Tuesday, July 7, 2009

4th of July in Northern California

July 4th afforded Alyssa and I the opportunity to venture south. Having heard from Aaron and Keri about the great bouldering next to the Humboldt county surf we made our way Thursday night to Golds Beach campground in Prairie Creek Redwoods National Forest. The campsite was of great demand and to our dismay but not our surprise the first come first serve campground was full-up with Oregonians, Wash-a-tonians and Californians. With a little luck we snuck my little truck into the single parking spot left and transferred our supplies to the cab laying 0ut our sleeping pads in the bed and spending the night in the truck, out of the sight of the pesky rangers.

Waking the next morning to the sound of the surf inspired us to venture about 5 miles north on highway 101 to the beach directly south of the Klamath River delta, Klamath Beach aka Lost Rocks. But before making the journey we decided to make the most of sleeping between the redwoods and have a look around. The theme song to Jurassic Park playing loudly in our heads we ventured to Fern Canyon, aptly named for the fern coated walls of the canyon. Soon after we left the park and being early enough out to the beach we were the first to hit some classic problems made famous by Joe Kinder and Chris Linder in Spray. The fog stayed on strong throughout the day but the rock miraculously stayed dry. We spent the majority of the day taking in the scenery napping on the beach and climbing some great problems.

That evening we ventured inland to the Kamp Klamath campsite where we were surprised to meet our new friends Brian and Maria. Both of whom were also from Minnesota and had attended the University of Wisconsin River Falls. Sharing a campfire we talked for a few hours as elk rustled in the woods not far away.

The next morning we headed for Arcata to spend some quality holiday time in style. Fortunate for us we found a hotel on the town square and spent the day at the local fair and the night watching fireworks. Arcata is an interesting town, as a seaside industry hub and settling ground for the die hard hippies of the sixties it makes for an interesting mix of art galleries and warehouses.

On Sunday we decided to briefly visit Moonstone Beach. Known as much for its surf as its bouldering we started our day with some great climbs and good views of the local swells. Unfortunately, Alyssa's cold had gone from bad to worse and we decided to call it quits and make the journey back home. On our way we pulled over to look at what was to be the icing on our cake The Promontory, a sport climbing spot just off of 101. We both decided it was a good reason to come back and continued the seven hour hike back to Portland.

The foggy weekend was one of the most gorgeous we have ever had. The scenery is beyond words and left us both wanting more.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Emily Haines Accoustic Set

Alyssa Waiting in Line

Emily Haines of Metric at Mississippi Studio

Emily Haines and Mississippi Studio

Sitting at work on Monday morning quietly drinking my third cup of coffee and pondering why I get up at 5:00a.m. every morning to go sit at my desk and quietly drink coffee, my phone rings.

"Guess what?" Alyssa says on the other end of the phone.

As it was now eight a.m. my initial reaction was that something had gone wrong with the car. "Car accident?" I say fearfully.

"I just won tickets to go see Metric!" She exclaims!

That Friday we sat in on an exclusive acoustic Metric performance. A small crowd of about fifty people arrived at Mississippi Studio on the east side of Portland at 2p.m. We sat front row and had the opportunity to meet with Emily Haines and Metric after the show. They played a small 5 song set that merely wetted the taste buds for the show that was to occur later that night at the Wonder Ballroom. Unfortunately, because of my surgery we could not attend the later show but were happy to have had such a unique experience.

Thanks Alyss and 94.7!!!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Waterfall That Was Almost Forgotten, Abiqua Falls

Abiqua Falls

Abiqua Creek Just Below the Falls

The Trail Along the Creek

A bit of exploration one late afternoon online lead me to a photo of an inspiring waterfall just outside of Mt. Angel, Oregon. The description read “rough hike, rougher road, well worth it.” So I took off to the supposed spot of the photo, guided by some complicated instructions littered with talk of old logging roads and dirt paths and the understanding that if nothing came of the journey at least I would have had a beautiful drive. I knew from prior ventures into the area that any road I decided to take to the falls would lead me through pristine Willamette Valley wine and hop country, providing unique and inspiring views of Mt. Hood as I drove towards the foot of the western Cascades.

An hour later after leaving Portland I turned right out of Scott Mills, OR and and followed an old country road to its end where it abruptly changed to dust. Switching quickly from asphalt to gravel, I followed the dry spray of an old logging truck the crushed the pebbles of the trail beneath it. As the truck disappeared out of sight I spotted my turn and quickly came to the realization that I was very fortunate for having brought my Dodge Dakota. The road that laid out in front of me was a smorgasbord of broken shale and scattered basalt rocks that had me inching down the switch backing path until I finally stopped a few miles later at a locked yellow gate. This small widening of the dirt path was to be my parking spot. This small widening of the road, scattered with green and red cased shot gun shells and broken glass became my vehicles reprieve.

