Tuesday, March 10, 2015

A Dry Run on the Wildwood Trail

I'm in Portland, Oregon this week for business. So I've been hearing a lot of stories like this one:
A newcomer to Portland arrives on a rainy day. She gets up the next day and it’s raining. It also rains the day after that, and the day after that. She goes out to lunch and sees a young child and, out of despair, asks, "Hey, kid, does it ever stop raining around here?” To which the child replies, "How should I know? I’m only 8!”

And then there's the one that goes:
Question: What do you call two straight days of rain in Portland?
Answer: A weekend.

I'm sure there are more; these are just the ones I've heard this week.

The trouble right now -- and it's no laughing matter -- is that Oregon is enduring a drought that is making people long for those rainy days. As you can see on this map from NOAA's Palmer-Z Index (a measure of the degree of drought) most of Oregon is right now experiencing drought conditions that are "severe" or "extreme."

I haven't spent a lot of time in Oregon, but early this morning when I headed out on a run to experience Portland's famous Wildwood Trail, I could tell that conditions were unusually dry. The trail surface itself -- likely moist and springy most times of the year -- was hard, cracked and dry. Moss hanging down from various branches is probably green and moist most of the time; today that moss was brown like dry grass.

The Wildwood Trail is still gorgeous -- it just felt much more like my "home trails" of arid Colorado, not the lush wonderland I was expecting. Hope Oregon's rain returns soon!

Enjoy the photos, and see you on the trail.

The Wildwood Trail extends for more than 30 miles! I need to return when I have time enough to run the whole thing.

Perhaps hard to tell here, with the green conifers, but I couldn't believe how dry conditions felt.


Fortunately, there's apparently enough moisture for this banana slug. What a beauty!

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