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Mount Hood rising beyond Portland proper.

With Portland’s philosophical temperament, insane amount of breweries (something like 71) , and solid, mellow vibes it’s hard to break away from the inner city. Yet, when you manage to, the surrounding areas contain an abundance of natural beauty. Moving away from the bells and whistles of city life, the call of the wild echoes from the mountain tops into the heart of PDX, emerging from the cobblestone streets as a powerful guide, taking you off the pavement and into the wild itself.

In no particular order, I present to you the wild, the ever inspiring, somewhat touristic sights of PDX

The Japanese Gardens

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There’s an influential air of tranquility in the 5.5 acre park where stones mingle with plants and water to create a sense of harmony, balance between worlds. Said to be the most authentic Japanese garden outside of the motherland, the park is separated into five equally important sections displaying traditional flora alongside indigenous plants for a solid assimilation of nature.

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Apparently, this Pagoda came as a gift from the Mayor of Sapporo (Portland’s sister city in Japan) in 1963. There are actually several relics on site. Treasures from Japan, only adding to the holistic beauty.

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“Shishi Odoshi”- Translating to “scare the deer”

I was under the impression that these “shishi odoshi” were used to keep track of time or perhaps for meditation… Nope! This bamboo fountain is truly used to keep birds and other animals away that may otherwise snack on the bounty of plants in the garden. However, like magic, it certainly moves ones bladder!

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Multnomah Falls

As the tallest waterfall in the state of Oregon this site has become somewhat of a roadside spectacle. Easily accessible and equipped with it’s very own on-site lodge, Multnomah makes for a great pit stop after visiting the Wahkeena Falls. There’s even a great trail which loops up and around Wahkeena, then back down passing Multnomah.

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 The upper fall at 542 feet is not the source of the ray beam that white washed this photo to near dust…

Wahkeena Falls

While the lesser of our two falls, I find Wahkeena more striking. More gradual, the site less trafficked, and the immediate hiking trail, gorgeous.

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At this vantage point, by the water, it felt at least 10 degrees cooler in the already chill Oregonian fall.

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Peeking over the Columbia River

Forest Park

With something like 70 miles of hiking trails, Forest Park is obviously competing with the breweries in town in an all out mile vs. brewpub showdown. The trails in here contain a striking dose of deep backwoods remoteness. Enough to satiate most appetites. There’s even a movement in the works that will connect a portion of the park to the Pacific Crest Trail. So, Forest Park will technically be part of a 2,600 mile range of trails…

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An early 20th century rest stop along one of Forest Park’s endless trails.

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As you ascend higher, Forest Park begins to fan out. Tree growth becomes more sparse, while ferns dominate the grounds which are far less moist than in the deeper ravines.

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The further you hike, the less noise pollution, the less passerby’s. All that despite the fact that we’re maybe a mile from the city center, well, as the crow flies.

Sauvie Island

Nude beaches, vegetable gardens, and geese hunting. The common denominator? Sauvie Island.

Larger than Manhattan and certainly more sustainable, Sauvie is one of those great escapes that transport you to another time. Farmers markets, pumpkin patches in the fall, U-pick farms, quiet dirt roads, and all surrounded by the calming Columbia River just 10 miles west of PDX.

At one point a massive freighter passed by sending swells up the beach.

 We found our way to the island for a picnic. Equipped with a bottle of Kansas City’s finest brew and a pack of nuts, we had an exceptional, minimalistic, beach experience.


Arabic in the sand…

Always working, even on vacation. I had to throw down a little Arabic.


Ok, i’m clearly a grease-pit who had too much to drink. Jaclyn, however, is charming as ever completing our yin-yang look

The List Goes On…

2013-10-05 13.27.35The suicidal Mt. St. Helens.

This is only a sample of the more accessible sights. The list really goes on and on… Mount Hood, the Pacific Coast, Willamette Valley (post coming on my vineyard experiences soon).

As with the eats of PDX, I’m already planning for the sights of my next trip.

So, what do you think? Did I miss anything truly special?

Yallah, bye!


14 responses to “The City of Roses Part II: Sights”



  2. How wonderful to catch up on your blog and find you were right here in my own city. Even better: you made it shine! Isn’t this an amazing place? The Japanese garden is lovely, and having recently come home from months in Japan, it’s the closest thing to authentic I’ve seen in the States. Next time, do visit the Chinese garden downtown, which will also have you raving.

    I think you hit some of the best stuff: Forest Park, the Columbia River Gorge with the waterfalls (there are always more waterfalls). Make sure you visit the Vista House next time, if you haven’t yet. While Forest Park is one of the largest city parks in the nation, Portland also has the smallest city park: Mill Ends Park (http://crystaltrulove.wordpress.com/2011/02/07/the-smallest-park-in-the-world-is-in-portland/) right downtown and though not much to see, it’s fun to say you’ve been there. You also noted the famous breweries, and visited Sauvie Island, often missed by visitors.

    Next time, go up to Timberline Lodge, on Mt. Hood. You don’t have to stay the night there, or even ski, but do take a look at the gorgeous building with the three-story fireplace, and at least stay for lunch and walk a few steps on the Pacific Crest Trail, just outside the lodge. In town, ride the tram up to Pill Hill (the hospitals), and tour the Willamette on either the historic sternwheeler or ride with Scovare Tours on a sailboat.

    That ought to be enough suggestions to start with! I loved your post. Thanks. 🙂


  3. The falls are spectacular. This city seems to have a little bit of everything doesn’t it?


  4. Beautiful shots! Makes me want a forest walk right about now! ~SueBee


  5. Reblogged this on beer and blogs.


    1. Pretty mellow, ey? My zen-bar is still at max capacity. 😉


  6. I love the waterfall. Looks spectacular!


  7. Your posts are reminding me of how much I love Portland. Your pictures of the Japanese gardens and the (green) forest are beautiful. It all looks so refreshing!


  8. Great photos. Reminded me of the last time I visited Fort Worth, Texas. There amidst all the hustle and bustle of the city I found the Japanese Gardens. Was such a find. http://fwbg.org/gardens/japanese/


    1. Thanks for that link! Fort Worth/Dallas has their hidden gems. I’ve spent little time there, but it’s always a memorable stay. I’ll absolutely be checking out the gardens 🙂 My family lives in the Hill Country outside Austin so that would make for a great weekend trip.
      Got any photos?


      1. Don’t have any photos. I don’t usually take a camera with me when I go on trips. I like to take it all in.


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