Oh, right – did I mention that we’re in Portland? Having shipped the kids off to various camps (hi M!, hi J!), Devon and I have taken the opportunity to head north for a conference. Scientific Conference on Antarctic Research (“SCAR” arrhh, matey!), where I’m co-author on a presentation about how Google’s Geo team and the Polar Geospatial Center have been doing good things for science way down under.
I feel totally out of place on the “science” front, but so far seem to be fitting in on the “wow – Antarctica” aspects. I guess it’s that common bond that you see down on the ice, and I guess you don’t become an Antarctic scientist unless The Ice has gotten under your skin. If it has, then you somehow recognize and accept others who share your malady, so I’m in.
Today: first, a morning hike with Devon, back to Oneonta Falls, just off the Columbia Gorge – honestly one of my favorite places in the world. You walk up the narrow gorge and climb over an enormous logjam of trees that seem too large to have been carried down such a small stream. Then knee-deep through the icy water among fingerling darting in the thin rays of sun that make it down the steep, mossy overhangs. A scramble or two around the side (or you can just swim, if you don’t mind getting wet up to your neck) and you’re at the falls themselves – you might as well be in Bora Bora, or Shangri-La.
Hunted for thimbleberries on the loop trail that surrounds the gorge, then fought traffic back into the city, dodging into the grid of cozy neighborhoods that fill the flat stretch east of the Willamette River.
Made it back to Portland mid-afternoon and flipped a mental coin or two before heading back to The Trucks – “Salmon Fusion
” was beckoning. Turns out that it’s a bit of an institution here: as we sat, me with my salmon pot pie and Devon with her salmon-mango-chutney-wrap-minus-the-wrap, a guide for Portland Walking Tours pulled his entourage up and explained to them how Roger was unique, even by Portland standards. Seems he actually goes out and catches the fish he serves himself – a real end-to-end entrepreneur. Roger interrupted the presentation to explain how he used to work on the big boats, pulling up tuna, crab and all that, but somewhere in his 50’s decided it was time for him to slow down and settle a little.
Me, I’m glad he did. Yes, I was hungry, but the smoked salmon pot pie (puff pastry crust, jambalaya and salmon filling, with Hawaiian slaw on the side) was fabulous. Really really good. Roger threw in a taster of the salmon chowder on the side – he knew I was hooked.
Oh right – where was I? Portland. Yeah. Stopped by Mill Ends Park on the way back. Improbable, quirky, call it what you will. I do like this town.
|Mill Ends Park, at 2′ in diameter, is the smallest
park in the United States.