Photos from a gorgeous hike in the Columbia River Gorge at Rowena Crest – from the top, we could see Mt. Hood on one side and Mt. Adams on the other!Pin It
To kick off summer vacation, we spent a week on the Oregon coast, basing out of Arch Cape and exploring a new beach town each day: Manzanita, Cannon Beach, Seaside, Gearhart, and Astoria.
The beach in front of our house at Arch Cape
Hiking at Ecola State Park in Cannon Beach
We found innumerable unbroken sand dollars on an isolated beach near
our house that was accessible only at low tide
Indian Beach as seen from a hiking trail in Ecola State Park
A foggy day in Astoria where the Columbia River meets the Pacific Ocean –
one of the most dangerous crossing bars in the world
Each year around this time, we pick a sunny weekend day to hike Portland’s 4T Trail:
This year, we started by parking downtown and catching MAX (that’s the “Train” – the 1st “T”) to the Oregon Zoo station. From there, we walked a short distance to the start of the Marquam Nature Park trail (the 2nd “T”).
The trail runs mostly uphill for the first 1.3 miles, and gave us an opportunity to spot local wildlife – namely, banana slugs and surprisingly large snails:
The trail comes to the top at Council Crest, which on a sunny day provides an extraordinary view of downtown Portland and four mountains: Mt. Hood, Mt. Adams, Mt. St. Helens, and – only when it’s exceptionally clear (as it was on our day), Mt. Rainier:
We explored some of the interesting historical markers at the top of Council Crest, and then headed back onto the trail:
From this point, the trail continues for another 1.7 miles, almost exclusively downhill – sometimes rather steeply, and oftentimes very rocky. We saw trillium, sweet woodruff, Oregon grape, sword and licorice ferns, and many other native plants:
At the bottom of the trail, we rested at the Marquam Shelter, which has a lot of great information about the history and wildlife of the area, as well as a truly beautiful community-created mosaic:
From there, we hiked the final .6 miles up to Oregon Health Sciences University, to catch the tram. OHSU has a beautiful, sprawling campus, with a hodgepodge of buildings and some pretty garden areas, as well:
While we were able to enjoy the extraordinary view from the top of the tram (the 3rd “T”), unfortunately we weren’t able to ride it because it was closed for the holiday (which seems very shortsighted of the operator, given how many tourists were visiting and were vocally unhappy to find the tram not running!)
Undeterred, we used our iPhone’s handy map app and walked down to the south waterfront – which was accomplished in only 30 minutes, adding only an extra 1.5 (downhill) miles our so to our journey. Once there, we stopped at Lovejoy Bakery for a much-needed lunch break:
Refreshed, we caught the Portland streetcar (or trolley – the 4th “T”) back up to SW Portland, where we had begun:
Because it was my oldest daughter’s 16th birthday, we ended our outing at St. Cupcake to celebrate:
Views from my early morning run on the Portland waterfront this week – sometimes I just love this city so much!
When the sun came out this week, I decided it was a sign that I should take the morning off and explore a new bakery and breakfast place on N. Albina I’d read about: Sweedeedees. It was worth the hype – cute, funky, great food, and amazing pies!
It was a short walk from Sweedeedees to Peninsula Park, home of Portland’s original rose garden – and, in my opinion, still able to give Washington Park Rose Garden a run for its money! Look how beautiful it is with all of the roses newly in bloom:
I know that most people think I’m crazy, but I LOVE the rain! Must be because I grew up here in Oregon 🙂
It was such a hot, dry summer here, and then a beautiful – but again, dry and unseasonably warm – fall, that I am so grateful to finally see it raining again! Of course, it’s gone a little crazy, like it’s trying to make up for lost time, and we’ve got flood warnings and standing water and landslides – more extreme weather that’s just another sign of climate change, if you ask me.
Nonetheless, I love to curl up in the parlor when it’s dark and cloudy out, with rain beating on the roof and a fire in the fireplace, and knit to my heart’s content – somehow knitting is made all the cozier when it’s raining outside 🙂
A few days in Cannon Beach makes for a wonderful start to summer vacation . . .
It’s really hot this week here in Oregon, so I biked early yesterday, leaving the house at 6am. My ride followed the Willamette River for over an hour and a half, from Oregon City to Milwaukie to Sellwood, and finally into downtown Portland, where I arrived just in time for the start of the weekly Farmer’s Market. What a beautiful morning to ride, especially when my destination is someplace as breathtaking as the river walk in the early morning!
We spent a gorgeous day at Smith Rock, in the high desert of central Oregon, learning to rock climb. It was a lot of fun, and not as difficult as I had feared! All of the girls gave it a try, and I even managed to climb all the way to the top of the “beginner” route. What a spectacular day to spend outdoors 🙂
A couple of beautiful days (and evenings) at Cannon Beach on the Oregon Coast . . .Pin It
It’s so ironic that it’s already April, and only just now is the snowpack getting really good on Mt. Hood! We took advantage of a break in the spring rains for a late-season family day on the slopes.
The results of our traditional heading-up-the-mountain stop at Joe’s Donuts.
We can already tell on the drive up that it’s going to be a beautiful day to ski on Mt. Hood!
The crew crests the top of the hill on the Express Lift.
Ready to head down the mountain!
I’m loving the bluebird sky up on Cascade . . .
A photo journal of my run this morning along the Clackamas and Willamette Rivers:
Because we had such unseasonably warm and beautiful weather this year, we celebrated Easter by hiking in the Columbia River Gorge. I found a “secret” hiking location in this article which, because it’s on private property, is not well-known; as advertised, it was almost deserted, even on such a beautiful weekend, and we didn’t see a single other person during the entire hike (my kind of hike!) We were hiking in the foothills of Mt. Hood, above the town of Hood River, and the view from the top was unbelievable.
