Thursday, May 3, 2012

Powell Butte

Before I begin my latest adventure tale, I'd like to say "thank you" to all my readers.  Thank you for visiting, commenting, and following my blog, either on Google Friend Connect, or my newly-established Facebook page.  Thanks to the folks who are frequent commenters, especially Kim at Snug Harbor Bay (who comments almost every time) and Hendrik at Hiking in Finland, who has featured some of my posts in his "Week in Review" compilations.

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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

My dog Bear, however, had tons of energy.  While I was up on the mountain, he'd been napping in his doghouse.  Since today's ski trip was off, I decided to take my pup for a hike somewhere with the sole aim being to tire him out. 

Spring color

I'm still missing some of the Portland area trails in my quest to visit all of the hikes in Sullivan's "100 Hikes" book.  Not wanting to drive too far, I consulted my book for a new place to visit in the metro area.  I landed on Powell Butte Nature Park.  This park is located in far southeast Portland.  It occupies an old volcanic cone that sits high above the surrounding neighborhoods.  The Portland Water Bureau has a huge reservoir buried underneath this butte.  Not wanting any development over a critical water supply, PWB turned the hillside into a park.

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!


  1. So nice to have something close to home. This makes me miss hiking so much. Now that the weather is getting a little better (very little) I can start making my hiking calendar. Can't wait! Thanks for the pretty pics and glad Bear had fun:)

  2. Thanks for the shout out. :-) I love coming to your blog - you take such amazing photos! Your hike looked wonderful. My favorite part was the pioneer orchard. That's my kind of historic stuff!

  3. Beautiful. I would have loved running beneath those dogwoods. It's been very much nature-less week for me. Can't wait to get out there this weekend.

  4. yeah hiking season more pretty flowers mountains and hikes. dogwoods are my husbands favorites our dogwood tree is just starting to bloom

  5. That Path through a lush forest - superb! Makes me wanna grab my pack and go hiking =)

    And also from me a thank you for the shout-out!


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