Recap from last weekend’s trip to Portland to visit my cousin Bryan and his wife Ali!
I took the day off work and I flew out early on Friday morning (thanks Melissa for the ride!) to get a full day in Portland.
Bryan picked me up from the airport, and we headed for the wilderness! It was beautiful weather in Oregon this weekend. After a quick stop for breakfast at a Country Pride Restaurant at a truck stop (we were curious — for the record, they serve perfectly respectable pancakes and eggs, but Bryan recommends steering clear of the chicken fried steak for breakfast).
We took the scenic route to our planned hike at Eagle Creek, stopping by Multnomah Falls, the tallest waterfall in Oregon.
We decided on an ambitious 12-mile out-and-back hike to Tunnel Falls along the Eagle Creek river. Thanks to Bryan’s distrust of the directions he got from the internet, we parked half a mile from the trailhead, adding another mile to our hike. It wasn’t so bad on the way in, but man it felt like a long way on the hike out.
The Eagle Creek trail ascends along the river, surrounded by redwoods and dense forest on both sides. In places, the trail gets rocky from landslides, and there are cable rails on the wettest, narrowest parts of the trail.
Aside from pointing out all the awesome dogs on the trail to Bryan, I took lots of photos of wilderness!
Tunnel Falls itself was too big to take a good photo. The trail went through a tunnel behind the waterfall itself, and we cooled off in the spray before heading back 6 miles (6.5, I guess) to the car.
On the way back to Portland, we stopped to visit Herman the sturgeon, who is apparently an Oregon celebrity. All I knew about sturgeon before reading the exhibit was they have these crazy armored sides and sometimes slice off kayakers’ noses when they jump out of the water (I think this happens in Florida). Terrifying. But Herman seemed nice enough.
I took a nap on the car on the way back, so I missed the “entering Portland” sights. We arrived at Bryan and Ali’s new house, a beautiful historical house with a front and back porch. I met their pet ferrets, Roger and Chloe, who were very dubious about this stranger in their space.
We had dinner at Le Pigeon, a fancy little place with amazing food. They have some really interesting combinations of flavors — my favorite was a fatty salmon appetizer, served raw with honey mustard, sweet herbs (including mint and dill), radish, and green almonds. I’m still having flashbacks to how tasty it was.
They also had a linguine with their “double dragon” sauce (you know I had to try it), which they described as a miso and curry base that they just keep adding things (sausage, pork, beef, rabbit, etc.) to and simmering until it’s awesome. They only make it once or twice a year, since they save up all the best ingredients to add to it. The entrees were fine, and we followed it all up with delicious, rich desserts (Ali recommends sticking to appetizers and dessert). I think I ate an entire crème brûlée on my own.
On Saturday, I slept in until 10 and headed into downtown with Bryan to get some fish (haddock) and chips from the Frying Scotsman. According to Bryan, there’s curry powder in the batter. Whether it was the curry or the freshness of just-fried fish, it was delicious.
Fried fish in hand, we went to visit Ali at the One Million Strong march for colorectal cancer awareness. She’s a colorectal surgeon and was running around with a scope and a fake butt. Bryan and I walked through the giant colon and learned about polyps!
After that little adventure, we headed south to Silver Falls State Park to hike the Trail of Ten Falls. I tortured Bryan with more dog-pointing-out; I’m like 8-year-old me again — completely obsessed with dogs and loving all the happy dogs out and about.
We had to cut our hike short to 5 miles and skip the last couple of waterfalls to make it back in time for my first non-working (I’ve EMT’ed two at Stanford Stadium) MLS game as an adult. After a power nap at home, we were off to the stadium!
The Portland Timbers have a pretty intense fan section, and it reminded me more of a college football game than the MLS soccer games I’ve been to. I learned to love Will Johnson (who scored!), cheer for Maxi Urruti and Chara, and be glad that Futty was back. Plus, they were playing Chivas USA, which means some serious defending by Carlos Bocanegra. The Timbers had another draw, continuing their undefeated-at-home streak, but also continuing their draw-instead-of-win-at-home streak.
We got drinks with Bryan and Ali’s friend John and his brother after the game, then headed home for bed, because Bryan was getting up early to watch the Liverpool vs. Man City match at 5:30am (weirdo).
I slept in again while Bryan watched the Premier League match, though I was woken up around 7:30am when Roger, the aforementioned ferret, came in to investigate my room. I scooped him up, but then he came with me to the bathroom before heading off to investigate the other rooms upstairs. I went back to bed.
When I got up again, we headed off to the coast! We drove due west through logging country to Cannon Beach. The weather held at its lovely mid-70s, which made for perfect beach weather. We got a quick lunch at a nice little cafe, then walked along the beach.
We walked out there for a few hours, just meandering on past little coastal houses. We went about a mile and a half (I was chasing seagulls and dogs) before we decided to head back. Bryan convinced me to run for a bit, and the trip back would’ve been faster if I hadn’t wandered into a tide pool to touch sea anemones.
After the beach, we went up to the lookout at Ecola State Park for what Bryan calls the Best View in Oregon.
We would’ve stayed longer, but we hatched a plan to make burgers and give Ali a break from patient files. We listed to a Stars album on the drive back to Portland, and I kept having this weird feeling like I’d listened to Stars before on a long drive through the woods.
I masterminded the acquisition of avocado and bacon to go on our burgers. We couldn’t find burger buns, so we got a loaf of challah and cut it in thirds (note: that’s way too much bread… we were ambitious). We ate the burgers on the patio in the sun, accompanied with fries from Potato Champion, a food truck down the street.
Bryan had to work on Monday, so I drove him to Beaverton, where the Nike offices are. I caught up on email at a cafe nearby, then headed back to Portland to meet up with Laurence, my fellow EMT from Stanford EMS.
Laurence is working as an Emergency Department tech at the OHSU hospital, and just got in to the MD program there! I was stoked to see him in person to congratulate him (plus he brought along his dog Bert, who is super wrinkly and adorable). We met up at Chez Dodo, a Mauritian food truck in downtown, and caught up over giant portions of noodles. Laurence was nudging me to return to the medical school track, namely by applying to OHSU and becoming his classmate. We’ll see…
After lunch, I went back to Beaverton to pick up Bryan. He took me to the Nike employee store, where I was granted a guest pass that gave me 50% off everything in the store — Bryan is clearly enabling my habit of buying ALL the workout clothes. We did learn that my feet are too wide for most Nike brand shoes (and yet my current running/training shoes are Nike and fit fine).
We headed back to the house to decide where to eat dinner. I brought my packed bag with me to dinner — it took some maneuvering to get my Nike purchases crammed into my already overstuffed backpack.
We went to Pok Pok, a Thai street food place with amazing food. Everything we ordered was fantastic — fish sauce chicken wings, short ribs, clay pot prawns and pork belly. Along with Le Pigeon, I’m definitely coming back to Portland for this.
After overeating at dinner, we stopped by Salt and Straw to contemplate ice cream, but we just couldn’t do it. I guess I’ll just have to visit again!
Bryan and Ali came with me into the airport because they love Coffee People enough to pay for parking. They sent me off with much love, and hopefully I’ll be back to visit again soon.