Tag Archives: Oregon

Trail of Ten Falls July 2018

North Falls

Some hikes I randomly stumble across can end up being really good. Another chunk of new hikes I learn about come from recommendations from others or me seeing it online for example. Silver Falls State Park I found from of all places as a Microsoft logon background one day at work. The picture was one of its many beautiful waterfalls with this huge cave cut out behind it. It was so green and looked really peaceful. I don’t remember which waterfall this was but there are several that it could have been. After seeing this picture and knowing it was so close I had to make it down.

I started at the western side of the park near South Falls Day Use area. The map was a little confusing but I ended up taking the Rim Trail all the way to the North Falls and then cut across the North Fork Silver Creek to the Canyon Trail. This I took all the way down the creek till I got to the South Falls which was the final stop before the parking lot. Not knowing any better, taking this route ended up being a good starting point and direction around the loop.

The Rim Trail follows a bike path and the road for most of the its journey north. You are up on the ridge with only a few break out views. Unfortunately you can’t see much of the valley below. At one spot you can hear the waterfall below but not actual see it. There are no waterfalls or much besides the forest on this part of the trail. After a couple of miles the first stop is North Falls which for me were the best waterfall in the park. It had the largest and deepest cave cut out of any of the waterfalls. It is not the tallest but still all around the most impressive of the bunch in my opinion.

The North Falls are the first good stop on the trail. Because of how things are so cut out in the cave there is a raised seating area along the back wall. This is where I took the opportunity to have lunch. Even though there were a dozen people in the cave all I could hear was the water splashing down below. The cave took that sound and amplified it, drowning out all the conversations. I really felt close to nature sitting there with all my senses going crazy.

From the North Falls you head into the valley and walk along the North Fork Silver Creek for several miles. It was already a nice day but on the Rim Trail it was easily 10 degrees hotter then along the water. This was a nice change of pace with the cooler temperatures. This is certainly a moderate hike. No serious climbs but it certainly goes up and down quite a lot. Its also a very busy trail so that adds to the effort getting around everyone. Nice thing is this trail is mostly covered. I would say 90-95% of the hike is in the shade which is awesome.

As I headed down the Canyon Trail this is where the meat of the waterfalls are, which makes sense. It really is just one after the other. Some are more impressive then others. For instance there are at least three of the waterfalls with huge cave cutouts behind the falls and trail behind them. First time I have walked behind a waterfall and it was pretty cool seeing it from that perspective. To me the North Falls was still the best one. It was the first one I saw and the best in the park.

South Falls

I started hiking at 10:30 and if anything I should have gotten there just a little earlier. The timing worked out really well for getting to Eugene and seeing String Cheese Incident. Not so good for having a quite trail or day use area. Along the Canyon Trail the closer I got to the South Falls Day Use area the more people I started running into going the opposite direction. Its not an easy hike and is over 7 miles so not a short one either. I just didn’t expect this many people out on the trail. But then again it was a really nice weekend and this is probably one of the busiest parks in the system. They actually had volunteers at major intersections helping hikers who were lost or didn’t have a map. I found it shocking all these inexperienced and unprepared people hiking this trail.

This is a great day hike trip activity. 1.5 hours from Portland, 3.5-4 hour loop hike and at the end you can picnic in the park. Then another 1.5 hours home before the sunsets with plenty of time to relax with a movie. This first time I did the Trail of Ten Falls to knock if off my list but looking at the map there are plenty of other trails to explorer at Silver Falls State Park.

 

They Filmed The Goonies Here You Know

So growing up I have known of this little town Astoria on the tip of Oregon for a while. My best friend spent a few years there growing up. His dad was in the Coast Guard and was station there. Plus being a fan of The Goonies I knew this was a primary location for film shooting. Wanting to visit the Goonies house was the reason to go but there was so much to do there.

I treated this day trip like I do any other trip I take. My primary focus is on on hiking, brewery, walking the city, and cool shops. To start I drove out to the coast on 26 and then up 101. I found the ship wreck of the Peter Iredale at Fort Stevens State Park that I wanted to explore. This park was also an old fort during WWII. It helped protect the Columbia River from the Japanese. It was also close to Astoria and had a lot to explore so a good spot to hike.

Lots to explore at this park. Honestly I was a little disappointed in the ship wreck. I don’t remember when it wrecked but it has been on the beach for a long time and it shows it’s age. From the parking lot its maybe 200 yards up the beach which was also a little disappointed. After exploring this rather underwhelming wreck I headed further up the peninsula and its parking lot. From here I just made my own trail and walked around the point and back. The inlet was pretty cool and from the beach you can see Astoria and the Washington coast. I certainly see why they put a couple of batteries here.

