Winter escape to Portland

by Amanda
10 minute read

Anyone who has heard me talk has probably heard me say that I love the cold. I’ve never actually been in any area with snow and ice for any period of time that would have inconvenienced me, however, so I very much have vacation-goggles on. Also, hindsight realization as I’m typing this, I only have pictures from the great outdoors and I totally forgot to snap some of the city and the food. ?

We chose to drive up from the bay because dog. Milo is much too big to travel in an airline carrier and we want to bring him on all our adventures. It was a 10 hour drive and surprisingly, was a decent split between me and Zach. Normally Zach’s the one driving me 100% of the time. We stayed at Hotel Rose the entire time because of the extra dog-friendliness and honestly, I’d stay there again even if we didn’t have Milo with us. It was such a nice location to make our home for the next 5 days.

We got a lot of takeout and did a bit of shopping. In case anyone didn’t already know, Oregon has no sales tax. If there’s one thing Zach loves more than me and Milo, it might be purchases free of sales tax. We knew we wanted to accomplish one thing on this trip and that was to take Milo out on a hike with snow. Obviously, being from relatively temperate California, and never having been a winter-activities person, I own nothing appropriate for this weather. Therefore, this now became the perfect time to really fill out our winter wardrobe and buy a new personality. We didn’t go too overboard though- we couldn’t. There wasn’t enough space in the hotel room.

One of my favorite places we visited in the city was Powell’s City of Books. We went there twice and was lucky enough that our trip lined up with one of their Friends & Family sales – yay 25% off! I now wish I took some pictures inside but I was much too busy browsing books and wondering how many books we can fit in the car ride back home. I could have probably spent the entire trip in the bookstore and that would have been absolutely delightful. It was too bad they didn’t allow pets in the store though, so Milo was snoozing away back at the hotel while we shopped to build our own library.

This was, of course, a trip to the PNW and what’s a trip to the PNW without some outdoors? We booked a midnight snowshoe group experience with Rare Earth Adventures and it was a great first-time snowshoeing experience! We had an easy morning that day and walked some light trails around Washington Park, visiting the International Rose Test Garden and Hoyt Arboretum. We obviously have to go back in the spring or summer to see some roses.

All day, the weather was a little less than stellar, but it was great fun. In the usual unexpected nature fashion, it was raining the night we booked for snowshoeing so there were no nice views of the stars or Mt Hood and photos were difficult, but our trip guide was nice enough to take a photo of us.

I had gloves but had zero capability to do anything with gloves on so had to take it off to have a snack and a drink of tea. Also, I was way warm and was lagging the entire time. Oops. I hate slowing down a group so, lesson learned (again), circle is not a shape.

The views were not great considering the weather so we decided we were going to come back in the daytime and bring Milo with us. No snowshoes this time so we had to stay on a more common trail. Driving back up here by ourselves, though, was a learning experience. Who has never put on tire chains before? Me and Zach, that’s who. We had them, but of course this was our first time and there was a snow chain requirement on our way up. It also looked fine without but we’re both overly cautious and would rather do with than without. And what’s a good way to ensure you learn really fast? Make sure you have to do it under pressure. After the chain shenanigans, however, we hiked a short portion of the Government Camp to Enid Lake loop.

Milo had a blast nosing around everywhere and Zach almost lost some fingers. Only half joking. Zach’s gloves were not warm enough for his hands so we snapped a few photos, looked at a frozen over, snowed over lake, and hauled ourselves outta there.

Pictured above: Zach trying to tell me, “Let’s go before I lose a finger.” ? Don’t worry. He didn’t lose a finger, but he did solidify plans to buy much, much warmer gloves.

We weren’t done with the outdoors because this was Zach’s first trip to the Portland area and I insisted we go to Multnomah Falls. What’s a trip here without these iconic falls? I also insisted we do the hike up to Multnomah Overlook and the entire time, I was wondering why I chose this. AllTrails has the hike at 813 ft elevation gain and I somehow thought that was not a lot. I was wrong.

We had to cross the bridge to start on our trail, however as it was winter and this was a strong waterfall… there was ice. Now, I’m not proud of the decision we first made to try and cross but we did and I took a fall and broke my camera filter. Oops again. I didn’t feel comfortable going uphill (and later downhill) through the iced pavement, so we turned around and almost went home when… we remembered we bought micro spikes! That was one of our random purchases earlier in the trip because “Why not?” and we were very glad we impulse buy everything because those spikes saved our plans. With our spikes on, we got across the icy section with no problems and got to go on our hike up to the overlook.

By the time we came back down and back through the icy bridge area, we were a walking commercial for the spikes. Take my word for it, carry micro spikes if you go anywhere in the winter. Maybe this is something everyone already knows, but we’re new to this! The views were gorgeous and I just know we would have been so disappointed if we didn’t get to hike this trail. Thanks micro spikes.

This was our last excursion for the trip and it was back to the warmth and comfort of our hotel room to pack up for our car ride home. We were already joking about making 2023 an Oregon-only year for all of our trips, so safe to say we had a lovely time and can’t wait to be back in every other season. Next time, we want to paddleboard the Columbia River Gorge!

Delicious eats in PDX on this trip…

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