with chickens, guinea hens, and carrier pigeons! (Rain gave a couple barks at the birds so we didn’t stay close to them very long.)

Soon we doubled back and made our way across the street to start heading to Cooks Butte. Part of the hike route included Stevens Meadows, which is sandwiched between Luscher Farm and Cooks Butte, but no dogs were allowed inside. Rain knows where she’s not wanted! We kept walking.

img_3661Stevens Meadows is just beyond the fence.

Just uphill from the meadows was a paved path which provided some lovely views to the south. Slightly uphill from us on the other side was a line of fancy houses, all of which naturally had balconies and large windows soaking in that bucolic view.

The path took us to one of the entrances of Cooks Butte Park, a forested hilltop with a small network of trails. The Douglas firs and fern undergrowth was fairly young, as the hilltop was once used as farmland. It was still a beautiful greenspace to wander around in to get away from people the day after Thanksgiving. When the trail took us near a small runoff stream a couple of times along the way, Rain insisted on hopping in and splashing around. Just like at Silver Creek Falls, she would bite at the splashes she made, jumping around and enjoying herself before we pressed on.

After completing the Cooks Butte portion of our hike we looped back around to the dog park. Rain had spent enough energy to let some slack in her leash, but once Rain realized where we were headed she started pulling again. We spent another 20 minutes or so inside the dog park—Rain got to meet more dogs, climb to the top of the wood chip mountain, and of course chase a ball again and again.

Rain’s legs and underbelly were chunky with mud when we were done. I decided to use the doggy cleanup station once we were outside the fenced area. A water hose with a pump mechanism provided water. She was far cleaner after a quick rinse! It didn’t get everything but she’s about due for a bath anyhow.

Once we were home for the evening Rain spent most of the evening sleeping on my lap. File this doggy outing under MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!

img_3665

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