Age and Human Hairiness (Again)
“Entitlements” in Republican Crosshairs

Summer in the Suburbs

category_bug_journal2.gif By no means am I gloating, but while so many in the U.S. swelter this summer, the weather in northwest Oregon is delightful – mostly mid-70s F during the day, mid-50s at night. There have been occasional 80-plus degree days, but the temperature always drops 20 to 30 points at night.

Two weeks ago my young friend Stan James, who blogs at wanderingstan, came to stay for four days. He does wander. Just in four weeks he has traveled from Colorado to Seattle to Lake Oswego to New York to Reykjavik and then to Berlin.

On one of those gorgeous, pleasant days while he was here, we drove to the coast, about two hours away, to check out the beaches. Here is Stan at Cannon Beach with a shot of Haystack Rock.

Stan and Haystack Rock

We bought some maple/wine cured salmon in Astoria and picked up some Dungeness Crab too that we brought home for an evening feast. As often happens, I mostly forgot to take photos while we checked out the beaches and towns, but I did get this shot of a bunny rabbit in someone's yard.


In 2006, when I had recently moved from New York City to Portland, Maine, I showed you my morning walk along Casco Bay. Last year, I showed you my morning walk just two minutes from my home in a park along the Willamette River here in Lake Oswego.

It's a nice park but like the town's central shopping district, it's a good deal too manicured and tidy for my sensibilities. So for the past few months, I've traded off that walk with one in nearby Tryon Creek State Natural Area.

Tryon is 670 acres of untamed forest that is just like the woods where friends and I played behind our houses when I lived here as a kid. Sometimes our parents let us sleep there overnight and we picked ferns like these in Tryon Creek which are abundant in the northwest U.S. rain forest, to pile up into deep “mattresses” under our sleeping bags.

Tryon Fern

Trails for biking, horseback riding, running and hiking (see map here – pdf) are nicely maintained without taming the forest on either side.

Tryon Path

Tryon opens at 7AM and it's quiet in the early mornings. Later, especially in summer, groups of school kids arrive to learn about the trees, plants and wildlife and then it is almost silent again in the late afternoon.

Tryon Woods

The park is just a three-minute drive from home and because the tree canopy is so dense, I can't get too wet even when it rains. But it is especially beautiful when the sun peeks through.

Tryon Forest

There are several different trails and the forest changes every day. You can find out more about Tryon Creek at this website.

At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Terry Hamburg: Escape from Camp Ojibwa


Tryon looks so much like the forest on the edge of Eugene where I ran this spring. It was an unfamiliar sort of place for me -- I need to explore more in the Pacific Northwest among the ferns and tall trees.

My first reaction to your pictures was how beautiful and serene and my second was...but is it safe to walk there alone? Gladys

Have followed your blog since you were readying for the move from Maine. Perfect timing as I was and still am planning to move to PDX. Thank you for so many great posts and encouragement through your stories. Coming to PDX to look around in late September, and your photos and comments continue to whet my appetite for the northwest. Greetings and appreciation from a Floridian senior anxious to get shut of this hellacious heat, not to mention the politics here!

It has never occurred to me that the woods would not be safe. I can't think why it wouldn't be.

I doubt robbers are lurking behind ferns and there are enough hikers, walkers and runners that if you fell and hurt yourself, someone would be along the trail soon.

Woods look absolutely delicious! Our townhouse complex has walking paths that lead to a lake that used to be a gravel pit. Precious little shady cover available. I'd love a few of those gorgeous, cool Northwestern summer days. We're in "State Fair" (and Straw Poll) time here. Always hot and steamy. Lucky you. Cool retreat and no right wingnuts filling the air with stupid blather.

Your mention of the local crab makes my mouth water! One of the BEST meals I ever had was on the Oregon, coast, a picnic with some of my friends while driving up to Seattle from San Francisco. We bought crab, a few lemons, wine, bread and butter and ate on newspapers put on a picnic table overlooking the ocean - yum!

