With all the annual wild plants at their green “peak” I decided to do a large post with pictures of what we see on our usual morning dog walks. Dog walks include Me, Mac, Baird, Karen & Ellie, and Peter & Jeanne ….. THIS week houseguest “Buddy”
was along for these walks. He’s been a great pal to Mac while his pets Thomas & Brenda flew off to the Heartland Wisconsin for T’s older brother’s wedding. We are ALWAYS glad to have Buddy. Since it’s still SO damp and wet, each dog usually gets a little hose spray on their undersides when we return. They have a ball.
I ALWAYS have an astounding nature experience walking this old growth 5000 acre old growth forest Portland saved and has called Forest Park. A walk here is never mundane, never unappreciated on any level.
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Although the pics aren’t BIG, there’s a LOT of ‘em, and I hope you’ll enjoy a little morning walk with us and the dogs. Here’s how things usually go. We join up at Baird & Karen’s, and are soon walking down the 1/8 mile narrow road (Newton) that ends at a small parking lot near a trailhead inside the park. This accesses the Wildwood Trail, AND the BPA Fire Rd:
Even the walk down is a reverent introduction to things we’ll see:
I remember when I first found a young Wild Rose in my yard and thought I had something special. Arnie said to me, “Well, I’m afraid you might be disappointed if you’re expecting much of a flower.” He was entirely right, but I’ve learned to respect these little hardy plants that are common in the park:
Halfway down, we cross the last private rd here that goes to friends A & K’s place:
This looks down at the last curve dropping us into the parking lot:
Get in your mind right now, that by the time your down 300 feet from Skyline Blvd, you are not in a silent place. It IS peaceful and calming, but NOT quiet. In June, you’ll be surrounded by very alive calls of Song Sparrows, Grosbeaks, Thrushes, Wrens, and all the songbirds.
Occasionally you’ll get a flash of a tiny hummingbird on a berry bush popping between blooms. IN the forest, these green hummers are almost invisible so you really pass a lot more of them than you actually see.
We arrive and choose to walk along the Newton Rd Firetrail:
From here on, you’ll see trees at every stage of life. Here’s an OLD “nurse log”, still in pretty good shape, an old tree on its side and in front 20-30 year old maples have grown out of it:
Some trees that get downed in the winter wind storms, don’t get far. They lean for years and years against solid younger trees. Here’s the BASE of one of the tall ones:
And here’s the same tree at the top, this one’s tall:
After a few years, holes begin appearing in the wood as they decompose. Insects have moved inside and birds begin pecking, helping them break down while opening them up for ALL interested insect feeders to access food:
Here’s a better example of one in it’s last stages of being a bird buffet:
The dogs aren’t always interested in trees….Ellie just wants us to catch up:
At times, some spots are SO dense they NEVER really get too light even in mid-summer:
At these spots the moss thrives and is unbelievably thick:
The scenery is fabulous. Growth is so thick right at this spot, a picture doesn’t reveal that at one tiny spot, a human eye can see the Wildwood Trail below from here:
Wild berries are thriving right now and some in bloom:
OR……..If you’re a Salmonberry, you’ll likely soon be eaten by the birds:
“Oregon Grape” bloomed weeks ago and now is also preparing food for the songbirds here for the summer:
We pass another sculpted tall stump giving life to others as it fades away:
This little nurse log is so rotten, I “can” peel away bark, but of course we leave it untouched because of the small tree growing out of it:
Here’s one stump shell, i.e., ALL the inside has disappeared and only the bark remains:
We pass so MANY fabulous spots:
And so many decaying stumps that are simply a piece of art:
ONLY in an OLD growth forest where nature is old, young, dying and being reborn can you find these treasures:
We come to a spot where the Wildwood Trail crosses Newton
A sign here shows where you are in the park. **NOTE the little white area at the left side, and in the middle a small black “dot” sits? THAT’s where we are in this mammoth park as we look at this sign.
If you turn around here you get some help finding your way out:
But we continue to a great spot that’s probably halway down to River level from our own place. There’s an old log laying on the trail with such thick moss, we call it the couch. Here Baird and Jeanne discuss life, eh?
While sitting there one day, we hear brush breaking and something BIG come walking up the hill right behind this stump. A Bird scientist from OSU appeared and told us he was monitoring the Anna’s Hummingbrd Population here in the park and had two nests right here he was watching the young in. Some weeks later, I discovered the the box he kept his journals in:
NO. We have NEVER opened this box…………………………………
As we return back to the parking lot to climb back up Newton Rd and out of this fabulous place, we always “listen” for the rat-a-tat-tat-tat of the woodpecker on the very old very tall Cedar Tree (we just call it the “snag”)…. In this view, in the middle of picture…you see the pale base of this tree… it’s standing STRAIGHT up….looks unassuming, right?
Here it is from about 200 ft away….where you can see the top:
And guess what? It’s still ALIVE! In the middle of this tall tree, green branches spread out still struggling with life. Fabulous!
Last and certainly NOT least. On the dog walk prior to this picture trip, while we WERE sitting on that mossy couch, we began hearing the calls of two very upset crows. Then we saw them a bit far off…..and a 3rd bird was in the mix. We finally could see that a hawk had found the crow’s nest and was after the young. These brave crows yelled and screamed, dived and chased as we watched them flying through the canopy all OVER the sky. This went on for about 5 minutes before they finally calmed down having won the fight! For today anyway.
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Well. I hope somehow I conveyed something reverent about this fabulous spot in Portland, Oregon. Somehow I hope a reader understands why we love living here. I NEVER tire of this walk in the park no matter the time of year.
Okay………….back to hummingbird food. We’re now averaging 1.8 quarts a day, and it’s probably our PEAK time of year. Fabulous.