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|Bright flowers along the path|
Now on to today's story...... this is from two weekends ago. After my amazing ski trip up to Illumination Saddle, I woke up the next day tired and sore. Although skiing was in my plans for the day, it became quickly apparent this was not gonna happen.
|Poor Bear had to stay leashed|
|Remnants of a pioneer orchard|
It was a rare sunny, warm spring day. Wishing to beat the heat, I decided to get an early start. Upon arriving at the park, I realized being an early bird had other benefits - like getting a parking spot in a small, crowded lot. As I was soon to discover, Powell Butte is a popular place on sunny weekend days.
|Cool gnarled trees|
Unfortunately for Bear, the park had very strict leash rules. There was to be no romping and playing for my doggie. But Bear was so happy to be somewhere new, he didn't care. There were interesting things to smell, other dogs and people to meet, and abundant bushes to pee on.
|Path through a lush forest|
The park had many trail choices for hikers. I first headed straight for the summit, where an old pioneer orchard still stands. The families who originally settled here in the 1800s planted walnut, apple and pear trees. The gnarled branches of the old trees are especially scenic. The south and west side of the summit loop trail provided nice views into Portland. The Cascade peaks of Mt. Hood and Mt. St. Helens were visible to the north and east. There was a picnic table on top, and this looked to be a great spot for a scenic lunch.
|The dogwood trees were blooming|
At the next junction, I chose the woodsy Mt. Hood trail, which dived into a lush forest of Douglas fir, bigleaf maple, and red cedar. I felt as if I was entering the gorge or the forests near Mt. Hood, instead of a park within Portland city limits. Temps were already heating up, and the cool shade of the trees was most welcome. The path was even muddy and wet in many places. The Mt. Hood trail was so nice, I extended my hike to include the next forested loop (the Cedar Grove trail, I think).
|Lovely dogwood flower|
Emerging from the pleasant wooded loops, the next path took visitors back into a broad meadow. And, to my delight, this meadow was inhabited by several wild dogwood trees in full bloom. I absolutely love dogwood flowers. Out came the camera to capture some low-hanging blossoms.
|Faint Mt St. Helens view|
Three hours later, I returned to my car with a tired dog, and a few nice images in my camera. By now it was near noon, and the place was hopping with people and dogs. A car waited patiently for me to leave so it could take my parking spot.
I was glad to get outside and check out a new park with my pup. Especially on a rare sunny spring day. It's always fun to discover another pocket of wilderness so close to home!