Fogarty Creek State Park

This is part of our Oregon State Park challenge! Check out our progress here.

This is a park in two parts.

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The first is foresty, woodsy, and great for a nice stroll or a picnic. It wasn’t mealtime when we came, but we did find a cache or two.

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One of them had a hummingbird nest in its tree!

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This is (oddly) one of the least well-maintained state parks we’ve visited. “Go pose on those picnic table ruins!”

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For the other cache, we went over the river and through the woods…

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The second part is the beachy, gravel-sandy, oceany part. You can tell when you’re close by the driftwood and bare feet.

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I took it upon myself to climb this rock. What I didn’t think about was (a) I was wearing flip-flops, and (b) there were two short people that wouldn’t want me to go alone.

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Will got the farthest up of the three of us, and I made him stop out of my nervousness.

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Then we gave them a mission: to build a dam across the entire stream. They worked at it for about an hour.

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It’s a lovely place. Stop by if you’re in the area!

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#82: Build a Sandcastle

This is part of our 100 Things in 2014 challenge. Here’s the full list.

A beach scene in Neskowin. What could be more idyllic?

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But we happened upon the ruins of a once-great kingdom. What could we do but rebuild it? We fortified and buttressed, making it better and stronger than ever it was.

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Sharp eyes will note the fluttering banners, stone drawbridge, and citadels. We intend to do this more.

#15: Watch a Movie Outside

This is part of our 100 Things in 2014 challenge. Here’s the full list.

We didn’t think this one would be so hard to check off, but it turns out you can’t do this during daylight hours, and the authorities frown on leaving kids alone at home.

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We had intended on going to one of the Portland city park events, but when Labor Day arrived and we hadn’t made it, we despaired. So it was with great joy and relief that we read the news that our friends were having a backyard movie party, and Will and Lucy were at their grandparents’ house! We watched the best movie ever made with some great friends, and a fire pit. It was excellent, and we look forward to doing it again.

#10: Visit a Wildlife Refuge

This is part of our 100 Things in 2014 challenge. Here’s the full list.

Who doesn’t like a hike with wildlife?

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We were spending a few days in Neskowin, and it’s only about a 15-minute drive to this place. It’s kind of hard to spot the turn-off – we missed it the first time – but just a little ways up the hill, there’s this gorgeous view.

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Another short drive up a gravel road, and we reached the paved trail to the viewpoint at the top. Here Lucy is holding the wildlife viewing guide, which tells us which birds we’re likely to see today. The kids were fascinated by these.

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There were lots of butterflies flitting about.

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Here’s the “making of” scene from that shot.

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There were also lots of busy pollinators. The kids got a little freaked out, but they were soporific with the abundance of pollen.

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We even spotted a baby butterfly on the trail, and made sure he made it to safety.

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The view from the top was really great. You could see all the way to the ocean.

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Will’s in the Chinook class at school, so we made sure to get a portrait with his “school” mates.

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If you look really closely in this photo, you can spot our car in the parking lot.

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We didn’t end up spotting much wildlife (unless you count the insects and a cow), but the hike was enjoyable, and the view was great. We might have to come back during the goose migration.

#73: Attend an Improv Show

This is part of our 100 Things in 2014 challenge. Here’s the full list.

We drove downtown to the Brody Theater, for week two of Theatresports. Our friend Aaron wasn’t playing that night, but many lols were still had.

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Some of those might be due to the tasty libations on offer at the bar.

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If you’ve never been to an improv comedy show, here’s a summary: most of the time it’s going to be painfully awkward, but those rare moments when you can be present when comedic gold is birthed into the world – there isn’t much that’s better. Highly recommended.

#89: Spend a Day at Oaks Park

This is part of our 100 Things in 2014 challenge. Here’s the full list.

For Will’s 12th day gift last year, he got a day with Mom and Dad at Oaks Park! Becky’s been going here since she was a kid! August is obviously the best time to go, so we dropped Lucy at the Jenson Grandparents’ castle, and headed to lovely southeast Portland.

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Our first ride of the day. I haven’t been on one of these in probably 20 years, and didn’t really like them then. By the end, Will wanted us to rock more, and I just wanted to get off.

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Will didn’t like being the rodent in the pink uniform. Or at least he said he didn’t.

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In this picture, we’re going about walking speed. Our grins got wider as we went faster.

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Some of the rides wouldn’t fit us old folk.

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Others would. The Scrambler™ was one of Will’s favorites.

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The bumper cars are always a hit. Will loves anything to do with driving.

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He wasn’t tall enough to drive the go-karts, but we had a good run anyways.

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His first time on roller skates!

