d4 :: CORVALLIS, OR :: Oct 4
After a morning jog with Oyster, Dan, Laura, and we went for a hike up a local hill. The blackberries overall were past their peak but still had lots of big juicy berries left. My fingers were purple only a few hundred feet into the hike. After stretching our legs and doing laundry, we drove the 1.5 h to Portland, OR in the afternoon. When we arrived in Portland, we stopped first thing at a camping store and I bought a warmer sleeping bag, as we expect to be camping in cold weather for the next few weeks.
In Portland we met Anna at her apt in SE Morrison x 39th St, and then headed out for a meal with Davidson Outdoors friends, Julie and Christina, at The Farm Café (www.thefarmcafe.com). Anna was starting a new job as a clinical social-worker the next day and chilled with Oyster for the evening.
d5 :: PORTLAND, OR :: Oct 5
Wendy took her time waking up, and so I walked 2 blocks to Pine State Biscuits and bought breakfast. The restaurant seated < 20 and had a sturdy take-out line forming around the coffee. They were about 6 staff working hard to crank out their signature dish, “the Reggie” – a biscuit filled with fried chicken, bacon, cheese, and gravy, which I could not pass up. I ordered Wendy an egg and cheese biscuit and brought the whole mess back to Anna’s place.
To stretch our legs that morning we walked around SE Portland neighborhoods and ended up on top of Mt Tabor, a neighborhood hill turned city park. There were dozens of other folks enjoying the park in sunny but cold (wold) 66 F Autumn weather, including some downhill skateboarders in flannel shirts and caps. The way back from Mt Tabor was all downhill, and we arrived at Anna and Brooks place just as she was returning from a biscuit lunch.
In the afternoon, we walked with Anna to the Natural Foods Co-op near 30th St, and picked up toppings for a pizza we were to make in the next hr. With dinner we also tasted Brook’s pickled spicy green beans. Later we walked to a local bar/ hookah /coffee shop called Pied Cow. The Cow had a Punk meets Victorian-feel in a richly furnished apartment of the latter era. An outdoor beer garden was for the smokers, but we ate inside. Unlike Berkeley there were no outdoor heat lamps and drinks were cheap. While drinking we met Christina, and heard about her possible non-fiction writing assignments on professional foot fetish services and urban spelunking. Good conversation about weird topics.
d6 :: PORTLAND OR :: Oct 6
Portland has always been high on my list of cities in the US, because of the euro-city feel, bike culture, and bike infrastructure. All things said, I was sad to leave. We had a few errands to run before heading out, and one of which was visiting Powell’s Books an amazing multi-floor independent bookstore. I found some hard-to-get bike books and Wendy picked up a couple of architecture books, including one about Santiago Calatrava’a bridges, and a new Isabel Allende book. Anna lent us a book about hot springs, which was a good start to our first adventure in the Cascade Mountains.
We picked up some floating sushi (7$ for 2!) and headed out to Bagby Hot Springs in the Cascade Mountains near Mt Hood (rt 224 – Mount Hood National Forest) for the night. We hiked in to the hot springs (1.5 mi) and took a 1 hr soak in a hand-carved tree trunk tub. Amazing set-up, and mid-week we saw < 20 people! Hot spring water flowed from into a wooded trough that carried the water past 5 personal bathhouse rooms and several multi-person soaking tubs, where the hot water taps and tub drains were corked with swollen and smoothed wooden plugs. This particular hot spring was discovered in 1888 by Mr. Bagby, a hunter. Friends of Bagby built the latest version of the soaking facilities in 1984, though repairs and maintenance are needed continuously since the site received around 10,000 people a year says the Forest Service. Our thought on hot spring graffiti: Q. How do you keep people from destroying beautiful places? A. Make the buildings in those places even more beautiful and reverent.
As the sun was setting we headed another 0.5 mi down the trail to a campsite near a creek. We cooked beans and rice, and got in the tent exhausted at 9 pm.
d7 :: BAGBY HOT SPRING OR :: Oct 7
In the morning we made green tea and oatmeal with walnuts and honey. Oyster played in the stream while we cooked and later sat shivering from the cold. He needed to be draped in a sleeping bag for several minutes before regaining his playful mood. We hiked out after another 1 hr soak, and as we left carried a bag of trash as a service to the spring-goers. We packed up the car again and headed off to Washington State. New thought for the day: Amazing how espresso is sold roadside like gasoline.
As we dove towards Seattle and were only 1 hr shy of the city we were lured back East into the Cascades. Mt St Helena and Mt Rainer looming larger on the horizon. We drove in the Pinchot National Forest for tent camping and dreaming in the shade of the mountain that has laid dormant nearly our entire lives. Cooking pasta and tomato sauce (from the garden) was a satisfying end to a hot-spring day.
[photos at http://www.flickr.com/photos/davelove organized by day of roadtrip (#) and title]