Fall has arrived in Portland. The leaves are beginning to change from their myriad greens to beautiful reds, yellows and orange. The days are getting shorter and the nights a little cooler. The rain is beginning to come back here and there. Perhaps most appreciated is the disappearance of the unusual amount of ninety degree days. Besides the natural beauty that blankets the area, the moderate weather is one of the things I looked forward to most when moving here. Mother nature sure does seem to have a sense of humor, I’ve found.
The second half of summer has been filled with much exploring: waterfalls, the coast, parks, hiking, camping, road tripping, concerts, mountains and more. I’ve been so busy exploring, that I’ve done a poor job of reporting back here to give you the stories behind the photos. If you’ve been following along on Facebook, you’ve seen the pictures but here are some of the stories behind my recent Pacific Northwest adventures.
Bridal Veil Falls
Indian Beach is one of my favorite spots to visit on the Northern Oregon coast — I go back often, it never gets old. It’s located within the Ecola State Park grounds, about 90 minutes west of Portland. On this particular visit I had the pleasure of observing lots of crabs hanging out in between the rocks that cover the southern end of the beach.
When I first moved to Portland from Madison, Wisconsin, I lived in Northeast Portland near 60th & Glisan. Mount Tabor Park is very close and Cole and I walked there once on a hot summer day but unfortunately we did not get to explore the park much at all that day. I finally went back this summer and enjoyed the views. To the west is a birds eye view of Portland and Mount Hood can be seen to the east. On this visit, all the views were taken in among the beautiful golden glow of the evenings slow setting, summer sun.
Fret Creek & Oval Lake
A secluded 5 mile trail in the Mount Hood National Forest, Fret Creek and Oval Lake were challenging but rewarding experiences. The trail started with a steep incline which eventually leveled out for a long while but toward the end, turned very steep for quite some time. The serenity of the forest trees made up for the effort though. After reaching the end of the trail and sitting by Oval Lake for some time, the weather had cooled dramatically and the wind picked up. On the way home to Portland, I enjoyed a delightful dinner at Timberline Lodge and finally was able to get a table by a window with a view that seemed to look out into forever.
Providence Bridge Pedal 2015
For twenty years, Providence Health and Services has hosted an annual Bridge Pedal fundraiser where, this year, 20,000 participants rode their bikes over the many bridges over the Willamette River that connect the east and west sides of Portland. Taking photos of the riders is not something that would ever have occurred to me to do on my own, since I normally stick to nature and landscapes, but I’m happy I accepted the invitation to try my hand on a new subject. Shooting from the St. John’s Bridge, I was delightfully surprised to see how so many of the riders came alive and hammed it up for the photographs. It was one of those rare moments that somewhat restored my hope in the good of human kind.
Seattle & Mt. Rainier
I had another work trip to my firm’s Seattle office and since this time I was healthy and cold virus-free, I took the opportunity to walk around the city a bit and explore, something I hadn’t done since I lived there in 2010. I finally made a visit to Pike’s Place Market. A band was performing which drew a decent crowd. I also explored a bit more around the Space Needle and discovered a lovely art museum and sculpture garden called Chihuly Garden and Glass where I could easily spend a years salary if I was so inclined. After two days in Seattle, I drove back to Portland but stopped for another visit at Mt. Rainier National Park. Along the way, I stopped at several points to take photos of the mountain, surrounding scenery and especially enjoyed my time at Reflection Lake. As you may be able to guess, the lake serves as a perfect mirror to capture the reflection of Mt. Rainier.
Labor Day Weekend Road Trip
My Labor Day weekend consisted of a 1,872 mile road trip through Washington, Oregon and California and yielded over 1,300 pictures. From Portland, I drove east through the Gorge and then north to Leavenworth, Washington, a Bavarian style town nestled in the foothills of the Cascade Mountain range, where I encountered a strangely aggressive man preaching “the word of God”. Next I enjoyed my first Dave Matthews Band concert at the Gorge Amphitheater. The view of the Gorge from high up on the hillside was definitely a spectacular backdrop to the stage and music that emanated from it.
The next day I stopped at Palouse Falls before driving through Starbuck on the way back to Oregon to see the Painted Hills. I camped at 5,000 feet elevation in the Ochoco National Forest where I may or may not have had a close encounter with Bigfoot.
The next morning I watched the sun rise at Smith Rock State Park before driving the McKenzie Pass Scenic Byway west, stopping at Dee Wright Observatory and enjoying the view of the Three Sisters (mountain) and a huge lava field. Continuing west, I stumbled upon the Smith Reservoir before hiking the Tamolitch section of the McKenzie river trail to the Blue Pool which held water bluer than what I had seen at Crater Lake several years before. Not quite ready to head home yet, I drove toward the coast and stopped to walk the beach and watch the sunset in Bandon, my favorite city on the southern Oregon coast.
|Giant Redwood Tree|
After an unsettling night at a shady hotel in Brookings, Oregon, I drove south on Highway 101, stopping for a bit in Crescent City, where I found a neat pier shrouded in fog. I continued south to visit the magnificent coastal Redwood trees and then, before turning north to head back home to Portland, I took the scenic Highway 299 east through the Shasta-Trinity National Forest to pay a visit to the mystical Mt. Shasta but not before stopping for a quick visit at Castle Crags State Park for a sneak peak of the mountain from a distance.
Camping at Spruce Run
Located about an hour west of Portland, not too far off Highway 26 on Lower Nehalem Road is the Henry Rierson Spruce Run campground in the Tillamook State Forest. Here, I camped at a beautiful, secluded site along the Nehalem River among friends and after exploring the rivers edge and campground a bit, enjoyed a lovely night of interesting conversation around the soft glow of a warm camp fire with the comforting sounds of the Nehalem River rushing by in the background.
Although Cannon Beach is the birth place of my love affair with the Oregon coast in 2011, it is not my most favorite of places to visit as a now resident of this great state of Oregon. It tends to be overcrowded with visitors and parking is frequently hard to come by. There are a lot of great art galleries and shops to explore though and of course the magnificent 235 foot Haystack Rock provides for a spectacular backdrop. On this particular trip, I began to see the more charming qualities of this little town and enjoyed eating some of Mo’s famous food at a picnic table alongside the beach. The seagulls made for great entertainment, one of which sadly had a fishing hook stuck in his beak, but seeing as he was bigger than most of the other seagulls, he seemed to be getting by quite well.
As the winter approaches, my nature-adventures may slow down a bit but I’m looking forward to using the time to work on processing and perfecting some of my shots from this summer and sharing them with area publications and social media outlets that may be of interest. This also means there will be more prints available for purchase on my website, if you’re so inclined, so check back there frequently.
To view more of my photography from my nature-adventures, visit: