The Portland Heritage Tree Quest, group 10 - Northwest passages: riding out the storm - CycleBlaze

March 11, 2020

The Portland Heritage Tree Quest, group 10

Yesterday

Yesterday was a Team Anderson training ride: 41 miles (a mile short of Rachael’s ideal, to her disgust) out along the Columbia to the Glenn Jackson Bridge and back.  I was on my best behavior so we paused only for a mid-ride loo break and for exactly one photo:

Climbing away from the Willamette, we pause for a look across to the cherry grove.
Heart 3 Comment 0

Only one stop, but not without some small drama.  While Rachael was testing the quality of the facilities at Broughton Beach Park, I was instructed to pump her rear tire - something she’s been nagging me to do for a week or more.

I knelt, I tried, I failed.  Well, the pump failed actually.  After failing to add any pressure, the head suddenly fell off.  I reassembled the pump and tried again, but it was still failing.  When Rachael returned I asked her to get her pump out, but she didn’t have it with her.  She had taken it out of her pannier a few days ago to free up space for some extra clothing layers.

This led to an interesting exchange.  Why didn’t you pump up the tire at home before now like I’d asked, she’d like to know.  Why did you leave your pump at home when we need it here, I’d like to know.

Fortunately, her tire was low but not flat.  It still had enough pressure to complete the ride, so the day was saved.  With the low pressure in her rear tire she did have to work a bit harder, so on the upside this should really count as a bit longer ride for her - say about 42 miles, maybe a bit more.

When we returned to the apartment, Rachael ransacked the place looking for the pump without success.  I looked also for the pump we brought back with the Bike Fridays last month, thinking it was packed away for the next tour. No success.  The pump-gobbling monsters have apparently raided our place while we were out.  I promise to stop by the bike store as soon as they open tomorrow and pick up a new pump before Rachael leaves for her ride.

Today

First up this morning is my Thursday morning coffee date with Bruce, over at Spielmann’s Bagels on the east side.  It’s only a couple of miles, and I should bike over.  But it’s still an hour until sunrise when I’m ready to leave; it’s freezing; and I need to get back promptly to stop by the bike store to pick up a new pump for Rachael before she’s antsy to leave for her ride.

Bruce (who bikes over in spite of the cold) and I have our usual fine visit.  We breakup at quarter after nine, and as I’m walking to the car the phone chimes at me - it’s Rachael, wanting to be sure I’m on my way to the bike store.  I pick up the pump (two pumps actually, because of course we need a backup, and should carry it along with us for it to do any good), get home just before ten as promised, pump up her rear elevation tire, and hold the door for her as she wheels out into the hall a minute later.

We only have a few hours available today - the first PIFF screening is at 3:30, and it’s one that we’re interested in.   Just before I leave though, we get an email that all of today’s screenings are cancelled while they evaluate how they should respond to the fast developing COVID-19 crisis.  So, the pressure off, I set off on a leisurely cruise past the five remaining trees on the current list.  First up is the umbrella tree in Couch Park that I couldn’t find two days ago.  I’m going to make a second pass at it, armed with a fresh look at photos of the tree so I know what I’m looking for.

On the way I pass through the PSU campus and stop to admire this enormous long bronze sculpture:

Image not found :(
Oregon Landscape, by Portland sculptor Thomas Hardy. Constructed of eight wide bronze panels, the work celebrates the our state’s unique a diverse ecological environment.
Heart 2 Comment 0
Image not found :(
The panels are directional, progressing across the state west to east. This panel in the center represents the fir forests of the Cascade Range.
Heart 3 Comment 0
Image not found :(
Back in Couch Park searching for the lusive umbrella tree, I stop to admire these two cherry trees (Yoshino, like the one we saw at the waterfront?). In the background is the heritage Empress Tree we saw on the previous outing.
Heart 2 Comment 0
Image not found :(
So I can find only two trees that could plausibly be a cucumber tree. Near neighbors, they both look like this. A cucumber tree though? I don’t think so. It looks more like a southern magnolia.
Heart 1 Comment 0
Image not found :(
I just don’t think this can be it. I’ll give up for now and come back in summer. Maybe it will be in bloom then and easier to spot.
Heart 1 Comment 0

The remaining four trees are all on the east side.  First up is this battle-scarred apricot.  It’s just beginning to bloom, so I’m happy I’ve made it over to see it now.

