Sunday, February 27, 2011

Walk 35: Mt. Tabor (2.5 miles)

A short outing, but a good one, this headed up some steep hills over and around one of the several volcanic cinder cones listed in the Walk There book.

This walk started at NE 60th and Salmon, where I spotted a large tree that looked like something out of the magic "apple tree forest" in Wizard of Oz. Oh, when I was younger I would've wanted to climb this!

Heading down 60th, it was time to "storm the castle" toward Reservoir 6.

I spotted some ducks swimming around, and I suddenly had the thought: "This is some of Portland's drinking water...what happens when they poop in it?"

These thoughts didn't improve as I pondered the ring of moss and mildew around the sides:

Now the real climbing began, as I skipped up the 126 steps to Reservoir 5.

Above this reservoir, I turned back to get a great look down at the water and East Portland below:

I proceeded up to smaller Reservoir 1, which only intensified my doubts about open air storage of drinking water...

At the top of the Mount, I came to a statue of Harvey W. Scott, early and long-time editor of the Oregonian, and "molder of opinion in Oregon and the nation" according to the inscription. From the side I thought he looked a bit like Lenin:

So, if Mt. Scott was named after him, why is his statue standing at the top of Mt. Tabor? Is he pointing toward the correct Mt?

I came across not one but two charming cottage style bathrooms. That was a nice touch.

It was then I came across the elusive "pukatron" ride. Many good times (and a few scrapes) have been had on these things!

I hopped on for a quick ride...

A little ways downhill from this small park, there was an amphitheater carved into the hill. (Hmm, another potential "cowbell concert in the park" location.)

Heading back toward Salmon Street, I encountered a three path choice. The nice thing about the smallish size of Mt. Tabor is, you can't really get too lost no matter which one you choose.

I found this online brochure about Portland's open air reservoirs. About those health and cleanliness concerns? Not to worry. According to this, they clean them twice a year.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Walk 34: South Portland (6 miles)

This walk started at the YMCA at Duniway Park. I’ve always wondered why people prefer to walk inside a building instead of outside it. Well, it was freezing (right around 32 degrees), but the air was fresh and the sun was out.

From there I headed up a little path to Terwilliger, walking uphill for a ways, where I caught my first glimpse of the OHSU tram.

From Terwilliger I headed down a little path toward Barbur. At first I thought I had made a wrong turn, until I came to a sign informing me that I was not on a dead end, and inviting me to rest on a "cob bench" made of earth, sand, straw and sand. Charming!

Down the hill, I passed through the first of two tunnels; this one under Barbur Boulevard. I dubbed this one "Graffiti Row." At least it was well lit:

I soon passed under the tram lines for a second time, further freezing my fingers in the icy wind as I held the iPhone upwards. Any price for photojournalism, eh?

Then a long walk down Corbett Avenue toward Boundary, passing this "view property" for sale. Imagine having an office with this view toward Mt. Hood! A guy can dream...

Arriving at John’s Landing, I stepped inside to warm up my numb fingers. I hadn’t been in that complex for quite a few years, and was disappointed to find that instead of cool retail shops (really could’ve used a warm cup of coffee), it’s now filled mostly with office suites, and an air of formality. There was this nifty sculpture on the wall though, made of big, heavy nails. Must weigh a ton...

Sufficiently warmed, I crossed Macadam toward the Willamette River and a path which led to Cottonwood Bay, so named for a collection of protected trees. A surprising find: A little "beach." Quite scenic, and well hidden from the city traffic.

I then headed up to Moody Avenue, where I passed the longest parking meter I've ever seen.

Continuing on Moody, I again spotted a tram, now heading toward "home."

Turning up Sheridan toward Naito, there was one more tunnel to pass through, this one much more imposing due to the dark shadows. I braced myself and marched in.

A bit anticlimactically, I popped quickly out the other side into the light, unscathed.

Finally, one last crossing of Barbur, this time over a pedestrian bridge heading uphill, with a view of OHSU off in the distance.

