The Portland Heritage Tree Quest, group 8 - Northwest passages: riding out the storm - CycleBlaze

February 29, 2020

The Portland Heritage Tree Quest, group 8

Twenty Questions, continued

#18.  Cedar City then?  Ooh!  Hot, hot, hot!!  But no.

#19.  Oh, duh.  Saint George then, obviously.  You’re biking from Saint George to Albuquerque.  But didn’t you just cross Utah three years ago?  Congratulations!  With a question to spare even!  And yes, we did bike across Utah three years ago.  You’ll recall the larger theme for this year, Looking Back on some of our favorite rides from the past.  So, the trip in a nutshell: three weeks in the Texas Hill Country, followed by a six week ride from Saint George to Albuquerque.  Specifics to follow.

Today’s ride

Today’s PHTQ ride wasn’t expected to happen.  Instead, we were planning on attending the first quadrennial Leap Day HAC Reunion, joining Bruce and Andrea in welcoming the Gumbys back to Oregon where they belong.  It’s an event we’ve been anticipating with excitement for weeks.  Pizza selections had been voted upon, salad ingredients assembled.  Alas, it was cancelled at the last minute due to an unfortunate health issue.

So, with some unexpected time on our hands and a gray, wet day in the forecast Rachael heads off to the gym and I to the coffeehouse.  By mid-morning though, a dry window opens up on the forecast.  With perhaps three hours to work with I hurry out the door in a quest to pick off the last five conifers on the list - all pines, all to the north.  First up is the Himalayan Pine in the northwest district, just west of Baluch Gulch.  

I’m in a hurry, but as usual there are compelling reasons to stop here and there along the way.

One of the four glass sculptures in the Nephthenes (pitcher plant) series that lines northwest Davis Street in the transition between Old Town Chinatown and the Pearl District.
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The red maples are just starting to show their colors, contrasting nicely with the brick-walled Ecotrust building.
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Saint Patrick Catholic Church looks its best on a day like this.
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Tree #281: Himalayan pine (Pinus wallichiana). A native of the Himalayas surprisingly enough, growing east as far as northern Myanmar.
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Bruce LellmanLittle known fact: The Himalayas actually end at the northern tip of Myanmar. I think there is an 18,000 foot peak right at the northern border of Myanmar. People don't think of Myanmar as having mountains that high mostly because the government doesn't let any foreigners go there.
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5 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Bruce LellmanSeems like this calls for another Myanmar excursion, to look for this tree. The roads are probably better up north in the mountains. Throw the twins on the back, for a real life changing experience.
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5 months ago
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The cones of the Himalayan pine are long and slender; its needles grow 5 to a bundle, 4-8” long.
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This one stands well away from the sidewalk in a private front yard, so you’ll have to just imagine how great it would look with Rodriguez leaning against it.
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So that’s it for the west side.  We backtrack east to the Broadway Bridge, cross over the river, and make our way to the north end.  With the remaining four pines on the list scattered around within a mile or two of each other, I bike a rather random looking path through the neighborhoods on either side of the freeway, knocking off the pines one by one.

I’m pleased to find them all - they’re all easily spotted and nicely accessible for a change, so I check them off fairly quickly.  It’s a good thing, because my window is closing fast.  As I bike south to pick up the final tree near Irving Park, the sky ahead of me is looking very dark. 

I drop plans I had to stop by another pair of nearby trees: another Dawn redwood that hopefully I could get closer to than the ones in the Arboretum; and a European white birch that I imagine might look striking against a dark sky.  Instead, I just beeline to the Loblolly poplar, hoping to get there and get my photos in before the rains arrive.  

I make it, just.  I take a rather cursory look at the tall, ramrod straight pine and then hustle off.  Five blocks later, racing toward our apartment five miles away, the rains arrive.  It looks like I’m due to get soaked so I quickly hide out tucked behind some junipers under a warehouse eave, and fortunately after a few minutes the rain tapers and then dies out.

So this is likely the last PHTQ event and post for awhile.  I’m done with the evergreens, and I want to wait a bit for more of the deciduous trees to leaf or blossom out before picking up the next group.  More importantly though, PIFF (the Portland International Film Festival) starts tomorrow. Between the weather and the film schedule, I don’t anticipate many leisurely ride breaks coming in the next two weeks.

