GUYS. I WENT TO OREGON.
That was for the people who are (or have been) living under a rock. It was hard to contain my excitement for the past month and a half, and even harder to keep from broadcasting it. I've finally sampled what a portion of the West Coast has to offer, and I'm infatuated.
I flew out to Portland, Oregon for six days with the primary intention of meeting my awesome co-workers in the Squarespace Portland office. Soon after I landed, however, I realized that my trip was serving two primary purposes: to meet my friends, and to step into some genuine wilderness. I don't mean to demean New Jersey and its great selection of state and county parks, but let's not kid ourselves. The Pacific Northwest is on a different level. A quick Google search will fill you in; I'm not here to wax poetic about the outdoors à la John Muir. It's just fucking great if you're even slightly inclined to hike.
The trip took me initially to the Pacific Ocean, which I've never even seen before. It took me to one of the tallest waterfalls in the country. It took me nearly to the peak of an 11,000 foot mountain. It took me to some great restaurants which gave me enough sugar, fat and calories to last until my next trip.
Portland itself is a city I like. If you know me even a little, that's a huge statement. London comes in a close 2nd. I'm by no means a fan of living in cities, or even built-up areas, but Portland, without wishing to sound too cliché, just has a very town-like way about it. The sheer friendliness of its residents will catch an East Coaster off guard, and once you're used to it, it's difficult to transition back to life around here. There's a distinct downtown area, but healthy trees dot the walkways to remind you that life exists outside of concrete and metal. I heard three car horn blares during my entire stay, and they were all within 5 minutes of each other outside my hotel. There must've been someone outside on the sidewalk holding a "Honk if you like recycling" sign.
Despite all of this, I was left sitting in the Portland airport, waiting for my flight home, without feeling entirely fulfilled. While I saw - or met - many of my long-distance friends, took a few neat photos, ate some incredible food, and breathed some of the freshest air in the country, I realized that I had just nicked the surface. Six days wasn't enough. There's so much more in that area of the country that I haven't seen, and it's my resolute intention to get back there as soon as possible.
I have more friends to meet. I have more delicious food to gorge myself on. Equally, though, my hikes here in New Jersey just aren't the same now. There's no moss-covered forest, no mountains capped with snowpack in April, and very few truly impressive waterfalls. I don't believe there are many sights left in The Garden State for me to stare slack-jawed at, if only for a few seconds. I can feel Oregon pulling me back with an urgency.
I figured I'd end up talking like John Muir in this blog post eventually.