March is upon us! First month of spring in the Northern Hemisphere! Woot! It’s been a long and wet and cold and snowy winter here. While we are definitely not done with rain and cool just yet, the onward charge towards Vernal/Northern Equinox (and summer solstice) means longer days. Longer days mean I don’t have to save my “going on a bike ride” type bike rides for one of my days off, I can actually do a ride after work!* Well, I mean, I could do a nice ride after work in the middle of winter, but sometimes it’s actually nice to see things, ya know. 😉
The weather was decent on Wednesday March 1st, a high of 50F/10C, and not raining. A high of 50 is a bit cool for now, since the average is more like 55, but I took what I could get. My destination for a little ramble was up to Mount Tabor, a volcanic cinder cone about two miles (as the crow flies) east of work, and the highest point on the east side of the city. Nothing earth-shattering here, as I’ve been up to Tabor a bajillion and one times in my sixteen years in Portland. The biggest deal is I hadn’t been up there in a couple months, at least.
But goddamn, it sure was nice. It’s nice to be in a woodsy environment,** divorced a bit from the city while still in it. I’m lucky that we have quite a few places like this in town, within easy reach. And people were definitely enjoying the views and the ambience of the park when I was there. (It doesn’t hurt that Wednesday is the “car free” day, where some of the access roads are closed.)
And while I’ve always sort of liked Tabor from Day One, I didn’t truly appreciate this gem of a park until I moved close to the mount in late 2007. Before, I would get up into the park by the couple obvious routes, take in the view, and descend.*** Besides, the view from Rocky Butte is better. But moving closer to the park encouraged me to try out all the different ways one can access the park by either bike or foot. (And there’s a lot of ways!) And due to proximity it was just easier to spend more time in the park, and explore the non-obvious corners. It’s not just about the view from the top or the reservoirs, no.
I didn’t spend a hell of a lot of time up there, just enough to be satisfied. I descended the mount via the east side, and headed to the Montavilla neighborhood, one of the many ‘hoods I’ve lived in, to get a beer and pizza. An afternoon well spent.
And that’s the thing: One doesn’t need to have an epic bike ride to have fun. It’s just about three miles to the top from work (though it’s a good eight miles home from there.) And I’m glad I have these opportunities so easily accessible!
*I typically work until 3 pm when I have a day shift.
**I hesitate to say “woods”. While there are many a tall Douglas-fir tree in the park, and from the distance looks like forest, the naturescape of the park is a bit too…managed (read: we clear out a lot of the underbrush) to give a full on “being in the woods feeling”. But it is close.
***And I also associated the park a bit too much with pot smoking and drum circles. Not that those things stopped…