Monday, May 20, 2013

Weekend in Beaverton

As I have mentioned before, a big part of our decision to move to the Pacific Northwest was that we haven't had the opportunity before to really explore this part of the country.  Our intention, upon making the decision to move here, was to take full advantage of our location and take frequent trips to the surrounding areas.  Another big bonus to moving to this area was the proximity to our dear friends, the Daines, who live in the Portland area.  A couple weekends ago, we made the 3 1/2 hour drive down to Beaverton to spend a few days with them.  Let me take a minute here and say it is so fun to be close enough to them to do that!  Some of our kids have said that when they were younger they thought they were their cousins.  I love that.  Living away from our families for most of our adult lives, it is nice to know that our kids have still had friendships with people that were so close they felt like family. 

The weather was absolutely perfect when we took off early Friday morning.  Our intention was to take our time traveling down there, making a detour over to Mount St Helens along the way.  Texting with Anita after we left, however, I found out that Joe had taken a 1/2 day and that they were expecting us by early afternoon.  We took a family vote and decided to skip Mount St Helens this time and just take a camping trip there another time. 

Friday afternoon and evening were spent hanging out together grilling, playing kickball, and sitting by the campfire telling stories.  It never takes long for the stories to devolve to bathroom/poop tales, but we never claimed to be the classiest bunch.

Saturday morning we packed a picnic lunch and drove to Multnomah Falls.  I've wanted to go there ever since I first heard about them some time ago.  The drive there was lovely.  Perfect weather and views of the great mountains (St Helens and Hood) made it delightful.  Having spent five years in rural Dodgeville WI, and now living on a relatively small, quiet island, I have gotten pretty soft when it comes to traffic and the congestion of being in/near a larger city.  I felt like I could breathe again when we left Portland behind and the Columbia River valley opened up in front of us.  It is absolutely breathtaking and I couldn't take it all in fast enough. 

Since the weather was so perfect and it was a Saturday and the falls are easily accessible and awe-inspiring, it was kind of crowded when we arrived.  The parking lot was full, so we had to drive on a little further and park beside the road.  This wasn't a big deal, except that in order to get back to the falls, we had to cross a bridge.  Which wasn't a big deal, except for the signs prohibiting foot traffic across it.  We would have done it anyway if we didn't have four adults and 10 kids to get across.  Instead, we decided to climb down and walk under the bridge, next  to the railroad tracks.  This worked out fine, though it took us a little longer to get there.

I was really surprised how close the falls were to the road.  Just driving by you can get a pretty good view of them.  At the base of the falls there is a cafĂ© and restrooms and gift shop, also quite unexpected.  We had already determined that we would hike to the top of the falls, a one mile hike one way.  A one mile hike is pretty easy, except when it is up a cliff.  The trail was great, many people we encountered pushed baby strollers (!) up it, but it was definitely uphill.  I believe the sign said there were 11 switchbacks.  From time to time we would stop to rest and I would take those opportunities to drink in the view of the Columbia River gorge dropping away from us as we climbed ever upward. 

The kids were awesome hikers.  Of course, most of our kids are Big Kids now, but even the littler ones did great.

 Upon reaching the top, we OOoooed and Ahhhhhhed for a while from the overlook, snapping pictures and resting our tired legs, then we found a spot upstream from the falls where we could sit on the rocks and eat our lunch.  

The trek back down the hill was much easier, aside from littlest Daines tripping, scraping up elbows and knees, and almost bouncing off the trail and down the side of the mountain. 


The drive back to Beaverton was pretty quiet, as everyone was tuckered out from the adventure.  It also made for a quiet evening of playing games and watching funny video clips online. 

Sunday morning we went to church in Beaverton, but had to cut out early, right after sacrament meeting, so we could make it back to Bainbridge Island in time for Kennedy's flute recital.  Driving home I was again struck by how lucky we are to be able to see Mt Hood, Mount St Helens, and Mt Rainier on that drive.  Such majesty and power in those mountains!

As always, each time we see the Daines it just leaves me excited for our next get together.


Anonymous said...

Thanks Molly for sharing on your blog instead of facebook. I don't often get to see your pictures or comments from there. Beautiful pictures. The Daine kids grow just like every other kid does. Was amazed at how big they are now.

Jenny said...

Brad and I just went to Multnomah Falls for the first time a few weekends ago. We didn't go all the way to the top, though...Brad pulled his "I'm afraid of heights" card, so we settled for the mid-level by the bridge. Absolutely gorgeous! I agree about the traffic, was horrible in Portland, even worse than Seattle, I think...but once you get out of the city, it's so beautiful and peaceful. I can't wait to go back and explore the area around the Colombia River.