I was thrilled to be able to host my girlfriend Natalia as she took her brand new
passport for its first journey and made the trip to the US. Here are some of the fun
adventures we found.

Miss Natalia L in my entryway, getting ready to hike around in the Columbia River Gorge.

This is taken from the Portland Women's Forum turnout on Old Columbia River Highway 30.
You can see a little rain on Nati's vest as the day was a little rainy, but mostly quite nice.

Nati and I at Multnomah Falls, OR. I love the look on the face of the girl to my right.

We wound up hiking to the top of the falls, which is a really laid-back (PAVED!) trail that
meanders along the side of the rock to the top of the 600 foot falls. This is Nati with the
pool above the falls in the background.

Nati and I at the same spot. It's always tough asking someone else to take a picture since they
often don't have the idea about the shot as you did. Still, it's nice that most people will take
a picture for you anyway.

We saw this maple leaf on the way down from the Falls. I thought it was a fun variation on the
Molson "I am Canadian" ad campaign. That's Natalia's hand in the picture.

After a trip to one of the strangest hot springs I've ever been to - Carson Hot Springs - we drove
back along my mom's favourite road to Portland. The sun was out, so we stopped back at the top of the
Women's Forum for a nicer view.

Saturday morning, we took a drive out to the Coast so that Nati could see the Pacific Ocean for
only the second time. This is a picture from the Astoria Column looking out to the Astoria bridge.
Astoria sits at the mouth of the Columbia River and was the terminus for the Lewis and Clark expedition.
I quite like this picture of Natalia.

From the top of the column. This looks across the Columbia River to Washington State.

As it turned out, the day that we drove through Astoria was also the weekend that they were hosting the
Midsummer Scandinavian Festival. This was like a big Folkfest with all 5 Scandinavian cultures represented -
Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Iceland, and Finland. Inside the venue, we found a Viking ship that Natalia
posed inside for her Dad, Carl.

Nati and I being Vikings. Now, you would think that a Scandinavian Festival would be an excellent place
to buy Viking helmets. However, you'd be wrong! Apparently, Merv, the guy who normally comes to the
Festival, didn't show up this year and so all of the visitors to the Festival missed out on Viking
helmets! Carl and E L, you'll have to wait until I go to Denmark to pick one up for you.
However, I did manage to find the Lefse, which I conquered and pillaged.

Astoria is a picturesque little town that a lot of filmmakers like to use in their sets. Such films as
Kindergarten Cop and the Goonies were filmed in Oregon. I guess Nati is a bit of a Goonies fan and
so we sought out the Goonies house. The house in the movie is HERE

From Astoria, we made our way to Cannon Beach, where we went for a swim in the Pacific Ocean.
In case you're wondering, you can purchase Nati's swimwear at the Chocolate Bikini Factory
(a real store!)

The water temperature was ~ 60 F, which is roughly 15 deg C, which isn't really cold so much
as it is brisk. Note that I'm no longer wearing glasses, not because I can magically see,
but more so since they're somewhere in the Pacific now. :( That's Haystack Rock in the distance
at Cannon Beach, OR.

As I like to do with most of my guests, I took Natalia to the always-excellent Tillamook Cheese
Factory. The cow is part of the self-guided tour.

We toured Portland on Sunday, taking part (kind of) in a random Gay Pride parade, but first
doing Dim Sum in Chinatown. I convinced Nati to try chicken feet, which it turns out her
mom Mary really likes. I call this picture, "Natalia considering the chicken feet".

Natalia trying the feet.

Natalia - "So, am I supposed to eat the bones? If not, these things are all tendon and bone and no meat."
Paul (giggling) - "Yeah, they're great eating aren't they?"

After a trip to Powell's and some glasses frame shopping, we made our way to the Portland International
Rose Garden. This is Natalia with some of the roses behind her.

Nati and I at the Rose Garden.

This is from the front of the Rose Garden in early evening looking back into the garden. The size
of the garden and the wide variety of colours and plants are visible here.

Here, we're playing "Where's Waldo", but with me instead of Waldo. I'm right about in the
centre of the picture, if you can't find me.

Some of the great beauty inside the Garden.

This was the first time that Nati had seen real holly. As it turns out, real holly looks almost
as fake as fake holly.

The requisite "Stop to smell the flowers" picture.

Natalia and I at the Rose Arch.

Monday we made our way up to Mt Hood. This is a junction in the Pacific Crest Trail, just
above the Timberline lodge. The sign shows that if you keep going one direction you get to
Canada, and if you go the other way, you'll wind up drinking margaritas. That's Mt Hood visible
behind Nati.

Nati with Mt Jefferson in the background. This is from the second floor of the Timberline Lodge,
used in the movie, The Shining .

We decided to do a little hike in the Mt Hood Wilderness. We started at the Ramona Falls trailhead,
not far from the towns of Zigzag and Rhododendron. Nati and I found some rhododendrons
for her dad, Carl.

We wound up making it almost all the way to Paradise Park (on the PCT), which was about a 11 mile return
trip. Not bad for leaving at 4 pm. This picture was taken using my camera and my portable tripod.

Miss Natalia L, with the sun setting on our hike, and on her first (of hopefully many)
trip to Portland.

Return to picture index