hiking - latourell falls

Earlier this week, when we wanted to take a break from printing, we decided to try a hike we'd never done before - Latourell Falls. It's one of the closest hikes in the gorge to Portland, only about a half an hour away. The description in our hiking book looked nice and the weather was supposed to be sunny so we decided to go for it.

The hike started out with a pretty view of Latourell Falls at a viewing platform right by the parking lot, where the non-hikers took family photos, but it quickly climbed off to the side and up to the top of the falls. When we got to the top, we had a nice view of the sunny gorge through the trees -

We didn't realize we'd be leaving behind Latourell Falls so quickly! I hadn't really read the trail description that closely and assumed that we'd be ending at the falls instead of beginning there (I was partially right). Instead, the first half of the hike followed the stream that feeds the falls, through the shady forest.

It was easy going, although slightly uphill the whole time - we passed lots of little streams that fed into the bigger stream, heard birds chirping all around, and only passed two people the whole way back - about a mile. There were flowers everywhere, and tons and tons of unripe salmonberries - a fruit similar to raspberries but wild. They ripen in June, so we'll probably have to come back just for them!

...and the trail turned around by a waterfall after all! Upper Latourell Falls was huge because of the spring melts and we had it (almost) to ourselves. It was about 10Β° cooler near the waterfall because of all the spray. After pausing for a bit, we continued on the loop and crossed a footbridge to the other side of the creek. This side was sunny the whole way back!

After a little while, the trail curved away from the stream and we got to experience a different part of the forest (and we saw a golden eagle!) It was less dense, had more deciduous trees, and came close to some private houses. The end of the trail curved around past a nice picnic area and under the historic highway's old bridge. The trail ended right where we started, at (lower) Latourell Falls - but with a much better view, since we were at the bottom. We were so glad we decided to try the hike! It was pretty much the perfect day, weather-wise, but I bet it's just as nice in the autumn or winter. It's just really peaceful hike since it follows the stream nearly the whole time, with its nice water sounds. And it's only a half an hour away.

Here's the path we travelled, thanks to my GPS/exercise tracking app! I forgot to start it until we were halfway up the first hill to the lower falls, which is why the blue line doesn't connect near the highway.

On the way back, we stopped at a viewpoint off of I-84 that's a nice place to take pictures of the gorge - not bad, not bad. It's times like this that we remind ourselves that 30 minutes from our apartment in Brooklyn was...Brooklyn!

rainy stay-cation

Last weekend, one of our good friends from back east came out to visit, so we got to show off a bit of our corner of the world. Even though it rained nearly the whole time she was here (of course - after weeks of sunshine and clear skies!), we weren't daunted.

We set out for Beacon Rock, one of our favorite places to show visitors, but it was closed because a rock had fallen and smashed one of the walkways leading to the top! Luckily, there was another great hike in the forest behind it that we'd never done before. The path wound up through the hills and ended at Rodney Falls - a big waterfall that was even bigger than it probably usually is because of the spring melts. If we didn't have rain gear on, the spray would have soaked us!

We stopped at Multnomah Falls on the same rainy day and were treated to a nearly-empty visit! I'd never seen it with so few people before. Every time we visit, we forget just how close it is to our apartment - probably because everything in the gorge seems like it should be on some other planet or something.

And of course, we spent lots of time hanging out in Portland, too - flowers are in bloom everywhere, so even if it was a bit drizzly, it still felt like spring!

Now, it's back to work for us - we have a craft fair to prepare for (more on that later!) and a whole bunch of new designs to print. And a website to finish up! And and and - - - I guess the list never ends, huh? Luckily, when we have a spare moment not attending to the list, we have what's up above to enjoy.

our (unexpectedly) sunny day off

We set out to see cherry blossoms on the second of our two days off this week - undaunted by the "90% chance of rain, possibly thunderstorms" forecast that was looming. Surprisingly enough - or not, this seems to happen pretty often here - it ended up being absolutely beautiful! One of the things that we thought we'd miss about NY was

hanami

at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden - but here, we don't have to visit a special garden to see cherry blossoms because they're basically everywhere. Today we went down to the park on the west bank of the Willamette, which is completely lined with cherries - all in peak bloom.

We hadn't ever been to the park before (somehow) and were really impressed with it - there were so many people out running, it was incredible! It was as if there was a race going on - but it was just normal weekday afternoon traffic.

After we'd had our fill of cherry blossoms, we walked over to Lan Su - the classical Chinese garden in Old Town (Chinatown). It's such a calm, relaxing place - and amazing that it only takes up one city block. The design makes it seem so much bigger as you wind around, in and out of each section.

A lot of the plants were flowering today, but the camellias were pretty much stealing the show - they're everywhere in this town.

Before we left, we had some tea and snacks in the teahouse (better known as the Tower of Cosmic Reflection). The windows were all open, there was a live musician, and we could sit drinking tea for as long as we wanted - all in all, not a bad day out.

a visit to the japanese garden on a rainy day

The Portland Japanese Garden is one of our very favorite places here - no matter how crowded it is, it always feels like the perfect place to relax. But we didn't have to worry about it being crowded when we visited last week since it had rained on and off all day long. It ended up being one of the nicest trips to the garden we've had yet! Everything seemed even more spring-y than it already does with a bit of rain on the leaves. The sun even came out for a while so it was like we to see the garden twice in one day.

There are so many details we see every time that we haven't ever seen before! We're lucky to have a membership so we can go whenever we want, at all different times of year.

And of course, you can't forget to look up -