We saw many different kinds of wildflowers, already in full bloom (I wish I knew their names):
Amazingly, from the summit if you looked one direction, you could see Mt. Adams (look closely and you can even see another mountain in the background, maybe Mt. Rainier):
Then turn another direction, and you have this gorgeous view of Mt. Hood:
I love how all of the farmland is spread out at the foot of Mt. Hood – most of these acres are planted in pear, cherry, and apple orchards, in a month or so, the blooms will be gorgeous!
We’re walking down off of the bluffs here (if you look closely, you can see us – the tiny dots – near the top of the hill – this gives you some idea of the scale of the panorama!) This would be the perfect location to re-film the opening credits from Sound of Music:
After our hike, we stopped for a much-deserved ice cream cone at a funky little house on Oak Street in Hood River:
This afternoon was so beautiful, I took my knitting outside – here’s where I sat:
Here’s what I saw every time I looked up:
It doesn’t get much better than a sunny spring day in Oregon!
One of our ongoing family activities is “urban hikes” – a chance to get out and about, and introduce the girls to all of the different neighborhoods in Portland. There are so many cool places that even I’ve never seen, and I’ve lived here most of my life! Each different part of the city has a different feel, and it’s fun to talk about what it must be like to live there, how it’s different (and the same) from where we live, and to explore the shops, parks, and foodstuffs (we’re particularly always on the lookout for cupcake shops!)
Last weekend, we chose NE Alberta Street – known in Portland as a hip, kinda edgy, up-and-coming neighborhood with a lot of young people. We found Green Bean Books, an awesome independent bookstore tucked away in a tiny little house that specializes mainly in children’s books. We also found a crafting mecca, in the form of Collage, Modern Domestic, Bolt, and Close Knit – I’d died and gone to fabric and yarn heaven! We passed up Salt & Straw
(and the long line, even on a chilly day in March) to visit Random Order Coffeehouse and Bakery – an interesting combination of a (liquor) bar and a (pie) bar owned by someone we went to law school with (a much better career choice than becoming a lawyer, I’d say!) The pie was AMAZING – of course, we only sampled the chocolate cream (my entire family being chocoholics), but the many other varieties looked incredible, too.
We rounded out the day by getting my oldest daughter’s ears pierced (well really, just one ear – she got them pierced for her 12th birthday, and one had closed up, so we rectified that) and window shopping up and down Alberta between 12th and 26th. The weather cooperated – just barely – but it was too cold for a longer walk to one of the nearby parks. There were several restaurants along the way – all pretty much hole-in-the-wall establishments – that I’d love to come back and try another day.
Every year, we go to Seaside the third week in June for the COSA convention, and to enjoy some time on Oregon’s north coast.
My youngest daughter turned six last week, during our spring break trip to Mt. Bachelor for a family ski vacation. Because of her ongoing obsession with bunnies (live ones, stuffed ones, toy ones, bunny sketches and pictures and drawings, etc), we honored her newly gained skiing skills and her bunny alter-ego in her birthday cake design. As usual, my mom produced a masterpiece in a short period of time, and this time, the girls all got to lend a little assistance in the decorating, as well (although there was a lot more eating of frosting and a lot less decorating with frosting going on, from what I observed!)
The highlight of the gifts that Alia received was a dress sewn by her older sister – this was one of Bella’s first sewing projects, and she and my mom designed it on their own, picked the fabric and the detailing from my stash of leftovers, and Bella did all of the work, from cutting out the pieces, to ironing at each stage, piecing them together, and learning about sewing along a curve, sewing in a hem, and putting on a pocket.
Alia can wear it now with a little white shirt underneath, and then into spring and through the summer. I love that the girls are already beginning to appreciate the value of getting and giving homemade gifts (although that doesn’t mean that Alia wasn’t also excited about all of the Barbie junk she received . . . sigh).
Our family ski photo is taken at the base of Pine Marten lift – the girls are really becoming amazing skiers, all of them advanced in three days to blue-square intermediate skiing (and Emmersen even tackled a black-diamond advanced run). It’s heartwarming to see years (and I mean YEARS, we’ve been at it with Em since she was four years old) of taking the girls skiing start to pay off – makes all the whining and complaining seem worthwhile (and I’m not just talking about the girls . . . )Pin It
Crater Lake is truly one of the seven natural wonders of the world – the color of the water and the geography of the lake and surrounding area can’t be expressed in words or photos, it is just one of those sights that you have to see in person in order to really appreciate its majesty. Even in the heat of August, it was a cool and breezy 60 degrees mid-day, and positively chilly jacket weather in the morning. I got up at 6am to watch the sun rise – probably the most peaceful setting I’ve enjoyed in a long time.
The girls, however, were much more excited about the chipmunks who would eat potato chips from their hands – ah, nature!
We traveled to Crater Lake along the Umpqua River, which has an almost innumerable number of hikes, most short walks (albeit uphill) to waterfalls. We stayed the night at Steamboat Inn and the folks there packed a great picnic lunch for us to enjoy between hikes. Here are a few of the waterfalls we hiked to:
The waterfalls held only limited appeal for the girls – their favorite activity was climbing on the broken basalt walls below the Steamboat Inn on the shore of the South Umpqua River. The basalt breaks off to create natural stairs, so we were able to climb all around the banks of the river. The girls really wanted to rent a boat so that we could explore some of the “islands” in the middle of the river – I saw a raft pull-out beach a little upstream, that might be a good plan the next time we visit.
We had this area of the river all to ourselves, even during August travel season, and most of the hikes were largely deserted, as well. I like knowing that even in this day and age, it’s possible to find a little peace and quiet in the woods and along a river.