Tag Archives: Oregon

Back to Deschutes River

Last year I did this same hike at almost the same time of year in the Deschutes River State Recreation Area. It was a good hike then and it was a good hike now. This time around the weather presented its own set of challenges I didn’t have to face the first time. If you are prepared it’s not a problem but the swings in weather can be huge out in the gorge during the winter months. This day Mother Nature was not happy and she let everyone know it.

We got an early start and left my apartment with coffee in one hand and boots in the other. I was tracking the weather closely the last few days before the hike. It is still winter around here so when it rains in the valley its snowing in the mountains. My poor little car just can’t handle serious winter weather we have here. I was constantly checking to see when it would rain and if that rain could possible turn to snow.

On the way to the park we really lucked out. The weather was pretty nice as far as the entire day was concerned. Nothing really going on weather wise. You could see off in the distance portions of the storms that rolled through earlier in the day but it was pretty calm at the moment. As we headed further into the gorge the wind started picking up but for the most part the rain was abated.

We got to the park and the sun was actually out for a hot minute. We got our shit together and started walking along the river. The park has several trails you can take. One is a fire/service road that is higher up in the valley and the other is right along the water. We walked along the water for a while before the path slowly starts to raise in elevation. Eventually it meets with the service road to continue the journey. At this junction you can choose to head back, continue down the service road or hike up the hills to a spring.

The storm was rolling through behind us.

The walk along the river was peaceful despite the poor weather. With the recent rain we noticed the river moving rather swiftly. No major rapids I would say but I still wouldn’t want to be out on the river since I have no idea what I’m doing. We also noticed that nature was really coming back from the fire several years ago. Even from a year ago there was much more vegetation growing. You can still a little fire damage but it is quickly fading away like nothing happened.

Once we got to the junction we had to decide what to do. The last few hundred meters it started to rain. Enough that we put some covers on our packs. Across the river and up the other side of the valley we could see large, dark, ominous clouds rolling over the hill tops. We wanted to hike to the spring but if the weather continue to change we would be caught out. With the weather turning we decided to hedge our bets and head back. It might have been a short hike but mission accomplished even if we didn’t get to the spring on top of the hill.

The walk back was an interesting one. We ran into a fisherman who was crazy like us coming out. He commented on us being out and was shocked to run into others. He didn’t want to watch football and I couldn’t agree more. The weather in front of us was for the most part clear. We even managed to see a rainbow. Behind us things continued to be cloudy but it never really got heavy like we thought it would.

Ahead we could see a beautiful rainbow.

We hung out along the river before starting the drive back to Portland. Here we ate some lunch and enjoyed what we could of the weather. It was getting windy, cloudy and colder the long we stayed. The drive back was a rather scary one. For most of it Jenny was asleep which was good. It was a downpour with very treacherous driving condition. Standing water all over the place, low visibility and a few assholes not heading the warnings. The mental concentration I needed was draining by the time we got back.

Even with the rain it was a great day of hiking and getting out in nature. We both agreed to try and get out hiking more often this year. We did well on the first day of the year and with this hike. Lets see if we can keep it up for the rest of the year. Deschutes River State Recreational Area is a great place to hike, camp, and fish right at the mouth of the Columbia River.

New Day New Year

Well I made it another year and it’s a new decade on top of that. Let’s see how this one goes compared to the last. So far it’s off to a good start as Jenny wanted to do a little hiking on the first day of the year. She originally wanted to hike snow in the mountains but it ended up being to warm and not much snow so we scrapped the idea. It turned out to be a really nice day for winter here in Portland and we took full advantage of it.

We decided on some trails around the Portland Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary nestled inside Forest Park. Oddly enough the sun was out and it was blue skies while we hiked in the forest. It was the most amazing thing. The temperatures were really comfortable too. I couldn’t believe the luck we had on the first day of the year. This reminds me of the time it was in the low 70’s in DC and I went for a picnic on The Mall in shorts it was so nice.

The forest itself was pretty amazing. This section of forest is completely covered in moss. Every tree has it growing on it. Any structure that is in the woods has it growing on it. With the sun actually being out it lite up the forest really nice with no leaves on the trees. We just wondered around the sanctuary’s many trails. We also went to the Witch’s Castle to check out this neat structure. Unfortunately no witch’s here and the building isn’t even that old. On the short walk to the building we passed a number of people out and about. It is true that when the weather is this nice, everyone gets out of the house and enjoys it while they can.

Once we finished the hike we headed to the Japanese Garden which is close to the sanctuary. This was my first time here and I gotta say the place is pretty impressive. When you first arrive you are greeted with a good view of the northern part of the city sky line. Jenny said that on a clear day you can see Mt. Adams from here.

