Days 110 – 114 – Portland, OR, Mt Rainier & Olympic National Parks

Hoh Rainforest in Olympic National Park

Since we arrived to Portland so late we didn’t get a chance to do anything, but we were able to make plans for the next day in the city. We were excited to have a bed to sleep in that night though, so we ended up knocking out early. The next morning we woke up to what we consider pretty heavy rain. Since being in the Pacific Northwest we’ve learned that the “locals” don’t consider any rain to be “a lot of rain” and they don’t use umbrellas, rather they wear full body wet suits and hats if it’s really bad out. We weren’t prepared, we got drenched but it’s all in the Portland experience, right?

Since it was a Sunday we were able to experience the Saturday Market, contrary to the name it’s open both Saturday and Sunday. While we were there we tried Elephant Ears and roamed through the aisles of tents then headed over to Powell’s City of BooksPowell’s certainly is a must see when you’re in the city, even if you don’t like reading it’s fun to wander around for a while as it takes up a whole city block! We both ended up finding something to read while we were there and headed back to our car before the parking meter ran out then headed across one of Portland’s 12 bridges to check out Cascade Brewery where we each sampled a few sour style beers before heading to some food trucks. Portland is apparently huge on food trucks, so we were sure to check out their variety and we completely ordered way too much food in an attempt to try a bit of everything.

Salt N Straw in Portland, OR

The next morning we went to go get a new tire for my car since we had been driving around on a donut since we left Crater Lake. It didn’t take long and the weather had held up so we headed over to Cathedral Park underneath St. John’s Bridge, as we got out of the car every raindrop that could’ve fallen fell. We took a short walk through the park and we were drenched, even in our raincoats. We got back in our car and it stopped raining, of course. While we were in Portland I had to try Stumptown Coffee, so even though we were soggy we we walked around downtown to find a location. The coffee was great and we got in right before a long line formed, luck seemed to finally be in our favor. When we finished up we explored downtown a bit more and worked up an appetite. We found ourselves at Bollywood Theatre for Indian street food, then walked down the road to Salt N Straw for ice cream. Salt N Straw isn’t like Ben and Jerry’s by any mean. They like to experiment with flavors like pear & blue cheese. We ended up getting almond brittle with salted ganache and I got the non-dairy flavor a local elementary school created. After stuffing ourselves with dinner and ice cream we decided to walk across the Tilikum Crossing, Bridge of the People; the pedestrian-only bridge. The bridge isn’t for cars, purely only for walking, running, biking and public transportation – making both sides of the Willamette River accessible without a vehicle.

Before heading up to Washington we tried to check out Mount Hood, but of course if it’s raining at the bottom of the mountain it’s going to be snowing at the top! We’re not skiers nor were we equipped with snowshoes so we left shortly after and headed over to Multnomah Falls, one of Oregon’s Seven Wonders. It was truly impressive and had a small footbridge that you could hike up to, even though it was raining we did a short hike before scrambling back into the car and heading towards Mount Rainier National Park where we ended up having similar luck as Mount Hood. We drove up the mountain until the road was closed, turned around then did a short hike along the Nisqually River. Since most of the park was closed we didn’t get to experience it to it’s fullest but I’m sure it’s really great in the summer!

That night we drove up the Pacific Coast Highway and camped in the Hoh Rainforest inside of Olympic National Park. It rained pretty much all night, so it lived up to it’s Rainforest status or us. The next morning we did two little Rainforest hikes on the Hall of Mosses Trail and the Spruce Nature Trail then went up to the north end of the park. We decided on going through the Elwha area where we saw Madison Falls and hiked the Smokey Bottom Trail that had views of the Elwha River restoration where the dam was just removed to help restore the previously altered ecosystem and of course views of the mountains around us!

Of course, we wished we had more time to spend in Olympic National Park but our next stop was Seattle. We were pretty excited to check out the rainy city so we camped nearby a ferry that would take us across the Puget Sound the next morning.

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