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I’m not sure what this is, but I doubt it’s a U-Haul any more. It’s on the vacant lot next to Ecliptic Brewing, so maybe it’s a classy beer truck?
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Tree #239, the Gray Pine (Pinus sabiniana). A native of Central California, it is often multi-trunked like this. It doesn’t look very gray to me, so the name origin is a mystery. Also known as the California foothill pine; and in the past as the Digger pine, though this name is now frowned on as a perjorative reference to Native Americans of the region.
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The cones of the Gray Pine are huge and frightening, weighing over five pounds. I’m so fixated on them that I forget to take a photo of the whole tree.
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Well, this is cheerful! Someone really likes their Italian stone pine. It’s scientific name (Pinus pinea) is interesting. Was this the first pine species to get its scientific name?
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The Italian stone pine is kinda cute! It looks so puffy.
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Needles of the Italian stone pine.
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The Apache pine, a native of the mountains of southern New Mexico, Arizona and Mexico. I wonder if we’d have seen this tree on our climb up Mount Lemmon if we’d continued on up another thousand feet.
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From the trunk, the Apache pine looks like it could be its near cousin, the Ponderosa.
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The Apache pine is described as looking like a long needled Ponderosa.
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A nice mixed-forest collection.
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The little known ornamental varietal, the Ainsworth poppy.
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I’m losing my dry window, but we have to stop for this. This is a public art work commissioned by Tri-Met to stand along the MAX Yellow Line, next to Ockley Green elementary school. It’s a set of three totemic sculptures by Native American artists.
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I’m lucky it’s Leap Day. February stretched out just far enough for me to pick up one last rust photo for this month’s Cycle365 challenge.
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The insides of the three pillars are lined with poems penned by children from the school.
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Tree 299 is a Loblolly pine (Pinus taeda), also called the Southern yellow pine. A native of the southeast U.S., it’s grown In large plantations and Is the leading commercial timber tree in the south.
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There’s just time for one last shot of the Loblolly pine before dashing for cover.
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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

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.

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Jen GrumbyGlad you were able to get out on a Leap Day ride. I really like that Italian Stone Pine .. handsome and whimsical!

If we schedule another cross-country move near Leap Day 2024 (I hope not!!) we will be sure to hire help to prevent any event-cancelling injuries.

Looking forward to our 3/10 gathering. Good to be back where we belong so that we can plan for the next First Quadrennial Leap Day HAC reunion. Hopefully we'll have many opportunities to get together between now and then.
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5 months ago
Janet Anspach-RickeyHey Scott,
After Tucson and 3 days in Scottsdale we are planning to drive up through Utah to get back to the northwest. Do you have some day ride suggestions for us on the way back in Utah? You are the second person that mentions St George. I think we better check it out. Any day ride ideas are welcome. We will stop and take an extra day here and there to explore on our way back.
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5 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Janet Anspach-RickeyUtah! I think southern Utah is the most spectacular part of the country. There are so many amazing spots, and some great day rides. I wouldn’t target Saint George in particular though - in my opinion, its only advantage is that it’s got an airport, and is near Zion.

If you can afford the time, I would take a roundabout route that will take you across southern Utah west to east across wonderful highways 12 and 24. Something like: Flagstaff-monument Valley-Moab-Green River, and then take Hwy 24 from Hanksville, through Capitol Reef, then to Torrey; and then south on Hwy 12 through Boulder, Escalante, and past Bryce Canyon.

Our favorite rides are scattered around, but you can read up on them in our Crossing Utah journal. We especially loved Potash Road (hwy 279, near Moab); Scenic Drive, in Capitol Reef; Kodachrome Basin, just south of Cannonville; and Snow Canyon, west of Saint George. Or, anywhere at all along Highway 12 itself - the entire highway is stunning.

There’s one more out and back we would love to have taken last time, and will this time for sure: the paved part of the Burr Trail, which completely bisects Capitol Reef. Starting from the west end at Boulder (on Highway 12), it’s paved all the way to the park boundary, a distance of about 25 miles each way.

Oh - and since you’ve got a car, I’d drive up to Dead Horse Point for its incomparable overlook down into Canyonlands.

Good luck, and have a great time! Anxious to read all about it.
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5 months ago