|Playing a piano painted like a raccoon that sits outside the visitors center at Powell Butte Nature Area. Because of course.|
The past couple weeks have mostly consisted of downtime. We’ve taken a lot of walks and hikes, finished the Tour de France (congrats Chris Froome!), and spent a lot of our days just hanging out with family and each other. Sometimes I feel guilty for how much time we’re taking off, but I also remind myself that spending time with family is important (I feel like this is the topic of a whole other blog post).
|Steigerwald Lake National Wildlife Refuge|
|Powell Butte again|
|It's just so cute...|
|Welcome to the Rose Garden!|
|Walking along the Columbia River|
In the meantime, the notable highlights include day trips around the Portland area: we’ve made time to visit Sauvie Island and the “Fruit Loop” near Hood River, where u-pick options abound. We picked twelve pints of raspberries and blueberries one day, and a huge mess of regina cherries another. I love fruit!
One day we went on a family excursion (Zach, me, Gary, Ivy, Heather, and long-time family friend Shannon) to the Columbia Gorge, where we ate delicious pizza and ended up renting kayaks. I was a bit nervous going out on such a huge river, but we made it safely to a little island, picked wild blackberries that were juicy and sun-warmed, and floated back without incident, despite a fierce wind.
Last Friday, Zach and I took a day trip to Seaside, Oregon, to visit a couple who I had met on my very first solo trip, eight years ago. Kim and Steve met me at a hostel on San Juan Island when I was 20, and fed me delicious dinners, drove me to different destinations on the island, and generally made me feel at home. It was great to see their house in Seaside, and we picked up right where they left off. They drove us up to Astoria, where we explored the remains of a WWII fort, ate lunch at a brewery that’s inside the old Bumblebee Tuna cannery (lots of cool old equipment), visited the Astoria Column (a tower with a spiral staircase inside that gives you an amazing 360 view of the land and sea around you), walked along the beach in Seaside watching the sand fiddlers (mole crabs), and ate shrimp and potato salad for dinner. I’m so happy we got to reconnect with Kim and Steve, courtesy of the magic of staying in touch with Facebook! Zach and I drove home in high spirits, blasting Jonathan Coulton’s new album Solid State all the way (I don't think it's as good as Artificial Heart, but I love the high-concept story behind it and several of the songs are excellent).
|Inside the old cannery|
|View from the Astoria Column|
Now today we’re in a flurry of packing— tomorrow afternoon we’re heading toward Walupt Lake, Washington for a weekend of volunteering on the Pacific Crest Trail. We’ve been wanting to do this for years, and I’m so excited to lend a hand to help out the trail that has given us so much. I’ll let you know how it goes!