Last month, with a soon to expire plane voucher in hand, I made reservations to visit my brother and his new bride in a little town called Portland.
Made it past TSA and found 3+ ounces of liquid and bite to eat.
Once in town, I caught up with my brother and started getting to know my new sister-in-law at their cozy little house in Lake Oswego. Joe and I ran to The Circuit the next day while Caroline slaved at work.
I really enjoyed The Circuit, we hit the NE venue. The place is expansive with hundreds of problems of every grade on flat walls, slabs, dihedrals, overhangs, and top outs. It’s about four times the size of the co-op at home with some nice training walls, hangboards, rings, and multiple slacklines. This is what a bouldering gym should look like.
One of the best things about The Circuit is the abundance of fiberglass features bolted around the gym. The rail on the V3 pictured above was one of my favorites. I’d like to see one of these at the MNCC. I was psyched to be sending V5 in a new town, though I was shut down on a blue problem that I worked several times.
That night, I got to catch up with a couple of friends making their home in the PNW (pronounced pin-wah) while avoiding fights with locals. Shoulder bumping me over a booth? C’mon! I’m the booth whisperer, get over it hipster. The Other Sean filled me on his meat jacket and his new space for Vertigo Cycles, his custom titanium bike frame business. Kevin and I talked Meetup groups and juggling, a topic we frequently return to.
The next day, Joe, Caroline, and I drove down to Newport on the kind of cloudy, wet day Oregon conjures in your mind. We stopped at the Hatfield Marine Science Center and read about tsunamis and saw actual debris that floated over from Japan.
Just next door to the the science center is Rogue Brewery. We missed the tour, but found the restaurant. Chocolate stout was tasty, but I opted for Captain Sigs Red Ale with lunch.
We planned for a long hike the next day with my buddy Kevin, a Minnesota transplant. While Joe and Caroline poured over hiking books and websites, I lazed about. It was my vacation, after all!
Joe dug into his box o’goodness and threw some cams my way. Better in use on my rack than waiting for his return to trad seemed to be the logic. Thanks, brother!
We settled on a trail that Kevin later described as the Mall of America of Oregon hikes – a place you take your out of town guests, but with less Gaps. Eagle Creek sees a lot of visitors in the peak season, but on a 40 degree day, not as many.
We did about 11 miles, maybe 12. Joe’s GPS was a little wonky and had us at a pace of 17 mph. I’m thinking it kicked on during the drive and our hiking pace was dragging down the average.
It was the perfect day for us to get out and perhaps the first time I’ve seen extended sunshine in Oregon. We stopped for food on the way home and made fun of the drunk ladies’ drama at the table next to us while discussing the magic red onion box (band name!).
The next day was travel day. Time to venture back to reality.
With a couple of hours to kill, I bid Caroline adieu and hit The Circuit again with Joe. I unlocked the blue V5 that bested me days before and my trip was complete.
Fare thee well, PNW, I will see you again someday. Thanks for the hospitality!