One of several ponds in the gardens. This one happens to have a small natural water fall.

By the time we got to the gardens it was starting to cloud over and cool off. Being the first day of the year the gardens had a few things going on. On the good side they had complimentary tea in the tea house but on the down side they where closing early and all the offices where closed. We stopped for tea first thing but the place was smashed so we moved on.

I was impressed with the gardens. Even with the damp and cloudy condition it seemed to accent the gardens and make them seem more alive. Small ponds all over the place with fish swimming. Jenny said in summer there are many more fish in the ponds. In the back of the garden is the traditional tea house that host occasional tea ceremonies. On our way out we again stopped by the tea house and this time it was completely empty. We got a spot right in the corner overlooking the entrance to

I gotta say it was a great way to start the year off. We got out and did some hiking, had some zen moments at the gardens and surprisingly the weather played nice. I was shocked how warm it got and for a while at least, it was blue skies which is something you don’t see here often in winter. It’s good to take times like and just relax and enjoy.

The New Negroes Live Show at Doug Fir

Things often just work out. I try to see a concert on or as close to my birthday as possible. As soon as I could drive I saw my first concert I have fallen in love with live music. I try to see concerts as often as possible. This year I didn’t see anything in November but I did manage to see the podcast The New Negroes live on their swing through Portland at the Doug Fir. Jenny was excited because Naomi Ekperigin was the headline comic that night. Jenny recommend I watch her in an episode 2 Dope Queens and she was funny as hell.

We got tickets for the early show and when we arrived it wasn’t that full but as show time approached the place really filled in. It was going to be a great night of comedy I could feel it. Honestly I don’t remember the comics names besides Naomi but they were very funny. The first two people where locals and the spoke about their personal lives.

The first guy, the best part was the end of his set when he tells this story of his daughter. Basically there is an altercation and as he approaches he hears “Suck my dick.” Second to perform was interesting. He was a little younger then the first and most of his set was dedicated to his childhood. So many references to Pokemon and a few to Harry Potter. It was funny but most of the jokes skewed younger to be honest. Most people around me were laughing. It was a weird situation to be in. Last up was Naomi and she was funny as shit, my side was hurting.

Besides all the hilarity that night the other thing that was pretty amazing was seeing the birthday problem in real life. I have often spoken of this because when you think about it, 50% with just 23 people is pretty good odds. And that’s just math. Anyway, it was true that night and I was pretty excited to share the night with someone famous. Such a good night of comedy.

Charlie Hunter and Lucy at Woodward Mississippi Studios Thursday, December 5th 2019

Set one. Great performance again.

I gotta say I could not have asked for a better concert experience than what I had last Thursday. That nigh Charlie Hunter and Lucy Woodward with Doug Belote on drums played two incredible sets at Mississippi Studios which blew my mind. The show was killer, the food great and we had such a great time together.

Jenny came over right after work and we left for the Mississippi section of Portland. We ate at Interurban which I had never been to but Jenny had. Really great menu. I got some carrot fritters and a trout BLT. Both I thought were interesting and creative creations. The carrots reminded me of thanksgiving because of the puréed sweet carrot mixture and honey drizzle. The trout was just short of being candied or better yet jerky which for me was a new spin on the classic BLT.

The place itself really had some ambiance which sets it up. The first thing I noticed when we walked in was how dark it was inside. I know it’s winter and it’s dark at 5pm but this was crazy. It’s very small already and being so dark its easy to trip over things. Maybe a dozen tables on the main floor and half as many on the second floor which I also thing has the kitchen. Outside patio is available but no space heaters that I saw so it depends on how cold you like it if you sit outside. Seat yourself and staff will just come by. Local beer and mixed drinks which was nice.

We finished dinner pretty early so headed to the venue. It was only two blocks down from Interurban and once we got in we grabbed a round and headed outside. Conveniently they had a gas fire pit and allowed smoking around it. If we wanted a better seat we should have gone straight in but we would have missed running into Charlie at the front door!

After spending some time around the fire we decide to head in and grab our seats. As we are about to walk into the music hall side of things I catch Charlie Hunter walking in the front door. I quickly shock his hand and started chatting him up. I was way more composed this time than when I met him at the Jammin Java. I introduced him to Jenny and we chatted for several minutes. They just got back from a European swing of the tour. Lucy was flying in from Amsterdam and Charlie came from Charlotte, NC to California before driving the van north to the Portland show which I believe was the first back in the states. Charlie was obviously tired but you could tell there was this energy about him. This encounter I was much more composed and relaxed and I think everyone could feel it.

