March 8-11, 2015, Eugene, Oregon: I book the “Round House”on Airbnb for three nights. I love the unique properties on Airbnb. This is one platform where you can choose accommodations which aren’t run of the mill. The house is in an older neighborhood of low-lying ranches and small art and craft-style homes, a few miles from the University of Oregon. I find a parking space on the street and get out. The main house is fairly funky and I expect none other.
The homeowner is away on a business trip but his son welcomes me and gives me a tour. The Round House is in the small backyard. Even though it’s in a neighborhood there is privacy due to the trees and fences. I feel as though I’m in a natural habitat as I cross the small foot bridge over a tiny pond to the humble abode.
“How adorable” I say with a smile as he opens the door. “I love the floor.”
“Thanks. My dad wanted a unique floor so he went to the bank and got 6000 pennies which I installed.” He smiled back in appreciation.
“Wow that’s cool. That must have been labor intensive?” I ask.
“Yeah it was but it turned out great and it’s unique.”
“That it is.” I say as I look closely at the shiny copper penny floor.
The 12 sided, 11 foot by 11 foot room is simply furnished with a full size bed, night stand, folding desk and chair. There’s a cute tissue box resembling a house on the night stand. Large windows and a round skylight bring in the natural light. It’s Glamping which means high-end camping since the bathroom and cooking area are in the main house.
“Thank you for showing me around. I’m going to get a few things out of the car.” I say as I shake his hand.
“If you need anything just holler. You have my cell.”
As I settle in for the night, the peepers come alive in the small pond next to the round house. Their voices are almost deafening, but finally I fall asleep and sleep through the night. I awake to a beautiful sunny day. Feeling refresh from a good night sleep I decide on hiking Mount Pisgah.
It’s in Eugene near Springfield in the Howard Buford Recreation Area. I find it on TripAdvisor which I rely heavily on for reviews. I pay the $4 parking fee and take a trail map. The trails are randomly numbered and in no particular order; the 35 flows into the 3 which flows into the 56. Hmmm… Interesting.
After studying the map and talking to a few hikers, I settle on trail #1 – Beistel’s West Summit Trail, a 1.4 mile hike. As I start to climb I think about the difference between a mountain and a hill. In New England where I’m from, an elevation of 1531′ would be considered a small mountain but in the West it’s just a hill. I laugh out loud to myself.
The trail is fairly steep but walkable. I stop to take in the views. It’s beautiful. As I near the summit I walk through a grove of oak trees covered loosely in long flowing moss. It reminds of the deep south. I guess that’s why they call it Savannah Oak.
I finally reach the summit which offers breath-taking panoramic views of the lush Willamette Valley. I feel like Maria in The Sound of Music when she is up in the mountains in the beginning of the film. I’m in awe of the beauty around me. Cropping of pine forests, fields of green, hills and a snow-capped mountain looms in the distance. I sit in the grass and admire my surroundings. It’s peaceful.
After an hour I hike down taking the #1 to the #3 to the #35. At the bottom, I explore Mount Pisgah Arboretum, a botanical garden with trails along the Coast Fork Willamette River. It’s a magical place with variety of trees and gardens. I walk along the main path which follows the river until I come to a field. At this point I stop and retrace my steps.
I’m glad I found this gem. I would love to come back and explore it more, but that will be for another time. There is still so much to explore in Eugene.