PacNW Weekend

Sometimes I feel like I gush about the place I live. So be it. I love it here in Portland, and this weekend was yet another opportunity to talk about why. I started out with a Friday night home swim meet; I’m writing press releases for the swim team this winter and there was great energy in the pool as the Pioneers took home a men’s and women’s win against Pacific. It was great to watch and to write about, and it was great to see several rowers in the stands to cheer on the swimmers.

Saturday I was up early to join with my cycling team for a great ride; out to Oregon City along River Road (next to the Willamette), up the Clackamas river, and back through the Portland suburbs along some awesome back roads. Cool, crisp air and good company– much the same as what we do for our Saturday practices in the fall. Back home by 11, yard work and errands, then off to dinner in the Pearl District of Portland with some good friends. The only thing I missed Saturday was seeing Pioneer Football closing their season with a win— their first conference win since 2003.

Sunday dawned cool & gray, but my wife and I loaded up our car and headed out to the Columbia River Gorge. We did a great hike finishing at Multomah Falls (pictured above). While the falls are always a tourist zoo the hike was quiet and scenic with great views of the gorge through the mist. Forty minutes from our house in the middle of the city there are moments of absolute solitude to be found in the forest.

After the hike we jumped back into the car and drove another ten miles up the gorge to Eagle Creek where we got to watch one of the most amazing things in nature; salmon making their last desperate push to their spawning grounds. Hundreds of fish are in the creek, most in some state of decay, struggling up against the current.

The smell is awful but the sight is amazing. The fish struggle upstream then turn off into side eddies to rest. On the banks those that have already spawned– or didn’t quite make it– are dead, half eaten. The life cycle of the salmon is at the very center of Pacific Northwest culture and some studies say it is the bodies of salmon that fertilize the dense lush forest that line the rivers and streams of the northwest.

Why write about all this? Because this could have just as easily been a day in the life of a Lewis & Clark student. All of these activities are accessible easily from Lewis & Clark; obviously the sporting events are on campus, the ride I did is one you could easily do from school (or you could substitute practice!), the Pearl can be reached on the Pioneer Express. Even the gorge is only a short drive if you have a friend with a car, or you could go along on one of many college outdoors trips that happen every weekend. I love Portland because all this is right out my door, and every weekend is an opportunity for a new adventure.

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