February Soak: Portland / by chris miele

When the mist hangs just right.  Columbia River Gorge, OR.

Winter on the West Coast began with 10 days in California, but after soaking in all the sunshine possible, it was time for a different type of soaking.  Our other (wetter) West Coast home was waiting for us, Portland.  Despite arriving to textbook winter showers and grey skies, we were happy to be in the Pacific Northwest.

Metlako Falls, OR

Topsy turvey.  Columbia River Gorge, OR

It was Erin's first time in Oregon so while we had plenty of stores to visit and items to source, what we really needed was some nature time.  With endless exploring potential surrounding Portland, we decided to keep it classic for her first PNW adventure and head to the The Columbia River Gorge.  While most any trail in the Gorge is a guaranteed delight, we collectively decided that Eagle Creek Trail was our best choice.  Perhaps it was the endless number of waterfalls, or maybe the soaring views, but we were certainly rewarded for our choice.

To get this view I had to don fishing waders and scurry out into the creek flow.  Unfortunately I had to do it twice since I slipped the first time, filling my waders and completely soaking myself.  It was only 48 degrees out so....no big deal.  Punchbowl Falls, OR.

Waist deep and soaking wet.  Punchbowl Falls, OR

When possible, always walk under a waterfall. 

A prehistoric oasis.  Forest Park, OR

While our first nature day was a classic exploration of the Gorge, we made sure to utilize what's closest to town.  Much of the western edge of Portland blurs into Forest Park offering ample outdoor sanctuary.  Forest Park is immense, so large that people often refer to Portland as a park with a city.  The only thing I've experienced in the same realm would be Griffith Park in LA, a space equally impressive in its ability to provide solitude from the surrounding urban forces.

Funny to think this was a dry day too.  Forest Park, OR

Yep, it can make you feel like that.  Forest Park, OR