In An Oregon State of Mind

Story experienced May 30th, 2017 – June 12th, 2017

I grew up in Upstate New York.

Not New York City, Upstate New York.

No, not Buffalo. No, not Canada.

(Can you tell I get asked the same questions over and over?)

Anyway, I grew up in the stunning Adirondacks.  

 

 

I never once took growing up in that region for granted. I was well aware, even as a young child that the beauty found in the Adirondacks was something to be admired and appreciated. Every. Single. Day.

But here’s the thing.

I’ve been California Dreamin’ since I was a little girl. Daydreams of living by the beach filled my head constantly. Finally, when I was 24 years old I made that dream a reality and moved to San Diego, California. It was one of the greatest decisions I have ever made. I’ve been living the beach life since 2013 and my time here has been incredible. 

 

San Diego 3

 

One thing I never anticipated when I decided to move was how much I was going to miss constantly being in the presence of mountains and lakes. Honestly, “miss” is an understatement. I yearn for it. I dream about it. Now, when I think about vacations, all I want is a quiet cabin on a lake surrounded by mountains and hiking trails for me to wander around in every day. More and more I find myself being drawn away from my beach paradise, chasing after big green trees, beautiful still lakes, and magnificent mountains.

In June 2017, life worked out in such a way that I had a two week gap in apartment leases, no clients booked, and two of my best friends were moving to Portland, Oregon. When one of them asked me to drive the coast with her, I eagerly agreed. 

The two week trip went a little something like this: 

May 30th, 2017 – June 1st, 2017: Somewhere between San Diego, California and Portland, Oregon

We moseyed on up the coast. Sadly, due to landslides and bridges collapsing, getting to Big Sur became too much of a hassle, so I will have to check that out another time.

We stopped in San Francisco for lunch at one of my favorite places, Seed + Salt. It’s a dedicated gluten free vegan cafe and their falafel wrap is to die for.

 

We continued on through the Golden Gate Bridge, channeled our inner Danny Tanner, and sang, “whatever happened to predictability? The milkman, the paperboy, the evening TV!”

Kidding, we did not sing that, but it was stuck in my head.

North of San Francisco is the Redwood Forest. The drive took us through narrow, winding, barely paved mountain roads. The entire time both sides of the road were lined with enormous trees. 

 

We pulled over a few times to wander around, taking the time to truly appreciate the immense size of the trees that make up this forest. There’s something so humbling about feeling incredibly small. It encourages you to take a step back. It puts all your “big” problems into perspective and forces you to feel an energy far greater than yourself. 

June 1st, 2017 2:00 AM: Portland, Oregon

We were FINALLY in Portland. We passed out, woke up, and immediately jumped into Portland’s epic coffee scene.

June 3rd, 2017 – June 5th, 2017: Washington State

I headed up to Washington State for the weekend.

June 6th, 2017: Mt. Hood National Forest: Multnomah Falls/Wahkeena Falls Hike

We started the hike at the Wahkeena Falls trailhead. From here you can walk up to the top of the mountain and rather than walk straight back down, you can continue on a path that leads down to Multnomah Falls. The two trailheads are a half a mile apart. In total we walked 8 miles, the last .5 miles to the car was by far the worst. During the 7.5 miles spent on the mountain there were moments when I felt fatigued but never a time when I never felt like I couldn’t go any further. Throughout the entire hike you are never more than a five minute walk away from a breathtaking waterfall. The deeper you go, the more exceptionally beautiful they become. The trails are covered with dense green trees that provide the perfect amount of shade to keep you cool while you trek up the mountain.

Our hike started like this:

Two girls walking casually on a trail, 5 minutes into the hike.

“Um, Annie”

“Yea?”

“Annie, look. What do we do?”

Waterfall Hike 1
Hi, friends!

“What do we do?” was an excellent question.

Waterfall Hike 2
Nothing to see here.

The deer kept on down the path towards us, not overly fazed by the humans in their way. My friend and I moved off the trail, she hid behind a tree and I stayed in plain site, a few steps up the hill. I told the deer that it was safe to pass and that we weren’t going to hurt them. Given that they don’t speak English, they stayed frozen on the path next to us. Finally they continued on passed us and we were able to start our hike. Other than a few chipmunks we didn’t see any other animals, just waterfalls.

 

Waterfall Hike 13
Little human in a big green world.

 

There are a few sections where you can veer off and head down a less traveled trail. There was one path in particular that lives on in my daydreams. We climbed down a little path that extended off of the main trail. It wasn’t necessarily challenging to get down but it did involve a little more effort than just walking on a well marked trail. 

Waterfall Hike 12

 Finally we made it to the flat area. 

Waterfall Hike 14

Since the hike down was a tad off the beaten path, we had the peaceful little waterfall all to ourselves for about a half an hour.

Waterfall Hike 11

Once people walking by realized you could get down there without plummeting to your death (I’m being dramatic) more and more started heading our way. This was our cue to leave and continue on down the trail to the final waterfall, Multnomah Falls.

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After a half a mile walk back to the car, our hike was complete. Our legs were Jell-O, our bellies were empty, and our souls were at peace.  