We didn’t find a close seat but that didn’t matter. The place is so small all seats have good views of the stage. We got a couple seats dead center and no one sat in front of Jenny so she too had a good view as well.

Having just seen them I thought this was a better show overall than Vienna. The playing was more fluid and the song selection unique. They played three Nina Simone and Jenny about lost her shit she was so excited. They also played some newer songs they are testing for the forthcoming album. It will be recorded early 2020 so I’m excited for that. I hope they release the album soon and do another tour to support it. I think they would be a fun band to see in Europe if given the chance.

On occasion I would look over at Jenny and I would smile she was so into it. It was so much fun hanging out with her that evening and seeing Charlie Hunter. I felt like i really could just be myself and do my thing and Jenny was right there ready to enjoy and have a genuine blast doing it. It was very comforting. Just a great night over all and I can’t wait to do it again.

Charlie Hunter and Lucy Woodward w/ Doug Belote on drums
Thursday, November 5th 2019
Mississippi Studios – Portland, OR

Start time 8:02pm

  1. .
  2. .
  3. .
  4. …etc
    8:45pm set over

Set two starts at 9:16pm

  1. .
  2. .
  3. .
  4. …etc
    Show over at 10:04pm

10:05pm encore starts

  1. .
    10:13pm house lights
A special guest trumpeter for the close out of set 2 and the encore.

Summit of Neahkahnie Mt. October 2019

Spending a week back in Virginia for work I was excited to get home. There is just something about being back in Virginia that is soul sucking. Midway through the trip I got an email from Jenny. She wanted to go for a hike along the coast and wanted me to come along. I was already starting to miss home so I jumped at the chance to go for a hike with her when I got back. She found a few spots and a tourist information site for Cannon Beach so we were ready as we could be for the adventure in front of us.

We got a super early start on Sunday, meeting at my house at 7am. The night before I saw the New Mastersounds at the Wonder Ballroom so I was pretty tired. The drive out to the beach was only 1.5 hours and it was actually a pretty good one. The fog was super dense around town and as we headed up into the mountains. Half the trip we couldn’t see 100 yards in front of us which was cool.

Jenny picked the trail heading to the summit of Neahkahnie Mt in Oswald West State Park. I think round trip it was about 6 miles. I was more concerned about the elevation change then the distance. Looking at the trail map the lower section of the trail was all switch backs. They only use those when the grade is steep. Ugh. In the end it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought. I had no problem keeping up with Jenny that morning as we hiked up the mountain.

Along the coast the fog was already gone but that didn’t mean the trail wasn’t beautiful. Going up we didn’t run into anyone. On occasion we would stop to look at nature and I always noticed how quiet it was. Lower elevations you could hear the cars from the highway but this quickly faded away till we eventually only heard the rustling of the trees.

The view from the summit once we made it was amazing. From the top we had a perfect look down the coast line as far as the eye could see. We could also see a little into the ocean from the vantage point and of course a good view of Neahkahnie. We were shocked at the number of people at the summit but after spending some time I understand why. We just hung out eating the lunch we brought, enjoying the view.

I like the mural and you get a good view of the kitchen too. Wood everywhere and a huge ceiling.

The trip down was pretty easy compared to going up. We ran into way more people hiking up as we came down. Getting that early start was really paying off. The parking lot was full with people were having trouble finding spots by the time we got back to the car. We cleaned up a little and decided to head to Cannon Beach for lunch. We decided on Pelican Brewing for a well deserved beer and food.

I have been to their brewery in Pacific City and I was impressed. The food was creative and both the food and beer were good. This being the flag ship brewpub it was also well appointed. No parking to speak of but the architecture more than made up for it. Lots of exposed wood beams, open and airy is how I would describe the feeling. Huge vaulted ceiling, concrete floors and wood tables all over the place. Bar area is pretty big with lots of bar stool seating. You have a decent view of some large brewing equipment. You also get a nice view of the kitchen and all the activity that is going on there.

After some good food and a well deserved beer we headed down to the water for a walk. It was only early October but the weather was already pretty cold. It was mostly the wind that made it so cold. We didn’t even bother getting our feet wet as it will be way to cold. Lots of other people out that afternoon enjoying the beach which was nice.

A great time along the cost when I got back into town. Trips like this remind me all the time why I enjoy living out here in Portland so much. In less then two hours I an get to the beach and have a change of pace. The same distance the other direction I can be at 10,000′ in the mountains. The view from the summit was amazing, the beer was cold and the walk along the beach magical.