These flowers on the flanks of mighty Mount Talbert were one of the highlights of a pair of afternoon walks I took today. They remind me of avalanche lilies, but it could be another species. There were other lovely flowers too, which surprised me given how wooded the area is. I did not hike very far. I just wanted to get a good sniff of nature. Everyone should do that now and again.
Besides Mount Talbert, I also checked out Minthorn Natural Area, a small wetland area close to home. It was not exactly pristine but I enjoyed seeing mallards and Canada geese with a train of goslings (no Ryans, sorry). There were also signs of homeless camps, but I chose to ignore them. The weather actually got nicer after I was done walking, and I thought about hitting a third spot for walking, but my hunger go the best of me. It usually does. Time to cook. Happy Sunday.
Hmm. Maybe after dinner I could walk along the river….
A hill should not be called a mountain, but I couldn’t hold such mis-labeling against Mount Talbert for too long. After all, it definitely pokes above the surrounding landscape southeast of Portland. It is also one of the only such buttes in the area which still has a pristine forested top. There are signs of selective logging low on the west side, but it has been well done despite the remaining slash piles. When I got a surprise day off a couple days ago, I had to take advantage of the good weather. After all, our summer preview will soon come to a close. I’d been meaning to check out Mount Talbert for months, so this was a good opportunity to cross it off the tick list.
The well-designed trailhead on Mather Road was a perfect place to begin my walk. There is a small picnic shelter area, a bathroom, and ample parking (a Fed Ex truck took up four spots sideways, but there was no shortage of space). At the start of the trail there are a couple interpretive signs and a readable map. From there, it is easy to set out on multiple loop treks. More specifically, try the Summit Trail for a short loop with some views, or consider the much longer Park Loop Trail around the periphery for a longer ramble. I combined the two, with the West Ridge Trail as a connector. At the beginning, the trail heads uphill immediately through a few switchbacks, and I rapidly boosted my heart rate. Later I would see a couple joggers and a serious walker with ear buds in. Locals must know this a good spot for a workout. Me, I was just there for the scenery.
The interpretive signage at the bottom points out that there are various oak restoration areas in the park. I noticed that those areas have sparser undergrowth besides ferns, and they are much more open to sunlight. Although there is a good amount of uphill walking, the so called summit is very unassuming. There are slight views to the south. My favorite part was descending from that high point. The forest seemed more like a real mountainside, calling to mind the lower stretches of Salmon Butte.
I’d seen nobody on the Summit Trail, but I did encounter a few folks descending the West Ridge trail as it dropped to the north. Then I cut back on the Park Loop toward Mather Road. The walk lasted about an hour. I probably walked a bit over two miles. It was a weekday, but I was surprised how few people were out on a nice day. The trails were in good shape, the intersections were well marked with one exception, and the forest was unspoiled.
Note: Dogs are not allowed at Mt. Talbert in an effort to respect the local wildlife. Luckily, Jackie Chan was out of town with his mama, so I didn’t feel guilty about going it alone. A couple other people ignored the signs, but I might have noticed a bit more wildlife noise without Jackie on the path. There were lots of juncos, sparrows, and robins, some squirrels, and something big in the leaves below a drop-off. I never saw the creature. Maybe next time. I’ll have to come back, and it will be a pleasure.