Monday’s Meander: A Late Winter’s Visit to Forest Park and Hoyt Arboretum

About a month ago I visited Hoyt Arboretum again. I go every season, as often as possible. A favorite place, it is not far from Portland’s downtown; it lies within Forest Park’s 5000 acres, one of the largest urban natural areas in USA. Home to over 100 species of mammals and as many birds, there are 70 miles of trails. I hike in many other parts of the sprawling forest but this is a lovely segment. The Arboretum offers 12 miles of trails amid 190 acres on top of a ridge that overlooks both Oregon and Washington at one viewpoint (if it isn’t too cloudy which often is the case). I’ve not often seen all volcanic mountain peaks visible here. But they’re majestic, and include Mt. Rainier (active volcano and highest at over 14,000 ft.), Mount St. Helens (active), Mt Adams (dormant), and our Oregon Mt. Hood (dormant volcano, over 11,000 ft.–often noted as second most climbed peak in the world). But everything else is also interesting since I am so drawn to trees.

If not cloudy/foggy/misty/raining, one would see those peaks beyond these trees, from right here….past the valley with city below, in the Cascades range. (I vow to put up a shot of all those peaks in summer, when the distant view is more bright and clear.)

The trails were not very muddy this time. I often take start out easy except for the steps going up one hill, as seen below. Left picture, looking up; right, looking down at 3/4 of the way up.

The first hilly area is open and offers many sorts of trees to enjoy (of which I’ve written of before). There are, across 190 acres, 2300 species of trees and shrubs in the arboretum from six continents. Many are tagged and one can get more information at a (now-closed) Visitor Center.

Moving into the forest trails get narrower and windier, trees are taller, shadows merge. And everything smells of damp forest with its mossiness and half-buried rocks, the paths rutted and wetter in the forest, and everywhere signs of new growth of all green things, tight buds swelling and soon to open.

To the mammoth old redwoods where the stillness feels mysterious and beautiful.

And moving out of their domain…

Wonderful to see the witch hazel blooming–springs smallest signs that cheer– as I left these forested pathways until next time.