Tag Archives: Oregon

the things of autumn

autumn in Oregon

Yes, it’s really a new post! I can barely believe it myself. The last two months have flown by with many good intentions to write in this cherished space, but all my writing energy ended up going towards other projects. But here I am, is anyone still out there?

We’re now in the midst of November and on the brink of the holiday season. The weather in Portland was incredible all October, endless sunshine and warmth with a hint of chill in the air. All this led to extra crunchy leaves, pleasant bike rides, hiking every weekend, and lots of gatherings with friends.

At the end of the month, we flew to Mexico for the wedding of two friends from Amsterdam. It was a perfect dose of sunshine, sea, lounging by the pool, and reuniting with friends from the Netherlands. After the wedding, we headed north on the Baja Peninsula to spend the second week of our holiday in La Ventana, La Paz, and finally hiking in the Sierra de la Laguna. Unfortunately, the trip was cut short when Marcus sprained his knee windsurfing and we had to head home early. Bummer! But we’re happy for the time we had and to be home again.

Anticipating: My first Thanksgiving with my family since 2004! Marcus’ best friend from Berlin will be visiting us over the long weekend. He actually lives in New York now. And lived in Amsterdam while we were there. They like to follow each other around the world, I think.

Studying: I’m currently taking the NovoEd course from the Stanford School of Business The Finance of Retirement and Pension. It’s completely outside my normal area of interests, but it has been really interesting to learn about life annuities, coupon bonds, and how to make smart choices to ensure a financial future. Important stuff!

Reading: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson. The first book of a trilogy that was quite popular in 2006. I’m a little late to the party, but am enjoying it so far.

Watching: You guys. This documentary about ducks is so great. Not only because they call it a DUCKumentary, but also because it takes a unique look at one of nature’s most familiar creatures.

What have you enjoyed this autumn? Any reading tips for the coming winter? It’s good to be back, friends.

Images from my Instagram (clockwise): leaves covering Director Park, banana pancakes for breakfast, pappardelle with chanterelle mushrooms foraged in the Willamette Valley, a waterfall found while hiking in the Tillamook State Forest.

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Suttle Lake

  SuttleLake1At the end of May, Marcus and I drove to Central Oregon to spend my birthday weekend at The Lodge at Suttle Lake. The resort has a beautiful main lodge and boathouse restaurant, with private cabins scattered around the premises. We rented a small cabin a short walk from the lake and dined the first evening at the restaurant. Due to a mixup, our reservation was lost, so the manager opened the second floor and gave us a private meal with a view over the lake. The ambiance was amazing, complemented by delicious food and a bottle of wine. After our meal, we headed back to sit around the fire and roast birthday s’mores.

The next day, my parents joined us for a hike around the lake, although the water was too cold for a swim. In the evening, we cooked a meal of chili, cheese sandwiches, and roasted kale over the fire. With s’mores for dessert, of course. On Sunday, we headed to the nearby town of Sisters, an Old West style town with a mountain range for a backdrop. We visited a few antique shops, enjoyed lunch on a sunny terrace, and grabbed coffee at the legendary Sisters Coffee Company. And then, we headed over the mountain and back to Portland.

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on the lake

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only adventure awaits

Gearhart Beach

It was a Saturday afternoon, sunny and the warm air thick with pollen. We had rented a car for the weekend and were preparing to head to my sister’s house for a dinner party. Marcus turned to me and upended our plans to drive to the beach early the next morning with a question: “Shall we go tonight instead?” Suddenly preparations to pack our sleeping bags, park on the beach, and sleep in the back of the car began to take shape. And, why not? Didn’t we uproot our cozy life in Amsterdam to be closer to nature and adventure in Oregon?

We began the drive from Portland to the beach well after 9pm. Headed west, we witnessed the sun setting behind the Coastal Mountain Range and then were pitched into darkness on the winding roads. As Marcus drove, I studied a map to decide where we should set up camp. For long stretches, we would lose mobile phone reception completely, nearly unheard of in Western Europe.

As we entered the small town of Gearhart, there were self-reprimands that we should have planned the trip better. After several failed attempts, we came upon a beach access point for cars and drove out onto the sand. There were small groups of people up and down the beach, gathered around bonfires as the tide drew near. We crawled into our sleeping bags, rolled the window slightly to avoid asphyxiation, and settled back to the sound of the waves.

Pacific Way Bakery

The early morning light woke us at 5:30am and we staved off our hunger until the Pacific Way Bakery opened. After rounds of coffee and pastries, we returned to the beach for a gloriously sunny day. As the tide went out, we came across a multitude of sand dollars still intact. A sight I’d never seen before.

