Wednesday, November 26, 2008

It's Crystal

We roam all over the Pacific Northwest, but because of proximity we see lots more of the Portland area than anywhere else. Having lived here most of my life, I keep thinking I've seen all the great local places, especially in the city. I'm not sure why I persist in that notion, because I keep finding other great places. We got to one this week.

I've heard about Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden in southeast Portland and I'm sure I intended to get there several times in the spring when I suspect the rhodies are fantastic. Why would I want to go to a rhododendron garden in fall? For the birds, of course. Yes, while there are too many mallards to count, we also had some surprisingly good waterfowl views—evidently due to the rampant feeding that goes on by visitors. Normally timid wood ducks will actually pose for pictures! The honking of Canada geese can overpower the rumble of the nearby trains. In two hours, we easily saw 19 species of birds (and one very surprised raccoon).

Besides the birds, this is a lovely place in its own right. Waterfalls, a clear water lake and a beautiful wooden bridge are just a few of the features unspoiled by the fact that only a very few flowers (none of them rhodies) were blooming on this mid-fall day. If you want to see this place for yourself, the parking lot is near the intersection of SE 28th and Woodstock. GPS N 45.48003, W 122.63529

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