Lower Macleay Park Trailhead

Trail Review #2 – Lower Macleay Park Trailhead + Upper Macleay Park loop 1 Time: 2 hours Difficulty: Medium Wilderness: Medium The Lower Macleay Park Trailhead starts a short way from 23rd Ave in the middle of an urban neighborhood, but don’t let that fool you! This trail is a beautiful walk along Balch Creek, home to a population of cutthroat trout, with little signs of human interaction save a few tasteful wooden fences, stone walls shoring up the trail, and the Stone House. The moss is thick, the water flowing, and the pine trees towering, so much so it easily deserves to be called a miniature slice of Oregon. With how pleasant and easily accessible the trail was, it was little surprise it was bustling, even on a Wednesday afternoon. Despite this fact, we found it easy to pass runners, dog walkers, and fellow hikers due to the wide and relatively flat nature of the trail itself. Starting in a wide-open expanse of grass under the NW Thurman Street bridge, the park is open and inviting with picnic tables, restrooms, and well maintained lawns leading up towards the beginning of the ravine. The trail doesn’t take long to disappearContinue readingLower Macleay Park TrailheadContinue readingLower Macleay Park Trailhead

Granola & Granola Bars

Trail Tips – Granola Recipe Having a form of quick energy with you when going on a hike or walk is important, whether it’s homemade or store-bought. Everyone’s had a moment where they feel tired and want to rest, and having a snack like trail mix or an energy bar close at hand can help give you the boost to finish your trek without feeling like you’re slogging it the rest of the way. Prepackaged granola or granola bars were my go-to for a long time until I found out how easy it was to make my favorite granola mix at home (not to mention cheaper!). I started with a recipe I found on Completely Delicious and modified it to mimic a mix found at my local bakery. In the end, my recipe came out like this: Granola: 4 cups Oats 1.5 cups Almond Slices 1.5 cups White Raisins 1.5 cups Dried Cranberries 9 Tb Maple Syrup 4 Tb Olive Oil 1 Tb Cinnamon Cook on a baking sheet at 350˚ for 20 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. This recipe came out more loosely packed, rather than in clumps, like a lot of granolas, but it was delicious plain orContinue readingGranola & Granola BarsContinue readingGranola & Granola Bars

Hoyt Arboretum

Trail Review #1 – Hoyt Arboretum Time: 2 hours Difficulty: Mild Wilderness: Mild On Tuesday we took our inaugural hike through a stretch of the Hoyt Arboretum. An easily accessed series of 12 miles of trails, the Hoyt Arboretum was founded in 1922 and covers 187 acres while showcasing over 1,100 species of trees and shrubs from all over the world, many of which bear signs with their common and scientific names. Each trail has a bit of a “theme” to it, indicated by their name (for example the Wildwood Trail cut through the natural Oregon foliage while the Beech trail was primarily surrounded by various species of, well, Beeches). Two miles of the trail are paved and provide stable access to those in wheelchairs or with strollers, making the Arboretum a great nearby choice for those who want a little more variety to their walk than an urban hike would provide. We began our walk on the Wildwood Trail near the witch hazel area, which is marked on the official Hoyt Arboretum map and located next to the small parking lot just north of the Oregon Zoo lots and MAX stop. In front of one of the witch hazelsContinue readingHoyt ArboretumContinue readingHoyt Arboretum

Plant Profile: Oregon Grape

Oregon Grape (Mahonia Aquifolium) The Oregon-grape (Mahonia Aquifolium) is a species of evergreen shrub native to western North America and the state flower of Oregon. Its name comes from the densely clustered purplish berries that ripen in late Fall, rather than from being related to any true grapes. Its species name, aquifolium, means “holly-leaved”, referring to the Oregon-grape’s spiny edged leaves which resemble that of a holly plant. These features lead some to refer to the Oregon-grape as the Oregon grape-holly or Oregon holly-grape in order to separate it from both grapes and hollies. In early summer the Oregon-grape becomes covered in clusters of small yellow flowers with six petals which add to the beauty of the dark green and reddish leaves. The attractive coloration and evergreen nature of the Oregon-grape make it a great choice for landscaping in the Northwest, with the added benefit of attracting local berry-eating wildlife, such as songbirds, in the Fall. The berries can also be eaten by people, although they have large seeds and are very tart. Most often they are made into jelly, with plenty of sugar, or traditionally mixed with the sweeter berries of the salal (gaultheria shallon) by native Pacific NorthwestContinue readingPlant Profile: Oregon GrapeContinue readingPlant Profile: Oregon Grape