This walk was long and very hilly - a good workout with great scenery, in spite of the temperature. In a word: Tramtastic!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Walk 33: Irvington Neighborhood (3 miles)

There’s something in the water in Portland’s Irvington neighborhood. People working in their gardens waved hello, some women doing a “workshop” were laughing outdoors, and even a toothless guy with a shopping cart was smiling as I walked past. I’d driven by on Weidler or Broadway hundreds of times but never spent any time in this neighborhood. Never had a reason to go until I picked up the Walk There book.

This place is architect-lover's paradise. Every house is different in some way, whether by structural design or decoration, and the area has several historic buildings to admire and/or stay in as well.

First up was the Gustav Freiwald House, built in 1906 in Queen Anne style, now a bed & breakfast.

Then came a much less visually interesting early Prairie style home, but this had a porch which reminded me of my grandparents' house in Phoenix, Oregon, with it's enclosed porch around the side.

And what's a Portland neighborhood without some huge Roman columns, massive stonework or an open garage under the house?

Probably the "jewel" of the area though (actually bordering on the Grant Park neighborhood) was this English cottage style house with rounded eaves that simulated thatched roofing and a unique spider web window. The exterior was spotless:

But amid this impressive architecture was some of the quirkiness that reminded me I wasn't in Kansas anymore (not that I ever was).

Like funky treehouses...

And windows decorated with Alfred E. Neuman, Elvis and various Barbies:

Two final stops as I made my way back down Broadway:

1) The Helen Bernhard Bakery, which had the best mini cannoli, but no coffee. ("Oh no, it's much too late in the day for that!" It was 1:30 PM)

2) Broadway Books. I took this photo of the New Books section. Guess which autobiography I'm more interested in reading, Judi Dench or Keith Richards?

A very nice city walk. Looks like a great place to live: Lots of cool stuff within walking distance, surprisingly quiet streets, and friendly for bike and pedestrian traffic. And about those ladies and their workshop? Like I said, there's something in the water...

Friday, February 18, 2011

Walk 32: Sellwood and Oaks Bottom (5 miles)

“Heheh, he said bottom.”

No, not that kind of bottom. According to Wikipedia, this kind of bottom refers to the lowest point of a geographic feature, in this case the Oaks area at Sellwood. And what a spectacular natural area it is, with 140 acres of wetlands and hundreds of species of birds to watch for. If only I were a knowledgeable bird watcher!

This walk started at the Sellwood Library and headed past the Looking Glass bookstore, which is an actual caboose on out-of-use railroad tracks, now attached to a building:

I proceeded toward the Sellwood Bridge and just before crossing it, turned onto the Springwater Trail, a paved bike/pedestrian path which goes between Oaks Park and the Bottom. The sign says “Where the fun never ends!” but that’s only if you count the indoor roller skating in the winter. The rides are silent right now. But at least I got some nice picture taking without the summer crowds.

Nice to see my favorite ride, the Rock-O-Plane, is still there:

The book recommended walking almost the entire length of the Bottom along the Springwater Trail, but I turned off into the Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge, where a rocky little path winds around the back of the large pond:

Along the way I saw two nicely and impressively painted buildings from the back. Definitely helps maintain the "natural" ambience:

Words cannot express how cool all this marshy wetland looks and feels to walk past and through. Just beautiful.

As I came out of the Refuge, I headed up toward Milwaukie Avenue, and passed Keana’s Candyland, a gluten-free bakery and candy store, delightfully decorated inside and packed with goodies.

I enjoyed a gluten-free chocolate & coconut “cake” – very tasty! As I was leaving, the woman told me, "Tomorrow is our baked elephant ear extravaganza. We'll have all 64 flavors available." Sixty-four flavors of elephant ears? I can't quite get my head around that.

As I headed along the bluff-top streets back toward my starting point, I caught a couple final wide-vista views of the Bottom that were fairly majestic. You can see Oaks Park off in the left background.

This may be my favorite walk yet. A nice mixture of funky Portland city and beautiful natural areas. I can see why my sister was so excited to move to this area! I will definitely have to come back here and take a walk with her soon.