Sunday, September 9, 2012

September Daze

Yesterday morning started off relatively early (well, for a Saturday) at 6:30ish. The sun is getting closer to rising over the peak of Mt. Hood and my goal is to capture it on film. What does one say now that we no longer use film? Capturing an image on SD card just doesn't have the same ring. Either way, the effect is the same. Less than a mile from my house is a fairly unobstructed view of Mt. Hood (if you stand on the curb at just the right spot) and even though the sun hasn't made it to the pinnacle yet, it's still a gorgeous view. Of course, I can't take just one shot so I have about 20 that look mostly like the picture at left. You never know when you might need a spare sunrise picture of Mt. Hood, and I want to be prepared. After a quick breakfast and the seasonal pumpkin spice cappuccino, it was time to head off in the general direction of the hills of northwest Portland. My aunt used to have a sign on her desk that said "indecision is the key to flexibility." That sums up a lot of my Saturday outings. I usually have a general idea of where I'm going but if I see something interesting, the plans can change in a moment. Such was the case as I was heading up a hill above Burnside. A parking spot was handy and I figured I could walk to the spot I had planned on parking in as well as I could drive there. After making sure there weren't any "no parking" signs hiding in the underbrush, I headed up the hill and toward one of the residential entrances to Forest Park. Soon I had gone from beautiful homes and flowers to the shady paths of the forest. After taking a right turn downhill, I was on my way to NW Cornell St. and, for me, uncharted territory. There was a group of walkers behind me and I must confess to a Gandalf-like voice echoing in my ears "You shall not pass!" as I sped up, determined that no one would outwalk me. I'm sure that's something I'll outgrow, well, maybe.

Once I reached NW Cornell, there was some consultation of the GPS, not to mention another walker, and then I continued along the road heading for another section of the Wildwood trail. I soon found it and was once again deep in the forest. There was a small trickle of water running in the creek and it was very peaceful as I crunched along the trail. I passed several intersections with other trails but continued on the same path. After awhile, I came upon a map with a very helpful "you are here" star. The only problem was there were two dotted lines radiating from the star showing two possible locations of where you actually were. Knowing what side of NW Cornell you were on was crucial. Fortunately, I did know so it wasn't difficult to figure out where I was and where the trail headed. At the next trail intersection, I headed out of the park and back into civilization. This part of northwest Portland is alive with Craftsman style homes and it almost feels as if you step out of the forest and into another era. I love the multi-colored stair railings that abound all over Portland.   Although, you do get some odd looks when people see you taking pictures of staircases. Then again, the motto here is "keep Portland weird" so I don't know why I should worry about a few sideways glances.

After about seven miles or so, I was back to my car and ready to head home. There was a short intermission from the day's fun for mundane chores like getting the oil in my car changed and vacuuming, one of my truly favorite pastimes, before I could go play photographer again. After seeing all the clouds build up in the afternoon sky, I thought there might be a chance for a nice sunset so I headed down to the lake in downtown Lake Oswego, to see what might come along. I love it when I'm not disappointed. There wasn't quite the color I had hoped for, but the clouds put on a spectacular show. At times, they almost resembled something from a Renaissance style fresco. There were a few boats still on the water, but overall there was a feeling of evening calm as the sun slowly sank behind the trees. The ducks also seemed to be enjoying it as they practiced their takeoffs and landings or calmly paddled past people eating a late dinner on the patio of a local restaurant. As far as weather goes, the Pacific Northwest is known mostly for its rainy interludes, but when it comes to an Indian Summer, this place is hard to beat.

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