Powell Butte Letterbox
Portland, Oregon

Established on July 7, 1999
by Der Mad Stamper
(Verified alive and well as of March 18, 2012)

CLUES:

(NOTE: The original 1999 clues involved working your way through a maze of prickly blackberry brambles to reach the hiding place. They were revised in 2004 after the Boy Scouts cleared the area of brambles.)

This was the first Portland letterbox to be planted out east in the Gresham vicinity. The first step to finding it is to climb Powell Butte. The easiest way to do that is to hike up its north face starting at the Powell Butte Nature Park. You can enter the park at the intersection of SE Powell Blvd and SE 162nd Avenue.

From there, the Mountain View Trail is a nice paved pathway up to the summit. It is even accessible to strollers and electric wheelchairs (although the actual location of the letterbox is not). You will find a small grassy orchard at the top of the Butte that is a nice family-friendly place for a picnic.

There are other ways to reach the summit orchard. On horseback, you could take the Wildhorse Trail, or bikes can go up the Meadowland Trail. You can also access the summit from the popular Forty Mile Loop Trail on the south side, by either hiking up Pioneer Orchard Trail or taking the Wild Hawthorn Trail on horseback.

Near the orchard, locate the mountain viewpoint, where markers on the ground will help you to identify as many as seven Cascade peaks (on a clear day) and several large buttes. Follow the trail east from here, as it passes within sight of a small grouping of tall, scarred fir trees standing alone in the distance on your right. Stay on the trail and keep to the left to merge with the Wildhorse Trail as it drops back down the side of the Butte.

Before you reach the bottom, you will intersect a dirt access trail. Turn right onto this trail and follow it as it overlooks a residential area. Look carefully for a faint, narrow path leading upward to your right. If you reach pavement, you've gone too far. Follow the narrow path as it wanders uphill, sometimes splitting and rejoining, until it reaches that grouping of scarred firs that you saw earlier from a distance.

There you will find a nice place to sit and rest by an impressive giant has survived several fires. Nearby, a tall broken snag still lives next to the place where a proud elder once stood tall. The letterbox lies within the meager ruins of the elder, below a layer of bark and forest debris. Please make sure that it gets re-hidden well, and that debis is scattered over the top again so it looks "natural" and inconspicuous.

The walk from the parking lot, up the north face, over to the letterbox and down again is around two miles. The views along the way are fantastic.Enjoy!

—DMS

Before you set out, please read the waiver of responsibility and disclaimer.