January 22-23, 2022
Back in January 2020 my New Year’s Resolution was to emulate my friends Jan and Ann and say “Yes” to life. The goal was to stretch myself in terms of travel and people. The first thing Carla and I did was sign up for a hiking trip in the French, Italian, and Swiss Alps. I knew that would require some work in my walking stamina so I dove in and pushed my distance and did more hill walks. On my February 2020 birthday I walked up Weir Road here in Beaverton, Oregon. Over 1.25 miles the road gains 440 feet with portions of 14% grade. I’ve driven up this road many times over the past 20 years and told myself I’d walk up it some day. Well at 68 years old, I did.
Then the pandemic hit. For most of 2020 I continued my walking regimen and walked from 3 to 6 miles everyday. With our yoga gym closed and little opportunity to get out and do anything, walking was one of the few ways I could maintain my physical and mental self. The pandemic persisted (I know I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know) and our trip was cancelled; we moved our interest into another European trip; but that was cancelled in late 2020. At that point my walking fervor subsided – though I did walk a couple of miles everyday – and I gained 20 pounds over 2021.
This January I took some steps to get back on track with a goal of walking, setting a goal of 2.5 miles a day at least 6 days a week – 15 miles a week. I’ve done at least 20 miles each week so far and I started to tackle the bigger hills. Saturday January 22 was a beautiful clear blue day; a perfect opportunity to walk at least half way up Weir Road to the power line trail. It was the first time I tackled the hill since late summer 2021. It was beautiful! When I got up to the power line I knew the view would be spectacular from the top so I continued. I was glad I did it. When I turned around at the top of the road I got a glimpse of Mt Hood; our local volcano.
I took the neighborhood sidewalks back down 100 feet to the top of Nora Road and got another view.
I also caught a glimpse of Mt St. Helens to the north. When we first moved to the Portland area in 1978 Mt St Helens had a beautiful ice cream scoop top that was visible over the West Hills from almost everywhere in Portland. Then from February through May 1980 a series of eruptions – with the biggest on May 17 the mountain lost 1,370 feet in elevation. So now you have to gain some elevation to see it.
Now, there is a chance this is actually Mt Rainer way up in Washington. Looking at the map, the two are in a straight line from my observation point. There are vantage points in the area where you can see 3 to 5 of our Pacific Rim volcanos on a clear day. Someday I hope to grab pictures of them all on one day/spot to share.
Sunday morning was another blue day. At that point we had 3 clear weekends in a row; which is very rare in Portland winter. We got out early and headed to the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge which is about 7 miles from us. Unfortunately the path that goes around the refuge is closed in winter but were able to follow a trail for a nice 2 mile walk.
Here is the Tualatin River
A rare Portland January view – no clouds!
Our trail crossed over the perimeter trail.
Is Portland wet in the winter? Well we have ferns growing on trees.
Oh, yeah. This is a wildlife refuge. Want geese? Flying or feeding? Both? I got you!
Geese at the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge
I failed to get a usable picture of what people called and eagle but which I suspect was an Osprey. I say that because every time I get a picture of an Osprey I’m sure it’s an eagle and my birder friends Frances and Jay tell me (in a nice way) “Slow your roll. That’s an Osprey”; like this Osprey on the Columbia River a few years ago.
But we did get to see a Blue Heron.
The clear skies have stayed around for another week. But rain is coming back tonight (January 30, 2022). That’s okay; we need the rain and the mountains need the snow. As my Swedish niece-in-law Emmy tells me: “There is not bad weather; just bad gear.”