Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Canyons, Firs & Deschutes

good morning moab
moonlight moab
I was sad to say goodbye to Colorado.  I absolutely love the Rockies. Headed west from Beuna Vista, I rode for 5 hours through some of the most spectacular scenery I have encountered up to that point. I went from a straight route through Kansas to the most curves and twists one can image through the Rocky Mountains. I arrived in Moab Utah just before sundown. I set up camp along a winding river in the depths of a bright red canyon. The moon was almost full so I was able to take some long exposures of the canyon illuminated by  the moonlight.  Waking up I was greeted to a mesmerizing view.  This area is eye candy, Arches and Canyon Lands National Park are just miles away. I could have easily spent a week exploring but I have an agenda to keep so I was on my way bright and early.

My Boise host, Mike
11 hours later, via the hot desert plains of Utah and Idaho I arrived in Boise. ((WHAT A LONG RIDE)) and immediately found a brewpub! Once again I hooked up a place to stay with motorcycle enthusiast. Big Shout to Mike Costanti for allowing me a sweet bungalow type bedroom at his place. Mike was great and was preparing his newly acquired adventure bike for a South America trip this winter.  Can't wait for his ride reports.  What little I saw of Boise I really liked, small town feel with a touch of urban. Thanks again Mike!

Boise Bungalow
The next morning I was off! My destination: Portland, Oregon.  It has long been my dream to walk in the old growth forests of Washington & Oregon. I am lucky to have a couple friends, Jenny and Dave, Philadelphia ex pats, living in Portland. They offered to let me bunk down with them while I explored the area.

Another 8+ hour ride from Boise to Portland and arrived to Jenny and Dave's house in the midst of a birthday party for Dave. Smoked pulled pork and some of the finest wine you can imagine were my welcoming committee.  What a treat after 1300 miles of riding in two days.
Hoyt Arboretum

The next day Jenny and I explored Portland's nature resources.  We went to the both the Audubon center and Hoyt Arboretum where I spewed out my project to the rangers there in order to be guided to the areas native plants. I was lucky to meet Martin Nicholson, Curator at the Hoyt Arboretum.  He was happy to show me the small area dedicated to the native plants of the region. After leaving nature Jenny and I took a quick tour of the "NewSpace" Photographic Art Center, in NW Portland.  I was curious to see this place and it honestly blew me away. What an amazing facility.  I spoke to the staff there, told them about the Light Room and extended a friendship. I recommend visiting this photo center and gallery if ever in Portland

That evening, Jenny, Dave and I checked out some of the local bars in Portland. I really liked the vibe of the city, and although it has an over exaggerated hipster feel (see Portlandia) I thought it's location next to the forest and it's commitment to "green" made it a place I would certainly visit again and again.

It didn't take long for Jenny, Dave and some of their friends to convince me to drive north a few hours and visit the Olympic National Park in Washington state. I mean hey, what's 3 hours on the bike at this point.... no big deal.  So, the next morning I awoke, packed a few things and off I went.  4 hours later I arrived in what seemed like a dream world.  The Largest Old Growth Forest in the Unites States.  It was getting late so I found a campground, set up the tent and immediately took an 8 mile hike through the woods.  Amazing. And because the previous day I learned about the native plants in this eco-region I could easily identify the vegetation as I walked through the largest Spruces and Fir trees in the world. That evening I experienced a full moon rising over the top ridge of these wonderful trees reflecting over a pristine lake. It was 10PM and I was sitting lake-side in the moonlight fishing.  Again I caught nothing, but what a moment.


The next morning I awoke a went for an hour cycle ride on dirt roads through the park.  I made it to a trail head and did a 3.5 hour hike into the rain forest. This is certainly another place I could spend a week at and not see enough.  A 4 hour drive and I was back in Portland for what would be my last night there. Jenny , Dave , Gus (their black lab who couldn't get enough of me) played cards, drank wine and laughed the evening away. Can't thank them enough for being  wonderful hosts! ( I will be uploading a picture of Jenny, Dave & Gus as soon as I can!)

The next day my goal was to begin moving south. Bend, Oregon was my destination.  It seems everyone I meet in Oregon couldn't say enough great things about this town.  A good friend of Len's offered to put me up for a night or two in Bend.  I met Mo and her friends at the infamous Deschutes Brewery (brew pub). Mo has an amazing outlook being from Mass and re-locating here.  She is a speech therapist, world traveler and avid outdoors woman.  Her friends were all very cool and were happy to show me the best way to get to the coast from Bend, via some mountain passes and stunning scenery.

Now, here I am, catching up with the interweb and having a cup of Kombucha at local Coffee shop in Bend about to move onto to the second leg of this trip. From here I will head west, catch the coast, ride south, hug a redwood and discover more native plants!