Portland: Part 4
I've never been to a Red Bull event before. Little did we know, Flugtag was in Portland at the same time we were there! So for those of you who don't know (because I didn't either), Flugtag is a Red Bull event where teams of people build objects and try to make them fly off of a ramp and into a body of water. It may sound ridiculous on the surface, but the inventions that people crafted were outstanding! With a river full of boats and a flying pug (team Air Pug), we spent a few hours watching this ludicrous event. After being in the scorching sun for hours, we walked over to McMenamin's to grab a refreshing cider beer (and about 42 glasses of water). It was a slow day of complete chaos.
Who knew a mountain could have its own brewing company? We had no clue. Driving up to Mount Hood, we happened to see a sign for Mt. Hood Brewing Co. It was a little lodge tucked away at the base of the mountain - hearty food and beer as crisp as the air at 3900' elevation.
We decided to fuel up before we headed out (and of course buy a pint glass or two because just look at it). While it was the end of July/beginning of August and the snow had melted just enough to make the mountain look slightly less glorious, we were glad we didn't go in winter. Hiking up the side of that beautiful sloped rock makes you feel so small. Plus, hiking for two hours and realizing that you're still seeing the same side of that thing was intimidating. We could've hiked for days around the entire thing, but didn't have much time.
We made it to about 9000' and decided it was time to turn back so that we could get some sleep that night. All in all, Mount Hood was worth seeing even in the humid weather. This was something very small in my eyes, as Olympic National Park was the contender.
Rule number one of driving through any part of Olympic National Park: gas up before the ascent. Driving for only 10 miles, we ran out of our quarter tank of gas. We slowly rolled down the mountains until we found a gas station outside of the park, then climbed back up after gassing up our rental car (we used almost the whole tank going up and back down from Hurricane Ridge).
Once we summited the ridge, we hiked a few miles and hit Sunrise Point, which had some wicked steep inclines. Interestingly enough, everyone asked me if I felt like I could make it to the top with my asthma and busted up kneecap, but I didn't hesitate for one second. Who knew if or when we'd ever get to see that view again. The above photo was taken on our way to the top of Sunrise Point.
There had been a massive wildfire that spread through the area and was still going strong when we visited, hence the smokey right side of the photo with all the downed trees. It was a sad sight to know that part of a National Park would be destroyed. There were a good amount of people trying to contain the wildfire, but a lot of what we ran into was ash and grey, fallen trees. I can only hope that Olympic National Park regains some of the life it lost.
Suffice it to say -- we enjoyed every second of our Portland excursion. I ate loads of vegan foods, soaked up the beauty of the land of my people, shared belly laughs with amazing humans, and documented a little chunk of it. Next time I travel, there will be many more photos. I realized that while we can live in the moment when our surroundings are full, sometimes when we're empty, we need to fill back up. Documenting this (even the small amount that I have) can help to remind me of those full feelings and push me to return to them.