CHRISTINE AND JORDAN IN THE PNW: DAY THREE

13 Sep

Friday night’s (or should I say Saturday morning’s?) sleep did not even match up to the little we attained the night before. This time we clocked 3 hours and were somehow raring to go. Even while typing this I cannot remember for the life of me how we not only managed to function but to do active things and have an incredible time on such little sleep! Check out Lake Lacamas the next morning, quite beautiful!

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We ate breakfast at a little cafe called Shari’s. It was nothing special but it did the job of filling us up. We tossed around various ideas for the day and settled on a hike. On the drive to the gorge we were beside ourselves slap-happy and laughed at everything we said for like an hour straight. I can’t hardly remember ever laughing that hard for that long of a period of time. We had so many jokes and we both consider it one of the highlights of the trip!

I had told Christine about this trail to Oneonta falls in the Columbia River Gorge that I had read about online. It’s in a basalt slot canyon and since you literally hike down a creek to get to the falls, it is only even attemptable in July and August. The rest of the year the water temperature makes it impossible. As it was, even on this 80+ degree day, the water was almost unbearably cold. I’m talking take your breath away cold! We headed down some stairs into the canyon and started down the creek…

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You could walk either way and we saw people headed both directions. I asked someone who was coming from the left if that was the right way and they said yes. They were wrong. We walked some distance until we came to these tunnels that siphoned the water out into what looked like a river clear at the other end and we started wondering if we were supposed to be going that way.

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As we walked the water got deeper and deeper and Christine began freaking out! We decided this most likely was NOT the right way to be headed.

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We turned around and tromped back the way we came from and quickly realized that the majority of the people (and there were a lot of people on this sunny Saturday!) were all going the other way down the creek. Whoops.

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After backtracking and getting deeper into the canyon we came across something I had read about in the trail description- a massive log jam.

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No pictures, or words, will be able to do this justice. The above picture is just the start of the jam but it goes further and higher as you go on. There are hundreds of logs broken and smashed piled one atop the other and just as many people trying to maneuver them. I have to say I was honestly shocked no one got hurt while we were there. It MUST happen because these logs are an accident waiting to strike.

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They are slippery, muddy, and a good 15 feet+ in the air. With gaps and open spaces between so many of them, any slip or fall would send you scraping, scratching and perhaps even breaking through the mess into the water below. I was traversing this with a full pack on my back, my tripod slung over one shoulder and my fancy camera slung over the other. I instantly regretted bringing all that with me as it made my already treacherous crossing practically impossible. I am surefooted and not easily afraid and there were a couple of times I just sat on a log to get my bearings because I was so sure I was going to fall. Didn’t stop me from “going out on a limb” (quite literally) to get a picture though!

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The water coming from these falls was the strangest color! When we finally made it over the log jam (and I was already dreading the return trip) we had some easy hiking before it once again turned treacherous. This time the treachery came in the form of freezing water that was chest high or trying to inch above it on a nearly flat vertical rock wall. Since I had all my gear the water option was automatically out for me. Well at least that’s what I thought. I don’t know why I didn’t realize I could hold my stuff over my head…I blame it on the lack of sleep. Check out this picture below:

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Obviously Christine chose the water path, the easier path all things considered, and it was only going to get much deeper from where she stood. See the rocks to the right and the people standing on them further down? That was how I had to cross with my stuff. I’ve always been good at rock climbing and I inched my way down the wall with my face practically planted in it. I made it almost all the way and reached a really difficult point, a point where a lot of people were saying “Forget it” and just jumping in the water and guess what? I slipped. Couldn’t get a handhold to save my life and I went down, down, banging my right knee on the rocks incredibly hard and my heart went from hammering to practically stopping when I realized all my stuff was going to be submerged and ruined. With my pack just inches from the water, my feet slammed into a ledge and I kept my balance on it for all I was worth. I got SO lucky. It was positively terrifying! My knee killed but I was just thankful not to have gone under and I had a moment of clarity and realized I could carry my stuff overhead on the way back and wouldn’t have to attempt that nightmare again. The Oneonta falls made up for a lot of my trouble though, they were beautiful!

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We both got in chest high and that’s all the farther I would go. It’s not like me to not totally embrace an experience but between the logs and the rock wall, I had already used my mental fortitude and couldn’t handle going totally under or closer to the spray.

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Christine did what I would normally do though and swam around in the falls and jumped off rocks while I watched with my underwater camera handy. The only camera I should have brought on that hike might I add!

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We stayed down at the falls for a good bit before heading back the way we’d come. This time both of us going through the water. The log jam, if anything, was more difficult than the first time and I had a couple of moments of having no clue how I was going to get from where I was to somewhere safer. Christine jumped off a high log into the water and swam out which I would have done too if, once again, I had not had all my junk with me!

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It’s funny because this hike and all it’s perils would make it a huge thrill for me typically and I would consider it a top hike. I just wish I’d realized what I was getting into ahead of time and traveled light. Even through all of that though it was still beautiful and I was still very glad we’d gotten to experience it together!

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After the hike we desperately needed showers and down-time so we did both. Once we were clean and presentable we headed into Portland yet again for dinner at A Cena Ristorante. This place was very highly rated for Italian food and we came expecting a very authentic experience. We were not disappointed. From the very fresh caprese with basil from their garden, soft mozzarella, colorful heirloom tomatoes and a drizzle of balsamic…

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To the house-made limoncello martinis…

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To the INCREDIBLE lobster pasta…

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It was all spectacular. We got a “sharing” bowl, so pasta for 2, although it really wasn’t all that big it was just right for us. It was a hand-made agnolotti with a corn & mascarpone filling and freshly caught, butter-poached lobster. The pasta was excellent but the lobster stole the show! Portland has great access to good seafood and I was so glad to get to try some. It was a good thing we didn’t eat too much at dinner because more food was involved at the next place Christine took us – Bar Vivant!

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Bar Vivant is a wine and pastry place with amazing and adorable pastries. There were sooo many to choose from and I had a hard time but I finally settled on a Royale with a French stinky cheese.

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I know that sounds strange but the royal was a chocolate shell dome filled with a rich chocolate mousse and bites of the extreme sweetness paired with small nibbles of the cheese (can you see the wedge behind the chocolate?) was the perfect combination! There was wine everywhere but Christine and I said no thanks, it was a 1 drink kind of night after how little sleep we’d had!

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Christine got affogato, which is a vanilla bean ice cream with a cup of espresso that you pour over it.

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We also split two small macarons and two small pieces of chocolate.

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It was such a fun and delicious place! We drove back to her apartment, cracking ourselves up the whole time, totally slap-happy again because we had moved past exhaustion into plain crazy. On this night we laid down and went to sleep by 11pm and didn’t get up for a good 9 hours. It was about time.

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