Portland, Oregon, USA

Let me try to recap my time in Portland. It’s been quite some time since I arrived there; I am now in San Francisco and there were many stops in between. The day I arrived to Portland it was late and dark. I stayed in the south west hills, a beautiful part of Portland, at a cute AirBnB.

Multnomah Falls

Multnomah Falls was a must- a place I had dreamed of seeing ever since the first time I stumbled upon a picture of it. This ended up being my first visit- I went the following morning, it was Friday. I dressed for a full day at Multnomah only to find the trails were closed. The trails were closed for an unforeseen amount of time because of fire damage, rockslides and other natural causes that were dangerous to hikers.
Instead, I took many pictures of the falls and bridge but could not go beyond the bridge itself. After I had an obscene amount of pictures, I had lunch at the lodge. Since I wasn’t expecting this closure (due to poor planning- it had been closed for over a year). Due to location, it is common that such damage occurs in time of extreme weather, closing the trails for indefinite time. It’s important to check updates even when it is a perfect day.
I searched for my next move as I waited for my lunch to be served.

Pittock Mansion

That evening I found myself at the Pittock mansion awaiting a beautiful sunset with the Mt. Hood floating above Portland’s skyline. I arrived around 5PM and read a book while more people congregated for pictures. The book I read was about Portland, I found it on the shelf in my AirBnB. Next move? Dinner. In my reading I found a cross street well known for food trucks.  I headed out of the park before everyone else to grab a bite. I parked in a lot- the size of a full street block, the trucks surrounded the block facing outward. It was closing time, I still had many trucks to choose from though- most were Greek. I sampled lamb and thought about having a gyro but then I found pizza. The book mentioned this pizza place, so that is what I settled on. I only managed to eat half and kept the rest for breakfast. 

Pittock Mansion
City skyline of Portland, OR. with Mt. Hood in the distance

Boise- Portland Neighborhood

The second day I woke up to pizza for breakfast- no surprise there. I decided to complete a few errands in Portland; this included a post office stop and laundry. So day 2 was mainly just running around to get some stuff done as well as figuring out how to get my hair cut. I had an appointment scheduled with Ren for my 3rd day in Portland. I was so nervous; it took a long time to grow my hair out. I literally was going through all the stages of nerves. Luckily, the salon was in a street full of fun boutique-y stores so I decided to head down and wander before my appointment. I got some new clothes and accessories!

Spin Laundry Lounge- inside the landromat lounge area.

McMenamins Kennedy School

McMenamins 103rd birthday sign

For lunch I had Blue Star Donuts, what a healthy day. I blame all my choices on my nerves. I ended up loving my hair, 4 hours later… that’s how long it took. I really do like it though. I was excited for my next stop. I left there to check out Mcmenamins Kennedy School. I had a little bit of dye on my forehead, but it’s just a poorly lit bar, right? Ha! Little did I know- this place was mind-blowingly cool.
I had never imagined what I walked in to. I arrived on the 103rd birthday, it was busy. I had so much fun just wandering around, I even lost my phone. The concept of this ‘school’ was something I’d never imagine- you have to visit it to really understand! At this point, I had already fallen in love with Portland. The people here were so nice, they even returned my phone to the front desk within minutes of me losing it, and the city was in an ideal location.
It didn’t rain once while I was there, although the locals act like it rains as much as Seattle. I began searching property values in the area to get an idea of what I could afford and the neighborhoods. Anyway, since it was the McMenamins birthday, they were giving a highly coveted stamp that night. … stamps? This lit my brain up and connected a few dots.
One of my friends from home, who moved to MD from OR, told me about a place like this before!! I realized this was the place with multiple locations and a really cool loyalty program. I didn’t join that night- it’s an annual membership sort of ordeal. Although by the end of my time in Portland I would’ve collected at least 3 stamps.

