When you live in a treasure trove of natural beauty, as Portland, Oregon is, you just want to be out and enjoy it. Sure, we have some cold, rain, and wind, but even that isn’t enough to stop most of hardcore outdoor enthusiasts that call this place home.
And, heck, you don’t have to even go out in nature to enjoy the beauty. It’s all around you. Sure. There are more hiking trails then you can shake a stick at. Hiking trails to appeal to all fitness and experience levels. Trails that are perfect for you and your dog to take a jog. Trails perfect for a small climb and a picnic overlooking the ethereal majesty of this city. The beacon of Mt. Hood, the distinct urban skyline, the vast expanses of open space that provide mind numbing views of the sky. The Big Dipper, Ursa Major, even, on a clear, crisp cold night, away from the city lights, a glimpse of the Aurora Borealis.
On a hike or a walk or a bike ride through any of these trails, you might see a person riding horseback through the pristine beauty. You might spot an elderly couple sitting on a bench, enjoy the crisp breeze on their faces, the familiar faces, the delightful weirdness.
Move into downtown Portland, the white asphalt sidewalks dotted with ash and oak trees, a stroll down Tom McCall Waterfront park, with rolling green hills, business executives enjoying lunch, joggers, bicyclists, even jugglers and sword swallowers. Maybe you’ll see a drum circle or a game of hacky sack. You’ll almost certainly hear music and smell food. You’ll perceive the rhythmic hum of cars crossing west to east, east to west, north to south over one of the seven bridges across the city. Birds twittering, dogs barking. These are all things that I associate with Portland.
Maybe you’ll meander your way past Northwest 23rd and up to Forest Park. Maybe you’ll drive by the Pittock mansion. Maybe you’ll brave some of the expert trails available at this evaluation: The payoff? A view that cannot be described in the annals of this blog.
Or maybe you’ll take a drive out to wine country. It’s not far. Soon, you’ll be out of the urban sprawl into the meandering hills, the ubiquitous vineyards, the vast farmlands which provide most of our locally sourced produce and meat.
Or, maybe your path will take you west, through the coastal range, to the Oregon Coast, where waves lap jagged rocks with ferocity, leaving behind whitecaps, revealing the sun over the horizon. The curve of the earth where at sunset, the sky turns purple and orange. Maybe, you’ll venture to the deserts of eastern Oregon or the snowcapped mountains in the central part of the state.
It doesn’t matter where you go. Whether you live in Portland, Gresham Hillsboro, or Salem. Beauty is around you. It’s like that faithful dog that never leaves your side. It’s one more amazing thing about living in Portland.