Mount Tabor - In the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies - CycleBlaze

March 9, 2019

Mount Tabor

This weekend marks the beginning of the spring Cycle Life Challenge, the biannual 7 week event to encourage casual cycling in our daily lives.  The rules of the challenge are pretty simple: take seven bike rides, and spend something along the way on each of them.  

 A bit too simple for my tastes.  I’ve participated in these events for several years now, and for no earthly reason I always decide to add a constraint or two of my own to intensify the challenge a bit.  This year, I’ll plan on featuring a different commercial venue, a different beverage or food selection, and a different ride destination on each ride; and with luck I’ll try to feature a different bridge each time also.  Portland has plenty of bridges, so as long as I hustle and get most of my rides in before we leave for Sicily I should be able to feature a bridge or seven.

Today, we check in on a trio of old favorites: Water Avenue Coffee, the Hawthorne Bridge, and Mount Tabor.  We’re off to Water Avenue this morning because it’s the weekend, and Water Avenue opens earlier than most of my other local favorites.  Also, we like it because it’s quite cold out again this morning and I want a nearby coffee shop to bike to where I can hang out while the day thaws out a bit.  It’s only a short mile away, just across the river on the other side of the Hawthorne Bridge, and how cold can you get in just a mile?

Actually, even in a mile I manage to get pretty damn cold.  There is a surprising amount to stop and look at this morning, given that it’s such a well ridden path.  It’s a vibrant time of day to be out, and it’s especially serendipitous that the Hawthorne Bridge is closed to motor vehicles for repairs today.  I’ve never been out here when I could walk out onto the central lanes of the bridge and admire the structure from a different angle.  Each time I stop and pull out the camera though I remove my gloves, and by the time I arrive at Water Avenue my hands are quite frigid.  It feels wonderful to curl them around a steaming cup of coffee.

Today’s featured bridge
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It’s a fortuitous time to be here. The bridge is closed for maintenance, except for bikes and peds. We can take a look from a different perspective for a change,
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Looking up at one of the 450 ton counterweights that lift and lower the central span.
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The Hawthorne Bridge, down for some routine maintenance.
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We’ve been down below freezing frequently in the last few weeks, but there are still a few early bloomers breaking out.
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Suzanne GibsonWow, you are way ahead of us!
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1 month ago
Some have broken out a bit too early.
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Let’s set it down gently.
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In my next life I think I’d be pretty happy spending my mornings on the river.
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Steve Miller/GrampiesShades of Ratty and Mr Mole.
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1 month ago
Scott AndersonYup. Messing about in boats. That would be the life, alright.
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1 month ago
Today’s featured venue: Water Avenue Coffee
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I start most mornings in town with an almond croissant, but Rachael has been after me to diversify my diet so I’ll humor her. Today, a delicious savory hand pie.
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I’m surprised I’ve never spotted this mural on the back wall of Vitalidad Movement Arts Center. It’s apparently been here since 2011.
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Today’s ride destination is another spot we’ve seen many times in recent years: Mount Tabor.  We’re going there today because it’s only a few miles to the east, and I don’t have a lot of time available.  We have an early afternoon film to attend, and before that I have a brunch date with Rachael - so I’m looking for an interesting destination that I can comfortably fit in with the time available.  

We’ve seen it many times, but never quite like this morning.  First, we’re literally seeing a different side of it for the first time.  I didn’t bother checking the batteries in my GPS, and since as it turns out they’re  dead I’m on my own for navigation and by chance happen upon a new approach I’ve never ridden before.  Riding east up Salmon and Taylor to the western flank of the mountain, I then zigzag up its side through a new route and come out a the visitor’s center.  

I wasn’t even aware that there was a visitor center on Mount Tabor, but it’s located near a key point that I’ve never managed to find before - the partially exposed plug of the old cinder cone.  I’ve half-heartedly tried to find this before, as well as the plaque next to it,#o I’m pretty excited to finally stumble across it.  Also, it was exciting to find a pamphlet at the visitors center identifying the various marked trees on the mountain.   It’s too cold to explore much with it this morning, but I’ll hang on to this and start using it in the future to identify some of the landmark trees growing up here.

In addition to seeing a new side of the park, I enjoy seeing it under this morning’s conditions,  it’s cold today, and the summit of the park is about four hundred feet above the surroundings - high enough that there is still a light layer of snow or frost in the shaded areas.  I’m here at a rather magical time this morning - the sun is just getting some strength and attacking the frost.  Steam rises from the path here and there, and in spots it looks like it is lightly raining as ice and snow thaw and precipitate out of the towering trees above.  Very beautiful.

One of Portland’s many claims to fame.
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I’ve been on Mount Tabor many times, but I’ve never seen this spot where the cinder cone is exposed before.
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Jen GrumbyAnother reason to make sure we visit Mt. Tabor next time we're in Portland!

I haven't seen this yet.
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1 month ago
Scott AndersonTo Jen GrumbyI’m thinking I could hide the GBO in here somewhere for you to pick up when you come.
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1 month ago
Jen GrumbyWe would love that ... But I have a feeling that the GBO really wants to go to Sicily.
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1 month ago
Mount Tabor cataloged tree #1: a Japanese flowering cherry. It’s the only one I located, since most are away from the bikable path. I’ll have to take a walk through here instead sometime.
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Let’s take a closer look, as the catalog instructs us to note the horizontal lenticels on the bark.
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I’ve never seen Mount Tabor look quite this way before.
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On Mount Tabor
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In spots it almost appears to be raining. I think it is ice and snow melting off of the trees in the early morning sun.
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Redhead and statue, Mount Tabor
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