Friday, June 24, 2011

Pedalpalooza: Hott Sock Ride

Unfortunately my Mt Deception climb suffered the same fate as Mt Ellinor and Mt Shasta. Canceled due to weather. So this evening I hoped on my bike and joined the Hot Socks ride.

The ride started on the (recently re-opened) Eastside Esplanade and had a color assortment of socks. Any guesses which ones that I was wearing? Hint, it was not the Bimbo socks....

This pair was the cat's meow...

and check out the skulls on these socks...

Here is a pair that is quite fitting for a bike ride.

But we were not just spinning our wheels. The first stop was at the store Sock Dreams in Southeast Portland for refreshments, a raffle, and some fun relay races.

Then we traveled to the Central Eastside Industrial District to the distribution center for Sock it to Me for another round of refreshments and relay games. Your truly did quite well with the marsh-mellow toss. And it was a hoot to watch others attempt to put on 25 socks.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Pedalpalooza: Sunset Heron Ride

Have you ever wanted to ride your bike on a golf course? Well, I got the chance while participating in the Sunset Heron Ride in North Portland. This ride was part of Pedalpalooza, which is more than two weeks of bike rides in Portland with various themes.

Our ride started out at the foot of the Paul Bunyan Statue in the Kenton Neighborhood. What followed was a mellow ride through the Heron Lakes Golf Course and along the Columbia Slough Trail.

Our first stop was at Force lake, were we watched the swallows skimming over the lake, eating their body weight in insects. It was also trilling to watch a Great Blue Heron (the Portland city bird) fly across the lake.

Then we continued on to the Great Blue Heron Rookery at the 7th hole of the golf course. For those of you who were wondering what I'm talking about, a rookery is a collect of nests. We also spotted a Flicker.

It was very pleasant to bike along in the evening twilight. There was a slight breeze that rustled the reeds that surrounded the various bodies of water. The only disappointment about this ride that very few participants were interested in going out for a drink afterwards. Even the person that won a free beer by being the first to spot a Great Blue Heron.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Saddle Mountain

In his fine trail guide of the Olympic Mountains the late Robert L Wood notes that the summit of Mt Olympus is " of the few points where one can stand and see both the ocean and Mount Rainier." For years I have wondered where those other points may be and I today I confirmed one of them. Ironically, it is a place I have know most of my life, Saddle Mountain in Oregon's Coastal Range.

The plan was to lead a climb up Mount Shasta, but the climb was canceled on account of bad weather and avalanche conditions. I had looked to Middle Sister as an alternative, but lingering winter conditions and a sudden rise in the temperature made avalanche conditions in the Cascades unacceptable as well. So Saturday I tended to my yard and Sunday I laced up my hiking boots.

The lower elevations of the trail were lush with Oxalis and pink bleeding hearts.

On the upper slopes I saw plenty of red paintbrush....

Seep Monkeyflower...

and some others that I could not identify (any help would be gladly taken).

On the summit we were thrilled by a helicopter fly-by thanks to the Coast Guard. Conditions were so good that for the first time I could see Mts. Rainier, the Goat Rock Wilderness Peaks, Adams, St Helens, and Hood. Next time I'll have to see if I can spot Jefferson. Even more significant for me was that I could look across the Columbia River and see the Olympic Mountains!

Also highly recommended a short spur trail just 0.25 miles after the trailhead. This will take you to a viewpoint that has a grand view of the mountain. I also saw good sized snake soaking up the sunshine. I guess we're not the only ones thankful for the improvement in the weather.