Boot Up Properly To Walk Anywhere

19 04 2018

Marc Woodard, April 2018

I’m often ask why I ‘Boot Up’ to walk Tigard’s easily accessible sidewalks, parkway and greenway paved trail systems. That is, I typically wear boots and protective clothing with backpack. My reasoning is basically 5-fold.

1) I often walk through narrow dirt trail systems in publically owned wooded areas with overgrown brush and weeds within City boundaries. You can find these remote trails within and around Dirksen Nature Park, Bull Mountain Park, and Cook, Cache and Sunrise Parks and sections of Genesis loop. Also Fields and Brown property behind the Tigard Library running parallel with the train tracks. To include other unimproved land areas not well known to the general public.

2) If you love trail walking or work within rural and forested environments, or like to hike, camp, hunt over the weekends – protective all-weather clothing, backpack and supportive footwear in my opinion is the best attire to wear during daily walking exercise to keep the feet and body conditioned to participate in any of those activities year around.

3) Boots are more resistive to walk in than tennis shoes and require daily use to keep feet conditioned to wear them comfortably for any occasion. They also provide a superior level of protection from puncture, abrasions or blunt force that may occur on uneven and unstable outback surface conditions.

4) Regardless of foot wear choice and activity, an improperly fitted boot like any shoe can cause hotspots and blisters; to include lift toenails ever so slightly which allows fungus to enter under them. Toenail fungus is the cause of yellowish, thickened and cracked nail and painful conditions. To learn more about proper fitting foot ware, foot care and toenail fungus connection and treatment – Read: “Clear up Yellowed, Thickened and Cracked Toenails….” Visit: MirrorAthlete article – Click on short link:

5) If you have ankle supination problems [where the foot strikes the outer back edge of heal first with unstable force], a properly fitted boot with 6”ankle height support will likely keep the foot from buckling inward – and may prevent strain or sprain of the outer ankle joint.

Loaded Back Pack – 25lbs of apples

My go-to walking gear consists of ankle high tactical boots with insole inserts for additional padding and arch support. I also wear lightweight protective long-sleeved and tactical flex-pant clothing, hat and often Don a backpack with 3 liters [~6.6lbs] of water. Additional gear consists of a flashlight, jerky or power bar, rain proof wind breaker, extra pair of socks, water purifier drinking straw, first aid kit and a pair of well-worn boots – should the primary boot compromise a foot during a long walk.

 If boot change out or foot treatment does not occur prior to ‘hotspot-limping’… This can result in a painful domino effect in any combination(s) of weight bearing joints, i.e., knee, hip, back and neck. In general and in many cases – weight bearing joint pain begins at the feet first and works its way up the body as exercise activity continues without foot ware adjustment. If foot discomfort is not addressed timely and pain persists daily this doesn’t motivate people to walk more.

My recommendation for anyone looking to condition the feet and body for long walks; traverse up and down hills as much as you walk the flatlands. It is hilly slops where boot ware can be tested for excessive slippage, uncomfortable pressure points and hotspots caused by improperly fitted footwear. This is the time to make adjustments, not while on a long or remote hike in the mountains. I can’t begin to tell you how many types of insoles, socks, moleskin [protective adhesive hotspot Band-Aid-like patches] and boots I’ve gone through to find the right combinations that allows me to walk on average 8-10 miles per day comfortably anywhere without pain.

Before beginning long distance walking… It is helpful to first plan to condition the feet in footwear of choice over a 4 week period and make adjustments accordingly. I recommend walking daily at a pace and distance you’re comfortable – then increase duration gradually. There is a secondary benefit to hauling up-to10-12lbs of essentials on daily walks most don’t consider. The additional weight takes extra cardio and muscular endurance effort while burning more fat calories.

No matter the adventure… foot maintenance should be the priority.

Once feet are conditioned, try donning a lightweight back pack and add weight gradually on a daily basis if you want the increased fitness benefits, or planning to condition the body for a remote hiking expedition.

To learn more about Tigard City trail locations to plan daily walk loops, or want to know more about the Cities trail master plans visit:

Good health to you and your family.

