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 10° 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.

tour of oregon

Having visitors is the best, because we get to do all of the things we love doing, but also get to discover new things! This past week, we had more family come visit and we did all kinds of stuff - from the Cascades to the coast. Here are some pictures from the first part of the trip (there are far too many to stuff into one post!).

We started off by driving up the Columbia Gorge and were happy to get perfectly sunny weather the entire day. We stopped a few places we'd never been before, including where I took the above picture (the tiny building is a tourist stop from the early 1900s)! The view from the top of the gorge is pretty unbeatable.

We love driving on the scenic old highway that goes parallel to the Columbia river - even if we weren't stopping at sights along the way, it's just so much nicer than the freeway! And after you rejoin the freeway, it's only 15 or 20 minutes til you arrive in Hood River - a short drive made even nicer by the old road.

When we drove up to Hood River, we were treated to a perfect view of Mt. Hood - probably the clearest day we've ever seen while up there! The spoiled goats probably get this view all the time.

On the way back, we stopped by Multnomah Falls for a pretty sunset view - even though it was Labor Day, there were hardly any people there. We were really surprised, since it's usually extremely crowded!

There's more to come, and lots more printing, too! We'll update again soon.

the fruit loop

Out in Hood River, the closest large town to Portland along the Columbia, there's a loop road that travels through the nearby countryside that's called the Fruit Loop because of all the fruit orchards that it passes. We've been out there tons of times - it's only about an hour from Portland, the scenery is fantastic, and the fruit is the same. While my mom was visiting, we struck east because cherries are in season in a major way right now. Hood River has a bunch of cherry farms, but we got lucky at the first one we stopped at and picked over 10 pounds of cherries!

I don't know about you (and I'm a little ashamed to admit it), but I never even knew how cherries grew! I mean, I knew generally that they grow on trees, but I never expected them to hang in such great numbers off of every branch of the cherry tree! It was surprising, having only seen ornamental cherry trees before. It took no time at all for us to pick our 10 pounds.

After we said goodbye to the cute farm cat, we went up the road a bit to a lavender farm. The lavender festival was the week before and it was the perfect time of year for it - this farm had u-pick, so we snipped huge bunches of lavender for $3 each.

Not bad, and all with a fairly lovely view of Mt. Hood in the background. To finish off the day on the Fruit Loop, we stopped at a winery and enjoyed the first wine tasting that any of us had ever been to. It was nice and relaxing and we tried some really tasty wines! We'll have to do it again sometime.

back to work

We took a bit of a break from work, the internet, and normal life in general - because my mom and sister were visiting us for a week and a half! We did lots of new things while they were here - we went on hikes, visited new towns, ate yummy food, and got to view things in Portland through the eyes of visitors.

Here are some photos from the first hike we did - Beacon Rock, an 800-foot tall rock on the banks of the Columbia. According to the sign at the start of the trail, it's a "lava plug" that was the cooled interior of an ancient volcano. They built a trail up the side of it back in 1918 or so - it was a short hike but climbing 800 feet is fairly strenuous! The views along the way made it worth every step - even if it was misty on the river.

When we got to the top, we saw some local wildlife (the cutest dog ever). Afterwards, we went into Hood River, where everything was lovely and sunny, and got a tour of the Full Sail brewery - one of the local beers we really like.

There will be lots of vacation photo posts interspersed with our usual posts, so stay tuned for those! We're working as fast as we can to get all of our autumn releases printed - with that and our new wedding designs, we're pretty busy. Thinking of adopting the 4-day, 10-hour workweek that the brewery employees have! A three day weekend sounds pretty nice...