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At 5,200 acres, Portland's Forest Park is one of the largest urban forests in the United States.With more than 80 miles of trails, fire lanes and forest roads, Forest Park stretches for more than seven miles along the eastern slope of the Tualatin Mountains, overlooking Northwest Portland and the convergence of the Columbia and Willamette Rivers.Here’s how I feel about hiking: When I was 17, in my last year of high school, I took a statistics class. I want to prove to myself that my soft, pale, weird body can do hard things. I want to learn to love the outdoors before I get some life-altering injury, or become too addicted to my phone, or die, or something else.
Fuchsia, lavender and other stereotypical “girly” colors send Worteck and other women hikers running to the boys’ section in search of apparel that suits them inside and out.
It’s not just pastels–women’s outdoor gear often lacks important features (like deep pockets) or is skin-tight and therefore uncomfortable for extended wear.
*** Days after I returned from that first trip, it was Tisha B’Av.
As a new bar mitzvah, I would be experiencing the full “adult” holiday package for the first time at camp: fasting, attending classes and services all day, hearing the stories of sorrow and suffering told and retold.
Just a few paces in, though, these same trails unfurl their offerings with a hush, a drastic departure from the city’s bustle.
On a recent misty morning hike up Woo-Myun Sahn (Sleeping Cow Mountain), just behind the neighborhood of Bangbae in the Seocho district, we discovered a welcoming (and quite vertical) hike that revealed a multitude of sights we might not experience in the Tetons or the Adirondacks — the abrupt transition between a bustling municipality and the chorus of nature.Instead, I found that I understood the course material, loved my classmates and had great rapport with my teacher. No one thought I could do the thing, and I did the thing anyway. In 2009, this essay won the National Magazine Award. It is about reconciling the horrors of the past with the gifts of the present.Encouraged, I signed up to take the Advanced Placement statistics course and corresponding exam the next semester. My recent fascination with hiking is ridiculous: I am an indoor kid. Beginning when she was 8, Tracy was molested by her stepfather–the same man who loved her mother, took their family on wonderful adventures, and instilled a deep love and respect for nature in Tracy herself.My parents were understandably wary; they’d witnessed a decade of temper tantrums and failed math tests. I love Netflix, snacks, sleeping, that Bubble Spinner game and owning a thousand books. Now, Tracy returns to the site the abuse began–the Sawtooth Mountains–with her stepfather/abuser by her side.Robert Moor is the author of , a book conceived as Moor thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail.But intertwined with this city of soaring aspirations are soaring mountains — nearly 40 of them — each unique and beautiful in its own way.Purled into the mountainsides are impressive webs of well-maintained trails, and it’s here that Korea celebrates one of its lesser-known but beloved pastimes: hiking.But the forest has a way of choosing its own lessons to teach.As it would turn out, thanks to an index card and a pair of friendly Germans, my most important lesson had everything to do with both Judaism and nature.This year, I made it back to the Appalachian Trail, twice as old as I was that first time at camp.I returned—on a four-week solo trek from southern Virginia to the border of my home state of Pennsylvania, all alone in the wilderness—because I wanted to give up the burden of my individuality and feel part of something greater: not Judaism, but nature.