For this installment of Run Oregon’s “Make a Day of It,” we present a lovely trail run and an evening at Portland Center Stage. The play, Astoria (Part 1), is based on the novel “Astoria: John Jacob Astor and Thomas Jefferson’s Lost Pacific Empire: A Story of Wealth, Ambition, and Survival” by Peter Stark, so the trail run will take us to Northern Oregon Coast and the Fort to Sea Trail.
Why a trail run? Well, organized road races weren’t a thing in 1810 when the Astor Expedition (and John Jacob’s expanding fur company) set out for a three-year journey to establish a manned post on the West Coast. Splitting up their party into overland and oversea teams, they would have done more than their fair share of hiking and maybe even setting the first trail running records in the process. The Fort to Sea Trail is a good one to explore: you start out at Fort Clatsop for a 6.5-mile trek through varied terrain. If you’re a nerd like me, you can pretend it’s 1810 with a little inspiration from the replica buildings there.
Definitely wear trail shoes; wear layers and be prepared for wind, rain, and mud. I also think bringing a snack is a good idea, and definitely some water. You can see a trail map of the Fort to Sea Trail here; be sure to take a look so you set off towards the ocean instead of along the river. You will go under Highway 101 before reaching the Sunset Beach Recreation Area and the Pacific. If the entire 13-mile out-and-back is too much mileage for you right now, you can cut the distance down to less than five miles by getting on the trail at Pioneer Church off Clatsop; another option is to drop one vehicle off at the coast and run it one-way with a getaway car.
After your invigorating run, head back to Portland and get a shower before getting dressed up* and heading to the Pearl District for the play’s world premiere.
Astoria (Part 1) is the first in a two-season series. This production explores the journeys of the Astor Expedition — including the trail that became the Oregon Trail — right up until the development of the Astoria settlement. Part 2 (next season) explores that settlement and all of the challenges faced by those who were among the first non-natives to make their homes in Oregon. I’m not saying you won’t be able to enjoy Part 2 next year without seeing Part 1, but that’s like reading “Again to Carthage” before “Once a Runner.” It will mean more if you know the first part of the story.
The production opens on January 20 and runs Tuesdays through Sundays through February 12 at Portland Center Stage located at 128 NW 11th in Portland. Tickets start at just $25, and PCS is located near a number of amazing restaurants including the Deschutes Brewery at 211 NW 11th. They also have a cute little bar where you can order a drink to enjoy during the play – just be sure to ask them for a lid.
*This is Portland, so “dressed up” can mean many things; but most people get in what I think of as church clothes. If you have fancy duds, this is a place you can wear them in PDX!