Monday, March 9, 2009

Not Quite a Desert Destination: Hoyt Arboretum, Portland, Oregon

Usually every Monday I visit a desert destination. This past week I was in the Pacific Northwest and saw a few things that reminded me of the desert, but not much. For the sake of variety, I thought I would feature a post from a different area.
Located in Washington Park in Portland, Oregon, is the Hoyt Arboretum. It's not nearly as well known as the zoo or Children's Museum, located nearby, but it has the lovely distinction of being free and containing miles of interesting trails. Near the visitor center are some desert plants, like the yucca above, with a palm tree in the near background, and some of Oregon's fantastically tall conifers in the distant background.

One of the suggestions for a winter visit was to go to holly hill, where about 40 species of holly (Genus Ilex) had been planted. Holly is not native to Oregon, but it is commonly grown for decorations. Some hollies are invasive, particularly the popular European holly (Ilex aquifolium), and the arboretum shows several examples of other hollies that are just as beautiful but won't be a nuisance.

The trails were surprisingly empty despite the sunny day, and Desert Boy and I enjoyed wandering aimlessly. The trails are well-marked, but because we didn't really have a specific destination in mind, we just wandered wherever looked interesting. In some cases, Desert Boy had a different idea of what was interesting than me, and I had to go chasing after him. In the photo above, he takes off near the really cool Monkey puzzle tree (Araucaria araucana), native to Chile and Argentina.

Finally I managed to corral Desert Boy and we continued on. There are some accessible trails in the arboretum, but we found the stroller was able to navigate most of the other trails as well. The huge ferns are something we certainly don't see in the desert, although we have some small varieties hiding out on moist cliff faces.

The moss-covered trees were fun to look at. Some trees I'm used to seeing in other parts of the country, like sugar maples, look entirely different when they have mosses and lichens covering most of their bark. We got bogged down in mud a couple times on the trail, but I was surprised how stable everything seemed. The trails were well-used but had little erosion.

One of my favorite parts was the redwood trail, where there were seven different species of redwoods. Their amazing height boggled my mind. I took this picture standing up--I didn't even need to lay down to make them look tall (which is something I sometimes do in the desert!) 

It was a fun visit, and if you're ever in the area, I'd recommend trying out some of the trails at the Hoyt Arboretum.

1 comment:

The Incredible Woody said...

Beautiful! Looks like a great trip!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

blogger templates