Still not satisfied with my hike I continued back down the coast to the battery facing the Pacific Ocean. This was a cool spot to explore. They have stripped out everything that wasn’t concrete which is interesting. I walked all over that battery, trying to imagine what all the rooms where for and what was in it. It was certainly a cramped location to be working in. I would argue a good place to have a picnic too.

It was already well into the afternoon and by now I was getting hungry. Time to find some beer and food. I decided on Fort George Brewery to check both boxes. This complex is huge covering two different floors. Each floor is actually a different restaurant with a different vibe to it as well. Really cool concept. Good beer selection and the food on the first floor was pub style but better. The second floor is pizza. It has lots of stand up tables and a huge bar. There is also a large outdoor patio area with corn hole which is cool. The building next to the pub is the actual brewery with tours given regularly.

After lunch I headed to find my friends old house. I really should have driven but I thought it would be better to walk. Nice neighborhood with lots of hills. By now t I have seen where my friend has lived in Astoria, OR and Clearwater, FL along with where we both grew up in Woodbridge, VA. Walking back I did a quick tour of downtown. Really only two streets and a few blocks long. Pretty cool shops with a good variety. Didn’t find anything but did lots of looking.

You know and I never made it to The Goonies house. After looking up directions for it I found the Trip Advisor page and the place has been closed down for a few years at this point. It is a private residencies so I get it. Would have been nice to see it however.

On the way home I took a different route and I am so glad I did. Route 202 was a beautiful winding, twisting road through the forest. It was freshly paved and there was no one in front or behind me. I was in the zone while driving that road back. The weather was perfect as the sun finally started to set. Man what a great drive. I am going to have to go back to Astoria just so I can drive that road again, it is that damn good.

This was a great day trip. For me I love that is is 2 hours away. I don’t like quick trips or ones that take all day to get there. I could easily get there, spend the afternoon doing what I wanted and still be back before the sun sets. I found a couple other breweries here so there is certainly a reason to come back to Astoria.

Mel Brown B-3 Organ Group The Jack London Revue June 7th 2018

What started it all.

Everyday I walk to work. I take the same path and often I see the same folks. Its a nice routine I have in the morning and a good way to clear my head before I start my day. While I consider it trash I do look forward to seeing what new posters have been plastered around the neighborhood. Only in a city can this kind of advertising be tolerated and actual work at the same time.

This particular morning a new one caught my eye. It was for the Mel Brown B-3 Organ Group. The way things looked and sounded The Jack London Revue was a classic jazz band playing at a club from the 60’s. With nothing better to do I decided to see a jazz show on a Thursday night. For not having much of a plan when I started things really worked out.

I was not to sure about the show so I keep things loose for the night. I walked to the venue and arrived just before 8pm. It was fleet week so I got to see the ships docked at sunset which was cool. Note, cash only cover charge which sucked. Another thing to understand is the venue really is in the basement of the building. You walk into a pool hall and in the back of the hall are stairs leading downstairs to the jazz club. I walked right past the entrance the first time because it is not clearly marked.

The Jack London Revue really does have that class small jazz club feel from the 60’s in New York City. Honestly the only thing that was missing was cigar smoke. The ceiling is low and unfinished yet painted black to dull the room. The lights are low which with the decor give the place a very relaxed and chill vibe. A low stage with the first few spots reserved for cocktail tables. The further back in the venue you got the more space there is for seating which I think is a good idea. Table service is offered and for the most part staff is respectful of the performance. By the second set things really started to break down however. Decent selection of beers and offer a full menu which is cool too.

Before the show even started I was already in love with the place. Not a large crowd which was great in my opinion. Things did fill out not long after the set started which was I am sure a good moral booster for the band. Not knowing how things would go I started with just a beer. If they sucked I didn’t want to get suckered into food too. Thankfully the band was pretty good so I stuck around for both sets. By the end of the night I had a couple beers and a sandwich which was ok, nothing special. I just loved the fact that I could get food, beer and listen to some good jazz in such an appropriate spot.

The music all night was great. The first set I thought was better then the second and mostly that was because of original songs. The first set seamed to have more of the band’s own material, most straight ahead jazz. The second set I believe had no original songs and way way more covers. Mostly of jazz classics but also pulling from a range of diverse genres. They also interacted more with the audience. Again with the classic jazz club vibe they asked where everyone was from and engaged those visiting from out of town. Come to find out this is their regular gig on Thursday nights at the Jack London Revue. Its good to know I have a dedicated place I can go to in the city for jazz.

As an added bonus for sticking around through both sets there was a free comedy show right after Mel Brown at 11pm. Since I was already there for the concert I stuck around for some comedy as well. All I will say about the comedy was you get what you pay for. After only three acts it was time for me to make my way home.