June 7th, 2017: Portland, Oregon 

We ventured into Portland to observe and also join in on everything that makes Portland weird. We started by getting a small cup of coffee at Case Study Coffee, at 6:00 PM. We definitely didn’t need the coffee but at this point we were addicted. The coffee in the Pacific Northwest is absolutely amazing. It rivals Europe and Australia, and that’s saying A LOT.

Fueled with a copious amount of unnecessary caffeine, we started our little hipster restaurant crawl, which consisted of four restaurants: Clyde Common, Sauce Box, Quality Bar, and Portland City Grill. Portland City Grill is on the 30th floor and has great views of the city.

After our tour of craft cocktails and small plates we did what any slightly tipsy human does, we went to Powell’s Bookstore, the world’s largest independent book store, and bought three books each. This place is massive and has an overwhelming amount of books. Rather than mosey on through the entire store we stayed in the Purple Room and got lost in the sea of spiritual/hippie books.

Now that we each had a bag of books to carry around we thought it was the opportune time to find some live music.

We found a music venue called Dante’s where we saw the band TWRP, which was a Daft Punk type band. These guys were decked out in the weirdest, most amazing costumes and could seriously rock out. The vibe out in the crowd was incredible. We immediately joined in and danced the night away to these weird ass dudes playing awesome, weird ass music.

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A visual to properly explain the “weird” I am referring to. Image taken from Google

June 8th, 2017: Somewhere between Portland, Oregon and Coos Bay, Oregon

My friends have family in Coos Bay, Oregon. Since we drove the Oregon part of the drive in the dark we decided this was the perfect opportunity to drive the coast and explore more of Oregon. 

Let me tell you, this drive was breathtaking. I had no idea what to expect and honestly any words I could come up with right now won’t even come close to properly conveying just how stunning the scenery surrounding the highway was. Take the pictures below and create a mental image that’s 1,000 times more gorgeous, that would give you an idea of how astonishing this was. The drive should have been four hours but it took us ten hours because of all the stops we made.

 

 

 

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June 9th, 2017: Coos Bay, Oregon

We ventured out to Sunset Bay State Park and Shore Acres State Park .

The beach at Sunset Bay was so quiet and peaceful. There is a short, easy hike to get down to the beach. In the time we spent there, there were never more than ten people. At times, we had the beach all to ourselves. We stayed there for hours, staring at the vigorous waves crashing into the cliffs that hugged the ocean. With the exception of the ocean in front of us, we were surrounded by cliffs that supported large, dense, dark green trees shielding us from the “real world”.

Coos Bay 13
If you look closely you can see an “Annie” in her natural habitat.

 

Coos Bay 12

Shore Acres State Park is along the coast with views similar to the coastal drive we took the day before. I’ve realized that if I am going to continue to write about my travels I need to get better at taking pictures everywhere I go. For now, you’ll have to take my word for it.

This tree was pretty neat though.

Coos Bay 1
If someone asks, this is where I’ll be.

The town itself was so quaint and charming. It actually reminded me a lot of where I grew up in Upstate New York, with a Pacific Northwest flare. In one day we heard about the local High School graduation three times. Everywhere was “busy” because of this graduation. In San Diego, this kind of “crowd” would have been a very slow day. Also, the town completely shut down at 9:00 PM.

June 10th, 2017: Crater Lake National Park

We drove from Coos Bay to Crater Lake National Park. Crater Lake is a wondrous lake that was created 7,700 years ago when a violent volcanic eruption caused a tall peak to collapse. The lake itself is fed by rain and snow and is the deepest lake in the United States. To get there you have to drive about two hours up a winding mountain road.

Here’s the tricky thing about Crater Lake. Weather, especially snow, can alter the visibility. There are times when you can see the lake as clear as day, times when it’s a bit foggy, and times when you can’t see a damn thing. There are cameras on the National Park Services website you can check before you venture all the way up there. On this day, the cameras were down so we said screw it and took a chance.

About half way up the mountain we noticed they still had quite a bit of snow, it even started to flurry. As we continued up the mountain the snow banks grew taller and taller: 4 feet, 5 feet, 6 feet, 7 feet, 8 feet.

Crater Lake 2

Finally we reached the top and…

Crater Lake 3

Ta-da! No visibility. Not even a tiny bit.

It was a bummer but honestly, we’ve both lived in San Diego for four years so we never see snow. This was really cool to see, especially in a summer month.

 

Well worth our while! Maybe one day we’ll get to see the lake. If and when that happens I’ll be sure to write about it!

June 12th, 2017: Time to return to San Diego, California

On my way back home to San Diego I found myself thinking about the parallels between Oregon and Upstate New York and also how opposite Southern California is from these two regions.

I find it interesting that when I lived in Upstate New York I loved where I lived but found myself California Dreamin’. Now that I live in California, once again I love where I live, but I find myself dreaming of mountains and lakes.

I think being a dreamer is a beautiful way of life. However, to live a fulfilling life as a dreamer, you must fully appreciate where you are in the present moment.

After all, what good is it to get to where you’re going if you don’t enjoy the ride?

Love & light,

Annie

 

 

 

 

 

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