Monday, July 24, 2006

It's been a week since my last post so I figure I should give a quick update on what I've been up to...

I spent the first part of last week taking care of various errands around Portland and shopping for plastic boots for my Denali climb. I hit every outdoor shop in Portland and it seems nobody has a good selection of plastic double boots anymore. There are a few odd sizes here and there but when I inquire about the next shipment most shops are not restocking their plastic boots. It seems like most places are leaning more towards rock climbing instead of alpine climbing these days. I find this strange considering Portland's proximity to some of the best mountain climbing in the country. Anyway, I did get a chance to talk with the "boot gurus" at each shop and learned a lot more about plastic boots. It looks like I'll either have to make a trip to Seattle or special order my boots online.

On Thursday Kerry and I headed down to the Willamette Valley wine country and spent the night at Hotel Oregon in McMinnville. On the way there we stopped by a couple of wineries then had a delicious 5 course dinner at Nick's Italian Cafe. Friday we reversed course and had a leisurely drive back to Portland stopping at more small, off the beaten path wineries. Going mid-week was a great way to escape the weekend crowds and I'd highly recommend checking out the smaller wineries away from highway 99. We found several places we really liked along North Valley Road, including Aramenta Cellars and Adelsheim Vineyards.

Over the weekend we did our best to survive the record high temperatures. Both days we went for early morning trail runs. On Sunday we tried a new route from the Trail Running Oregon book - the Marquam Nature Park Loop. This loop is rated the same difficulty as the similar loops in Hoyt Arboretum and Forest Park, but it seemed so much harder! The 4.2 loop starts at the Marquam Nature Park shelter then winds around on a steep and rough trail system through the hills behind OHSU to Terwilliger Blvd before looping back on a paved path. It was probably one of the more difficult runs I've been on - possibly something to do with the 100+ degree weather we've been having. I definitely want to try it again in cooler weather.

Next up - a day 5 trip to Olympic National Park to climb Mount Olympus.

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