Blasts Of Color Amidst Grey – Portland, OR
It’s been grey days here in Portland, OR not just because my honey is gone (awwww….see how I snuck that in there?), but also because it’s been overcast and moist. Neither of the latter are surprising. This is the Pacific Northwest after all, and it’s beautifully GREEN for a reason, much of which has to do with the abundance of water in the air.
It’s been a welcome change from the many months of intense dry we’ve spent in the desert. My skin, which previously resembled rattlesnake scales (mostly for camouflage you know) is now plump and almost…well…normal. My hair, which previously hung straight as an arrow is now curly and bouncy as a field of spring bunny rabbits. It’s so invigorating I almost feel like I should be running over the mountains in a long flowy dress singing “The Hills Are Alive”…aaalmost.
But the grey has been hanging low, and for that reason the broad vistas that we so enjoyed in the desert have mostly been hidden behind a dense layer of clouds and fog. Surprisingly enough that doesn’t mean the color’s been gone from my life. Quite the opposite in fact. When the sky’s overcast, the greens and wildflowers pop with blasts of color that seem thrice as intense against the grey. So, all you really need to do is look below and you’re rewarded with a feast of color art for the eyes.
My grey days have been brightened even further by good friends. We’ve reunited with the Wandertopia boys and they’ve graciously entertained me, and accompanied doggie and I on various hikes. The great thing is there are plenty of these around Portland.
Despite this being a large city of over 600,000 people it prides itself as being one of the greenest and most active in the country. Portland has over 10,000 acres (4,000 ha) of public parks including one of the largest municipal parks in the United States (Forest Park), and that’s not including the 292,500 acres of green that make up the Natural Scenic Area of the Columbia River Gorge just east of the city.
The latter is an area that we explored in depth several years ago in “the beast” and I was eager to return. So, yesterday the boys, two doggies and I took an extended trip into the Gorge for a hike up to Angel’s Rest, followed by a visit to the fabulous 620-foot high Multnomah Falls and finally a gawk at the view from Vista House.
The outing was just as good as I hoped. It was a heavily moist day (which is really the norm in the Gorge) that only intensified as we ascended the mountain and walked into the dripping clouds. Along the trail, slick from moisture, we were constantly distracted by pretty flowers and running waterfalls, and occasionally teased by fleeting views of the Gorge during the rare moments that the fog lifted. At the peak we were completely socked in which made for a totally eerie experience as the edges of the mountain dropped steeply away and disappeared into grey-white infinity with only ghosts of floating pine trees for view. Amidst all the grey we found bursts of green and color, making the hike a rather radiant endeavor despite the weather.
And that really wraps up most of my first week here. I’ve had more adventures (and even attended a few breweries), all of which will make a future post, but for the time being grey, color and the smaller things in life have taken the lead. As Winnie the Pooh so delightfully put it “sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart”…and sometimes that can be mighty fine thing indeed.
For those interested in more on the Columbia River Gorge I highly recommend my 2-part series: