Let’s start with the good: a few weeks ago, on a whim, I decided it was time for us to go deep-sea fishing. I had only Yelp reviews to go on when it came to the purveyor of the trip, and so I signed us up for a five-hour trip out of Newport, OR. We ended up being on a fishing boat with a bunch of rednecks for five hours. But we did get to fish for rockfish (?) of which there is quite a variety–orange fish, gray fish, giant sea monster-looking fish (sadly I did not catch one of these, though I must say our fish haul rivaled those of the others in the boat). We also got to watch the captain/crew fish for Dungeness crab (throw a baited trap over the boat, wait three hours, reel in trap, crabs abound). Our share was something like 20 crabs for the two of us…we made a game attempt, but did not manage to finish all the crabs. It was a great day and I need to get out on the ocean again soon. We didn’t even get seasick!
And now, the bad. It got really, really hot in Portland. Record-breaking hot. Hotter than Iv’e ever experienced in Chicago. And just because the heat wasn’t bad enough, we were also stuck under a blanket of wildfire smoke that drifted down from Canada on the hot winds from hell. Going outside was a painful experience. I brought a thermometer out with me and watched it register 105. I baked cookies on the dashboard of my car. But you can only have so much fun when you feel like you are being baked in a giant oven owned by Satan himself. I even spent a night sleeping on the basement floor (concrete) in search of just a bit of cool…the heat lasted for TWO WEEKS STRAIGHT and only broke yesterday. If this is a taste of what global warming will bring, I truly hope I’m dead and gone before the worst of it begins.
Desperate to escape the heat of
hell Portland, seeds and I spent a weekend visiting the Crater Lake area. Crater Lake is quite remote and lacks many accommodations, so we stayed about two hours outside the park in a converted school bus (Airbnb…) No hot water for showers–damn, that was a cold shower–a composting toilet (fixture of cheap Airbnbs everywhere)…otherwise it was quite comfortable. After spending Friday night in the bus, we headed off Saturday to Crater Lake. The closer we got to the park, the smokier it got. The sky even took on an orange cast so it was all the more evident we were descending into hell. When we got to the gates of the park we found that half the park was closed because it was LITERALLY ON FIRE!!! We went on a “scenic” hike in the non-burning portion of the park, but the thick blanket of smoke prevented us from seeing much. This was much worse than the smoke being blown into Portland–you could smell the burning air you were breathing in, and see the divide between clean air and smoky death air at elevation. To make matters worse, the butterflies in the park were spawning madly and were whirling through the air, knocking into your arms and legs. I have never been so afraid of butterflies.
That said, I did get to jump off a cliff into the lake, and I got to swim in the lake. I’d been warned the temperature was glacial, but it wasn’t too bad. The park rangers told us that the water was clean enough to drink (“cleaner than the stuff coming out of your tap at home”…little did they know we were staying in a bus with water that smelled like sulfurous devil liquid), but we passed on that one…
Thankfully for dinner there was In N Out because Medford is close enough to the California border that they saw fit to put one in. Also note that in the recent Eater article of “southern Oregon restaurants worth traveling for,” this particular In N Out (I believe Oregon’s only) features prominently. The Californians are laughing at us.
On the way home we stopped at a fish and chip shop, a brewery that grows its own hops, and a winery whose bottles we couldn’t afford. Ah, Oregon.
This weekend was a lovely hike on Mt. Hood early in the morning before the other encroaching hikers arrived. We saw the mountain for the first time in two weeks (smoke) and also discovered some berry bounty that we’ll be back to pick next week.
Here’s to a fall that comes sooner rather than later. I want to break out my flannels again.