Honestly friends, when you think of travelling to US of A, Oregon is probably not on top of your mind. In my hometown many people may not have heard of it. How boring! Umm… guess what, there is even a town named Boring in Oregon. But then, boring stopped being boring even long before Elon Musk came up with the Boring Company! Just to make your click worthwhile, let me tell you how widely under-rated tourist spots sometimes end up in the niche of virgin trails for tourists. If you are amongst those who like to avoid the beaten path, if you are the one who likes finding diamonds under ashes, welcome to Oregon.
Some Quick Facts
- Destination : Oregon state, USA.
- Distance from starting point: About 300 Km (approx 3 Hours) drive from Seattle, USA.
- Cost : 1 week car rent $400 + gas. Hotel per night $80 4 sharing. Numerous budget hotels and dorms available in Portland.
- Caution: Make sure to pack food and water in the car as most of the places are in the middle of nowhere, so no stores available.
- Highlights : Pacific Coast, drive via US Highway 101 (Most scenic drive, listed in National Geographic) Twisted cliff-hugging route, mountain on one side and the blue Pacific on the other side, Crater lake national park, Painted Hills, Mount Hood, Columbia River Gorge, Multnomah Falls, Cannon Beach, Smith Rock State Park.
Mt. Hood dons its snow-hat throughout the year, towering tall at 11k feet above the sea with one glacier for each thousand feet cascading down its contours. Housing total 6 ski havens, it is the base camp of countless skiers. Meet Lost, Trillium and Mirror, the cute alpine lakes that hug Mt. Hood’s flanks each setting the back-drop for terrific views of the majestic white peak. If you happen to visit in spring, do not miss the Fruit Loop, the name given to the trail of Lavender fields and the spreads of wild-berry spreads between the mountain and the town of Hood river. Even if Spring is nigh, don’t put away the skis and snow-boards just yet. Munch on spring corn fields in the morning and ski in the Spring snow of Oregon, you just have to know where to head. Oregon is varied and unpredictable, never failing to amaze you.
Oregon coast is not your regular Copacabana, with natural tanning and white sand warmth and most unapologetic-ally so. If you are shivering in your bathing suit, Oregoners are kind enough to lend you a jacket. In Oregon they don’t call it “The beach” even. Find the sun somewhere south— in Oregon, he most shyly peeks through the old growth of Oswald West, coy and crimson. But wait, what is that splashing noise against the cliffs ! What-ho, can you see the SURFs? As you double-take the view and forget the cold, your blood gushing with adrenaline, suddenly the panorama unfolds. As your eyes dart from the tidal pools to the dancing whales, from chasing the agates to spotting eerie light-houses, you come out of your usual self. You challenge yourself with the surf-boards. Don’t worry, fellow Oregoners will never leave you alone. Take your time to learn, but just don’t miss it. Above 350 miles of free public stretch of coast, far from the madding crowd, you will have the most immersive tranquility of your life.
Multi-hued stratified rocks in yellows, golds, blacks and reds will seriously make you wonder who might have painted these vast undulating stretches in such intriguing patterns. Layers of history on the rocks, registered by variations of ever-changing thermal and moisture levels. Explore the John-Day Fossil beds. Take time to also visit the Clarno Unit, with Mars-like pillars formed by waterfalls and volcanic sludge, and the Sheep Rock Unit, where fossils of plants and animals like saber-toothed cats are on display at the Thomas Condon Paleontology Center.
Smith Rock is the birthplace of American sport, climbing. It is also the meeting pot of bald and golden eagles, mountain lions and deer, at the Smith Rock National Park. Home to countless veteran breweries, Oregon will keep you hydrated. Miles of trails run through the Newberry National Volcanic Monument, connecting the obsidian lava flows around the 18-mile Newberry Crater. Don’t miss a journey through the mile-long lava tube at the Lava River Cave.Come over t this climbing, hiking and biking paradise !
Welcome to The Deepest Lake in America. The water is so blue, that it almost glows neon in unfiltered photographs. The lake is hemmed with 2000ft tall cliffs and is famous for a pristine small island with a ghastly volcanic past quietly buried amidst the serene mien. Explore the old growth forests along the cliff flanks. Crater is home to hikers and the park is open all round the year. Most visitors come to Crater Lake National Park during the months of July through mid-September, when the weather is generally mild with little precipitation. Due to the elevation of the park, weather conditions may change quickly and a warm jacket and wool sweater are always recommended items to carry.
At 620 feet, Multnomah Falls is by far the biggest amongst all 77 falls on the Oregon side of The Columbia River Gorge. This place may be a little crowded on summer weekends, so plan well. Hiker’s dream trail twists and turns from famous Multnomah Falls Lodge to the Simon Benson Bridge and then snivels to the top. The fiery colors of the foliage provide spectacular background to the Falls. Once you reach the top of the Falls, there is the six-mile Wahkeena Loop Trail, or continue on to the top of Larch Mountain along your myriad-hued hike trail.
The Cannon Beach
Dappled with the Haystack Rocks and Needles, the Cannon beach shoreline is one of Oregon’s most pristine destinations. Nine miles of public beach make the appropriate setting for a romantic beach-walk or dinner. Beach weddings are also in vogue. The diverse flora and fauna has become the added attractions along with the annual sand castle building contest, just another excuse to visit the Cannon beach. Extremely good maintenance, strict regulations restrict the mushrooming growth of large retail chain stores or restaurants and help cannon Beach retain the small town charm.
They kept Portland weird
With huge bumper-stickers saying “Keep Portland weird” the city starts off on a goofy optimistic note with its liberal eco-friendly atmosphere, conscious recycling, hi-tech industries, mass transit and a gazillion modern brew-pubs. With double decker steel-truss cantilever bridges, across two rivers blithely dividing the city, watch gulls swoop around battered freighters loading cargo for the Pacific voyage. Witness the fall-colors of down-town Portland, blending in a mellow Van Gogh-ish haze. Fork through the seedy riverside dotted with taverns and strip joints, pawnshops, pool halls, tattoo parlors and palm readers.
Portland is The city of bridges. Discover the double decker bridge, an amazing steel-truss cantilever bridge.
Want to witness Fall colors. Nothing like Portland !
Perhaps to compensate for the damp Pacific Northwest winters, Portland is very alive with cultural happenings, musical entertainment, and theater. But those same rains also nourish the city’s impressive gardens, and Oregon green spaces range from roses and rhododendrons to a classical Chinese garden. Now that you are feeling ever so inspired by Safarzaade’s verbosity, please visit Oregon and find out for yourself.
Time to meet the traveler soul behind the lenses:
Madhumanti Mandal, better known as The girl in Hiking Boots, is a PhD candidate in the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada. Born and brought up in Shantiniketan, West Bengal, her love for nature blossomed early and compelled her to push all boundaries to respond to its unfathomable beauty, across the world. Mountains, lakes, virgin hike trails are her exploits so far, all of which she has captured in her camera with unprecedented accuracy. Some travel essentials, sandwiches for lunch, snacks, nuts, drinking water and a rental car are all she needs to get going for her adventurous escapades. Often she connects with bunch of like-minded travelers of varying ages and back-grounds on her way. She recalls many all-women hiker groups from across the world with whom she has shared the ecstasy of discovering virgin trails, sombre mountains and riotous flowerbeds. More power and opportunities for the girl living her dream. Keep a tap on Safarzaade to hear more from her!