A Walking Tour of Portlandia

It's been a crazy week! I'm still trying to recap it bit by bit so I don't leave anything out.

So where were we? Tuesday we arrived, Wednesday was waterfall exploring, and Thursday the truck arrived. That brings us to Friday.

Friday we made the awesome attempt to go to Mount Hood.

Since it's been rainy all week, we've only had very infrequent glimpses of the great mountain. The softly rolling hills in the distance are becoming a staple of Portlandia life, so I assumed Mt. Hood would be a similar shape and size. My first view of it was from the rise of a hilly neighborhood during one of our ten-minutes-of-sun spells. Its snowy majesty completely dominated the skyline. I don't think I quite expected it to be so grand, or so beautiful. I wish it filled my view every day, but alas, usually the clouds and gray sky wash it out.

Hoping for nicer views, we set off Friday morning in good spirits toward the mountain. Within minutes it was pouring down rain. We got lost. We almost got hit by a car. The rain continued. We drove up the mountain, realizing we couldn't even tell if we were on the mountain. The driving rain turned into driving sleet, then driving snow. We ignored the signs that said "snow chains required." We found our way to the top, but still could see nothing but snow, and snow, and snow. Huge, massive, giant snowflakes. Gray, gray, gray skies. Mounds of snow and still falling so thickly you couldn't see two feet in front of you. We stayed ten minutes to take photos. We drove back down the mountain. We found a shortcut that would have shaved an hour of driving time if we hadn't gotten lost the first time. We arrived back at my apartment, having actually seen less of Mt. Hood than if we had just stayed home.

So, overall, a productive day. Here's the documentation of our ten minutes spent in a snowy parking lot.

On Saturday we spent the day in Portland, and we were graced by our first full day of sun that we have experienced since arriving a week ago. Mom's friend Zoe took us to her favorite breakfast diner and then we spent the afternoon wandering the farmer's market, downtown, the arts district and a bird sanctuary by the water. I discovered the truth to the rumor that Portland has a unique culture all its own. It is full of eclectic people riding bikes, railway street cars bumbling down narrow roads, and fun re-purposed buildings, such as a housing materials co-op made to look like a forest, and an old elementary school that was remodeled into a bar, theatre, restaurant, and hotel. I can see how Portland must have hundreds of these cute, artsy places hidden all over its city.

Though constant gray skies and the prevalence of industrial skylines got me rather down at first, I'm starting to see the bits of beauty tucked away into all corners and I can't wait for spring to explode here in all its glory.

Here's my walking photo tour of Portland. Enjoy!