Catching Up

Times are busy for Cole and me in the land of Portland!  Here’s some quick highlights of my adventures and happenings since my last post.  


I hosted my third visitor from Wisconsin in the beginning of April.  True to form, I created an action packed itinerary for the occasion to highlight what I think are some of the coolest features of Portland and the surrounding areas.  

Day One

  • Food Carts – What better first food in Portland experience than to hit the food carts?  We went to the giant pod near 10th and Alder.  I had a delicious kimchi quesadilla from the Korean cart and my friend had some steamed dumplings from another cart.  Both were generous in portion size and delicious.  
  • Powell’s – Any book lover must stop at Powell’s while in Portland.  It’s not too often that you get to go into a multi-level book store the size of a city block and then some.
  • NW 23rd – Some great shops and cafes to walk to and explore line this street, all condensed within a few blocks.  I found the largest collection of bitters I’ve ever seen at The Meadow and picked out a nice bottle for my old-fashions and enjoyed some coffee and cute animal-shaped chocolates at Moonstruck Chocolate Cafe. 
  • Portland City Grill – This restaurant is located on the 30th floor of a building downtown and has spectacular views of the city, Willamette River, Mount Hood and the Cascade Mountain range.  We enjoyed a glass of wine while sitting piano-side.
  • le Bistro Montage – This restaurant came highly recommended by a friend and after learning that they send your leftovers home in foil-art, I figured we had to give it a try. The communal tables were not my favorite part but the food more than made up for it.
  • Rontoms – After dinner, we enjoyed a couple of cocktails not too far away at Rontoms.  The open space, eclectic furniture, fireplace and music all made for a nice atmosphere to end the night.  
View of the Columbia River and Vista House from Chanticleer Point

Day Two

  • Gorge – After reheating our cat and mouse shaped foil containers of food for breakfast, our first stop in the gorge was at Latourell Falls where after we did the short hike to the waterfall, we headed to Chanticleer Point for a spectacular view of the Columbia River valley and Vista House.  This is where I learned a had lost my cell phone.  Luckily, a good Samaritan found it and I was able to retrieve it at the Multnomah Falls visitor desk where they were so kind to leave it for me.
  • Timberline Lodge – After my panic attack subsided from nearly losing my phone, we drove to the top of Mount Hood for lunch at Timberline Lodge.  As always, the food and rich wooden atmosphere was spectacular.
  • Badgers Game – After sufficiently stuffing ourselves with food, we drove back to Portland and met up with the Badgers Meetup/UW Alumni Association at the Station on Alberta Street to watch the Wisconsin Badgers beat the Kentucky Wildcats and advance to the final game which called for victory donuts at Tonalli’s and tacos at Sana Fe Taqueria.  
View of Cannon Beach from Ecola State Park

Day Three

  • Ecola State Park – After a quick BK breakfast and grabbing a drive through coffee on Hwy 26, we went to Indian Beach at Ecola State Park where we were greeted by some elk on the side of the road.  After walking the beach a bit, we went over to the viewpoint to take in the spectacular view of Cannon Beach and Haystack Rock.
  • Hug Point – After winding our way back through the beautiful coastal forest, we stopped at Hug Point where we explored the caves a bit and walked the beach.  
  • Manzanita – We stopped in Manzinta for lunch at Left Coast Siesta and then did some shopping at a few stores including picking up some salt water taffy and a treat for Cole.
  • Proposal Rock – We continued south and stopped to stretch our legs at Proposal Rock.  The tide was high so we couldn’t do too much exploring of he rock since it was surrounded by water but it was a beautiful view nonetheless.
  • Depoe Bay – We made it as far south as Depoe Bay before we decided it was time to head back to Portland due to the heavy rain. Once home, we ordered pizza for delivery and watched a move to unwind from the weekend.  My friend headed back to Wisconsin the next morning and I headed back to work.  


Through a Meetup group, I learned the Sierra Club in Portland was looking for volunteer help on a project. They were putting together a team to help revise and publish a new edition of the 50 Hikes in the Tillamook State Forest book.  They are also going to include  the Clatsop State Forest in the revised edition.  My involvement in the project will consist of hiking the trails, taking photos for the book and possibly doing some writing to update the trail descriptions.  


