I was too busy with Ecola classes and fixing up a blog post about Alaska to share what happened during the few days of Spring break I was not in Alaska. So take my hand, and let’s take a leap back a couple months to a short adventure I have not yet shared.

With all of the crazy stuff I’ve been doing since high school graduation, I’m proud to say that I am successfully de-sensitizing my parents. So when I told them that my brother Caleb and I wanted to hike back to school from Portland after our mission trips were over, they barely bated an eye. My fellow students thought we were crazy – which meant they were starting to get to know us. 🙂

On March 12th, the last day of my mission trip, I flew back from Anchorage, Alaska and met Caleb in Portland. We spent two night at the house of a former teacher, Stephen. He had a lovely wife named Sarah and two adorable boys named Graeme and Job (or Jobie). Caleb and I had so much fun getting to know this beautiful, joyful family.

Steve and Graeme

Steve and Graeme

Jobie. He wasn’t usually this quiet! 🙂

The above photos are from Sarah’s blog.

Caleb and I could have spent the rest of our spring break with this giving family in a heartbeat, but ‘adventure was out there!’ Well, more like pain and rain and pain, as it turned out, but that’s the same thing. Adventure comes in a myriad of ways. 😉

On Wednesday we took the metro into Portland, where we found a handful of free maps that were of slight use in our future travels.

01-Alaska and Vernonia 388

It felt so warm after being in Alaska!

It felt so warm after being in Alaska!

We spent several hours in Powell’s, of course (and I never got past the first floor…!). Knowing that we were about to backpack back to school was definitely a discouragement from buying ANYTHING, because I knew I would have to carry the weight of that book or trinket for several days. I was still tempted by this awesome mug to the right here, but resisted… One day, it shall be mine.

We enjoyed some Chinese food then made our way to this store called “Next Adventure”… well that’s not true… BEFORE we made our way to this store we first went to the local REI. Cowed by the prices we determined there HAD to be a cheaper way to buy what we needed. So we looked up the local library on our handy-dandy free maps and traveled there, where a helpful librarian told us to go to “Next Adventure”, a new and used hiking goods store.

So did we say “Thank, O wise and all knowing librarian,” and head there straight away? NooooOooo, being the researcher I am, I wanted to look on the computer and do some Google searching myself. So we first obtained a temporary library card, then we waited in line for a computer to open up, then we got on the computer where I determined… that yeah, we should go to Next Adventure.

I amaze myself sometimes. 😛 My brother’s patience with me amazes me sometimes, too.

At Next Adventure their downstairs was filled with battered, used items from backpacks to clothes to tents… it was amazing!! Everything was reasonably priced, at least more so than used hiking goods…. Caleb got a sleeping bag, a tarp, and a hiking backpack. I also got a tarp, with some rope and stakes so I could hang it over my hammock… and we were set! Whew, a long and wearying day in Portland.

The next morning we said our goodbyes to the Branine family and Sarah dropped us off at Winco, a store we had never been in before. What wonders! Everything was so cheap! Why in the world do people shop anywhere else??

We bought fruit, bagels, cheese, trail mix, granola bars… enough to (hopefully) last us ’til Sunday.

1-Alaska and Vernonia 409

We fit it all into our packs. Then we shouldered them and walked. And walked.

We walked from that Winco in Hillsboro, down the street, and onto the freeway. And kept walking for 15 more miles.

Maybe now is the time to admit something. After working and hiking at Mt. Rainier, after working in Grand Teton NP and doing hikes every weekend- after doing say a 30 mile round trip hike into the Teton mountain range solo last summer… I was not that concerned about hiking on the relatively flat ground of Portland. I wasn’t taking into consideration that maybe… after a long winter of no hiking, combined with a full pack, combined with the fact my feet had softened, combined with the fact we were walking on hard pavement… yeah I might’ve been hurting. A bit.

And I might’ve been the cause of a slight detour…. As the scenery opened up more and transformed into open countryside, I got the bright idea we could walk just alongside the freeway in the fields. Caleb was not for the idea at all but I coaxed him into it.

11-Alaska and Vernonia 407

We heard what sounded like gunshots as we walked, which was a bit unnerving – I almost expected a crazy-haired farmer in overalls to suddenly appear, brandishing a gun and yelling for us to get off of his property.

But that didn’t happen, so we were enjoying the field quite nicely… until we came to a freeway off-ramp and found ourselves cut off from the road by a barbed wire fence. We had to find a good spot to sling our packs over and carefully climb over the barb wire… as soon as we were safely on the other side Caleb enjoyed giving me some “See-I-told-you-so!” Yeah, yeah, ok… 😉

Our initial plan (or about as far as we had “planned”) was to walk along Highway 26 as far as we could get, and then on Sunday hitch a ride with a fellow student driving by. After 15 miles we were pretty tired of the noise and smells of the freeway, though, so when we discovered the Banks-Vernonia trail we took it gladly. Even though it went… north, not… west. (smile) We hiked along the trail for almost 2 miles (an eventful time in which a strange boy that lived near the trail taunted us from a safe distance as we were resting on our packs and repeatedly, in a sing-song voice, called us “fatties”… I have no idea what was going on with that poor tyke, ha ha.) As it began to grow dark we swung off into the woods and set up camp. We dined on cheese string and cuties and rejected the idea of reading a book aloud for turning in early. Caleb slept soundly on the ground and I slept soundly in my hammock.

And… yes. Wow. That was day one, and I’ve already written a lot. I’m deciding now to actually split up the story and make this a two-parter, just so you don’t get overwhelmed by one HUGE blog post, so maybe you’ll actually read all of what I write.

Ha ha. Does anyone read all of what I write? Seems so silly sometimes, that people would take time out of their day to read these posts. Not like my life is super interesting. So why do I blog? Ah, almost five years into my ‘blogging career’ and I think I have come to my internal mid-blog-life crisis. Ha ha!

Ahhh this is why I write, because I amuse myself so much as thoughts parade into the open, out of the cob-webbed recesses of my mind, making me smile slightly and shake my head at the random, spontaneous things that spring into words.

All right, that was a complete rabbit trail.

Part two to this Wild Adventure through the Hinterland of Oregon, coming soon. To a computer near you.

Yeah, that’s right, go google “hinterland”. You do that.