Calling Winter's Bluff
(Looking southwest from Skidmore Bluffs across the Willamette we see part of the Pearl District, Council Crest, Sylvan Hill and the southern edge of Forest Park. Also, trains.)
It's been colder than normal this February in Portland. And while most of the Pac NW has been getting pummeled with snow lately, we've been mostly unscathed in the greater metro area. For now at least. Nonetheless, it's that time of season where I start to dream of summer and routinely check airfare to southern climes. Thankfully it was dry and sunny enough on a recent afternoon to take a little bicycle stroll around North Portland.
One of my favorite spots in the 5th quadrant is a place locals call Skidmore Bluffs. Known specifically as Mocks Crest, this “park” has been under city jurisdiction since 1998 and if you travel west on Skidmore street you'll run right into it. Perched among the cliffs and bluffs along the east bank of the Willamette River, Mocks Crest provides great views of Forest Park, the West Hills and parts of downtown. As well as The Fremont and St. John’s bridges. Directly below the park sits a huge rail yard, which provides an interesting soundtrack at times. All of these elements make this a viable place to lounge on a blanket and enjoy the sunshine!
On my recent visit I hung out for about half an hour and was one of a dozen or so people that were wishing it was ten degrees warmer outside. But even though the air was chilly, it's good to enjoy that little bit of sunshine as the next storm system looms to the west. I'll most likely make my next visit on a spring evening with an adult beverage in tow. If it happens to be a particularly raucous gathering the sunset may get a round of applause from the bluff goers. Which is kind of silly, but I like it. In the meantime I'll plan for rain.