Posted by: GeekHiker | September 22, 2007

Oregon Trip Day 4: Back into the city: Portland!

This morning I discovered the secret to attracting wildlife to the campsite: leave a little water on top of the bear box.

Woke up a bit chilly this morning; temperatures were in the low-thirties.

This delayed my getting out of the sack a bit while waiting for the air to get just a little bit warmer. Eventually, though, hunger (and other needs) won out.

I dressed and spent the next couple of hours making breakfast and packing up camp.

During this time the aforementioned wildlife, in the form of little birds, kept wandering in and out of my camp.

Now, ordinarily, I avoid feeding wildlife whenever I can. It’s a pretty bad deal for them: they become too attached to human food, then when the tourists leave, the little critters don’t know their natural food sources, and often starve.

There have been a couple of exceptions to this self-imposed rule, mostly out of my control. Namely a little squirrel who went inside my backpack on Half Dome and stole my apple.

Punk little thief.

Probably bragged about it to all his little furry friends too.

The water was from where I’d set a bag of ice the night before, and since there was water readily available in the canyon below, I didn’t feel too badly about it. They would come, little gray birds and some scrub jays, take a drink, fly up into a tree to chirp a bit (a tune of “thanks, now I don’t have to fly into that silly canyon,” I think) and head off. And thus was my company while busily packing the car.

Day 04 - Morning Birds

My morning visitors (sorry it’s so dark & out-of-focus)

Car packed, I headed out of the campground and back up towards Rim Drive.

Just up the road though, I found I couldn’t resist one quick hike: the Godfrey Glen Trail. Only a mile in length, it was the perfect little warm up to the day.

Day 04 - Godfrey Glen Trail

Along the Godfrey Glen Trail

I walked at a quick pace through the brisk morning air, meandering through old growth forest with occasional views down Annie Creek Canyon, all while reading a little brochure about the geology along the way.

Day 04 - Godfrey Glen View

A view down canyon from the Godfrey Glen Trail

I was running late by now, but some part of me just had to check out the other campground and The Pinnacles, so I continued up to Rim Drive, turned right, and then right again onto dead end road to the Pinnacles.

Day 04 - CL Pinnacles 1

The delicate Pinnacles

A short trail along the rim of a canyon takes you out to views of the Pinnacles, remnants of the hardened side walls of ancient fumaroles. Weathering wore down the rock surrounding them, leaving only the Pinnacles behind. Most of them are hollow.

Day 04 - CL Pinnacles 2

The Pinnacles and rock layering at The Pinnacles (be sure to look at the big one for the full effect)

By now, of course, I was running really late, so I headed back along Rim Drive, turning left and heading out the Park’s north entrance.

Along the way I passed through the Pumice Desert, an area where the composition of the soil so so poor as to basically preclude any plant life growing. It’s a truly empty void:

Day 04 - Pumice Desert Panorama

The barren Pumice Desert

Swinging left onto Highway 138, I spent the next 70 miles cruising down the mountains through pine forests. Signs along the way indicated trailheads for the 79-mile North Umpqua Trail, which parallels the road along the North Umpqua River.

Judging by the trail brochure, it’s a trail I simply must put on the life list.

Turning north on I-5 at Roseburg, I made a quick stop for lunch in. It was here in the parking lot that I viewed this legendary vehicle:

Day 04 - Phone Books

Hey, I’m impressed. I can’t rip a phone book in half.

(I would later learn, sadly, that he has recently passed away. The fact that he started when he was 67 is dammed impressive.)

The highway continues into the verdant Willamette Valley. The area reminds me of the Central Valley in California, though on a smaller scale. In between the mountains lay miles and miles of farmland, punctuated by cities here and there.

Finally, a couple of hours late, I drove over the hills and into Portland, finally arriving at the hotel at 4:00.

A mistaken name (got her last name wrong, oops), and a few minutes later I met my traveling companion: Just A Girl (JaG). You know her, she gets a bit Angsty sometimes.

How did this happen? The quick story: as I started planning out the trip, I chatted with JaG about it. As the itinerary came together, she said “the trip sounds like a lot of fun.” Since I was going no matter what, I threw out the option: “Wanna tag along?”, figuring a travel partner might be fun. A few nervous days waiting to find out if she’d get the time off work later, and I have a travel buddy.

After the aforementioned shower and getting everything into the room, we headed out to a bar and restaurant someone at work who used to live here recommended: Roots Organic Brewery.

Taking the MAX trains downtown, we got off and headed south into an… interesting area of Portland. Eventually, after having walked a few blocks past it due to our chatting, we located the place, and inside partook of some very good beer and food. The chatting, of course, continued, and I think she’ll make a fine companion for this trip.

Sadly, the walk back north to the train station eliminated the pleasant buzz from the beer, so we headed back to the hotel, poured some cider into insulated camp mugs, and relaxed in the hot tub (trying to keep our eyes off of the very large man in the very small swim trunks).

Exhausted, we’re now headed to our respective beds (What were you thinking? Shame on you. Now go sit in the corner and think about what you did.) and will soon fall asleep on the most comfortable pillows I’ve ever… zzzzzzzzzzz…….



  1. Wow, the Pinnacles look like nothing I have ever seen before! Very cool… more great photos!

    And hot tubbing with ladies you meet on the internet? Very smooth, GH!

  2. I’m really loving these posts, GH, and adore that picture of the birds, dark, blurry and all.

  3. charlotte – Amazing, aren’t they? I’ve spent so much time in the Sierras (granitic) that I’d forgotten how cool the Cascades (volcanic) can be.

    lea – thanks. I just wish the picture had turned out better, it was such an unexpected surprise.

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