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Posts Tagged ‘Oregon’

Christmas Tree Farm
Like true Oregonians, we cut down our own tree this year. Kirchem Farm, established in 1890, and about a 40 minute drive southwest from Portland was our destination. I love visiting still-functioning historic places; it feels like I’m being transported back in time to somewhere special. I was very excited, even child-like in my anticipation. We brought along a couple of our friends and Christmas music to set the festive mood.

The farm had several varieties of trees (from the cheapest and less dense Doug Fir to the more pricy and robust Noble Fir) but most important to us was smell and the Grand Firs, according to the owners, was the most fragrant.

We trudged out through the mud and scouted around for the quintessential perfectly shaped tree. It was a bit overwhelming at first and we had trouble distinguishing the varieties of trees, even after our brief tutorial. We ended up in the land of Doug Firs and they looked rather dumpy and mutant-like with jagged tops and odd growths sprouting about.

We pressed on and came to the Grand Firs, which were noticeably different in leaf density and color. Dan and I were very discriminating, not dark green enough, not pointy enough, too many holes, not bushy enough, too round, too bushy, etc. But we settled on one finally, just as the sky gave out to the rain. We quickly hauled it on top of Dan’s truck and than helped our friends strap down their tree. We warmed up to hot cocoa and rested a bit before joining hands and dancing around our trees in spontaneous song.
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The most exciting and perhaps unusual (even rare according to a fellow hiker) aspect of the hike to Angel’s Rest was the cougar that ran across the trail path. My friend and neighbor had a better view, as it fled about 20 feet in front of her. She saw its cat-like face; I merely caught a glimpse of the tan body and tail. We froze in place, which I later learned is probably the best defense mechanism- either that or waving your arms and talking loudly to give the perception that you’re bigger than you actually are. I understand the rationale but would anyone actually do this? I have poor reflexes so I tend to stop in place when anything out of the ordinary occurs. The worse thing to do is run like prey. We continued with a certain level of timidity- every rustle in the woods would cause us to jump just a little bit. Closely following the incident, we came across a lone hiker who thought we might have encountered a rare sighting of a puma. According to wikipedia however, a cougar, puma, and mountain lion are all the same animal, different terms are used in different regional areas. I also learned that cougar attacks are not common, a cougar attacks a human only out of starvation or when threatened. Dogs attacking humans are infinitely more common.

Angel’s Rest is a pretty good metaphor for reaching the top of the bluff and gazing down below at the awesome view of the Columbia Gorge. It was a hot, fairly clear day and the breeze at the top felt refreshing. On the way back, we decided to take a detour to the road that would eventually lead to our parking lot to avoid having to backtrack along the same hilly path. It entailed an additional 2+ miles of walking along a paved road. We attempted to hitch, I half-heartedly stuck my thumb out with the expectation that no one would pull over and no one did.

After our excursion, we drove the 35-minute drive home, showered, and indulged in girly martinis at a neighborhood spot. I had the gingersnap with cinnamon sprinkled on top– mmm…it was good.

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