I first moved to Portland, Oregon after a messy breakup almost ten years ago. I healed, but I was not dialed in and did not enjoy the city as much as I should have. I settled in stumptown for good 6 years ago after a brief re-visit of NYC. This time around I fell in love, with a man and with this fair city. One of the biggest reasons I love it here is because I have hiking buddies and I get to see beautiful waterfalls regularly like Wahkeena, Wahclella, Multnomah, and Latourell.
I also like the look of my current hometown, with gorgeous glass and concrete structures against the backdrop of lush Forest Park and alive with beautiful bridges like Fremont, Steel, and my favorite – St Johns. And welcoming you to this wonderland is the famous Portland, Oregon White Stag sign! Such a beauty.
Another reason to celebrate living in the Pacific Northwest is the birds! I see them in the city, floating above me, crows cawing, chickens clucking in neighboring yards, I see them in Forest Park at the Audobon Society, I see owls and auks and gulls and eagles and osprey and hawks on my hikes, and I see them as paintings and earrings and cuffs in my workstation at least once a week. That vile show that has contributed to messing with the vibe here in Portland joked about putting birds on things and I willingly live up to the silly stereotype.
I would be a fool if I didn’t mention the crown jewel of Portland, Mt Hood! The mountain is ever-present looming behind the city to the east, inspiring and beckoning all who see it’s granduer. One of my favorite views of the mountain is from Mirror Lake, a popular hike in my area.
Honorable mention goes out to the vibrant bike culture of Portland. And also the trees. My two favorite trees here are the Douglas Fir and the Ponderosa Pine! These things I have mentioned and many, many more keep me inspired and creations based on them take up permanent residence in my Etsy shop.
Who knows where my adventures will take me this year? I know the area still has gems to reveal and with my new hiking buddies and my dearest, frequent hiking companion Seasons ready to discover them with me I am sure to be inspired to create all year long. Stay tuned!
This Monday I returned to one of my all time favorite (perhaps my most favorite) hikes – Falls Creek Falls, just outside Carson, Washington. My friend Seasons and I hike most Mondays and Fridays and it has saved both of our lives. It takes at least an hour and twenty minutes to travel there from Portland and during the Spring and Summer the last 2 miles of that are on a gravel road. In the winter months a gate closes and you must add 4 miles RT to your hike on that very same gravel road. Many people choose not to do this. This makes the hike even more magical. In the summer I often wade in the river, I scale the root ladder and wall so that I might experience every layer the falls have to offer. Sometimes, if I get an early enough start I can venture into the wetlands behind the falls with hills that almost appear painted. This time, though – things went a little differently. You see, every time I do this hike I experience it from a different angle, I discover something new. My friend Drew often makes fun of my affinity for the hike, saying (in a sexy voice because I think he’s kind of hot. And a fireman) “oh, you hiked? Where? Falls Creek Falls?” He’s a bit of a shit, but he is not wrong. I go to the same spot more than any other in the Pacific Northwest. This time there was a light layer of snow on the ground – from 2-4 inches. It changed things greatly. It slowed us down enough that our late start forced us to turn back early. It gets dark in the woods by 4 PM in the winter months and the temperature drops quickly. This time we decided to just enjoy the rushing, rain engorged river, the light snow, the sun cascading into the snow through the thick cedars, fir and pine trees. This still managed to reach almost 7 miles and in the snow that was no slouch of a hike. At one point I ran around a snowy clearing in a circular pattern and looked down to discover that I was following dog tracks precisely. So. I turn into a dog in the woods. Next time we will get an earlier start and the pictures will wow you even more.
Also, I left an iced americano with vanilla and cream close to the vehicle. My entire hike back to the car was filled with thoughts of it’s creamy deliciousness. But my reunion with the tasty beverage was thwarted. A chipmunk discovered the surprise treat and guzzled it down. You might say I hiked and shared a coffee with a chipmunk. And that, my friends – is how you do Monday.
Harness the power of the dark Crone with these Labradorite beauties.
This is Finnegan. He’s a rescue peregrine falcon who lives at the Audobon Society here in Portland.
Selenite (the glorious, angelic white stone below) is told to help connect you with your departed loved ones. I wear one and always think of my grandma.
Julio (above) is a Great Horned Owl also rescued by the Portland Audobon society. Don’t let the name fool you though, she’s actually a lady.
Below is Columbine, my all time second favorite flower. The orange-red and yellow variety pictured here can be seen all over Oregon.
Celestite, a dreamy pale blue gemstone can be found here in raw form gracing sterling silver earring posts. A must have for this fall and holiday season.
And finally…a spotlight on one of my “exploregon” hand-painted waterfalls, this, is LATOURELL.