Wednesday’s Words/Nonfiction: A Hood River Gadabout

It’s perhaps misleading to post a photo under a title noting Hood River, for it is the muscular, much-loved Columbia River you see. The river and its famed Columbia River Gorge deeply impacts life in and around Portland, Oregon. We feel the its power as it surges and flows as well as its mountainous environs and are never unimpressed with the majestic beauty. And Hood River is a port, a lovely resort town on its banks and within the Gorge. We enjoy a visit a couple times a year. Summer sports thrive on the water and its surrounds, but autumn finds a sparser population with other sights to enjoy. The above view was shot from the perfect river walkway; the area is stunning. We took our time getting here and continued on to farm country called the “Fruit Loop.”

Before arriving in Hood River, though, we had stopped for a fine view from Mitchell Point in the Gorge.

Marc snapped a happy photo of me as I do love it out there. Marc mused that huge rocks often tumble down–note fence erected to perhaps keep visitors safer. Often the case in the Gorge and Cascade Mountains and it gives one pause when driving or hiking when you go around piles.

It is a casual, scenic town, and we always enjoy a coffee and sandwich at Doppio Coffee.

Down by the river, we take our time exploring a stretch of the Columbia. Bear in mind that I am shooting toward the Washington side of the Columbia River, north, and at other times northwest–it’s a fairly short boat trip to WA. The Oregon side of the river tends to be more mountainous and rugged in appearance; shooting from WA. shores would obviously render those pictures best.

Good fishing in the Columbia, usually salmon and steelhead, but fishing is quite restricted.

A favorite spot to gaze out over the river as it rolls and pushes toward Portland and then out to the Pacific Ocean. One can see some of both state shorelines here.

There is an ancient, powerful and wondrous energy that pulls me to the Columbia Gorge. I head out to explore and quickly am saturated with peace, as if my core being is infused with mysteries of earth and I feel the watchfulness of a vaster cosmos that oversees all. I have a love affair with nature, and the Pacific Northwest is perhaps the truest recipient of my unabashed adoration. When I first visited the NW at age 19–that time of intense dreams and yearnings (and lived in Seattle area a yr.)–I knew I’d permanently relocate here one day. It took me 20 years, and I am thankful. And I appreciate sharing my home territory in these posts!

Mt. Adams-seen in WA.

Next time: a visit to Oregon’s bountiful Fruit Loop!

Monday’s Meander in Autumn’s Palette: Steigerwald Lake National Wildlife Preserve

I had so many enjoyable outings over past week-end it was hard to choose just one to share today. Marc and I always look forward to roaming Steigerwald Nature Preserve in Washington and especially the fall. We had a perfect day for roaming and wildlife scouting. We were met, however, with changes in the habitat. Strewn about were large tree stumps and roots and logs, for one thing. (Slide show below for a panorama of beauty.)

We learned that this year begin a $22 million habitat restoration that will entail reconfiguring a floodplain of this Lower Columbia River area. The refuge will be reconnected to the natural ebb and flow of the mighty Columbia; 2 miles of US Army Corps of Engineers levees will be lowered to natural levee height. A major reason is to allow six species of salmon and trout as well as lamprey to better benefit. Nine hundred acres will be restored over 3 years. Placing woody debris is part of preparation and invasive vegetation management has begun. We are excited to hear of the improvements and partnerships that are involved in this huge project for supporting wildlife and for greater public viewing.

I hope you enjoy the walkabout and will visit if you can do so.

Monday’s Meanders: My City Center/Portland

A late summer view of lovely Director’s Park

I had a week-end comprised of a great variety of experiences, from hiking at a state park to picking fresh veggies and fruits at the huge city farmers market to visiting Portland’s Children’s Museum with our 5 mo. old twin grand-babies to introduce them to more sensory doorways to enjoying a good dinner at our local Dullagan’s Restaurant and Pub. So how to choose one good time? A number of photos were taken in city center so that decided it. We haven’t meandered around downtown in a few months, since moving to the southwestern part of metro Portland. It was refreshing and invigorating–the sounds and smells, trashy spots amid changing architectural scenes, the great array of humanity. I just snapped away, so happy was I to be out and about.–I love our city! Enjoy a few of my views.

The Farmers’ Market has grown quite vast, so there is not excuse fro coming away without a satchel full of delicious fresh food. It sprawls between several Portland State University’s campus buildings in the park blocks, under the shelter of great trees. The scents,. the tastes, the lovely setting–it is one of Marc’s and my favorite places to spend a Saturday morning–and to choose lunch from various food stalls.

Part of the wonderful Portland Art Museum

The last picture above and the one below show parts of Pioneer Square, nicknamed Portland’s “living room”. Pole come to hang hang out and eat, play chess, attend events that span the annual Christmas tree lighting to ethnic festivals to concerts to political rallies to summer outdoor movies.

Change is occurring at a rapid pace here, as people arrive in large numbers, looking for the Portland way of life and many job opportunities. It is an entrepreneurial city, as well, and many new businesses can succeed here. That is a good thing. But those of us who have been around decades or a lifetime feel the pinch as traffic worsens and housing becomes denser and very expensive. Homelessness is on the rise; more people means more social and lifestyle challenges. But you cannot stop change. We will always love the long tradition of invigorating, creative energy that fuels ongoing metamorphosis of our home city.