The train rolled into the Portland, Oregon station on a cool and cloudy late March morning. The 55 hour trip was over and I was greeted by my friend Rachel. We had some brunch and then headed back to the house where I used to live. I got to see my old dog, Abbey, and Rachel’s new edition to the family, Steve.
The west coast portion of my trip was starting. A few days in Portland and a road trip down the coast through the Redwood Forest to San Francisco. All soon to come. But first…Portland.
Right across the street from Rachel’s house is Lents Park. A nice stretch of green with basketball & tennis courts, soccer and baseball fields, a playground, community garden, dog off-leash area and plenty of climbable trees (many of which I had climbed in the past). I chose, in the late hour, to climb a tree I had climbed in November of 2007 when I had returned to Portland to retrieve my belongings and permanently move back to Kentucky. The hairy growth on the bark of the tree was a stark reminder of how moist and lush this part of the country can be.
On my first full day in town, Rachel & the dogs and I all took a quick ride to the Columbia River Gorge National Park to hike the Triple Falls Trail. Something I never found time to do when I lived there.
Multnomah Falls was visible just off the road near the welcoming center for the park. We stopped in the spotty rain and took a few pictures and visited the gift shop. Then we headed back out and found our trail head and started our hike. Everything was wet and the most brilliant green. It was incredible to have traveled across the entire country and seen only bare and brown and snow, then to be enveloped by the mossy green growth that just drips from every limb.
The hike was beautiful and Steve & Abbey definitely had a great time.
We turned the corner around a ridge and across a small valley saw Triple Falls.
On the hike back out Rachel informed me of the entire plot of all the Twilight books. Thanks, Rachel, for making it so that I never have the desire to read the books or see any more of the films.
I chose not to climb a tree at the park since all the trees seemed so delicately draped in the green moss. I did not want to disturb the scene nor did I want to slip and fall. So, once we were back in town I climbed a tree just after a yummy pizza dinner. The climb, though challenging and fun, did not yield much in the way of photos due to the lack of light.
Ever since I left Portland I have missed my rope. I put a nice fiber rope in a tree next to Rachel’s house and used to climb it for strength training. So once I had the chance I scurried up the rope and into the branches and took in the old familiar views.
29 years old. To celebrate we tortured ourselves by biking in freezing rain all the way downtown to the convention center for the Spring Beer & Wine Fest. I bought a cup and some tokens and got to tasting. I had some excellent beers and some mediocre ones. I ate cheap food and bought a ridiculous pair of purple sunglasses for $5. On the way out they had a breathalizer test you could take for a dollar. I blew a .24 which had to be a mistake. A .40 is the lethal dose for half the population and a .30 will put you in the hospital. And I wasn’t even that drunk. For most states a .08 is the limit for driving. And I was totally fine biking back to Rachel’s house. At least the beer helped keep my hands warm since I didn’t have gloves.
That night we had dinner and cake. Then I walked back out to Lents Park and looked high at the tree tops for a tree to call to me. At the far side, one very tall tree with white blossoms beckoned to me.
I made the difficult run off the trunk to grab the first limb then slowly made my way near the top.
I took some pictures then put my camera away to just enjoy the moment. I remember thinking how thankful I was for this dailyclimb project and how this climb meant that I had now completed 3 years of climbing every day.
On my last day in Portland I had a meal with Rachel’s family. We packed for the road trip down the coast and I climbed a tree. I unfortunately didn’t take any pictures. Rachel and I took Abbey & Steve to Lents Park to play fetch. After wearing the dogs out I walked over to a tall cedar tree. This is also a tree I had climbed before in November of 2007. As I often do, I reclimbed the tree to compare the experiences. The memories flooded back as I pulled myself through the limbs. A lot has changed in the last 3 years and I have much to thank for this daily practice.
Oregon Coast & my first trip to the Redwoods coming soon!