As I researched information about the falls I came to discover that in 2002 Abiqua Falls had become the world largest waterfall to be Kayaked at 101 feet (video here) by Tim Gross. This drove my decision to venture farther into the woods and kept me motivated even with the sight of shot gun shells skewed around my truck’s tires. Abiqua Falls is a bit of a welcome surprise to those who have 4 wheel drive and a penchant for adventure. Unlike it’s friends down stream at Silver Falls State Park, Abiqua Falls is very remote and is a much more technical hike to get to then the gentle walk at the State Park. This lack of easy access has kept the majority of “Fall Chasers” at bay complacent with the ten or more falls that lay down stream within a few miles radius of one another at the state park. What sets Abiqua Falls apart is its massive volume and the grandeur of its amphitheater of which Silver Falls State Park does not emulate.

After a short, but steep hike to the creek I followed it up stream to a large amphitheater with walls of red spiced basalt over 100ft tall and a width of approximately 300 yards in diameter. Being that the snow was still melting high in the mountains the water was exceptionally quick and the sense of grandeur coupled with the sound of the falls ricocheting around me was almost spiritual. Alone in this serenity I sat on a vast matte of smoothed gray and blue stones that splayed out in a vast floor at the base of the amphitheater just yards away from the falls.

Abiqua Falls may be a hassle to get to but it is well worth the adventure. This combination of remoteness and splendor lend the imagination a hand in forgetting there is anything else in the world other than the moment. Abiqua falls is a “rough hike, rougher road, well worth it”

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Seattle Our New Fav City

Pike St. Market

The Market

Red Sox Game at Safeco Field

The Space Needle

A View From The Sculpture Gardens of Puget Sound

Throwing Fish at Pike St. Market

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Sarah & The Surf

Sarah and Alyssa at Multnomah Falls

Multnomah Falls

Otter Rock Surf

The Girls at Otter Rock

Sarah Elliot the world traveling vagabond and best friend made her way to Portland the last weekend in May. Spending her last year at Crystal Mountain in Washington and the prior two years surfing throughout New Zealand, it took only a few moments to decide that it was time to bring Sarah to the coast when she arrived in town.

The best swell seemed to be on Sunday afternoon so we spent the weekend hopping around Portland; art fairs, comedy festivals and the occasional bar. On Saturday afternoon we set off to the Columbia River Gorge to experience Hood River. Like predicted the weather was less than perfect but typical for this time of year in the Pacific Northwest. On our way we made the stop at Multnomah Falls just off of highway 84. Having made prior obligations with friends we ventured back towards the city for a night on the town.

With rain on the horizon for the weekend, we set out to improve our skills in what was forecasted to be a rainy 50 degree day with water temperatures around 45 degrees. To our suprise and the suprise of many other who joined us in the surf come late afternoon the sun peaked from the clouds on the west side of the coastal mountains. 65 degrees and a sun that made sure to give us all a sun burn warmed up the sea enough to give us a good number of waves. With the occasional seal spotting only a few feet away it felt like they were having just as much fun in the sun as we were.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Newport: Our Latest Trip to the Coast

Fishing Boat Coming into Harbor

Alyssa on Nye Beach

Newport Bridge

Tasting at Rogue Brewery

Rogue Brewery

Check Us out on TravelOregon.com


Monday, January 5, 2009

Whale Watching Spoken Here

Growing up most boys become fascinated with dinosaurs or race cars but for some reason I became fascinated with whales. I have never really figured out what drew me to them but in the years since childhood I have stayed just as captivated. I have gone whale watching in both the Pacific, Hawaii and Atlantic, Massachusetts. Yet my first time ever seeing a whale off the coast of Oregon was January 2nd this year. I had let too many trips to the coast past me by and made the somewhat nerdy proclamation that my new year’s resolution would be to “see more whales.”

So I set off on the second knowing that the Oregon Coast saw the majority of its migrating Gray Whales during December and January. As most Oregonians know this is not the best time to see anything in Oregon with the amount of rain and more recently snow that we have been getting. Fortunately the weather was little of a problem on the second in Depoe Bay, the self proclaimed whale watching capital of Oregon. As I entered the Oregon Parks Whale Watching Center in the middle of Depoe Bay I was welcomed by two park guides who told me about the long history of the area and the migrating whales of the Oregon coast. The centers two guides sat next to me as I stared intently out the viewing windows with a pair of binoculars being instructed on where to look for the whales. During my short time at the center I saw four whales and a total of 41 had been seen that day by noon.

Depoe Bay is not only known for its whales but it also has the world’s smallest harbor where on many occasions I have spotted a relaxed harbor seal (the same size as normal harbor seals). Being located between Newport and Lincoln City, Depoe Bay is a great place to relax, shop and reminisce about your childhood.