Tag Archives: Oregon Zoo

A visit to the Portland Zoo!


Wednesday, 29-Dec-2021

For the second day that my friend Mike was in town, we’d originally planned on heading to the snow – Mt. Hood, specifically, aiming to do some hiking up on the flanks of the mountain.

But… plans change, sometimes – Like I mentioned in a previous post, we were in the middle of a pretty intense cold snap. While we had quite good snow-travel options (a chained-up Mustang and an all-wheel drive Mazda with top of the line snow tires), the actual traction part wasn’t really a concern. The real challenge with snow driving in Oregon is, unfortunately, other drivers.

See… Driving in the snow is easy. If you’ve grown up with it.

I think I’ve mentioned, but most of Oregon doesn’t really get snow, or any seasons aside from “rain” and “not-rain”. So very few people (it seems, at least) are used to driving in the snow.

That means that, when snow does show up in unexpected places, traffic gets bad. Like, “30-min commute turns into 6 hours” level of bad.

Mike and I… we weren’t really feeling a long traffic-filled drive. Not really feeling it at all.

So instead, we went to the Oregon Zoo!

Going to Zoos isn’t really something that I’ve regularly done historically… but in the past few years I’ve been re-introduced to the idea… and honestly, it makes for a really fun day out. The Oregon Zoo especially – I love how well their habitats are made, and how the pathway through the zoo just melds seamlessly between one environment into the next. It’s a really cool experience, and if you haven’t gone then I very much recommend it.

So we walked, chatted some more, and saw lots of animals. It was neat.

Afterward, we got home just in time for a really nice sunset walk, and… this is really starting to sound like a date, isn’t it?

You know what? What can I say – I hadn’t seen Mike in ages, and it’s been nearly as long since I’ve had a really good date to go all out on… so yeah. Then I cooked an awesome dinner.

It wasn’t a date, damnit!

Yeah, maybe it was a little bit of a bro-date. A lot a bit of a bro-date.

It was a really good day, wasn’t it?

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.