All posts by Justin

Finally Made it to the Beach

As we all know this year has wrecked many vacation plans, not just mine and Jenny’s. Some friends of ours wanted to celebrate a birthday with a trip to the beach and renting a house. Unfortunately the weekend they where looking at didn’t work out but both Jenny and I got excited for the prospect of a vacation to the beach. We couldn’t find any place along the cost and eventually we just gave up looking.

Couldn’t see the sun but we knew it was setting.

Jenny just couldn’t let it go and made it happen. She found the Gilbert Inn located in Seaside, OR that would rent us a room for a single night on Friday. We left town right at 5:30pm in hopes to beat at least some of the traffic headed to the coast. It was going to take some time to arrive in Seaside but we wanted to catch the sunset along the coast which was around 7:30 that night. Thankfully before we knew it we where checked into the hotel and headed to the beach to catch the last rays of the sunset.

The weather could have been better but it wasn’t that bad. Clouds covered most of the horizon but we could see a small piece of sky as that was orange as the sun set. The cloud cover just made everything dark with the exception of that one spot that was clear. Honestly it was pretty tripy. Jenny wanted to go down to the water so we walked along the surf before heading to find dinner. She ran right down to the water edge. Me, not so much. I preferred to enjoy for a distance but it was fun to see her be 6 year old again. All excited and giddy seeing the ocean. It was pretty low tide and waves can come in blindsiding you if you are not careful. Plus the water is to cold and I was not looking to getting even a little wet.

I loved the trail the cloud made from the wind off the rocks.

Dinner was a little tricky. The difficulty was finding a place that was open for being so “late” in the evening. With the pandemic raging most places closed early and certainly had much less seating. We put our name on the list and killed some time till a table freed up just walking up and down the boardwalk. Food here was good and I would like to go back for another dish. Nothing terrible fancy but it was good and flavorful. I got the crab mac and cheese, I forget what Jenny got but it was excellent as well.

Not much action happening that night so after dinner we headed back to the room. Honestly I was totally fine with that. Just getting out of the house for a quick trip to the beach like this was more important than filling our evening and following day with activities. We watch an episode of Chef’s Table before we both passed out for the evening.

Next morning it was great waking up not at my apartment and with Jenny laying next to me. We cleaned up and got our breakfast from the inn before hitting the town. With it being daylight more places where open and we just wanted to walk around and explore. We found a really cool book shop called Beach Books. I got some stationary and Jenny went nuts getting some books. Also found a nice cafe called Dough Dough Bakery with some cool pastries. I spied this biscuit with jam kinda thing and it was great later in the day when I enjoyed it. There are several antique stores as well which was fun to rummage through. No jewels in the rough on this trip but its fun to look.

It was really windy this morning.

Before we headed back to Portland we had one last mission, ice cream. I would agree that no trip to the beach is complete without some ice cream. Oh the number of times we would stop at Hopkins Farm Creamery on our way back from Rehoboth Beach. Countless scoops of some really amazing and fresh local ice cream. We stopped at Sea Star Gelato for a sweet treat and headed towards the beach. It was windy as crap but we manged to find a bench to sit on for a while and enjoy the lovely morning.

It was to short a trip to the beach but a much needed break and escape from the city. The weather was pretty good and played well the entire time. We got to see the sun set, ate some good food, slept well and enjoyed a beautiful morning at the beach. The trip back to Portland flew by with fresh memories from Seaside.

New Day, New Year; 2021 Edition

I’m happy to see 2020 is finally over. Honestly not much will change in 2021, at least for the foreseeable future, but its a new year. New year means getting out into nature with Jenny!

Some artwork we found while walking in the park. Not sure who made it or the title.

With everything going on and the weather not playing in our favor this year we kept it simple. No trip out to a remote forest or up into the hills after some fresh snow. We went to Washington Park which is super close for both of us.

Early in the morning and on a holiday the park was pretty quite. I could see zoo staff driving around and doing their jobs. The animals in their care don’t care its a holiday. They still need to be tended to. We had our choice of lots so picked one further north and just started wondering around the many park trails.

I knew we couldn’t get lost but I should have taken the picture of the trail map BEFORE we started and not after the fact. It was only a mild drizzle and once we got into tree cover a lot of the rain disappeared as well. It turned into a great hike around the forest. There was an early morning chill in the air that caused a nice layer of fog to appear in the tree tops which contrasted nicely with the rather clear forest floor. The weird winter weather of Portland was simply doing its thing again.


We didn’t run into many people and those we did were mostly runners enjoying the early morning start to the day and the year. Once we wondered back to the car we opened a bottle of champagne I had to celebrate. I realize now we never actually toasted anything that I can remember. As soon as I unscrewed the metal wire securing the cork the pressure immediately shot that cork off. The bottle then proceeded to vomit a good portion of perfectly fine champagne for its homies.

