Monday, January 4, 2016

Hoyt Arboretum

Portland has proven to be rarely-miserable in terms of weather. For the past two years we haven't had much snow, the weather has been milder than expected, and even drier. Those endless years of rain we experienced in Seattle have been non-existent here. And then, El Niño, wrench-thrower that it is, delivered torrential downpours that quite literally flooded us all this late-fall and early winter. We hit some "wettest day ever records," created landslides and sinkholes, and my walk home from work was unpleasant for a few days. After what seemed like non-stop rain for the month of November and December, we got a sprinkling of snow two days after Christmas. The mountains got tons of it, but down here in the valley, we saw it fall all day but never stick. Beautiful puffy snow that turned into giant puddles. Thanks 37 degrees. 

Though this past weekend has been an entirely different story (we have about an inch of snow + freezing rain all night + dropping temps in the high twenties), the pretty snow that fell right after Christmas stuck in the hills. When we went out and about to do some walking on New Year's Day, to ring in the New Year outside (mistake), we discovered some of that formerly-known-as-snow had become massive sheets of uncomfortably cold and slippery ice and was peppering the trails and roads up by the zoo. If I look comfortable, warm, or otherwise happy about being outside in the photos above, it is a straight up lie. I nearly cried with a 20 mph wind and 30 degree temperature dropping us into the 10-degree wind chill range. 

Ben and I, though we frequent Forest Park and Washington Park (the hill/park on which the Oregon Zoo lives), have never actually made it around Hoyt Arboretum. It's a beautiful, easily accessible spot with some super easy walking trails. Though there were absolutely no leaves on any trees, and I had no interest in turning my head outside of my puffy jacket hood and exposing it to the wind, I suppose the purpose of the arboretum was to showcase some trees. If so, we need to return in the spring or fall to enjoy that aspect of the walk. There are quite a few good walking options at Hoyt - a "2 hour loop" of a 1.5 mile trail that showcases some sweeping mountain views and some easy walking. The trails also all connect to the Wildwood Trail, a forty-mile long trail through Forest Park that's beautiful and endlessly walkable. We saw a lot of families braving the weather, dog walkers, and out of towners on the walk and I'd recommend it to anyone looking for a pretty and easy stroll. It complimented our champagne headaches perfectly!

Happy 2016 all! Hope you had a chance to rest, relax and get outside during your break's!

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