Powell Butte Letterbox
Established on July 7, 1999
by Der Mad Stamper
(Verified alive and well as of March 18, 2012)
(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"
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!
Before you set out, please read the waiver
of responsibility and disclaimer.