What a great way to start the new year after a shit year we had in 2020. I know just flipping the year wont change much but mentally its a fresh start which is good. I hope Jenny and I can continue to celebrate life’s little joys throughout this year with friends and family.

Dalton Point Recreation Site October 2020

I just needed to get out of the house. I wanted to do some writing in a new location outside and after thinking about it, and delaying for a while, I headed to Dalton Point Recreation Site along 84W. It was just the right distance from home to get a nice drive in but it wouldn’t take all day to get there or back. It was also late in the afternoon so I decided to pick this place to watch the sunset since it was along the river.

I wanted to take back roads for part of the trip but the directions took me straight down the highway. Coming from the west you actually have to drive past the entrance and turn around. There is no way to get here directly coming from the west. Even with the double back I still made it there in very quick time.

It’s a boat launch so I parked in the lot for the trailers. From here I found a trail and just followed where it went. Eventually it opens up to the water front. It was low tied so the shoreline was exposed. I was able to find a spot and catch the sun as it set that evening. It was cloudy but I knew it was there.

This is an easy spot to see the sunset. Depending on the year it will set right over the river so you can see it pretty far down from such a low angle. On my way off the beach I found a spot for a camp fire if you got some wood. The fall weather along the water was a little chillie that evening so a fire would have been nice. If you get out here its worth the short drive.

Tualatin Hills Nature Park September 2020

Old Wagon Trail is partially raised and well maintained.

Today was a typical lazy Sunday. I only had two errands on my list which took me out west towards Beaverton. Since I was going that far I stopped by the Tualatin Hills Nature Park to get a quick walk around the forest. Never been to this park before and its honestly not that far from my house, about 30 minutes if you take the scenic route.

This is a 222-acher park right in the middle of suburban Portland. As you walk around the trails you are never that far from civilization. The park is right next to the Merlo Rd station on the Max blue line. Makes it super convenient to get to from public transit. When things settle down this is a park I will certainly visit via Max. A good afternoon out.

Its a small park but easy access makes it a great place to visit. You can certainty walk the entire park in an afternoon if you wanted to. Most of the trails are well maintained and by that I mean they are either paved or wooden planks. Saw lots of older people and family’s with young children out enjoying a beautiful day.

Spent a good couple of hours here writing and drawing. There are some benches along the trail which are nice. No open fields to have a picnic in but there at other parks for that. A nice afternoon at the park that you can get to from Max. When I’m out on that side of town it’s a good place to visit.

Road Side Adventure

Quarantine was starting to really set in and get to me. It has been weeks since the city shutdown almost completely. I was still walking around my neighborhood but it was so depressing to see everything closed and no people in the streets. When this started it was mostly cold, rainy, and crappy but the weather was finally starting to change. All the parks were still closed but I just had to get out of my apartment and as close to nature as I could get.

I drove out towards Mt. Hood and followed the Clackamas River. Looking at the area from a map it was far enough out of the city that I felt like I had escaped and there was nothing but green trees around. I didn’t have a spot in mind when I got out there and just decided to feel things out. Finding whatever pull out that looked good to setup camp.

First day I found a nice spot close to the river. There was a small path that lead down to the water. Looks like this spot is occasionally used by kayakers when they get out of the water. I saw a group go past me to the bend in the river and pull out there. Probably just easier I guess. I spent a lot of time down at the water just hanging out listening and observing. The weather was decent and it was so peaceful. The sound of the river rolling by. I really enjoyed that cigar. Eventually I got my camp chair and sat next to my car to do some writing and reading before I had to head back home.

It was so nice getting out on Saturday I went out again on Sunday to a different spot for more nature. View wasn’t as nice but that was just the spot I picked. I was just happy to be outside and enjoy some nice weather for a change. Get back to some what of a normal weekend. Sunday had a little more sun and the cigars where good as always.

Following week was Memorial Day. Didn’t have to work and the weather was pretty good. It was time for another trip out to the forest to relax. Went back to the same spot the first weekend which has a little trail down to the river. I again found a rock to sit on and enjoy a cigar while nature just did its things around me.

Just being out side and in nature was so nice. Cooped up I was going crazy. Three trips in ten days was a lot of fun and necessary. Take a step back, relax, and enjoy nature. It is the simple things in life that I miss the most and took for granted now that we have a world wide pandemic going on. I know it will eventually end but I am so ready to get back to a normal life again. When taking a trip to the forest to experience nature was not hazardous to my health. I will continue to make trips like this and just try to appreciate what I can during this time.

Mother nature is so cool. She can also kill you without batting an eye.

Mt. Hood National Forest May 16th

Mt. Hood National Forest May 17th

Mt. Hood National Forest May 25th