Whats an arboretum you ask? Ever imagined a tree zoo?
I have never seen so many different types of trees in one place at one time in such beautiful summer weather. I tramped through tufts of Rosecrans trees, hopped through Holly groves, searched for Maples, and spent hours just wandering amongst the arbors. In the distance I could see a glacier coated volcano against the snowy white blue of the outstretched sky.
Hoyt Arboretum sits to the east of Portland, about a 15 minute drive on US-26 W. Nestled in the heart of Washington Park, this volunteer maintained arboretum is within hiking distance of Wildwood Trail, the Portland Japanese Garden, and the Rose Garden. If you have a car or bike, it’s also worth making it up to Pittock Mansion to soak up breathtaking views of the park at sunset.
The arboretum trails are coolest in the morning during hot summer days, and I saw plenty of other early bird arborists tending to the trees. I followed the Wildwood Trail winding through the forest and about 3 miles later hit the Japanese Gardens.
According to my docent, the city of Portland signed a friendship agreement with their sister city of Sapporo in the Sixties, and to solidify their friendship, Sapporo gifted the city of Portland a cultural exchange and helped them create the elegant and peaceful Portland Japanese Gardens. As I strolled through the garden, scenes of stone pagodas and snow lanterns peaked out from behind short pine trees curving in a bonsai style.
Although the Japanese Gardens require an entrance fare of $9.50 (adults), the Rose Garden right around the corner is not only sensuous and colorful, it’s free.
They call Portland the City of Roses for good reason. Their Rose Garden borders a set of tennis courts and a parking lot, but walk inside the forest clearing a few meters and the garden opens up to a beautiful stretch of flowers boasting all kinds of colors in unique shades and hues. With benches every few meters, I found plenty of places to stop and enjoy the stillness. Ponder whether a rose by any other name would still smell as sweet as these sensuous blooms in front of me?
Glad that I brought hiking boots, I took the Wildwood Trail loop back to Hoyt Arboretum where I had parked Barney, my prius C. And the entire hike, I couldn’t help thinking:
I could spend a lifetime in Washington Park.