Marc Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, ARNG, CPT, RET., is a member of the Tigard City Council. He is a strong proponent of City involvement in providing recreational opportunities for its residents. 2018 Copy right. All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Inc., “To learn more about MirrorAthlete Fit Healthy Lifestyle, City Recreation and free monthly newsletter, visit:”

Nature’s Best-In-Class Stair Master on Bull Mountain

14 02 2018

Walking to Bull Mountain Trail Head

Like most fitness enthusiasts I’m always looking for a variety of exercise activities that’ll keep me motivated to walk daily – If I can find it outdoors all the better. After the Holidays and during the winter months there’s nothing better than a “Mid-Intensity fat burning walking activity,” especially on an uphill grade with multiple switchbacks and preferably in a wooded area. If such a place exists, you’ve just found nature’s Best-In-Class Stair Master. Not only will an uphill walking effort challenge anyone’s cardio and muscular endurance… it requires more body fat fuel to power the exercise opposed to flat land walking.

Within the City of Tigard a public-use wooded trail system like this exists. I’m happy to share its location for those looking for a different type of mobility challenge and experience. If you want to burn even more calories and get in better shape, consider making it a habit to walk in places like it – even during inclement weather.

Those of you who served in the military with boots on the ground… recall, “If it’s not raining we’re not training.” It’s a fact, when it’s cold and rainy, the resistive forces on the mind-body just increased a notch. Anyone can use nature’s outdoor Stairmaster throughout the year to personally challenge themselves and increase fitness levels regardless of rain or shine.

Molly our Red Setter – Loves this site – She stakes her claim.

The well-designed dirt trail runs approximately half a mile with multiple switchbacks and is located on the West side hill of Bull Mountain Park where Kruger Creek cuts through its slopped base in a valley-like wooded environment. I’d estimate the trail grade varies from top-to-bottom, 4-8 degrees. There are seated areas along the switchback segment of the pathway to rest and reflect on all that matters. Molly our red Irish setter loves the rest area approximately 2/3 way up the switchback segment. And believe me she doesn’t slow down a bit once closing in on that spot.

That’s the look… she also likes the white stuff.

“Glancing back at me only momentarily with excited eyes and happy pant, she pulls with full gusto.” I sense she’s concerned if I’m keeping up with her. And in that moment “we lock eyes and both know, ‘It’s all good – onward and upward we go!” If you need motivation to walk with purpose an energetic dog will definitely do the trick. Once in this peaceful place the sights and sounds of nature do its thing… “In itself is worth the effort, simply for peace of mind.”

Rest area and observation site near top of switch back trail system

While observing the surroundings in this spot, anyone would be drawn to read the two small plaques posted next to the picnic table where Molly proudly poses for the picture. The first one reads, “Hiking Trail and Picnic Table, Eagle Scout Project of Nikolai Hanson, Troop 419, June 2013. The second one reads, “Stairway railing and rock wall, Eagle Scout Project of Benjamin Love, Troop 799, and September 2014.”

Recognition for volunteers who built the great trail system and rest stops along the way.

I’d like to personally thank those Eagle Scouts and community volunteers responsible for this trail system and rest stops along the way… And of course the newly developed park.

If you’ve not been to Bull Mountain Park, or walked the switch back trail segment here’s how to access them. Park and walk the Morningstar Greenway trailhead beginning at SW Greenfield Drive and Benchview Terrace to experience the uphill hike to the switchback trail segment – ending in Bull Mountain Park.


Or drive to the park – If you want to access the switchback trail segment from Woodshire lane once parked… continue walking straight ahead [Westerly] past the maintenance shed, outhouse and playground structure.

Previous property owners, “Beverly Dawson Paul, MSW and David Parameter, M.D.

Walk just a little further forward and as the asphalt turns to bark chip, look for the ground level plaque on a rock to your left. The trailhead plaque reads “Beverly Dawson Paul, MSW and David Parameter, M.D. ‘They loved this place and lived here from 1979 to 2008.” Walk down ~100’ to the first switchback and 100’ more to the picnic table, have lunch and enjoy nature.

Bull Mountain Park

The official ribbon cutting ceremony recognized all involved in raising the money necessary to develop Bull Mountain Park and its trail systems, 15 October 2017. “This 10-acre neighborhood park is comprised of woods, open space, and riparian areas. The park features accessible trails, a picnic shelter, a nature play structure, and interpretive elements.” Learn more about the park and how community came together to raise funds and develop it.

Tigard parks development and recreational outdoor events hosted in them continue to grow popularity. Events and activities in parks are directly supported by city council’s 5-year recreation goal #2 – Expand outdoor events (movies, concerts, pop‐ups in the park; including programs and classes with outside providers; and partnership opportunities, etc., 2012-17). On March 7, 2017 the City Council updated those goals for the next two years – 2017-19. Learn more about them.

