A couple weekends ago, Eric and I and the two dogs headed down to our beach place. It seemed like forever (really just a month) since we'd been, but our last trip the weather was awful. I so wanted a little summer sunshine this trip. Saturday...it was cloudy and cool, so we went hiking, enjoyed a nice dinner out and then a relaxing evening by the fire. On Sunday I woke up with hopes of sun, only to be greeted with thick fog....what a bummer. So we loaded up the car and figure we'd head home a little early since the weather was not cooperating. On the way out of town, I told Eric, I just couldn't come out to the beach for the weekend, and not spend any time actually ON the beach. He agreed, so we pulled over at Gleneden beach for a stroll.
We parked the car and walked down the short path to the sand. It was warmish, but still foggy, as we began walking along the long stretch of beach that extends to the Salishan Spit. The further we walked the fewer and fewer people we saw...until we had the entire beach to ourselves. And, lo and behold, the fog began to lift and the sun came out. I raised my face up to the warm sun and gave God a smile for giving us this little bit of glory he bestowed upon us. We walked for quite a while and saw several sea lions "body surfing" in the water (well it looked like they were body surfing, but they were probably fishing).
Eventually we got a bit tired so we found a log to lean against and laid down in the sunwarmed sand, holding hands, not speaking just watching the waves and enjoying the moment. No cell phones, no laptops, no traffic, no TV, no chores, no other people....it was a bit of heaven...and something I decided we should do much more often.
I love this billboard in Lincoln City. Every time I see it, it makes me smile...it's so kitschy in a 1960's sort of way! I figured out a way to climb up on it and convinced Eric to take my picture. (He wasn't too thrilled about me standing on his shoulders to get up there, but he's a good sport....even helped me down, he did.)
We were at our place at Otter Crest this weekend. Saturday was a beautiful, sunny day...and we made the most of it!
My friend Daniel Thorpe was in town from Spokane this past week. I met Daniel at a credit union marketing conference in Las Vegas several years ago. He's a brillant creative and owns an advertising agency called Boom, and has done some commercials for Columbia Credit Union (where I work) in the past. Daniel and I both love First Thursday....the art (good and bad), the people watching, the wine.
So, a group of us from work met Daniel downtown last Thursday to brave the rain and the Rose Festival crowds to check out First Thursday in the Pearl.
We started at the Elizabeth Leach Gallery. This gallery is always interesting because, well, oddly, I always hate the art. Or, perhaps a better way to say it is, I don't "get" the art they display there. I always visit this gallery thinking I'll eventually understand their art and because they always serve wine and snacks...but hmmmm....not this week on either one...I didn't get the art (odd pieces of wood screwed together) and no wine.
Next we crossed the street to Blackfish Gallery. This space I love. I don't always get the art here either, but I have an appreciation for the talent they show. It's always interesting, unique, and thought provoking. And again, they always serve wine and snacks....great art this time...but no wine or snacks.
Off to the PDX Gallery of Contemporary Art. This is another one I find fascinating. They often feature the work of students or up and coming artists. The gallery is divided into two spaces and I've found that one side usually has what I call "fun" art and the other side more serious stuff. They don't usually serve wine or snacks, and they didn't this week, but Daniel and I did manage to find a bowl of Hershey's minatures back behind one of the exhibits, so we munched down. Yummm.
Next we stumbled across the cutest cafe called Mr. Jolly's. It's tiny, but warm and inviting....the interior is like what an English Earl's library would look like if his young, hip teenage daughter were decorating it. They were doing free wine tastings (finally we found wine) with appetizer pairings...both were fabulous.
Our last stop for the night was the Museum of Contemporary Craft. I've never been to this museum and I loved it. Lots of fabulous work all of it very different, ranging from intricate beaded pieces to a large crocheted mural with the infamous Nike swoosh (I wondered if Nike would buy this piece and display it at corporate headquarters, or throw it on the cot in the employee break room.)
We all had a great time, but the evening was a little odd. The crowds were much, much lighter than usual; several galleries that I always visit were gone; and no one served wine....it kind of just wasn't as "festive" as it usually is. Perhaps it was the rain...perhaps it was the economy...perhaps the galleries got tired of people spilling wine on their priceless art...who knows? I'll go again next month. Maybe when the weather's better it might pick up some....but in the meantime, I'll continue to enjoy First Friday's in Vancouver. Always a crowd, always wine and snacks, and I have to say the galleries in Vancouver have some pretty decent art to show.
On Sunday, Eric, Piper and I headed out for another hike. Now, I've been on lots of hikes around the Pacific Northwest, but this one...this one is now my very most favorite hike. I'm sharing with all of you...but please, don't tell anyone else (especially those out-of-staters thinking about moving here). Let's keep this between you and I so the place isn't overrun with rowdy teenagers, tour buses, and gawking tourists wearing flip-flops and "I hiked Horsetail Falls" t-shirts.
The hike we took was just past Multnomah Falls, Oregon's most popular tourist attraction. Horsetail Falls is large and visible from the Old Gorge Highway. Many people stop, get out, look at the falls, take a picture and then move on. But if they knew...if they only knew what awaited them if they took the trail up the hill to Upper Horsetail Falls and then even further through the Oneonta Gorge.
