Sunday, September 7, 2014

Hikes on The Historic Columbia River Highway

We've been in Portland for a few months now and have explored a lot in the Columbia River Gorge. There seems to be a waterfall around every corner. Each has their own personality and a unique hike to get there. Portland Hiker's Field Guide has been a super good resource for our adventures. The links below go to specific hike information for those who want details like hike distance and where to park.

The Historic Columbia River Highway has eight waterfalls along it's route including Multnomah Falls (highest in Oregon) plus the Vista House. This is probably the best way to spend a day in the gorge if you have just one. Half of these falls are just steps away from parking and don't even require a hike.

Click to enlarge

At the end of the Historic Columbia River Highway is Elowah Falls. This is my favorite waterfall so far because it's size was unexpectedly large and majestic. It is a simple hike in, which we combined with Upper McCord Creek Falls. The trail to the Upper McCord Creek Falls winds through the forest then skirts along a cliff for a while giving great views of the gorge and an appreciation for the size of everything around.

Eagle Creek Trail to Punchbowl Falls was one of the first hikes we wanted to do. The unprotected cliffside trail is a classic. In the summer Punchbowl Falls is a popular swimming hole. Swimming or wading is the only way to get close to Punchbowl Falls so be prepared for water if you want to get close. 

Wahclella Falls is awesome! It is a big waterfall with a lot of water flowing on a picturesque loop hike. The creek along the hike is really pretty with giant boulders littered throughout. 

Horsetail Falls is right across the street from a parking lot along the Historic Columbia River Highway so take that in then hike to Ponytail Falls where the trail goes under the waterfall. The loop takes you to Oneonta Gorge which is awesome but also right along the road. So to get back to your car at Horsetail Falls requires a short walk along the road. 

Wahkeena Falls is another one close the the Historic Highway so it is easily accessible. Beyond Wahkeena Falls is Fairy Falls. After a bunch of switch backs, the trail follows a super pretty creek up a tight canyon. This section might be the prettiest hike we have done in the gorge so far. 

We have just scratched the surface of what there is to see and do in the Gorge but I wanted to get some thoughts down before I forget. All of these hikes are under four miles and fairly easy as a whole. There are some tough spots on some of the trails and most have some steep parts. Each hike would be great to bring visitors. Photos by me and Kellette Elliott.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Driving Cross Country With Cats

We recently made the move from Norfolk, VA to Portland, OR and after weighing all our options for getting our two cats across the country driving seemed like the least terrible way to go. My wife, Kellette, and I where driving no matter what so if we flew the cats they would have had a week in a strange place in Portland or Norfolk while we made the drive. Flying two cats would have been expensive especially with having to get them dropped off or picked up at the airport. Asking someone else to stuff them in crates for us just seemed like too much of an ask anyway.

We bought the biggest soft crate we could fit in the back seat of our Honda Civic. With the soft crate we could collapse the top when loading and unloading then enlarge it again once the cats where in the car. The soft crate also had entry flaps on the top and sides so we could reach in and pet the cats or give them water, food, or a litter box when needed.

We read that you should take your cats on a few test drives before the big trip since most of cat's car rides end up at the Vet. This way they hopefully learn that a car ride doesn't always result in a thermometer being jammed up their butt. On the test drives we learned that letting the cats out while driving is crazy. They crawl all over the place making things pretty dangerous if they start going in the driver's direction.

Along with the cats, we put food and water in the crate as well as a cardboard Scratcher lounge that had been in our house. I think the scratcher was the most important thing we gave them. It was a comfortable and familiar thing and a place for them to let out some frustration. They tore that thing up like they've never torn up a scratcher before.

We stopped for food and gas around noon each day. We ate at the gas station for efficiency and because this is when we gave the cats an opportunity to use the litter box. As soon as we stopped the car one of us would go inside and get food and use the bathroom while the other would put litter in the litter box then put the litter box in the crate. We always kept the car doors and windows completely closed during this time because the cats could and did get out of the crate as the litter box was being lowered in. Only one of our cats used the litter box during these stops and he only peed a little bit but we felt like it was worth it to give him that opportunity and prevent him making a big mess in the crate. After he peed, we took the litter box out, scooped it out, put the litter in a bag and packed everything back away.

Each night we consulted Pets Welcome to find a hotel. At times we said our cats where a dog or that we only had one cat. Some hotels charged extra for pets, others didn't. Once in the hotel the cats where happy to eat, drink and use the litter box. After a few days on the road they even came out of hiding and curled up with us in the hotel bed.

Our cats handled things pretty well. They never fought and didn't whine as much as we expected. We did have a day with three hours of whining and yowling which was on the 3rd or 4th day. Every cat is different but this was our experience. Good luck to anyone traveling long distances with their cats. It is not the ideal way to travel but we love our cats so we sacrifice a little to make sure they are safe.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Why We Get Hungry

The New Yorker dives into a recent study about what makes people hungry and discovered that hunger has very little to due with our need for food. The main takeaway is that hunger is often triggered by our environment. We see a commercial for food, or a bag of chips on the counter. We eat snacks while watching TV, so watching TV makes us want a snack. Also interesting is the diminishing returns we get from pleasurable food.

"The first few times people eat a new, pleasurable food, their brain’s reward systems light up" "over days, what starts to happen is the strength of the reward response to the actual consumption of the food slowly diminishes, but the reward response to the signal, the cue predicting the food, grows stronger,”
So basically the new food is exciting and gets less exciting with every subsequent consumption of it but our brain still seeks the same level of excitement as the first time. Then there's this..

"Making this worse, if we break down and have a snack—and if it happens to be something that we like—we not only become slightly more hungry in the first minutes of eating but we will grow hungry again sooner."

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Blogger App Test

Just downloaded the official app ( for blogger. Let's give it a go... First thing i notice is that I can't add links unless you know html. You can take a photo right from the app and load images from your camera roll. You can edit old posts. As far as I can tell you can't schedule posts either. With Facebook, instagram, and all the other services that easily let you share from your phone I don't see myself using this much. But it will be better for moblogging and keeping Verizon's extra text off my blog.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

New Logo Idea

I'm still pretty happy with the existing Mostly Skateboarding logo but have been feeling the need for a square logo for places that need squares like Twitter. As with most of my personal projects I spent months just thinking about it then was inspired by this Rebranding of Rhyl and thought I could adapt the scroll to a square(ish) logo for Mostly Skateboarding.

I kept the green/black/white color scheme I've had for along time. The original logo is in Futura Medium, so I used an italics version of Futura to put the letters on an angle. My favorite part of the logo is using the O to make the shape of a skateboard deck, so I kept that in this new logo.

This second example is more square but the ends of the scroll seem a bit too small. Maybe I should not have the notch cut out of the end... It still needs some work. I tried stretching the word Skateboarding to make it take up more of the scroll, but that ended up looking wonky. If you have any suggestions please let me know in the comments. If you're interested, here is my previous entry about the evolution of the Mostly Skateboarding logo.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tuesday, May 24, 2011