The move across the world hasn’t been easy and the last months have surfaced doubts, worries, and fears that I didn’t anticipate. The transition will take time and we’re trying to fully embrace life in America without sacrificing the European values we hold close. I have learned to trust Marcus in ways I never had to before and I know that as long as I say yes, only adventure awaits.

back to the wilderness

When making the decision to move back to the States, one of influencing factors was the beautiful nature of Oregon. I have traveled to many countries, but am still astounded by the beauty of my homestate. There is an amazing variety here: mountains, forests, beaches, deserts, peaceful lakes, roaring rivers, and waterfalls. Marcus and I have been taking full advantage of our proximity to nature since our arrival three weeks ago.

Little North Santiam
In our first week here, we went on a hike with my sister Alyssa and our dog Tauri to the Little North Fork, along the winding Santiam River and through the thick forest. It’s an easy hike with clear pools and waterfalls.

Shellburg Falls
On the first weekend, we hiked with my parents and Tauri around Shellburg Falls. It’s an easy 2.8 mile hike past two impressive waterfalls.

Maxwell Butte Snow Park in the Willamette National Forest
On the second weekend, Marcus and I drove to the Cascade Mountain Range to go snowshoeing at Maxwell Butte in the Willamette National Forest. It was our first time snowshoeing and it took some time to get used to walking a bit off kilter. Next time I will definitely start with fewer layers – you get warm fast! – and go on a day with a denser snowpack.

Hoyt Arboretum
After brunch with friends last Sunday, we met Alyssa and went to Hoyt Arboretum, a forested area in Portland’s Washington Park. I have always loved the Wildwood Trail, but this time we also explored the Magnolia Trail, lined with the namesake trees, which were about ready to bloom. Definitely a reason to return in the coming weeks.

Oregon Coast: Pacific City and Neskowin
On Monday, Marcus and I went to the Oregon Coast with Tauri. Our destination was Haystack Rock at Pacific City. We were greeted with blue skies and warm winds. We hiked down the beach, Tauri and Marcus running through the waves, and had a picnic in a remote dune area. We returned and treated ourselves to a pint on the terrace of the Pelican Pub & Brewery. Then we headed to Neskowin, a quiet beach area with a view on Proposal Rock.

an autumn walk in Hoyt Arboretum

On the last day of our trip home, Marcus and I went for a walk with my parents in Hoyt Arboretum, nestled above downtown Portland. The temperatures had dropped significantly during our visit, turning the bright autumn colors a duller, winter version. We wandered over the hills as the late-afternoon air turned cool. Finally when our fingers were numb, we headed for dinner at Serratto and then back to Amsterdam in the morning.

autumn in Oregon

Oregon is beautiful in all seasons, but autumn just might be my favorite. After my trip to Casablanca, I returned to Amsterdam for a few days before departing for Portland. The occasion was my father’s 60th birthday, which we celebrated with abandon. My father declared his birthday a season and has been celebrating the past several months with fishing trips to Bend and explorations of hidden lakes. We take birthdays seriously in my family.

The actual celebration of his birthday lasted about three days, starting with a large party on Saturday, complete with live music and an array of baked goods by yours truly. On Sunday, my parents, Marcus, and I went on a long walk through the orange-leaved trees in surprisingly warm weather. We wore summer clothing and sat outside, drinking lemonade and eating watermelon. On Monday – my dad’s actual birthday – we turned in our ballots, went book shopping, and gathered around the table for a family dinner. I’m thankful for such a wonderful family, a dad who has humor and wisdom, and especially for the love of nature he has inspired in each of us, which comes in especially useful each time I return home to Oregon.

Above, a few images from Instagram (clockwise): sunset over the Willamette River taken while hanging out with my two sweet nieces; the sun shining on the leaves of a maple tree in my parent’s garden; the Stayton-Jordan covered bridge; and the view from the Wildwood trail at Hoyt Arboretum.

summertime in Oregon

Home is always sweet, but perhaps even more so in the summertime. After Ottawa, I traveled on to Oregon to visit my family for a week. It was 38°C / 100°F on the first day and I relished the heat.

The week was spent playing with my nieces, swimming, barbeque dinners on the terrace, roasting marshmallows, harvesting tomatoes from my sister’s amazing garden, eating fish tacos, boating on Foster Lake, enjoying conversations with my parents and sisters, and drinking my first root beer float in years. Yeah, it was pretty amazing.

Oregon in August is just about as good as it gets.