Image not found :(
Tree 320: Apricot (Prunus armeniaca). We’re well outside of its natural range, and this one (estimated to be a century old) is very large for this area.
Heart 2 Comment 0
Image not found :(
I don’t know that I’ve ever looked closely at apricot blossoms. Really a beautiful flower.
Heart 3 Comment 1
Jacquie GaudetI haven't either but now I'll be on the lookout. Apricots are also one of my favourite tree fruits.
Reply to this comment
4 months ago
Image not found :(
Our heritage Apricot looks more like a garden than a tree. I wonder how much life it has remaining.
Heart 1 Comment 0
Riding down 18th Street I passed this woman painting her walkway, thought better of it, and doubled back for a photo. She looks like she could be the subject of a French impressionist’s painting.
Heart 2 Comment 0
Still on 18th Street we come to tree 317, a Weeping Cherry (Prunus pendula). A fairly common tree in Portland, this specimen is estimated to be 80 years old. I like the way it contrasts against the white birch behind it.
Heart 1 Comment 0
Image not found :(
Heart 1 Comment 0
Image not found :(
Heart 1 Comment 0
Still on the very interesting 18th Street, we pass a yard with four tall bronze sculptures. All four are interesting, but I liked this one the best.
Heart 1 Comment 0
Image not found :(
We’re still not done with cherry-picking the delights of 18th Street. It’s lined with some august trees on its parking strip, like these heavy-rooted oaks. I’m not stopped to take a photo of them particularly though.
Heart 1 Comment 0
I’m stopped for this guy, whom I saw scurrying up the back of the trunk. It took awhile but he finally came out and posed in the sun for me.
Heart 1 Comment 0

Just two trees left, and then I can call it a day and head home.  There’s this rhododendron tree in the Ladd Addition, and a barely alive giant Gravenstein down in Brooklyn.  

Image not found :(
Tree 97, a Rhododendron (Rhododendron ponticum).
Heart 1 Comment 1
Bruce LellmanI was lucky to have been able to trek around the Annapurna range in Nepal in early 1979. One of my favorite memories of the hike was a section where I was walking on a carpet of red flowers. It was a thick forest of gnarled old trees that I eventually realized were old growth rhododendrons! The trees were three feet in diameter and fifty feet tall and a local person told me they were 500 years old. Amazing because I never knew they grew to be actual trees either.
Reply to this comment
4 months ago
Image not found :(
Who knew that Rhododendrons grew as trees?
Heart 2 Comment 1
Jacquie GaudetI remember trekking in Nepal through forests of rhododendron trees. Not in bloom in October, though.
Reply to this comment
4 months ago
We’re obviously not seeing this tree at its prime time. I suspect we’ll miss that this year, but maybe I’ll come back in a week and check it out again before we skip town.
Heart 1 Comment 0
Image not found :(
A tree grows in Brooklyn: # 204, a Gravenstein Apple (Malus x domestica). This is the last tree of a large apple orchard planted by Gideon Tibbetts, who came to Oregon in 1847.
Heart 1 Comment 3
Jen GrumbyGideon Tibbetts would be a great name for the main character of a children's book.

I saw something about a 'Gideon's Orchard' being dedicated in 2015 with grafts from that Gravebstein.
Reply to this comment
4 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Jen GrumbyOnly you would have known about this.
Reply to this comment
4 months ago
Jen GrumbyAnd that's only because you inspired me to look up Sir Gideon!
Reply to this comment
4 months ago
This Apple tree can’t be long for the world. No apples any more, but it does support some other interesting life.
Heart 1 Comment 0

Tomorrow, and beyond

COVID-19 is tearing our lives apart at a breathtaking rate.  In the short time we were out to dinner last night, our fearless leader terrified the nation and cancelled all travel to and from Europe; the futures market dropped another thousand points, plunging further with every minute he spoke; Tom Hanks announced that he and his wife have the virus; and the rest of the NBA season was cancelled.

This morning, our governor declared a state of emergency in Oregon.  While we were out biking, our city mayor declared one in Portland also and banned gatherings of more than 250; and today’s PIFF screenings were cancelled.  By the end of the day we’ll hear that the remainder of the PIFF series is also cancelled.  And tomorrow morning we’ll wake up to the news that Oregon’s schools are shutting down statewide.