Beautiful and green means it rains a lot, right? Does the rainy gloom ever get to you? For many years I considered moving to Portland, because every time I visited the sun was shining. Then I spent a week in relentless raininess on the coast and in the city and the dreariness sunk in. Maybe it's easier for people who come from the region? Rather than those of us who grew up in sunny climes?

After the most miserable winter in Arizona that I can remember we are experiencing the most miserable summer in memory. The humidity is at 76% here this morning. This is very rare for the desert. It has been humid for weeks and we are all suffering. It has cooled down to afternoon temps in the low 90's, but it feels more miserable than a day with 110* and humidity at 9%.

I wanted to step right into your pictures and walk among the ferns.

Stan is a man after my own heart. If circumstances had been different for me I would have traveled constantly. However, I do differ in one aspect; I would stay longer in each place before moving on.

Ronni--Your photos of your hiking trails look just as our back yard looked in 1965-1967, when we lived in Bellevue WA. I really loved that view, as did our kids. However; the lack of sunshine put me into depression and the kids complained constantly (in the summer) of being cold!

Darlene--That IS high humidity for your desert! I loved the desert (Albuquerque) more than any other place I've lived - even if we didn't have the greenery.

Yes, it rains a lot here. It is a temperate rain forest and this year, according to the local news, we had the rainiest spring on record.

It's never bothered me, but then I can't stand being in the sun. I burn in about two seconds, I don't like the stickiness of sunblock and I have never found a pair of sunglasses dark enough to keep my eyes from hurting or keep me from squinting.

All in all, I dislike being in the sun and head for the shade immediately.

For people bothered more by rain than I am, isn't too much heat and sun just as bad? If people lose outdoor days from rain, aren't many days in warmer areas lost because it's too miserable, hot, humid to be outdoors then too?

Actually, we haven't had rain here in more than two weeks. In summer, it's often just a shower overnight or in the morning then sunny for the rest of the day.

I'm not defending northwest Oregon weather to those who don't like it - just pointing out that there are other kinds of miserable weather than rain. I disliked every moment of three years in Houston except February when it cooled off to a reasonable level.

I'm brown with envy. It's hard to be green with envy since brown is what most yards look like here in North Texas.

At least the 100 pus degree temperature record of 1980 won't be broken. It has yet to reach 100 degrees today because a cool front came though and even dropped a little rain.

Its currently 82 degrees but that will elevate before the sun sets as the rain clouds pass over. But it will not be breaking 100 degrees in North Texas today.

I'm glad you found your perfect spot, weather-wise, in the Portland area. Aren't we lucky as Americans that we can find, and move to, a region where we like the climate, and where it suits our other preferences as well? Not too many people in the world can do that. Can't do that in Ireland or England, or Sweden or the Middle East or Africa or Russia or Japan.

Or ... like Stan, we can just travel around and enjoy them all!

As for me, I think there's no better climate than the Northeast ... with a month-long midwinter break in the South.

Ronni --Yes, you're right, miserable weather comes in many forms.

Love this post.
Your park reminds me of the woods surrounding my cottage.
The trails and ferns look like mine :)

I moved from sunny Colorado to rainy Washington state, and I've never been happier. Of course, it helped that I also retired as well!

Glad you're enjoying such pleasant weather in Oregon since I recall you had to cope with some rather unpleasant days in Maine.

Dear friend who had lived about rued the years she spent in Seattle, Wash. area due to the rain -- really depressed her. I've always enjoyed a variation in weather so I wouldn't tire of any condition. I do welcome any change from the sun here, unlike many who complain if we don't have sun every day.

Oh, Darlene! I know from Phoenix area days the high temps there aren't so bad normally, but had heard in the years since we left that all the new residents, construction, watered golf courses had resulted in a significant humidity increase. How miserable!

We've been fortunate here in the foothills of Southern California's northeast Los Angeles County with great weather almost all year. The several year drought unexpectedly ended beginning last winter with lots of rain continuing into early this year and snow in the mountains.

We've had some high, over 100, temps but humidity low and not a particular issue -- always cools as the sun sets.

I've always thought if we didn't have some unpleasantness we might not recognize and appreciate the pleasant, in weather and in life.

The park looks lovely -- nice place to walk as is the seashore.

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