Monday, November 29, 2010

SE ~ Powell Butte

Date visited: November 10, 2010
Agency: Portland Parks and Recreation
Path Surface: Some pavement, but mostly dirt
Elevation gain/loss: 300 ft
Distance: Variable and can include mileage on the Springwater Corridor.
Ratings: Setting +++ Calorie-burning ++++
Directions: East on Powell Blvd to 162nd Ave. Turn right and drive up the hill to a parking area.

On a clear day, not many places can beat the views at Powell Butte. Even on a cloudy day, little windows of opportunity can open. When we first got out of the car, we could see sunbeams on the snow-dusted foothills across the river in Washington. And it's a good place to see a microcosm of northwest Oregon, even on the wet weather days, in the open meadows and forested trails of this park.

The worst thing about Powell Butte is how easy it is to get lost; well, not lost really, but momentarily displaced. Some trails are marked, some trails are a mystery. We had two maps with us, neither of which was entirely accurate. One is shown here, but we had to backtrack on the Elderberry Trail to find our way to the outer loop of the park (or maybe we just can't read a map!) We ended up walking around 5 miles because of our backtracking, but anyone into higher miles can simply drop down to the Springwater Corridor.

I ate a late season blackberry which tasted like thick water, and we noticed some stinging nettle, especially on the south side of the park. But there's plenty of opportunity for bird life. Today our bird list included: song sparrows, mourning doves, flickers, three kestrels visible at once, crows, Bewick's and Pacific Wren, Stellar's jay, spotted towhee, a screeching red tail hawk, varied thrush, scrub jay, juncos, golden-crowned kinglets, and finally, a northern harrier cruising the area east of the Orchard Loop Trail.

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