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He wasn’t very good, but he was very brave and tenacious. We’re really proud of him.

In conclusion: Oaks Park in August is crowded, noisy, and hot, and if you’ve been there as a kid, it’s much less shiny than you remember. But if you’re 8, it’s about the happiest place on earth.

#26: Go Fruit Picking

This is part of our 100 Things in 2014 challenge. Here’s the full list.

While we were around for a barbecue, we took advantage of Kevin and Erika’s garden!

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They had tons of ripe raspberries that they hadn’t been able to keep up with. We’re always happy to help out with that problem.

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Of course, not all of the berries made it to the bowl. I’m just as guilty as Will looks.

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But that’s not all! There were also lots of ripe tomatoes, which are among the kids’ favorite foods! Becky grabbed all she could.

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And Then

We made some friends at our old gym, and one family has the hugest backyard greenhouse we’ve ever seen, with so many things growing in it that they can’t help but be behind. They practically beggd us to come over and take food home. ⟨sigh⟩ Okay…

Here’s what we brought home:

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And here’s what Becky did for the next two days:

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Yup: a giant vat of tomato sauce, which is now sitting deliciously in our freezer. We’ll use it as a base for ragu, barbecue sauce, chili, and dozens of other things. I can’t wait!

#30: Eat Dinner in the Backyard

This is part of our 100 Things in 2014 challenge. Here’s the full list.

Okay, so this isn’t technically our backyard, but we feel like it should count.

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Becky’s oldest younger brother, Kevin, has an enormous yard, and hosted a big family barbecue because Andrew was in town. Kevin works for a seafood company, so he always has the best fishes and crustaceans – those are shrimp skewers on the top rack, and they were delicious.

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The kids love coming to this house. In addition to lots of cousins and a dozen wheeled conveyances, there’s a trampoline! The little guy’s name is Sen, and he’s not quite two, and he loooooves being bounced around.

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We also had a chance to hang out with this young chap: Ashton, age 0.

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A good time was had by all. We sat and chatted while the kids bounced around until dusk. So good. This one is probably going back on next year’s list.

#93: Complete the 4T Hike

This is part of our 100 Things in 2014 challenge. Here’s the full list.

In the spirit of getting to know our fair city, we decided to take a swing at the 4T Trail – “the ultimate Portland excursion” – so called because you travel by Train, Trail, Tram, and Trolley.

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Joining us for this expedition is Becky’s younger brother Andrew, who is usually to be found in South Korea. He had just flown in for a week’s business, and our job was to keep him awake until dark.

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We rode MAX to the Washington Park station, and rode the elevator up to the zoo’s front gate.

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From here, it’s the trail leg of the journey. We crossed highway 26, carefully stepping around the radar-gun-toting police officer stationed on the bridge, and headed up the Marquam Trail towards Council Crest.

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The hike is almost entirely uphill, with 1100 feet of elevation gain. It had been a while since any of us had done any hiking that was strenuous (hiking with kids doesn’t count), so it felt good to be breathing hard again.

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We made it to the top!

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Becky can never resist a placard.

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The trail from the crest to OHSU goes down through a ravine, and back up to the top of the hill.

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We reached the top, after 4.5 miles of hiking. The view from here is pretty staggering. Note to others: the ride down the tram is free; you only pay to go up.

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We arrived safely at the bottom, and looked around for a streetcar stop.

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Caught it!

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At this point, we had been at this for 4 hours, and it was waaaaay past lunchtime. We made all possible haste to get the best tacos anywhere.

Hat Rock State Park (and Pendleton Aquatic Center)

This is part of our Oregon State Park challenge! Check out our progress here.

We drove out to Hat Rock State Park from Emigrant Springs, expecting to find a swimming hole.

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It turns out that it’s not very easy to go swimming here if you don’t have a boat, so we strolled around the fishing pond, and hiked up to the eponymous rock:

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It’s a nice place for a picnic and a short hike, and there’s a boat ramp if you have one of those.

Aside: Pendleton Aquatic Center

The kids were mightily disappointed that we didn’t go swimming. On our way back, we stopped at the Pendleton Aquatic Center, which was awesome.

That photo shows one of the three pools – there’s also a lap pool and a high-dive pool that’s 12′ deep. Will rode the big slide you see above (Lucy wasn’t tall enough), and both of them went off a diving board!

This place was a highlight of our trip, and it only cost $20 for all of us for the day. There’s a food stand (with predictable quality), but we also spotted people hauling in their own barbecues and coolers. It was a hot summer day with lots of people, but there was still plenty of shade for us to hang out in. Highly recommended, 5 stars, would pool again.