Second weekend in Portland

What a bummer.  Saturday morning, I thought I would be able to go up to Mount Hood and Frog Lake to see a sled dog race but the weather did not want to cooperate.   When I woke, it was raining but I thought a higher elevation would eliminate the problem.  It did, kinda sorta.  It turned to snow.

The further up Hwy 26 I went, the worse it got.  As I passed through Sandy, Oregon the snow changed from small flakes to big ones with an attitude and within a few miles all lanes were covered with the white stuff and my confidence was waning with each hill and curve the Hyundai Sonata approached.  As my mind pondered whether or not to turn back, suddenly I came upon a pair of wrecked trucks.  Apparently, the 18 wheeler jack-knifed in the middle of the lane and the cab-over single axle box truck had T-boned it.

Driving past them, I looked for a convenient spot to turn around so I could go back and render aid if possible.  By the time I could pull over safely, wait for other vehicles to pass and safely do a U turn,  a state trooper had pulled up and a couple of other cars had stopped.

Figuring, I had nothing more to offer than just getting in the way, I drove on past them as I met an ambulance coming up the hill.

Uninspiring as it was, I drove into downtown Portland and cruised a couple of camera shops, admiring seriously over priced camera gear before eventually heading back to Clackamas.

Sunday was much the same.  I got as far as Sandy, Oregon before the snow began falling hard as I began to reflect on Saturday's incidents.  The LED signs on the side of the road warned me that I needed chains or traction tires to proceed further.   Several years ago, while working down in southern Oregon, state police were known for writing tickets to those ignoring the signs as they attempted passes between Klamath Falls and Medford.  With this in mind, I stopped for coffee at a 7-11 and chatted up an Indian guy who confirmed how much the police loved writing tickets.

Anyway, I blew the rest of the day off , went back to the hotel, took a nap and took care of a couple of weeks worth of laundry.

Addendum:  As fate would have it, Monday arrived with stars out before sunrise and the sun was bright the entire day and as I turned off the interstate to my hotel, Mt Hood was finally visible, 35-40 miles away.  I'll never understand.

Nikon D7000  f/5.6  1/640 sec  ISO-200  200mm cropped 100%


Another Shot at Oregon

After working Louisiana for nearly 3 months, Delta Airlines and the Hilton chain probably thought I'd fallen off the face of the earth and I too, had become somewhat complacent, enjoying spending time with my wife,  relatives and my stuff.  Oh well, the break's over.

During my two weeks of retreat from assignments, I constantly was on edge waiting for the phone to ring, announcing an assignment in a cornfield in Nebraska or in a pine thicket in L.A. (Lower Alabama) but instead got the call to Portland.

It has been several years since I've visited the state so I was naturally excited to book a flight and buzz up here a week ago.  This long Presidents' Day weekend gave me a chance to get out.

My first adventure was east of here near Troutdale.  There are several waterfalls in the area and I did a little hiking for well needed exercise and a chance to take a few pictures.  My first stop was Wahkeena Falls, a long cascading stream flowing down the mountainside.  I only walked a ½ mile or so up to the midpoint before turning back.

Multnomah Falls was really my target.  A couple of my friends had visited there a year or so ago and sent me pictures of them there so I wanted to go as well.  One of the friends had been goading me to walk (climb) to the top and warned me to wear good shoes When I arrived, I checked out the maps around it and discovered that the trek was approximately 1.3 miles up the mountain to where the water fell into a duel set of pools. Along the way, I wandered off the main trail to explore the raging river that would eventually be the falls. 

I accepted the challenge and started up, stopping occasionally to take a picture but in reality, it was to collect my energy and get a breath.  The asphalt coverd trail zig-zagged through a series of switchbacks that rose at probably a 20% grade, leaving my knees and hips aching.  The trip down was a piece of cake but somehow I managed to form and eventually pop a blister between a couple of toes.

With my sense of accomplishment at hand, I found a few more interesting sites.

Monday, even though it was raining, I took a ride west over to the Oregon Coast.  My target there was Cannon Beach and the huge Haystack Rock that I'd heard so much about and seen pictures of.  During the two hour trip from Portland, I saw a little snow at higher elevations and hoped it wouldn't get thick enough to need chains which I didn't have.  No big deal there, my concerns were soon assuaged.
Even though it was misting rain and in the low 40°s, quite a few people were on the beach and in true Oregonian fashion, no one had an umbrella.  There's something about the area that almost demands you don't carry one.

Anyway, it was a pleasant experience walking quite a distance along in the sand.