Forest Park flora

Forest Park – You are here. At the top of the hill we found an intersection of multiple trails with a handy map pointing out walking trails, bike trails, horse trails.

Dating during a pandemic is weird, but not impossible! For those of you who are curious, the few dating sites I have used now offer video chat options to promote online connections. The sites also offer cautions and tips for how to make getting to know someone work safely when it’s no longer possible to meet up for drinks. I am a cautious dater and have relished the opportunity to do it my way: let’s chat a lot online until I am comfortable meeting you in person. Many people need an in-person connection and don’t value emails or texts like I do. They push for an in-person meeting right away, but now I say “Too bad for you, there’s a pandemic, please send me an email.” ha ha! I win!

Once I am comfortable, of course I want to meet in person, because there is simply no way to know what the chemistry will be without that step. It’s still possible to safely meet in person during a pandemic when you live where I do, with vast open spaces very easy to access. Recently I suggested to a man that we meet for a hike. He suggested Forest Park – at 5,156 acres (2,086 ha) and 70 miles (113 km) of trails, it’s an excellent place to keep six feet apart.

We met at a trailhead he knew. It was easy for me to find and off we went, to wander through the forest andย ย blunder through the awkwardness of meeting a total stranger, one on one, in a sort of high stakes job application interview. “How many siblings? Parents still alive? Favourite restaurant? Do you like your job?” Thank goodness for Forest Park, which holds enough lovely distractions that it made learning about a new person fun.

Forest Park’s trails are well-maintained and much used by people in the Portland area.
From one side of a steep valley, we could see across the ravine to the trail on the other side.
The trails of Forest Park wind through open areas, forests, fields, and darling little bridges take you across many creeks splashing their way to the Columbia River, just across the highway from where we parked at the trailhead.

There were a surprising number of people on the trail, but I have heard about this in local news. The pandemic has been pushing fitness-minded people to our many trails because the gyms are closed. Many of them step into the underbrush and turn their backs as we passed – a good solution to worrying about being too close. Some were wearing masks. I chose not to out on the trail. I am getting used to masks and not feeling so much anymore like I’m on the brink of suffocation when I wear them, but I’m not interested in wearing a mask while I’m gasping for breath due to a steep hike. Turning our backs, reducing our greetings to a calm “Hi” or no greeting at all, while pressing as far away from each other as we can get on the trail, is what I’m going with.

This time of year the wildflowers are blooming. On our next hike, we chose a trail in a different part of Forest Park. It was teeming with fields of flowers and so many bright colours! I stopped practically every 8 minutes, just to take another photo. Also, the trail was unbelievably steep and I may have used photography as a way to catch my breath.

Field of buttercups.
Patches of a lovely pink/purple burst that reminds me of chives.
Honeysuckle
There were little side trails created by the curious.
Don’t know what these are, other than pretty.
I can’t identify this one either.
Isn’t this thing wonderful? I’m guessing maybe the round blobs will flower eventually?
Every so often we stopped and turned around and looked down the hill onto the Willamette River in the foreground with the Columbia River in the background.

As you can see, part of the trail was along a maintenance route for the power lines. The area beneath the power lines is kept clear of forest, so there were big fields free to whatever plant species wanted to move in. That is where I found the majority of the flowers.

Salal blossoms. These will produce edible berries.
Thimbleberry flowers will also turn into delicious berries.
Salmon berries are ahead of the others in their production calendar.
More colorful bursts could be found in the open area at the top of the ridge than beneath the forest canopy.
A glimpse through lupine near the top.
Here you can see the human-maintained “meadow” beneath the power lines. Below is the area of Portland called St. Johns, which is on a peninsula formed by the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia Rivers.
The trip down hill was much easier.

It was time for new scenery and my next hike was at Trojan Park, near my town of Rainier. It’s a lovely little park that is the former site of a nuclear plant. The ponds were originally cooling ponds to serve the operation of the power plant. Now they don’t help power our homes, but they do help power our hearts, minds, and spirits.

Geese on the side of one of the ponds at Trojan Park.
California poppies
He’s holding still, hoping I don’t see him.

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15 thoughts on “Forest Park flora

    1. Thank you so much! All the shots are from my phone, and not my fancy camera, isn’t that great? Nature always inspires me, no matter what else is going on, so I think you are right. THanks for stopping by.

    1. Ha ha ha!! That’s a funny take on it, Derrick, but you are right. A demonstration. But to be honest, I wasn’t meeting the man to do a service for other people. ๐Ÿ™‚ Yes, all three hikes were with him. We liked the super steep hike so much we decided to make it a one a week ritual for fitness purposes, so we’ve done the hike under the power lines again, and I hope to repeat it in the future. Things are going well so far. You’re so sweet for asking. โค

    1. You’ve got your man, so hold on! Yes, so much greenery here. I complain about the rain sometimes, but the flip side is that in a wet climate, things are green year round and in the spring, like now, the forests are saturated with green. It’s extravagant and delightful.

    1. It went well, Marlene. We’re still getting to know each other, and have a standing date every Wednesday night to hike the steep trail after he gets off work, for fitness. Forest Park is so huge I’ll bet there are trails that are quite mild and safe and flat. As you can see in some of the photos, the trails could be very easy to navigate in parts. If I ever learn of a trail in the park that allows for walking rather than hiking, I’ll let you know about it and maybe we can explore that together.

      1. I hope you gave his details to someone else for safety’s sake. His name, etc. I’m a mom and tend to be extra cautious with those I care about. I don’t mind hills as I walk them here. It’s unstable ground that throws me off. I’m not fast anymore either. I run out of steam too fast. Makes me crazy. Up until 3 years ago, I could walk this whole park. Now, just one hill. ;(

      2. I love you for looking out for me. You can be my Mom too. โค One thing that may ease your mind is that I stalk the heck out of people before I meet them in person, ha ha. The Internet tells me everything checks out.

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