Portland may be a common destination, but my trip was unique. What made it extra special, you ask? Well, read on, and you’ll see!
When I initially planned my trip to Portland, I was going to be alone. Someone reminded me that I had a friend who moved to Portland, so I sent her a message. Sadly, she had already moved cross-country to New York City. Because she’s a really nice person, so she connected me with her friend Kat, who is a lovely tour guide in Portland.
Although I had never met Kat, I could feel her energy even through Chat. She was more than happy to be my buddy on the trip, and quickly decided to take me to Multnomah Falls. I was all too eager, and I agreed to go with her.
When I arrived in Portland, I met Kat at a coffee shop. We connected instantly and chattered nonstop about our adventures. As a solo traveler, I’ve learned how to adapt and establish rapport with people quickly. For me, it’s pretty easy. I usually just smile a lot, but Kat and I had so much to talk about. It was refreshing to see the world through a like-minded individual’s eyes.
Both Kat and I live by this adage: “When you’re stuck in a rut, and everything is going wrong, you got left by the bus, and you’re in the middle of nowhere with nothing, then sit, breathe, have a drink, and then think… what now?” It’s funny how things go in times like that. When you’re in that ditch and have no idea how you’re going to get out, people’s unexpected kindness always comes through. We exchanged stories of people we met along the way and our experiences of traveling. I talked about finding my balance between being friendly but still being aware of my small stature and wary of what’s going on around me. We spent the whole day exchanging stories like that—we never ran out of something to share. We talked about our favorites, our worsts, our lessons and the many thing we learned as we’ve moved around.
Kat talked a lot about her rock climbing hobby. I do off-beat, but she beats me on that a thousand fold! She talked about her crazy weeks-long canoe trips, rock climbing in endless locations around the world, and so much more. As she talked, I started to feel my interest in rock climbing grow. I actually learned to rock climb in Alberta, Canada, where I first tried it… but that’s another story for another time!
Our drive to Multnomah Falls was incredibly scenic. I loved the curving roads that flowed with the landscape the mossy forests. It rained a bit, but I found that the rain just added a dash of drama to an already gorgeous landscape. It kind of suited it, actually, and made it prettier.
Our first stop was at a view point overlooking the forest. We began a short hike over Bridal Veil Falls. They are shorter and smaller than the other falls, but still very pretty. I saw a rock in the middle of the falls, so of course, I wanted to go over there and stand in the center of it. It was wet and slippery, but we are both go-getters and up for the challenge. It wasn’t up too high, so we clambered up, and there we sat. It was the perfect place to watch the wilderness move and breathe with life all around us. We sat and talked and bonded for a while.
After a bit, we decided to head over to Multnomah Falls. The bridge was so nice—such a picturesque scene. There’s a story by the side of it about an accident that happened there in years past. There have actually been a couple of accidents at the bridge, caused by falling boulders. Fortunately, neither have been fatal. The first happened in 1995, when a huge boulder plummeted from the cliff to the water below and soaked a wedding party that happened to be taking photos on the bridge. I hope they caught it on camera! The second was in 2014, when a huge falling rock took a chunk out of the bridge and forced its closure for a while. Of course, we made sure to watch out for falling boulders.
By this time, it was way past lunch, so we decided to go to Edgefield for a bite. It was a cool place, too, and I liked it. It made me want to visit Kennedy School, too, and the other McMenamins properties! So far, all the ones I’ve been to have been great.
Kat is just one example of the people I meet along the trail and can make great memories with. It was just one day with her, but I definitely learned and shared a lot. I guess it’s just a breath of fresh air to meet someone who views the world the way I do. It was a good way to spend the day, and it definitely made Multnomah Falls much better. Sometimes, company does matter. I was glad to have met another free spirit. Hopefully, we will meet again in our travels.