Sunday, April 19, 2009

Miles To Go

Consider it preparation and conditioning for our two week trip to the Grand Canyon and Yosemite. Unless there's a something like a Rock Band party, we've been hitting the great outdoors. It's only taken us 9 years but we've very slowly jumped onto the outdoor bandwagon that is so prevalent in the Pacific Northwest.

However, after the pain of our first hike, we decided to go for something a bit more low key. Luckily, there's a lot of beginner hiking possibilities in town. So, we loaded up the backpack and headed to Balch Creek. Half of this trail isn't so much of a hike as it is a scenic stroll ... which is probably why people looked askance at the 60 lb bag attached to the back of my boy. Hey - we're conditioning him.

Hard to believe this is 6 minutes from downtown Portland.

I like this trail very much - it's lovely, easy and despite the amazing weather, fairly uncrowded. It also has its fair share of the unexpected. Like the remnants of this stone building. Romantic, eerie and beautiful - gorgeous place to take wedding photos if you didn't know its history. Or if you like taking photos in broken down crappers. Yes, this was a restroom.

Want more? What about a tree with a nutsack? I took a lot of photos of this tree from many, many angles, laughing the whole time. "Do you SEE it?", I yelled when we first came upon it. I wish I had a tree like this in my backyard. Green thumb meet green penis.

A fairly short hike (about 4 miles total), we did learn a few things. Never, never eat at Cheesecake Factory BEFORE going on a hike. I blame the boy for that - he should have known better.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Where's The Elevator?

The sun decided to shine for a bit today so to celebrate, we went on a short hike up Multnomah Falls.

Here's the thing... if you haven't been out hiking in a while, picking a trail that's "a moderate, 2.2-mile hike with 700 feet of elevation gain to the top" is probably not the best way to dust off your hiking boots. There's an even more difficult version of this hike to Wahkeena Falls that's over 5 miles with a 1,600 foot elevation. Next time, something on more level ground.

But it sure is pretty.

Apparently, half the city of Portland had the same idea. Which made for some interesting people/shoe-watching. People don the most inappropriate footwear to climb a fairly bumpy, slick and mossy trail. Flipflops, penny loafers and ballet slippers. Seriously? Really?

And I was able to test out shutter speeds on water. Not bad despite the lack of a tripod.

Friday, April 03, 2009

A Library Card

Is a thing of beauty, really. Not counting school cards and University IDs, I haven't had a real library card since I was 14 or so. I remember during summer vacations, I would bike down to the local library in Edmonton and spend hours reading. I loved that library. Loved it.

But as I grew older, libraries became places I was forced to go for research materials or a quiet place to study. As for books, a quick trip to Borders or even faster trip to Amazon took care of my recreational reading requirements. Slowly, the boy and I acquired a small library of our own with shelves and shelves of books. Until the great purge of 2008. Too many books, too many shelves, too much clutter.

So we drifted through the last year or so without buying new books. Until I couldn't stand it anymore and walked into the local library and came out with...

Ahhhh. The blessed, blessed joy of reading. How I have missed it. We went a little overboard and brought home over a dozen books, including some I haven't read since I was 14.

And you know what's better than a good book? Reading it next to a sleeping kitty.