Silver Falls State Park

a narrow stairway on the silver falls trail

That night I reached out to the friend back home we talked a bit about what I’d done, the closed trails… etc and she recommended another hike. The following day I ended up at Silver Falls, this is a state park, about an hour and 15 mins south of Portland. This was her recommendation- in this park was a trail of 10 falls, 3 of which you can walk behind!! The hike wasn’t too long, and the main area was crowded. The farther I went the less people would be and the smaller the waterfalls became until I came back around to the crowds again. I was dedicated in completing the loop for exercise. This was a lot of fun and much needed for my lack of healthy eating. I also had lots of people watching opportunities here. I’ve since found a similar trail on the East coast with about 2x the amount of waterfalls in PA- Ricketts Glen. I came back pretty late and had leftovers from Mcmenamins the night before.

a selfie of me beind the waterfall- dark, wet rocks above my head

Lan Su Chinese gardens

On my final day I was due to take my car in for a routine oil change. I brought my car to Tokyo town, dropped it off at the shop, and made my way to Lan Su Chinese gardens. This garden was beautiful, and was right in the middle of the city! I had tea and rice cakes and wandered around taking pictures of the architecture and myself. I noticed someone had VooDoo Doughnuts a Portland landmark, he said it was like a 10 min walk away. Because of all the hype I really wanted to try one. I walked down a very homeless street; it was daytime in a large city and about 90% of the people I passed, if not more, were homeless. Needless to say, I was a bit outside of my comfort zone, and then a homeless man touched me. He only touched my arm, but it made me very uncomfortable. I arrived to VooDoo to find out they’d only accept cash. I left my debit card in my car and had no cash, so I braved my way back down this homeless street without a doughnut in hand. This was an epic fail. On my way back I saw human shit on the street. I believe it’s safe to say, I will not be looking for property near this side of town.

An old headstone with a carve japanese man and moss found in the Japanese Garden

Portland Japanese gardens


I picked up my car and went back to the Japanese garden on the nicer side of town. I stayed here until a little after closing. The Japanese garden is larger than the Chinese garden, but I enjoyed the architecture of the Chinese garden more.

Williamette Valley

I realized this was my last day to try and visit a Willamette vinyard, so it was time to leave. I found the only single winery opened past 5pm and had about an hour drive to get there. I made it, Utopia– I arrived with about 40 minutes to taste.

5 varietals of Utopia wine and a glass with a sample of redwine poured

While tasting wine I was simultaneously setting up a dinner date back in town. The couple in the tasting room gave me some local recommendations for my date. Once the winery closed I was on my way back to Portland. The couple had recommended LeChon, a tappas restaurant on the water. Unfortunately, by the time my date was ready and we met up the restaurant was closing.

Datenight in Portland

A half eaten voodoo 'doll' doughnut

We wandered to the oldest bar in Portland instead- I had chicken Picatta. The date was going well, he was also here traveling, from Austin. I thought The Kennedy school was so cool, so I wanted to take him there. We had a few drinks and played shuffle board. He then wanted to show me another bar closer to where he was staying (also near my place) so we wouldn’t have far to drive. Oh! We also went to Voodoo Doughnuts and got one… and then poked our head into some Scientology place after dinner on our way to my car.
The bar was another Mcmenamins- Bluemoon. We just drank water and sat by the fire. They ended up kicking us out 30 minutes after closing. We sat in my car and talked and smoked. We were surrounded by homeless people… they’re everywhere. It was 3am and we both had an early morning so we said goodbye. As he was walking away I tried to start my engine. FAIL. He came back and waited with me for over an hour my roadside assistance to show up. Uh, what a date. Finally I got a jump, he left and I went back to my place to try and sleep before my big day of driving.

Next Stop: Redwoods with a Crater Lake detour.

A panormamic picture of Crater lake
Kaitlin

A traveler who has allowed the World to show her that extreme posing beliefs are necessary to find the sweet spot that is revolutionary. Because life is too complex; it’s a balance of black and white; we need to blend the two so we can live in the grey space of an Open Mind. Currently finding a balance in exploring the World and being sustainable everyday.

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