The venue is freaking amazing and the band was pretty good. Since this is a regular Thursday thing at The Jack London Revue I can see myself going back semi-regularly to catch a show and some free laughs.

 

Central Oregon for a Weekend Trip

Hot off the heals of my weekend trip to Olympia I headed to Bend in central Oregon for another weekend getaway. I had another free hotel room to burn through and thought Bend would be a good place to visit. I have heard so much about Bend it was about time I make a visit to the outdoor capital and beer mecca that is Bend.

On the way to town I hiked the West Metolius River Trail which is near Camp Sherman in the Deschutes National Forest. A simple out and back that follows the Metrolius River. It starts at Lower Canyon Creek Campground and ends at a fish hatchery. I went a little further then that and found a perfect spot to stop and hang out for a while. A little bend in the river with a fly fisher doing his thing. It really was a picturesque spot. The weather was perfect and I couldn’t ask for a better spot to relax and get some writing done.

The hike is pretty far back into the woods and is about half way to the city. I couldn’t hike much further down the trail if I wanted to arrive in Bend at a decent hour. This early in the season my body is pretty outta shape so I was looking forward to a good hike and then getting cleaned up rather earlier. I was so hungry after that hike the entire drive to Bend I thought about what I wanted and decided on a steak that night. Brickhouse Steak House was a good choice for dinner. A great steak with some good sides. The meal certainly hit the spot after the long hike. It was also the opening weekend for Deadpool 2 so I walked down to the movie theater and watch it. I saw it again and it was even better the second time. A great movie. Finding a late night snack after the move proved to be difficult without a car but thankfully I managed to find something to eat. I forget that once you are out of major metro areas it is difficult to find things open late.

When walking to the movie I found an awesome spot along the cliff side. It looks down on a pedestrian parkway, the river and a small beach across the water. The next morning I got some coffee and hung out at the cliff to smoke a cigar as the city came to life. Lots of people paddling up and down the river on a beautiful Sunday morning. Another great spot to just sit back and relax, taking it all in. Eventually hunger took over so I headed into town to get some food and beer.

One of the first 10 Barrel on the west side was where I decided to stop. I got there not long after they opened so the place was pretty empty for a Sunday morning. They had the Nationals playing on the TV which was really cool to see here on the west coast. I settled in for my standard two beers and some food. The food I was particularly impressed with. The beer was good don’t get me wrong but the food was pretty amazing for a brewery and especially for one as corporate as this. Everything was great here. Only think that could have made it better was a Nats win.

The drive home that afternoon was really peaceful. For the majority of the time I had this giant snow capped mountain to my left and it was a double lane road through the middle of the forest in Oregon. Back in Virginia this would be have been labeled a scenic byway. The beer culture is why I want to come back. Sad I only got to one brewery with so many good options to choose from. I could spend a solid weekend brewery hoping if given the chance. A great little city in the middle of Oregon. I know exactly why this place is booming.

 

Rebirth Brass Band Revolution Hall April 20th 2018

Rebirth Brass was one of many acts coming to town.

This show was kinda a list minute idea I had. As I was checking out what was coming to local venues I found that Soul’d Out was doing a multi venue music festival. One of those acts was the Rebirth Brass Band at the theater in my back yard, Revolution Hall. It was also a special night and a Friday on top of that so I just had to go.

After a regular day of work I got to enjoying the evening with a nice walk around the city. The weather was really starting to break and be enjoyable in the evening with the light being out later as well. I must have walked several miles around, lots of activity along the water and people out enjoying the beautiful weather.

I knew I would need fuel all night so I stopped at Danwei Canting for some street food. I loaded up on some spicy food. From here it was a short walk to the venue. When I walked in the lights were low and a few people milling on stage but nothing official. It seemed to me that some members were ready to start and others needed a few more minutes. The place was already pretty packed and the ticket taker suggested I try up stairs. I tried the floor and got a pretty good spot up front in the seated section near the sound board.

The show was really fun and a lot of energy.  They packed what was a small stage for the band with everyone and played their hearts out.  Not as much crowd involvement as the Antibalas but still lots of energy.  Seemed like a couple people in Portland have seen them perform live in NoLo at their regular gig which would be cool.

A really good night of booty shaking music. I guess my only real complaint is how long the show was.  I got there just before 10pm and didn’t see an opening act perform. I just thought they could have done two sets or at least kept playing. I mean I had time to stop at Voodoo Too for after show donuts and get home before it was even midnight. On a Friday no less. Despite that one hiccup everything else was great.

Rebirth Brass Band
Friday, April 20th 2018
Revolution Hall – Portland, OR

Set stars at 10:01pm
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House lights at 11:27

Encore starts at 11:28pm
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House lights at 11:31pm