Zip line down this wooded valley hillside… anything is possible.

I must say, “When city leadership and community recognize the value of the fit healthy benefits city parks and recreational events and activities provide within them… COOL things like Nature’s Best-In-Class Stairmaster come to life. What’s next, “a Zip-Line with tree tower, repealing base camp and Ninja Warrior style obstacle courses throughout the trail system area?

Recreational activities, partnership opportunities and possibilities are only limited by the imagination, recreation personnel and public support. Regardless of whether a Zip-line and Ninja Warrior-like obstacle challenge course becomes reality in Tigard, I know one thing for sure…

2017 Street Fair & Latino Feast – Rotary Plaza

“When parks and trail systems become accessible, useful and activated… ‘More people spend their leisurely and play time hours in and around them.”

When community plays together anything is possible – “Including realization of COOL activities that bring people together and fit healthy for all who physically participate and spectate within it.”

Good health to you and your family.

Marc Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, ARNG, CPT, RET., is a member of the Tigard City Council. He is a strong proponent of City involvement in providing recreational opportunities for its residents. 2017 Copy right. All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Inc.,

Paddles Away on the Tualatin River!

9 08 2017

Floating Aimlessly – Peace and Tranquility.

Updated: 9 April 2018

Imagine an unspoiled wilderness area drifting aimlessly and effortlessly on a lazy river. The wind rustling through a forested landscape and sounds of critters about. Now picture the sun at your back and rays glistening off an oarsman’s water ripple… and with each passing river bend another connection with nature is made.

Reminding us, “Rivers are places that renew our spirit, connect us with our past, and link us directly with the flow and rhythm of the natural world.” (Ted Turner, the Rivers of South Carolina).

If this sounds like something you’d like to experience in Portland, OR – you’re in luck. The City of Tigard, approximately 8 miles West of Portland is home to one of the best non-motorized boat launches on the Tualatin River.

Tualatin River Water Shed, Tualatin, OR. An awesome place to boat under your own steam.

“It’s watershed in northwest Oregon drains 712 square miles and ranges from the densely populated areas of southwest Portland, Hillsboro, Tigard and Beaverton to agricultural areas near Scholls, Gaston, Banks, Mountaindale and North Plains to the forests of Oregon’s Coast Range, Tualatin Mountains and Chehalem Mountains (Tualatin River Water Council,” “The Tualatin River is the family-friendly river in Portland’s backyard,” said Mike Skuja, Tualatin River keepers Executive Director.

I can tell you from personal experience, floating adrift any body of water is a delightful and relaxing way to spend the day. Both my wife and I have kayaked the Tualatin River numerous times during summer months.

As an exercise activity, I’m confident in saying, “if walking doesn’t cause an out-of-breath situation and you don’t have a physical limitation – paddling against a slow current won’t strain the body.” However, you’ll definitely feel the benefit of paddling exercise.  Especially if you chose to move at a faster rate of speed. And for first timers, there’s no better way to learn how to go from beginner to advanced boating skillsets.

Tualatin River Boat Launch Area in Cook Park

Regardless of skill, propelling yourself under your own steam on a river journey is a good-time experience like no other. And can be shared with family and friends – building found memories that last a lifetime.

If you don’t own your own boat and want to experience the Tualatin River… the Tualatin River Keepers (TKR) provide what you need at their rental boat launch area located in Cook Park.

TRK rents canoes and paddle boards in boat launch area.

Simply park your car in the public parking area near the river dock. The Tualatin River keepers rent Canoes & Solo-Double Kayaks for 4 hours at $40.00 and $10.00 more for each additional hour. Rentals are open from Memorial Day through Labor Day and begin from 9:00am through 6pm Friday through Sunday. You can also rent stand up Paddle Boards and single Kayaks for $30.00/4hours. Life jackets and paddles provided.

The rentals are open for business Friday through Sundays. Cook Park Summer hours are from 8am-Dusk.

There is no cost for parking or to launch a privately owned kayak or paddle board.

To learn more about TRK Rentals visit their web page.

Good health to you and your family.

Marc Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, ARNG, CPT, RET., is a member of the Tigard City Council. He is a strong proponent of City involvement in providing recreational opportunities for its residents. 2017 Copy right. All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Inc.,