Saturday, January 25, 2014

Adventure on Powell Butte

Outdoor Therapy

I verge on total burnout just about every Friday. My mind, body, and soul seems to take a regular beating starting Monday and rolling steadily downhill from there. Instead of eating and watching Netflix (both of which I am exceedingly good at!), I planned an exploratory hike up Powell Butte for some eco-therapy. 

I located one of the parking lots on the NE corner of the butte, snapped a selfie to text the bf, and eagerly skipped through the ubiquitous sword fern and up to some lovely...

Forest Boulders with Native Sword Fern
Forest boulders! 

Rocks relax me. If my mind is focused on studying it's curves and dips, I don't have time for anxiety. "Feeling" rocks in my mind has brought me out of multiple tense personal moments. My grandma taught me this technique with a smooth stone she called a "worry stone." I've found using a mental worry stone is much more convenient as it doesn't weigh down my handbag. 

These rocks had ferns + moss. Even better! Large green worry stones. :) My hike was off to a relaxing start.

A Lichen Living on a Stone Atop the Butte

I found the stone + lichen above the conifer line on the windy Butte. So much sun and air. Filled my lungs and gazed out over the valley at three different white mountain peaks.

Meadow On Top of the Butte

In the 1890's, a Swiss family raised dairy cattle across the Butte. The distant mountain peaks and open space reminded them of their old home in the alps. There was no yodeling today....just some grateful yoga in the sunshine. I purposed to leave my tension, worry, fear, and other personal junk caught up inside my psyche on the butte for the wind to blow far away.

Crunchy Gravel Trail

On the north end of the butte, there is a small, old orchard leftover from the dairy-days. Here it was easy to imagine turn-of-the-century Swiss farmers picking fruit from their hardy trees to the sound of lowing cows and dull cow bells. "Roughing" it with out electricity and running water really isn't that far behind us. I took a moment for thankfulness that I got to see the rocky butte.

Ancient Orchard
You can still see where these gnarled fruit trees were pruned long ago.

After taking Orchard Loop around the top of the Butte, I ducked back into the old growth and wound my way around the west side of the hillside back to my truck, starving for my banana and dried apricots. If you'd like to hike Powell Butte, here's a handy map that I used. I plan to re-visit the Butte in September for a fall color vista. Happy hiking to you!