Mt Talbert is the latest jewel in the crown of Portland's park system. Officialy in Clackamas, minutes southeast of Portland, it is maintained bt the Metro organization. It is the largest undeveloped butte in northern Clackams County, and is home to deer, coyotes, raccoons, Western gray squirrel, rubber boa, pileated and hairy woodpeckers, white-breasted nuthatch, Western tanager and other species.
I knew that I'd be in the belly of the beast (L.A.) soon, so I hopped on my bike for a 20-mile round trip ride to immerse myself in nature one last time. I only saw one other person while I was there, so I have the feeling that it is an underutilized park during the week. Sweet!
Upon arriving at the Sunnyside trailhead, at SE 117th Ave and SE Sunnyside Rd, you are greeted with a place to lock up your bike, a warning about bringing invasive species into the park with your shoes with matching bootscrubber, and a garbage can with heavy lid. A crushed gravel trail leads into the woods, over Mt Scott creek via a nice looking metal bridge.
The gravel trail soon gives way to a narrow dirt path that winds through ferns and firs, up through a revitalized oak savanna, rare in these parts, to a clearing at the summit where I took a rest and had some food. The hike was very peacful with sightings and sounds of birds and chipmunks along the way.
The ride back was a bit wearing, as I unknowingly had a brisk tailwind on the way to the park, resulting in a stiff headwind for the journey back. I decided to take a slightly differnt route on the return to avoid riding across the lower west flank of Mt Scott, where you gain altitude only to lose it later. I figured that would just wear me out faster, and with the headwind, would have been downright miserable. What took 45 minutes on the way out took a little over an hour on the way back, and I was so glad to top the last hill and coast the last few blocks home. Phew!