Monday, September 3, 2018

Some say that one baseball game is too long. Some would say that 3 in a row is way too many. I differ on both fronts. As noted in the below post, I went to Seattle to catch my beloved Dodger play the Mariners for 3 whole games. You bet I was there for that series!  This Ian just the third time the Dodgers have played at Safeco afield and I was at the last series as well. Can’t pass up a good weekend in Seattle, just a few hours north with my Dodgers in town.

Games 1 and 3 were huge Dodger wins. Felt like home run city as we scored 11 and 12 runs. The middle game was definitely the most entertaining, a quality baseball game from start to finish and had  a great Dodgers comeback in the 8th inning to be down two runs. And then after the Mariners closer came out to a thunderous standing ovation, full of bumping music, Max Muncy hit a game tying homer. Epic!  Sadly we lost on a balk off, which was ridiculous, but Arnold least we all were entertained.

It felt like Seattle was taken over by Dodgers fans. People all over the city wearing Dodger Blue. High fives up and down the streets and then, inside the stadium, it was nuts. Almost felt like a home game in there with all the celebrating. Damn, it felt good. Amazing experience in there. Can’t beat that feeling and I’ll be sure to come back whenever the next time is.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Just got back from a trip to Seattle to watch my Dodgers play the Mariners and we had some fun up there.  Dodgers fans took over the entire city, made for an entertaining visit and kept the cheers up the entire time.  We even celebrated with some gatorade upon winning the series.  Good times!

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Hiking up to an epic lake

The hiking fiesta on Mt Hood does not stop.  Back to back weekends up there, soaking up time in the high altitude, surrounded by pine trees and that gorgeous mountain.  This time, we decided to toss in some lakeside living to balance out the hike.  It was my buddy Mike's idea to bring our rafts/inner tubes up with us on the backpacks, to float around in the lake. Despite going straight uphill for the first 55 minutes with this extra rubber weight, it ended up being way worth it.  Nothing finer than just floating around and enjoying the view, relaxing, resting the legs and enjoying life.  Nice twist to my average hikes of long distances and resting in the shade.  One drawback was that lake water does not taste as good as river/glacier water.

The start of the hike was weird to me, as we walked uphill, pretty much with no turns.  Literally just 2 small switchbacks in a straight ascent; no turns or deviations.  Meaning, just keep moving upwards and keep that head straight ahead.  Not many trails just keep going up, with all the hills, slopes and trees out there causing turns. This one just kept going, uninterrupted. 

On top of the hike was a flat meadow, surrounded by trees, with sweet views of Mt Hood, plus a little creek going through it.  Can't beat that, just picture perfect and well worth the hike up.  After, was straight down, again without many switchbacks for another couple miles to the lake below.  Decent sized, there were some day trippers there and a few campsites already set up.  We set up our tents nearby the lake, and found a perfect grassy meadow along the shore to rest at and eat lunch at.  Turned out to be the perfect place to cook, relax, watch stars and enjoy the ambiance.  Awesome one night trip out there, with a good hike out the next day, followed by exploring the funky town of Hood River.  Great trip outside of Portland as always, beating the heat, and continuing my exploration of Mt Hood.  Here's some pictures:

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Mtn + H2O + Flowers

Pure Mother Nature at Her finest on Mt Hood

Spot o' Paradise

Such an amazing 2 night backpacking trip on Mt Hood last weekend.  I took off early Friday afternoon to head to the mountain to explore, relax and soak up the good mountain vibes. Truly amazing up there, and with a hot weekend, and blue skies upon us, it was a perfect weekend.

I started at Timberline Lodge, full of life, mixed with hikers, adventurers, skiiers and people staying at the Lodge.  Heading west along the PCT, I worked my way through some ups and downs, then a major down at the ZigZag Canyon, before going way back up the other side.  Hundreds of feet over many switchbacks down, and then the same to go back up.  Well worth it to get to Paradise Park, meadows in full bloom of wildflowers, with the Mountain right above, and the rolling hills and other Cascade Mountains in the distance.  Truly magical up there and a great spot to hike around, explore and spend a couple nights.  Here are a few pictures:


Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Hiking around Mt Hood

Mt Hood in reflection at 4:45am

One of the perks of getting out early on Fridays in the summer is that I get more time to explore the wilderness all around Portland.  This past weekend, I decided to head back to one of my favorite places, Mt Hood and hike around and up part of the mountain.  The goal was to get to McNeil Point, a small stone resting hut at 6100 feet.  Along the way, epic views of Mt Hood were expected, and yet, it was definitely darkly cloudy straight ahead, not the best omen for camping out overnight up top.  Still, the hike was glorious and the views around by the stone hut were awesome.  It was a steep climb up there, which was great to get the legs moving and the blood pumping.  Here are some first few pictures from the hike: 
Hiking up and looking across a ravine at the base of Mt Hood sloping up to the left

Loving the hike, full of epic views all around

McNeil Point, with views of Mt St Helens and Mt Adams, and oh so close to Mt Hood, with no peak visibility

I waited around for the mountain to show itself, teasing me among the clouds:
Mt Hood starting to break through

Mt Adams in the distance

Great views looking down from 6100 feet
From McNeil Point, I hiked down to a couple of ponds to camp for the night, angling the tent opening towards the mountain to wake up to great views.  And man, did that happen!  I first peaked out at 4:45am and as you can see, it was amazing.  Plenty of light already, and a perfect reflection in the pond right outside my tent.  Amazing!

Monday, July 9, 2018

Out in the wilderness

Here's a video from my latest adventure up around Mt Hood.  You get to see 3 of the major Cascade Mountains, complete with epic forests and blue skies.  Pure amazingness up there!

