Winter Hiking on Mt. Talbert

talbertgooglemapsImage courtesy of Google Maps

A funny thing happens when I mention the hike on Mt. Talbert: whomever I am speaking with tries to correct me by saying, “You mean Mt Tabor…” Nope. I mean Mt. Talbert, one of the many dormant or extinct volcanoes that dot the southeast region of the city. The fact that not many know about its existence inspired me to feature this little gem of a walk in the woods. Mt. Talbert is a forest-covered, 750-foot-tall, ancient, worn-down shield volcano located just a few miles southeast of Portland near Sunnyside, and resides within the Kellogg-Mt Scott watershed. With over 250 acres of conserved natural area, it is one of the most healthy wildlife habitats in the urban Portland metropolitan region.

154038183.R8wudzgmPhoto by Frank Paris

Mt. Talbert is seen by tens of thousands of commuters every day along Interstate 205, likely most of them not knowing that a beautiful park resides at the top. A network of 4 miles of trail covers the Mt. Talbert Nature Park. Even though the hiking trails are just feet away from neighborhoods and businesses, there is an abundance of wildlife that can be seen on this hike, including deer, western gray squirrels, pileated and hairy woodpeckers, white-breasted nuthatches and western tanagers. The forest is comprised of Douglas Firs and groves of Western Red Cedars and Oregon White Oaks. Continue reading

Restaurants on the Route: easily accessible, palate-worthy dining options

I’ve lived in a handful of different neighborhoods during my 30+ years in Portland, and one of my favorite things to do is discover restaurants that are so good that they keep me coming back for more. The challenge of commuting solely by bus is the difficulty in finding a good restaurant that is reachable by just a single bus from your starting location.

Years ago I moved into a neighborhood that I had never lived in before. There was not much within walking distance from me, and I slowly developed a Scrooge-like attitude as I pouted about not having any worthwhile restaurants to go to when I wanted to eat out. For close to two years I remained cynical, and spent 45 minutes or more on buses to journey back to the restaurants I knew and loved in my old neighborhood. Then, one hunger-filled day, all of that changed. I happened to see for the first time a sushi place called Sushi & Maki in a strip mall near my house. I’m sure I had unconsciously seen it dozens of times before, but my brain must not have acknowledged it. Because really, do good sushi restaurants exist in a strip mall on 82nd ave?

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I decided to give it a chance, first on yelp of course, and to my surprise, it had a solid 4-star rating and a ton of reviews! I ate there immediately, and sure enough, it was outstanding: good service, a nice ambiance, and most importantly great food.

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That day left me wanting more. I knew there had to be more great restaurants like this one that were conveniently located just a short bus ride from my front door. Over the next few months, with the help of yelp and the TriMet trip planner, I discovered a good amount of quality restaurants for brunch, lunch, and dinner that were all on one of the two bus routes that passed by my house. My goal for this series on Portland By Bus is to feature palate-worthy dining options on each of TriMet’s bus, MAX, and Portland Streetcar routes. I hope to feature a new route each week until all are completed. If you are eager to see what your neighborhood has to offer, add a comment here requesting which bus route closest to your house or hotel you would like me to feature next. In the meantime, it looks like I’ll be eating out a lot!

Images in post courtesy of idine.com.