An adventure to the Ocean – Taking Daniel to the Pacific

An adventure to the Ocean – Taking Daniel to the Pacific

Wednesday, 06-Sept-2017


As mentioned in the previous post, Daniel came out to visit for a week!  We’d made plans to do some awesome basalt climbing near the house, and then do some hiking up on Mt. Hood.  Unfortunately… there were fires.  Massive wildfires, that dropped Portland air quality into the “unhealthy” category.  And worse, literally burnt huge swaths of the Columbia River Gorge.

So climbing in the gorge was out.  Mt. Hood was in the smoke zone too, so that was out.


What wasn’t in the smoke was west of us; the beach and the Tillamook State Forest.  We’d already tried hiking one of the mountains in the forest, which didn’t quite work, so the next logical step was the beach!

Unfortunately, the air quality by the water wasn’t super good either… it was clear enough that Daniel, Ollie and I could breath pretty well… but Sarah was still pretty well hampered by it.  To keep her asthma as down as possible, she ended up hanging out and doing some drawing and writing at a coffee shop in town while Daniel and I took Ollie for a run up and down Cannon Beach.

It wasn’t quite the same without Sarah… but Ollie still enjoyed herself, and Daniel and I got an amazing chance to catch up, which was really amazing and much needed; though I don’t know if either of us realized that at the time.

We just walked.  Ollie frolicked and chased seagulls, maintaining a 300 yard seagull-free zone around us as we explored up and down the beach.  It was excellent.  Daniel got to take photos, I got to relax, Sarah got some alone time, and Ollie was able to get the zoomies out.

Or at east get some of them out… right?  Right?

She’ll be tired tomorrow, right?

(Ed Note: Ollie was not, in fact, tired the next day)

Hiking Elk Mountain… or attempting to, at least

Hiking Elk Mountain… or attempting to, at least

Tuesday, 05-Sept-2017


Daniel came to visit!

We’d come up with a whole adventure plan for his time here in Portland – we’d warm up on Gorge climbing at Rooster, then climb the Beacon, then hike, then explore the city.  Great plans, right?  WRONG.  FIRE.

As in, there were fires.  Some kids, hiking at the Eagle Creek trail, decided that what that area needed were some explosions.  So they threw fireworks into the brush.  Which, funny story, caught fire.  Which then, totally unexpectedly, caused a monsterous conflagration burning over 48,000 acres.  Yup.  Because some [swear words here] people wanted to play with fireworks.




Since we couldn’t go climbing thanks to the fire, we spent the morning doing some research at a rather excellent breakfast spot that Sarah and I like taking Ollie to.  Advantages of Portland: there are a ton of dog-friendly spots nearby.  After perusing six or so guidebooks, we settled in on a solid hike – trekking up Elk Mountain, out toward the coast.  It wasn’t too long, wasn’t too high elevation, and more importantly it was out of the smoke from the fires.

So we thought, at least.

A few hours later, Daniel and I are sitting at our high point, staring off into the hazy distance, wondering how we’d gotten so winded by such a short hike.  Ollie wasn’t fairing much better… the poor puppy had burnt through her own water, and I’d started giving her mine.

We weren’t at the top yet, and actually still had something along the lines of 800ft still to go, but the time had come and we made the call to head back to the car.  Still a beautiful hike, no doubt, but it probably would have been a bit more beautiful with… you know… breathable air.

A sunrise over the roses

A sunrise over the roses

A Crater Lake adventure!

Sarah had planned a glorious adventure: We would drive down to Smith Rock to climb for a day, then spend a day at Diamond Lake exploring, and then hit the jewel of the trip – a sunrise exploration of the Crater Lake rim.  From the rim, we’d stay nearby, explore Crater Lake, relax, take a boat ride, and have a great time.  We’d packed the car, made trip itineraries, and Ollie was safely at camp for the week.  All we needed to do was drive… 

But then weather interfered.  Specifically, fire interfered and encroaching wildfires causes us to cancel our plans and head back to the safety of Portland.  That wouldn’t keep us from our adventures though!


Thursday, 31-August-2017


Last night we’d watched the sun set over Portland, while eating enchiladas cooked over the camp stove.

Clearly the only way to follow that up was with a sunrise adventure to the Portland Rose Garden!


We woke up crazy early… not something that Sarah and I willingly do very often.  But today was a special day, and nothing would keep us from doing our best to stick with the original plan that Sarah had put together.  So we woke up early, filled a pair of thermos with coffee and cocoa, and drove out to Washington Park.

Our target was watching the sunrise over the International Rose Test Garden – we’ve been many times, but we figured that it would be gloriously illuminated by the dawn, and would almost make up for missing the dawn over Crater Lake.

Well… we enjoyed ourselves!

We didn’t quite enjoy the sunrise – unfortunately the morning broke cloudy, and so instead of a beautiful sunrise, we got more of a slow illumination from darkness to cloudy soup.  Not the prettiest, but still very fun to walk around completely on our own.

What we did get was each others company.  Which was easily worth all the effort.

See, Sarah and I are goal-oriented people.  We always want to be going, doing, building, or working toward something.  Today, we knew that there wasn’t going to be a glorious sunrise – we could see the clouds, and could tell that the day was going to break slowly.  We didn’t have anywhere to be, anything to do, or really any projects to be stressing about.  The week was a vacation, and we had promised ourselves that we wouldn’t run around unnecessarily.

We sat.  We sipped cocoa and coffee.  We talked!  We talked about simple things, about first-date things.  She told me about her grandparents house, and I told her about my middle school projects.  We talked and laughed and couldn’t believe how, when our families were from completely different parts of the country, they still had the same basic rooms.  About how, even though we went to vastly different middle schools, we both had a crazy project that really just proved how much free time our parents had (A tree leaf collection for me, and an insect collection for Sarah)

After dawn had fully risen, and we’d explored the garden to our hearts content, we saddled up and headed to the Oregon Zoo.

Actually, I think we went to breakfast first… drove home, biked to a little French pastry shop, and then drove back to the zoo?  That sounds right, I think…

Anyways, we went to the zoo.

It was fun!  We’ve been once before, and this wasn’t honestly much different… but it was fun, and we enjoyed our chance to just frolic and relax together.  We didn’t see the penguins this time, but we did get to watch an elephant show, which was pretty spectacular. We looked, we giggled, we split a hamburger, and then we went home.

It was a good day.