Horsetail Falls is beautiful, no doubt about it. Large and misty and right by the highway. We started there. Admiring it's long drop and enjoying the cool mist created from the water hitting the rocks. After taking a few photos with some tourists, Eric put on the backpack and we headed up the trail to Ponytail Falls.
The hike to Ponytail Falls is pretty short, but a bit steep with switchbacks leading you up the hill. Along the way were so many wildflowers of all colors, pink, yellow, purple, and these little white ones that were so delicate and lacy looking. We looked, we smelled, but we didn't pick. En route to Ponytail Falls, you pass by some amazing views of the Columbia River. In one such section I ventured down a little off-shoot trail so I could get closer to the edge to see the view below. As I got closer to the edge of the cliff, I spotted a monument on the ground..a marker for a teenage boy who fell to his death here in 1988. What an impactful warning, probably much more effective than "Keep back from cliff" signs. I saw the monument and decided I'd gotten close enough and headed back to the main trail.
Back on the main trail we passed a section of cliff that had a million little droplets of water dripping down the side of the moss and fern covered side. We stood under it for a few minutes enjoying the drops tickling our faces and running down our necks. This, I suppose is another waterfall just in it's very early stages of beginning. Who knows, in 100,000 years, it could be as big as Multnomah Falls.
When we finally turned the corner to Ponytail Falls I was so excited...this was one of those waterfalls where the trail actually went behind the falls! The water comes pouring out of the cliff like a fire hose creating a nice arch that allows hikers to pass through the rock cavern behind the falls. The cliff face surrounding the falls is covered in brighter than bright green moss, lush ferns, and little wildflowers...what a beautiful sight. I so loved walking underneath the falls, I passed back and forth three times before I was finally ready to move on to the trail to our next waterfall, Upper Horsetail Falls.
Again, the trail climbed up and up through forests sprinkled with wildflowers, shamrocks, and lots and lots of centipedes (ewww!). We passed many interesting old growth trees, nurse trees, and rock formations. Then we came upon Upper Horsetail Falls. A narrow footbridge crosses the stream below the falls. The bridge is made with slats of wood that allows you to see through to the stream below...it took a little bit of coaxing to get the dogs to cross the bridge, but they did. When on the bridge you get a wonderful up close view of the falls, which are sort of heart shape, and they spill into a heart shaped pool before tumbling down the hill. I thought, this would be a great place for a wedding proposal, or just a very romantic kiss.
We crossed the bridge and paused on the other side to admire the falls from this new angle. I looked to my right at the wildflowers covering the side of the hill. They were so pretty...small, delicate petals with a soft blue color I'd never seen before. As we continued on the trail and passed the flowers all the petals blew up into the air and fluttered around us...it was then I realized they were little butterflies! I'd never seen anything like it. They fluttered all around us, before settling back on the side of the moist hill..perhaps they were getting a drink of water (do butterflies drink water?). It was like something out of a science fiction movie.
We kept hiking till we came to a fork in the road. To our right was a 1/2 mile trail leading back down to the highway. To the left was a 2 mile trail leading up to Oneonta Falls. By this point we were feeling a bit tired. We saw a man with a large camera and tripod coming down the trail on the left. We asked him how far the falls was and how difficult of a hike it was. He said, he thought the falls was only about a mile, but it was a steep hike. But, he said, "Let me show you what you'll be missing if you don't go.". Then he showed us some photos of a triple waterfall. That was it...we decided to keep climbing up the hill.
The next mile took us through more dense forest, and we climbed up and up, until we were at the top of the narrow Oneonta Gorge. Between the trees we got glimpses of the ribbon of ice-cold water tumbling across large boulders through the ravine. When we came to the falls, again, we couldn't believe just how beautiful this hike is. The falls are not large, but it is segregated into three ribbons of white water tumbling across moss covered boulders. The trail dumps you out at an outcropping, that's a little steep (I almost lost my bottled water down the hill twice), but it's a good place to stop and sit on a rock, have a snack and admire the falls in front of you.
We continued on the trail, which takes you to another footbridge across the stream that feeds the falls. We had seen so much beauty on this hike...including four waterfalls. We asked another man coming down the trail what other treasures awaited us if we continued the hike. Not much he said. It was about 14 more miles up the hill through forests, but no more waterfalls. So, we decided to end our hike here and turnaround to head back down the hill to the car.
The entire hike took about 4 hours, but we walked kind of slow and stopped a lot to admire things along the way, so I would imagine you could do this hike in about 2 to 3 hours. Although there are some steep sections and some rocky sections, anyone in moderate shape should have no problem making the hike, and even if you end up with sore thighs, trust me, it will be worth it!
I kicked myself for only bringing my little pocket camera with me on this hike. Piper and I are planning on coming back with our "big" cameras so we can get better pictures of this breathtaking section of the gorge.
Now remember...this is our secret. Go on the hike. Enjoy it. But, please, don't tell anyone else!