The penultimate day of 2012. And to my joy and amazement, it was all sunshine and blue skies. A great day to take a fun hike in the West Hills of town.
I walked down the Vista Ridge, crossed over the Vista Bridge above Goose Hollow, entered Washington Park, stopped for a moment of reflection at the Holocaust Memorial, meandered through the Rose Garden, jumped on the Wildwood Trail near the Japanese Gardens, climbed to the top of the ridge, passed the Oregon Zoo, paid my respects at the Vietnam Memorial, joined the Marquam Trail, crossed the Sunset Highway Overpass, ascended through the forest to Patton Street, hiked to the top of Council Crest (the highest point in Portland), took a breather and then walked the last 1 1/2 miles to home.
Because of the mild climate in Portland, everything remains green and a few flowers are still in bloom. We had just incurred our first below-freezing temperature the previous evening.
Our growing season lasts from mid-April (the last below-freezing temperature) to almost the end of December, or 8 1/2 months.
While standing at the summit of Council Crest, I noticed that Mt. Baker could be seen. It takes a spectacularly clear day to be able to see a peak in the North Cascades relatively close to the Canadian border.
All in all the trek was a pleasant eight miles with 1,200 feet of elevation gain.