Wednesday, July 05, 2006

July 4th Weekend

Went whitewater rafting down the Clackamas River on Saturday. I've got a bunch of pictures to pickup yet. The air temp was great. The water... was freezing. Most of the rivers, well all of them really, are ice cold because it's basically snow melt. You're still able to go in just swimtrunks and a shirt during this time of year but in May they require a wetsuit. We rafted about 13 miles down the river. Class 3 rapids mainly. I guess in May there's a class 4. There we three rafts and 3 guides, one per raft. In each raft there were about 6 people. It was quite culturally diverse. In our raft we had Heidi and I at the front, right behind us were 2 lesbian women, and then our guide and then a female Japanese exchange student. Raft 2 had an Indian couple and a 2 guy/1 girl threesome with their guide. The last raft had the 6 college friends, including the ex-football player, all ex-frat/sorority members. I do think we had the best guide. At one point we stopped and most of us jumped off a 15-20 foot cliff into the water. That's where I noticed the water temperature... i think it was in the 40's somewhere and the guide was saying you'd have about 5 minutes without the life vest on before you would start having trouble. When I hit the water after the jump and submerged a few feet is when I noticed just how cold it was. I guess there won't be any floating drink fests on that river. We did have a load of fun. Surfing the raft on the rapids, trying to submerge the nose of the raft, having the girls ride the nose of the raft like a bull, and water fights with the other rafts. Plus the rapids themselves were great. We also stopped for lunch along the river where the guides had stowed a couple coolers. Great weather and a great time.

Took the day off Monday. Headed to the ocean which is only a 1 hour drive West. The temperature change is dramatic. From high 70's low 80's in Portland to high 50's low 60's along the coast. If you ever need to cool off this is where to go. It stays like that all year round. We stopped at a light house. Then headed south to Cape Lookout and did a 5 mile hike out onto a peninsula that sticks out into the ocean. We had actually stopped here back when I visited in December but didn't do the hike for lack of time. The views were almost undescribable. You could see for miles. The trail was right alongside the cliff with a long long drop (500ft+?) down into the water below. Huge douglas fir trees all twisted into weird shapes. The dense undergrowth matted with ferns and years of decomposing trees. Probably the best fertile ground. Well it is a rain forest after all.

Cape Lookout

I have some photo's as well to post later in the week.

We headed over the Karen & Steve's beach house after the hike to drink beer. They had a bunch of friends over with tons of kids. I escaped to the beach to fly a kite. Haven't done that since I was a kid. Great place to fly a kite. Lots of unobstructed wind, flat sand. Pelicans and seagulls. Had a el cheapo $12 kit, the old diamond shaped kind but made of the same material as a tent. Got it at a kite store in Portland. I think next time I'll try a fancy one you can control. Other folks there had really cool ones.

Tuesday night we went over the Jen's brother-in-laws house for fireworks. I can hardly believe how many fireworks they and all the neighbors had. And this isn't localized. I guess all over Portland and Vancouver this is normal. Funny thing is it is illegal in Oregon. Yup. Just like back in the Midwest they drive across the border into Washington state to buy their fireworks. Reminds me of the Illinois residents driving up to Wisconsin to purchase their fireworks. Thing is, I think they are even more fanatical out here. It sounded like a scene out of Black Hawk Down. All over people shooting off fireworks, really nice ones too... and by all over I mean every other house along the street not just pockets within a neighborhood. Looking across the skyline on the drive home I thought it was professional stuff going off. What surprises me is this happening in a left coast, hippie, liberal town. I mean now there's all the spent cartridges and litter all over the place - not very green is it? Plus isn't this a town that would be against anything gun/war related? I think there's a little bit of the south in people here but I'll get into that another time. Later.

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