It’s so shocking, it’s too fast, you really can’t keep up.

There are winners and losers in all of this upheaval.  Mostly losers of course.  Among the losers are the hotels we were going to stay at in Texas, and the airlines we were going to fly with getting there and back.  We can’t convince ourselves that it’s prudent or even socially responsible to get on a plane right now, so we’re dropping Texas for this year.  We’re still working it out, but the new plan is to spend those three weeks driving down to Saint George instead, taking our time and enjoying day rides and hikes along the way.  Who knows?  We might be seeing Death Valley in the spring much sooner than we’d imagined.

There are a few winners though, including the driver of this gorgeous vintage 1948 Dodge pickup I found parked in front of our condo this evening.  after getting his permission to take its photo, I had a nice chat with the driver.  He’s assembled this beauty from parts - he found the cab up in Yelm, and the truck bed down in Gladstone.  He’s here on a business run.  He works for a food cart and is doing home deliveries.  Business is booming he says, and he thinks soon he’ll be able to afford that $1,800 mountain bike he’s had his eye on for awhile.  So the news isn’t all bad.

Heart 2 Comment 0
Heart 3 Comment 0

Keeping score

Group 1 (7 species):  grand fir, willow oak, hedge maple, Douglas fir, incense cedar, tulip tree, sugar maple.

Group 2 (9 species): silver maple, Japanese cedar, oriental plane tree, European beech, American chestnut, copper beech, mockernut hickory, basswood, butternut.

Group 3 (9 species): ginkgo, crape maple, northern red oak, deodar cedar, bigleaf linden, giant sequoia, coast redwood, Japanese pagoda tree, Mount Fuji flowering cherry.

Group 4 (8 species): Zelkova, Carolina poplar, Japanese red pine, Katsura, bur oak, river birch, catalpa, wych elm.

Group 5 (8 species): Monkey puzzle tree, western white pine, boulevard cypress, madrone, single needle pinyon, pecan, Coulter pine, Monterey pine.

Group 5-1/4 (2 species): Port Orford cedar, English yew

Group 6 (6 species): White fir, Atlas cedar, Cedar of Lebanon, Endlicher pine, Dawn redwood, Umbrella pine.

Group 7 (6 species): China Fir, Blue Atlas Cedar, Eastern White Pine, Ponderosa Pine, Sitka Spruce, Yellow Bellflower Apple.

Group 8 (5 species): Himalayan Pine, Gray Pine, Apache Pine, Italian Stone Pine, Loblolly Pine

Group 9 (6 species): Sycamore Maple, Japanese Larch, Spanish Chestnut, Weeping Willow, Oregon White Oak, Oregon Myrtle.

Group 9.5 (4 species): Southern Magnolia, Empress Tree, Saucer Magnolia, Yoshino Cherry.

Group 10 (4 species): Apricot, Weeping Cherry, Rhododendron, Gravenstein Apple.

Dropped (3 species): Paradox Maple, which I couldn’t find and may no longer exist; and the Lacebark Pine and Bald Cypress, both of which were unapproachable and hidden in the middle of a large private woodland.

Rate this entry's writing Heart 3
Comment on this entry Comment 3
Gregory GarceauI was going to contact you to see how the Coronavirus was going to affect your Texas tour, then I saw this post. I respect your decision.

At this time, my cancellation odds are about 50-50. The Feeshko is pushing me to make those odds more like 90% in favor of cancelling. We've reached a compromise for now: I will be walking away from my non-refundable plane ticket (which is very painful for a cheap-ass like me) and I'm going to drive to El Paso to start my tour. I have ten days to think about it and I'm re-evaluating from day-t0-day. Unfortunately, it's entirely possible I could abandon the tour at any time right up to the very last day.
Reply to this comment
4 months ago
Suzanne GibsonGlad to hear you cancelled. I think it's wise. You are going to enjoy yourselves wherever you are, I'm sure.
Reply to this comment
4 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Suzanne GibsonThanks, Suzanne. We have no regrets or doubts, not that we’re settled into the idea. And you’re right, we’ll have a great time as long as our luck holds out. Be healthy, enjoy the spring!
Reply to this comment
4 months ago