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Thursday, November 10, 2005

A Shift in the Weather

After all my complaining about the rains of the previous week, of course the weather has changed. It started on Sunday with a relenting of the rain--not quite gone, just reduced to a couple showers in later afternoon. I took advantage of this break by heading to the hills, the West Hills that is. Due to my erratic schedule (i.e. haven't worked in a while), I didn't get out of the house until after noon, which means not a lot of daylight left. I opted to take "the bus" instead of riding since I had an all day pass (validated at 5:30am, when I caught the first bus of the morn after an all night work session. Boy, was I getting full use of the day pass then!) Waiting for the #12 bus at NE Sandy and NE 77th, I was taken by the view. This is the point on Sandy where it crests the long west-east ridge that parallels the Columbia, so you get a good view down to the Columbia floodplain and the mountains in the distance. If I really squinted, I could possibly see the entrance to the Gorge...

My adventure in the West Hills brought me to Hoyt Arboretum, the famed "living tree museum" tucked into Washington Park. An exploration of Hoyt is good any time of year in any type of weather. If it snows this year, I want to take the MAX up here and check it out! The best part of the scenery this time of year is the trees changing color, especially the ultra-rare Dawn Redwood. It's pretty freaky seeing a coniferous tree with orange needles!

Monday was more of the same weather. I did some flyering and managed to get caught in the worst of the rain, but it dried up. After sunset, the sky cleared up, revealing the starry dome above the city. And a clear night like this in the Rose City can only mean one thing, and that is...

I awoke on Tuesday to bright sunshine. A peak out the door revealed a cloudless sky, brilliant blue. It was a bit chilly (it got to almost freezing overnight, meaning there must have been frost in some areas) but surprisingly no wind. Usually around this time of year when you get a clear day, it's caused by dry cool air coming out of the Eastern desert and funneled through the Gorge. But the air was nice and still. And since the day was perfect for it, I trekked up to Rocky Butte on my bike. I was a bit out of practice for the ride, but it was all worth the payoff, the view from the top. Mount Hood was sparkling, showing signs of the new snow. I got my first big panorama of Portland since being back in town.

Tuesday night I rode along the Alameda Ridge where it meets the Rose City Golf Course at NE 62nd. I felt the cool breeze funneling through the valley and looked upward to the stars. Days like this make me happy to live here. During the winter, there's not a lot of totally clear days, but that's what make you appreciate them so much more.

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