I was fortunate to be able to attend a presentation by William Sullivan at the Mazamas Center.  The topic was new hikes in Eastern Oregon and my-oh-my was it exciting to listen to him talk about his adventures and learning some of the history of the places he’s gone to.  I was pleasantly surprised to learn he had more books that I wasn’t aware of so my Amazon wish list has grown considerably since that night. The presentation came at a good time since I will be embarking upon another epic road trip adventure with a friend the first week in June. After seeing Bill’s presentation, we will be heading east!  Stay tuned…..


After running into two different people on two different days at the dog park who were fosters for the Pacific Pug Rescue, I decided the time had come for me and Cole to take that same step in our lives.  I completed an application and after my references and vet were called, a volunteer came over to do a home visit.  I’m happy to report that I have officially been approved to be a pug foster.  My first foster will come after attending their Fostering 101 class later this month.  So much puginess to look forward to!


View from Paradise, Mount Rainier National Park

I had another opportunity to travel to Seattle for work so on the way up, I made a stop at Mount Rainier.  This time, there was a lot more snow that my visit in fall.  I drove up to Paradise and then stopped at view points along the way as I descended the mountain.  It was National Parks Week and since the weather was beautiful and the entrance fee waived, there were a lot of other people to content with.  I’m happy to see so many people getting out and enjoying the National Park system but I think I prefer my park experiences with a little less humans.  


On opening day of ticket sales, I purchased one ticket for each of the three nights of the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour at Cinema 21.  After having attended the festival in Madison last year, I knew what to expect: beauty and inspiration!!  All of the films focus on outdoor sports adventures, mountains, conservation and other naturey-things that speak to my heart and soul. The films this year were all spectacular.  I decided that if my budget will allow, I would like to make the trek to Banff, Alberta, Canada this fall for the annual nine day film and book festival.  Stay tuned….

Mount Hood and Portland as seen from Pittock Mansion


I did my first hike at Forest Park the other week.  The park stretches for seven miles in Northwest Portland and just a few hundred feet in on the trail you have no idea you are still in the city.  It’s a wonderful place with many, many trails to choose from.  The other day I hiked one of the trails to Pittock Mansion which offers an amazing view of Portland from high up above the city.  


Another first, I attended a Timbers game.  Knowing nothing of soccer, but hearing good things about how fun the games are, I hoped my friend that I went with would be able to fill me in.  Unfortunately, it was his first game as well so we spent a lot of the game guessing at why some things were the way they were.  For instance, the group of guys in the corner of the field, off the game area, were doing synchronized movements together.  They sort of looked like a version of cheerleaders but I was informed later that they were probably just warming up.  The crowd was definitely a bit rowdier than I expected.  If the opposing team tripped up one of our players, the fans stood, yelled and booed in unison very loudly.  All during the game, songs were sung in unison as well.  I sense a theme here.


Surfer at Short Sand Beach

I attempted to hike my first trail in the Tillamook State Forest the other weekend. A beautiful drive, I was excited to hike the trail that ran for seven miles along the Nehalem River.  Sadly, once arriving at the parking area, my friend and I realized there was no trail head and that the gravel road was the trail.  The same exact road that cars drive down.  How can a road be considered a hiking trail?!? With our dogs in tow, we decided it wasn’t our cup of tea.  To make the most of the day and drive, we decided to go to the coast instead.  We ended up at Oswald West State Park and hiked down to Short Sand Beach.  Once there, we let the dogs off-leash to tear up the sand while we explored.  There were lots of surfers, other dogs and even a waterfall.  All in all, it was a good turn of events.  


This weekend some friends joined me in a trip to Lost Lake in the Mount Hood National Forest.  After a two hour drive, half of which was spent on beautiful, winding country roads, we arrived at the lake.  The trail had spectacular views of Mt. Hood. The cool mountain lake water was crystal clear and filled with lots of little newts, one of which swam right into my hand.  Along the trail there was lots of trillium flowers and skunk cabbage to take pictures of.  On the way home, we drove through the magnificent Lolo Pass with an even more beautiful view of Mt. Hood’s peak and the surrounding mountainside. 

View of Mount Hood and Lost Lake
Check out my photography website where you can see some of my favorite shots from my adventures!

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