Portland is a modern city with incredible wilderness well within reach. My friend, Katie, came with me as we toured around with a car and a tent.
We first drove to Mt. Hood, a dormant volcano about 1 1/2 hours from Portland. We set up camp and started on a hike that we think went for about 8 miles to McNeil Pt. We had spectacular views of Mt. Hood, walked through fields of wild flowers, and even crossed over half frozen ponds. We made our way to the top where there was a shelter for backpackers and beautiful views. Katie and I were so elated to be outdoors. Often you forget how simple life can be, and when you drive away from your tv, computer and cell phone service, you are suddenly reminded of what it's all about. Camping never fails to help me remember what makes me happy. Any Nature never fails to inspire me.
We built a fire at the site and chatted about life trying to see the stars, but they were blocked out by clouds. We enjoyed the morning with a book and then set off for Timberline Lodge, a famous landmark up Mt. Hood.
Timberline Lodge was built as a ski lodge made of local timber and stone. It's a beautiful work of architecture and serves its purpose even in the summer, as the ski fields are open year round! Peak season is actually August!
Then we made our way into the Columbia River Gorge to Hood River, the wind surfing capitol of the world. We met some other friends there, Chelsea and Scott, checked out the Farmer's Market and then headed over to the Washington side where Chelsea's friends had set up camp in a field in the middle of nowhere!
There were about 12 of us at this hidden dusty campsite and I was meeting all these people for the first time and they were an incredible group of friends. We played whiffle ball and frisbee, cooked dinner and got a great fire going. These friends made it important to get together and enjoy life by camping, canoeing, hiking and playing. I hope I am never too busy in life to remember to get outside of it when I can.
The sky was clear this night and there were many shooting stars. The next morning we played "bean bag toss" (or as us mid westerners call it, "corn hole") and then Katie, Scott and I took off for another hike. There are tons of waterfalls in the gorge and we got to see quite a few. Then we headed back home.
I am leaving Oregon in 4 days and although I am glad to be going home to finally feel settled in my life, I will miss these adventures that I know will be a little harder to come by in KY. But I am so excited to be around the people I grew up with and to be with my mom. When I think about my next adventure in life, I know I want to be home for it.