Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Hitting the trail

A couple of weekends back we decided to get out and into nature. We’ve lived in Portland for almost 6 years now (doesn’t seem possible) and haven't really explored the amazing network of parks and trails that this city has to offer.

Still a little less than 100% from the ankle injury I wanted a trail that was guaranteed to be easy, we chose to hike the trail the starts at Lower Macleay Park, in Forest Park, and continues on to Pittock Mansion. We didn’t make all the way to Pittock, I just wasn’t up for that, but we enjoyed a lovely afternoon soaking up the fresh air and smells of spring in Oregon.

Ferns and Trillium were everywhere! I took so many pictures of beautiful Trillium leaves and flowers, and amazing fern fronds, unfortunately the dappled light made most of them a blurry mess, like this one. Trust me, it was beautiful.
There were many Solomon’s seal and False Solomon’s Seal.
And lots and lots of moss.
The trail followed along Balch Creek…
Eventually we came to this stone structure which is an abandoned restroom facility. Although the teenage couple exploring it while we re there insisted it was home to “the witches"...
On the reverse trek back to the car we saw this… Finally. I knew we were going to see a snake, it was inevitable. I wish I would have had my camera at the ready so I could have caught him still on the trail.

After returning to the car we decided to drive over to the Hoyt Arboretum just across the way in Washington Park (this nature thing is addictive). We’d visited the arboretum once years ago and remembered the Magnolia garden; this seemed worth checking out again and now was the perfect time.

However parking the car I saw something even more interesting than Magnolias…look at these fabulous Yuccas! This one a Spanish Dagger, or Yucca carnerosana.
And Yucca torreyi (on the left).
I believe this is a Nolina, but I could be wrong.
Looks like the folks at Cistus might be behind this fabulous planting? I spotted one of their tags...
Beschorneria decosteriana…interesting. I doubt any of these received any winter protection and while these Beschorneria aren’t exactly thriving they are alive. Since the arboretum is up in the hills I bet they get cooler than the rest of Portland’s zone 8 climate.
Zuni Crape Myrtle…beautiful!
Venturing on to the Magnolias, there were so many beautiful blossoms! The Magnolia liliiflora 'Purpurea' was colorful.
And the bud of the Magnolia officinalis Medicinal Magnolia was striking.
But we really came to see the Magnolia macrophylla, since we have one at home and remembered seeing them at the arboretum during our first visit. Just leafing out they were less than impressive.
But we did learn of a new nickname for our tree, printed on the official sign… “Big Leaf Cucumber Tree” I’m not a fan, ours will always be “Clifford” to us.


  1. That is a huge snake. It is so gross! I couldn't even finish reading this posting because I have the hee-bee-jee-bees. Thanks.

  2. That is one gorgeous walk!!! Wish I could have been there.

  3. Loree~~ Denise is kidding, right? LOL During my many, many years in Portland, Hoyt was a favorite but we never did venture to Forest Park. I love your photos. The "Witch's House" is very cool. Like one must be a "believer" to actually see beyond its facade. What a cool muse for a children's story. Speaking of muses, Pittock Mansion was the backdrop for one of my inane high school literary assignments. Ah, those were the days...

  4. I appreciate snakes, but I REALLY don't want to come across one. I haven't seen one in Portland since I was probably 8. But jeez, I guess they're out there. Maybe my tendency to visit these places in winter months has spared me the fright.

  5. D+N, you know I included the snake picture just for you! I thought of all the times walking through the nature area of Willamette Park when you thought you heard a snake. Well, this one was silent...

    K&V, I'm telling you...I see a Portland visit in your future!

    Grace, no, no she's not. I came close to doing some mg volunteer work at Pittock, but unfortunately wasn't able to. I did go to the orientation for volunteers and learned a lot!

    Megan, I think the snakes feel the same...they'd just as soon avoid you too. My excitement was greatly influenced by the fact that I figured any we would see would be of the harmless variety...not the Rattlesnakes I grew up with. I never want to see one of them again.


Thank you for taking the time to comment. Comment moderation is on (because you know: spam), I will approve and post your comment as soon as possible!