Thirty Two

I turned 32 on April 28th. For my birthday, we took a trip to Portland on a mini vacation. I’ve always heard nice things about Portland and we wanted to check it out. To be completely honest, there was an ulterior motive. The company I had been working with for almost 5 years, got acquired by Arthur J. Gallagher. I was scared. I didn’t know what it meant for the future of the employees at the company, and I didn’t know what it meant for my career.

Portland was an opportunity to look around and explore the “what ifs” that exist. What if I lose my job? What if we lived closer to family? Lots of life altering questions were swirling around in my head and I think the trip was an opportunity to calm my nerves.

Japanese Gardens and Rose Garden

We got into town early afternoon on Friday and picked up our rental car. We weren’t able to check into the hotel until 4 (!!) so we had a little time to kill. My mom and sister also met up with us in Portland (it was really nice to see them), so all 4 of us went to the Rose Garden. Portland is famous for its rose garden, but it’s too early in the year for roses, so that part of the park was simply well arranged bushes. The Japanese Garden had a bit more going on. I think it was something like 7 bucks to get in, but what are you going to do..not go in? Yeah right.

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That night we went to a quaint restaurant called Mother’s Bistro & Bar. You should probably go there. I had the chicken and dumplings. It seemed like an odd thing to be on the menu, but if they were going to put it at the top of the entree list, it had to be good. On a rainy evening, I can’t think of anything I’d rather have now.

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Portland Saturday Market

Our hotel was only a couple of blocks from the market, so on Saturday morning we wandered down there expecting to find some kind of farmers market with vegetables and trinkets for sale. It was a bit more than that. It’s kind of like when you go to the fair and see the craft booths set up with vendors selling things like wood carvings and handmade jewelry. The Saturday Market is kind of like that, but 10 times better. Rogue had a tent there and for some (excellent) reason, the city let them serve beers there.

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The guy in the below video is ridiculously good at playing the ghetto drums. After I took this video, I walked over and put a dollar in his bucket, and he then started singing, “Thank youuuuu, for the dollar, thank youuuu for the dollar, for the dollar.” It was pretty cool because it was unexpected, sounded good, and earned him quite a few more dollars from the other people standing around.

Forest Park

My mom and sister had to drive back to Coeur d’Alene on Sunday, but we wanted to make sure that we got some hiking in before the weekend came to a close.

Forest Park was a great option for us because it’s so close to town and seemed like it would be tough to pass up. This hike was so incredibly green! Almost all of Portland is though. Dreary weather = lush vegetation.

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Multnoma Falls

Since Multnoma Falls is on the way back to Coeur d’Alene, we decided to go. It’s fairly crowded, but the views are worth it. There is a trail that takes you from the bottom that winds around for maybe a quarter of a mile to the bridge. The bridge is a pretty cool spot because you can see the upper falls and the lower falls together and feel the spray of the waterfall. Looking up at the waterfall and the walls around the falls is a pretty awesome sight.

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From the bridge you can take a trail up to the top of the falls. There’s a viewing deck up there, so it’s safe. The creek that feeds the falls is quite beautiful as well, and I think I enjoyed that part of the walk more than the viewing deck. The trail is only a mile long, so it’s not too bad at all.

Bridal Veil Falls

After we parted ways with my mom and sister, we headed back West (only a couple of exits) to the much less traveled Bridal Veil Falls. It’s a fairly short walk (less than a mile), and surprise surprise, the entire walk is beautiful. Once you get to the falls, there’s a viewing deck where you can get a good look at the falls. I think there might be more water flowing over Bridal Veil than Multnoma, so it seemed more powerful I guess. This picture below is from the steps of the viewing deck looking down at the creek just downstream from the falls.

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The viewing deck doesn’t hang over the water, so you can actually go in front of the deck and down to the water. In the picture below, I’m taking the picture from the edge of the water. If you look up on the rock, Callie is sitting there taking in the view. The way that the water flows over the falls, it drops and pools up in the area in front of me and then flows around the rock that Callie is sitting on before heading downstream in the picture above.

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My mom did an excellent job of coming up with places we should visit while we were there in the Portland area. We also went to Powell’s Bookstore, a couple watering holes, and hit up pretty much all the outdoor retail stores. If you need any gear at all, you should probably pass up all the usual spots that you would think of (Mountain Hardware, North Face, Patagonia, Columbia) and go straight to Mont Bell. That’s where people who actually need gear, go to get it. The other spots are catered more to the people who don’t go into the woods.

The trip was successful on many different levels. I think it did a good job of calming my nerves, answering some “what ifs”, and providing some R&R. I’m sure that whatever happens, we’ll be just fine. The world is a beautiful place worth exploring. If we end up moving it will be an adventure, and if we end up staying it will be an adventure. We’ll make the most of it wherever we are and keep kicking ass.

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