When my stepson graduated from Lewis and Clark College this weekend (more on that elsewhere), I had a chance to race back and forth across campus like a lunatic many times. I walked from one function to another, once retrieving a robe, another time going to a department reception, organizing where family members would sit, arranging rides, and so on. One funny time yesterday, I took a short cut through a gorgeous ravine below the commons and found the subject of an engineering student’s prank. For 140 years, students have been wandering this campus at graduation time. There are great views to be had, but I was surprised at the seat somebody arranged. The photo doesn’t quite do the scene justice; I was standing on a bridge, and the perch is at least thirty feet up a tree. It’s all a part of higher education. For other great area hiking, check out Tryon Creek State Park, which has trails heading out directly from the Lewis and Clark Law School campus.
This fellow is one of the usual suspects: his name is Scarface, and I've seen him before in Yellowstone. He's over twenty years old, with a mangled right ear, and..yes..a scarred face from too many run-ins with other grizzlies. I've only seen him from the road, which is just fine with me: coming around the bend on a trail and meeting this particular face is not on my bucket list.
With more daylight lately and strangely nice weather for Oregon , it almost seems a crime not to head out for a hike or a bike ride after work. Unfortunately, I am generally gone for about eleven hours daily during the week, and I often feel wiped out when I return home.
The other day, with a dash of motivation caused by perfect weather, I drove across the Willamette River toward Forest Park. The bottom end of Saltzman Road is an odd mix of lovely homes, tight curves, a water bureau site, and a gate at a closed off forest road.
I saw no other cars at the pseudo trailhead, but I soon encountered a couple descending cyclists moving at a good clip. The road turned path would be perfect for that. Eventually I arrived at a junction where the curving road neared the edge of a forested canyon. The Maple Trail split off on either side, descending one way and climbing the other.
I felt a touch lazy, so I opted for downhill. Besides, the canyon on that side looked spectacular. Really.
I wandered for a while with my pup through some phenomenal forest until the trail crossed a creek near the head of a lovely drainage.
The setting was serene, and I wish I’d had more time, but light was fading, so I turned back.
The temperature had cooled off considerably in the shade, so I kept moving. Interestingly, some of the best views of the day were yet to come. The Maple Trail definitely merits more exploration. I shall return.
Western Oregon weather has been fabulous lately and I’m excited to really get after some adventure this summer. I found a couple photos from one of hundreds of trips to Mount Hood we took with our old pup Nikko (see Thanks for the Memories: A Dog’s Life).
While I love the Wallowas and the Front Range, the Bitterroots and the Adirondacks, there is no single mountain I know that rivals Mount Hood in my heart. It is approachable yet daunting, beautiful yet rugged, inspiring yet backbreaking, fun yet dangerous to the unprepared.
If Nikko were still around, he would probably be whining for a good hike. I’m thinking Yocum Ridge. Summer is coming. Let’s do this!
I’ve recently heard multiple people discussing New Mexico, and it reminded me of our 2011 trip there. I thought I’d throw a couple photos up that are mere teases of what is available in the southern part of the state. We started in Las Cruces, which was a great little city, then meandered to Alamagordo via White Sands, and finally up to the mountain haven of Ruidoso. I hope to return when I have more time. Until then, a few photos.
The first you might notice on the Interlakes Trail are the tall cottonwood trees. Then you will notice the constant chatter of birdsong. The area at Smith and Bybee Lakes is one of the great natural treasures in the Portland area, made more valuable by its industrial surroundings. Two miles west of I-5, adjacent to a major set of train tracks, Smith and Bybee Lakes is a 2000 acre natural haven for ospreys, herons, otters, and many other creatures.
According to Portland Parks and Recreation website, this “is the largest protected wetland within an American city.”
The area boasts a small trail system, only one chunk of which penetrates the wetlands area, but there are miles of cycling or running to be had on the perimeter. The Interlakes Trail splits off of the road-like path of the Forty Mile Loop trail near the entrance to the park.
The main path ends after two-thirds of a mile at a covered viewing platform facing the reedy shallows of Bybee Lake.
Standing there, you will see waterbirds scoot about, songbirds dart about, and wind ruffling the lush grasses. It is a peaceful place if you can ignore the powerlines in the corner of your eye.
An unmaintained trail continues beyond the viewing platform, well-trod but increasingly muddy, meandering through grasses as trees become sparser and views open up in most directions. The song of red winged blackbirds punctuates the scene.
It is hard to imagine a more pleasant payoff for such an easy hike. This a top-notch venture for all ages.
Note that because the area is a wildlife refuge, dogs are not welcome on the Interlakes Trail. Sorry, Jackie.
GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) — High winds on Thursday grounded an air search for a young Oklahoma man inspired by the movie "Into The Wild" to test himself against the wilderness in southeastern Oregon.
Harney County Sheriff Dave Glerup said the winds on Steen Mountain were too strong to fly safely, and they hoped for a break in the weather that would let them fly Saturday.