A View from the Top ~ Portland’s Aerial Tram

The Aerial Tram connects Portland’s South Waterfront district with Oregon Health Sciences University, the hospital and all manner of medical offices on the top of Marquam Hill.  Doctors, patients, medical students and office workers whisk up and down as a regular part of their daily commute.  It’s a hardworking, sturdy and somewhat quirky mode of transport and it fits Portland perfectly

If you are a visitor, the tram is the perfect way to experience one of the best views of Portland.  On a clear day, the vistas in every direction are breathtaking – Mt. Hood, Mt. St. Helens and even Mt. Adams lay in the distance, high rise buildings, the Willamette River, and several bridges are all on display.  And, if you’re lucky, you might even see a few dragon boats, The Portland Spirit or one of the jet boats heading  upriver.

As you float along on this 3 minute (one way) 3300 linear foot ride, you’ll rise about 500 feet over houses and cars on the bustling I-5 freeway.  There’s just enough sway to to make it a thrill ride for the little ones.  Once at the top, OHSU offers two beautiful gardens and a viewing deck.  So linger awhile before you head back down.

Bring your camera!

South Waterfront with Mt. Hood in the distance

South Waterfront with Mt. Adams in the distance

Here comes the tram.

Here comes the tram.

aerialtram4

Spectacular Portland View

Spectacular Portland View – Mt. St. Helens in the distance.

Crossing over the freeway.

Crossing over the freeway.

floating in for a landing.

floating in for a landing.

Enjoy the ride!

Nancy

 

Portland City Walks ~ Walk There!

walktherebookuse Last year I bought a pocket sized book titled Walk There! 50 treks in and around Portland and Vancouver.  Best book I ever bought – and not just because it was essentially free as we made the purchase with credits from selling previously enjoyed books back to the fine people at Powells Books.

Walking has now become one of our favorite weekend activities and with this trusty little book in hand we have seen more interesting places in and around Portland, discovered new shops, and hidden gem eating establishments than we ever thought possible when we set out on our first walking adventure early last September.   It was a gorgeous Fall day and we decided to start with the “Hillsdale to the River” walk on Page 181.  Distance 4 miles.  Level of difficulty – 5 bars (out of 5!)   Our trek began in the parking lot Wilson High School in Southwest Portland and wound slightly downhill on lovely neighborhood streets, through the woods, over bridges, and under tunnels all leading down to the river.

And then you walk back up, and up, and up.

View from the top.

View from the top.

Along the Willamette River

Along the Willamette River

According to our trusty guide book “This hilly walk in Portland’s Southwest Hills combines several city staircases, forest paths and a river walk with great views and significant elevation gain.  Somehow, when I selected this walk, I must have glazed over the “significant elevation gain”.

Just one of the many staircases on the walk back up the hill.

Just one of the many staircases on the walk back up the hill.

Portland is a very walkable city.  A comfortable pair of walking shoes, some sunscreen, a bottle of water, a few bucks in your pocket and the handy little (it fits right in hubby’s back pocket) Walk There! book, and you are ready to go.

Need more reasons to get out there?  Here are a few straight from the book:

1.  Walking is good for your wallet!  We couldn’t agree more.  It is cheap entertainment.

2.  Walking is one of the safest activities you can do.  It’s good for your bones, good for your heart and really good for your spirit.  This we know for sure.

3.  Walking is good for the environment.  Any time you leave the car in the garage, it’s good for the environment.

What are you waiting for?

See you on the trail!

Nancy

 

 

 

The Big Float ~ Portland Takes it to the River

Not that long ago industrial development had so polluted the Willamette River that even fish wouldn’t swim in it.  It didn’t glow in the dark – but pretty close.  These days things have changed in Über Green Portland including the waters of the beautiful river that runs through the middle of our city.  Some days when the sun is just right, the water actually sparkles.  The fish are back and it’s safe to dip your toes in.  Heck you can get wet right up past your knees.  Hallelujah!

A celebration was definitely in order.  So, in true Portland style,  a few brilliant minds came together and created The Big Float.  This year’s float is scheduled for Sunday July 28 at 2:00 p.m.  Hubs and I, along with an unsuspecting house guest who will be visiting over that weekend, will be donning our life jackets, pumping up our inflatable boat and heading out to party with 2,000+ other crazies as they launch boats, rafts, inner tubes and anything else that floats into the Willamette.  Like every good event in P-town, the Big Float begins with a parade.  Here’s a great video of the 2012 float courtesy of Oregon Live.

The floaters launch their watercraft from the beach just under the Marquam Bridge (for you non-Portlanders, we have a total of 8 bridges that transport us back and forth from the west side of Portland to the east) and then float, paddle or drift down river to Tom McCall Waterfront Park just south of the Hawthorne Bridge.  That’s where the beach party begins.  We’ll be reclining in our raft,  sipping a frosty beverage and celebrating our cool, clear water of the Willamette.  After all, isn’t water the force of Life? Or something like that.

Our raft.  It hasn't been in the water for a while.  Hope we don't spring a leak!

Our raft. It hasn’t been in the water for a while. Hope we don’t spring a leak!

It all sounds like too much crazy fun to miss.  Here’s hoping for a warm sunny day because I know that water is going to be cold.

Paddle on!

Nancy