Next Adventure was thrilled to participate in the 5th Annual National Get Outdoors Day event in Vancouver, WA, last weekend. It was a blue-sky, gorgeous day on either side of the Columbia, and people did not need much incentive to get out, but the event opened minds to new ideas of what to do in the great outdoors.
Wake up in the woods. Breathe deep the cool, damp, mountain air. Listen to the stillness of the wilderness. Threre's no commute to the trailhead - you're already there. There are many reasons to love camping.
Dry-side Spring wildflowers are peaking in the east Gorge. Next Adventure Outdoor School was there last weekend to see the plateaus and hillsides covered in color. Balsam root and lupine flowers dominated the scene with fields of sunny-yellow and purple-blue.
The mountains meet the sea for much of Oregon's Pacific coast. Giant headlands jut out to sea, creating isolated beaches for the intrepid hiker to discover. Time it right with low tide, and you can walk around Hug Point, where an old road cut into the rock provides plenty of pools for tidal life. Barnacles encrust almost any durable surface below the high tide mark, while big brightly colored creatures like this orange sea star and giant green anemone (below) can be found in the lower pools.
Spring has sprung, and wildflowers are blooming. I popped out for a quick "urban" hike with friend Jonathan and and his pooch, Jake, on April Fools Day. We drove to a northern trailhead of Forest Park, and hiked a loop along the Maple Trail and Lief Erickson Drive. We enjoyed a beautiful day, strolling through the fresh green spring growth and seeing the first flowers of the season. The trail can be popular, but we only saw six other humans and two dogs. It only lasted a few hours, but it felt like a world away. You'd never guess that such wildness could be found so close to the city.
Below are photos of some of the flowers we encountered.
Contact Next Adventure Outdoor School if you'd like to learn more about wildflower identification.
If you've seen "Portlandia" or the like and believe the hype, you'd think everyone in Portland rides a bicycle and that there's a coffee shop on every corner. It's simply not true. In fact, I know of at least five non-cyclists, and there can actually be up to three blocks between java joints. So, sure, it may look ideal on television, but we've got real problems here just like everyone does everywhere else.
For instance, about this time each year, folks in the Pacific Northwest are faced with a real dilemma. There's still plenty of snow in the mountains, but the spring wildflowers are starting to bloom down in the valleys.
It's a tough decision: Go skiing or take a hike?