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Weekend trip to Astoria

Looking out at the wide Columbia River headed towards the Pacific Ocean

A few weeks back me and some friends headed to Astoria out on the Oregon coast to explore and get some history.  Such a fun, eclectic and interesting town, which was founded as the primary settlement for a fur enterprise by John Jacob Astor.  This was to be the NYC of the west coast, the major port where business flowed through.  A recent booked entitled Astoria, by Peter Stark, details the two expeditions (land and sea) that set out to conquer and begin the business here.  It was a rough voyage by both parties and they couldn't make a go of it.  The War of 1812 had something to do with that as well.  Definitely a great read, full of adventure, history, comedy and life in the early 1800s.  Think you had a rough day?  Think again.

Anyways, we stayed at the Norblad Hostel, a classy spot right in the heart of town, most likely a former brothel as that was the type of town this used to be.  Perfect location for exploring the town from the cafes, to the breweries, to the local trolley.  That's right, we went on a trolley tour, a historical trolley tour, serving bloody mary's.  Can't beat that.

From the canning industry, to the logging industry to the filming industry (The Goonies, Kindergarten Cop), this town has been lots of things.  As they like to tell you, one thing they aren't, is quaint.  They prefer the rough and tumble approach, and seem to get along just fine with that.  It's a great town for a weekend visit, with great fish and chips, steady microbreweries all around (try Buoy Beer!) and a fun vibe all around.  Live it up!
Bridge over the Columbia, with Washington 4 miles away on the other side

Best fish and chips in Astoria, hands down.

View from the Astoria Column (130+ stairs high)

Sunday, June 3, 2018


Well, the pun above has been well used, but man, is the Columbia Gorge gorgeous.  Simply amazing.  Lots of natural beauty out there, just over a half hour away.  Can't pass up mountain views, good hikes, sharp hills coming down to the huge Columbia.  Although there was a large forest fire last year that caused lots of trail closures, there are still some great hikes available, and my dad and I headed there early Saturday morning.  Portland is an outdoorsy town, so when we got to the trailhead before 9am, there were just 2 parking spots left.  Booted up, we started the incline, working our way up through switchbacks for the next 1.5 miles, to our first viewpoint:

From there, we soon reached a plateau and then another awesome viewpoint, with complimentary wildflowers in full bloom.  Can't beat that:

Here are some other good shots from the day, perfect for an early summer day where the sun was out, and the temperature was perfect in the trees.  Great to get out and move those legs, with my dad and I doing around 8.5 miles, full of good movement and sunny vibes.

Awesome trail!
Columbia Gorge on the drive

Mount Hood shining through on the drive

Monday, February 26, 2018

Late winter is upon us

Waking up to a proper dusting of snow outside is amazing.  We finally have some winter here in Portland and although it shuts down some of the city, there is still fun to be had.  Here are some pictures from walking around the neighborhood with the dog, enjoying the stillness of empty, white streets.

Clover checking out the sledding attempters in the distance
How bout our white house?
Bamboo bending with pressure
Even the Virgin got snowy

Iced over bamboo in the backyard

Thursday, February 22, 2018

A day at the races

A couple weeks ago (before this winter snow hit Portland) some friends and I went on a sunny day to Portland Meadows, aka the race track.  Not many cities can boast a race track with a picture perfect snow capped mountain as the backdrop to the finish line.  Mount Hood stands in the background, and the horses put on quite a show in the foreground.  Those horses can fly! 

From checking out the horses before they head out to the track, to laughing at the horse names, it's a jolly good time at the track.  The place was buzzing with people, not dressed up like at the big races sadly, just a few dapper gentlemen and stylishly dressed women.  Pretty much an average Portland crowd, out for a good time, trying to get their bets right and eat some $2 tacos.  I ended up coming out ahead on the betting front, feeling pretty good, and getting a strategy down.  Nothing's foolproof, but it sure does feel good to choose a winner.

Here's a video of a fun finish, with the crowd pumping and cheering away:

Monday, January 29, 2018

Out exploring the coast

One of the best parts of living in Portland is the proximity to nature.  The mountains and ocean are both just over an hour away, and there are countless hikes, excursions and fun to be had within an hour.  Recently I joined up with some friends for an all day winter road trip to the coast.  I say a winter road trip, as with less daylight than in the summer, there really is only so far you can go before it's time to head back.  We made it all the way down to Florence, Oregon, a couple hundred miles away.  Man, it was good to see the Pacific Ocean again, smell the salt air and explore some new territory. 

It was my first time at Cape Meares, a well maintained spot with epic ocean views.  We took the hard way to get there, running into a dead end on the road, parking the car and walking the 1.5 miles to the parking lot (access via a different route), and it was well worth it. On a winter day in the NW when it wasn't raining, stretching those legs amongst the tall trees was perfect. 

The Oregon Coast is dotted with small fishing towns, a couple small cities, and massive amounts of open road surrounded by nature.  It's a great drive on the scenic 101, slow, full of turnoffs and places to explore.  Pretty much anywhere has a good view and something worthwhile to check out.  One of the highlights was at a place called Devil's Churn, where the ocean has forced itself through the land over time, churning inwards, creating a canal of frothy, powerful waves several hundred feet towards the road.  Here's a video from there:

Yachats is the coolest of the small towns, full of charm and great old western architecture right there on the beach.  South of there was pretty amazing as well, great ocean views and a good place to watch the sunset.  We had it timed perfectly, and yet it was mighty cloudy and didn't get a visual on the sun or any good colors. Still, a perfect 180 degree view of the ocean was worth it.  We got into Florence just before dark and then headed inland to get to the I-5 and head back to Portland, around 3 hours away (and yes, that was the fast way).  A solid day out and about exploring!

Watching the sunset

Feel the power!

Colorful driftwood at dusk