May 31, 2017

Day one of my trip to Oregon

It's a quarter after ten, and I just woke up. I haven't slept this late since college!

I was in Oregon for the weekend, and I took a redeye flight home on Monday night/Tuesday morning (the flight left at 12:30 AM on Tuesday). I had a three hour layover in Minnesota, and then arrived home at about noon yesterday. I stayed up all day, and then finally went to bed at 11 PM. So, I was awake for about 37 hours before going to sleep last night. Definitely a record for me.

Anyway, the weekend was TOTALLY worth the lack of sleep on the way home!

As you probably know, Thomas, my best friend who I actually "met" via my blog in 2012, lives in Portland. I've gone to visit a few times, because during my first trip out there, I totally fell in love with Portland! Not just the city, but the surrounding areas. I am so amazed at how gorgeous the Pacific Northwest is. The trees are my favorite part--they are SUPER tall and lush green from all the rain they supposedly get (it's only rained once in my four trips out there). We went on a 14-mile hike in 2015, and that was the most beautiful place I've ever seen.

March 2015

I started going out there annually, and I look forward to it all year. Anyway, I wanted to go hiking again on this trip. I wasn't really imagining three DAYS worth of hiking, but most of them were simple and short with gorgeous views, so it wasn't like we were hiking 14-milers each day. Actually, the longest hike was a little over four miles, I think. Neither of us is in the shape we were before! (My weight is lower, but since I haven't been running, I'm not in the shape I was in 2015.)

To change things up a bit, we headed to central Oregon about three hours from Portland, and I couldn't believe the difference of landscape. It was almost desert-like, a far cry from the lush green of Portland. However, there were some really amazing views and lookouts, so it was very cool to see a different side of Oregon.

I wish I knew the names of all of these places we went, but I forgot to have Thomas write them down for me, so I will have to get them later. But we did a ton of driving, and even in the car, I just kept exclaiming, "Ohmygosh! Look at that! It's so pretty!" I'm sure he was so tired of hearing it even before we got to our first stop.

Instead of droning on, I'll just post (way too many) photos of the sights we saw, and caption them as needed. First, however, I have to share something terrible that happened just after I arrived in Portland. I didn't actually know what had happened until the following evening when I saw it on a local newsfeed.

When I arrived at PDX, I waited for my suitcase. Then I went and bought a ticket for the MAX. The MAX is a public transportation system that consists of small train cars that go all over the city. The guy in front of me spent SO long looking at the map and I had to wait until he finally bought his ticket before I got mine. I was planning to take the MAX to meet Thomas near where he worked.

So, I finally bought my ticket, and then hopped on the MAX. I was supposed to ride it for about 40 minutes or so. After several stops, our train was taking an awfully long time to start going again. The conductor announced that "there was an incident on the train in front of us, and we would be delayed". He wasn't sure of the details or how long the delay would be.

I texted Thomas to let him know, and he told me to just get off the MAX and he would come pick me up at that stop. So, I lugged my suitcase up to the street, and waited in a nearby parking lot. Fast forward to the following evening (after we'd been hiking all day), when I was scrolling through Facebook. I saw this headline:

I was absolutely STUNNED. This had happened on the train ahead of mine. I was literally one stop away from where it happened. I started thinking of the "What if...?" scenarios. What if I hadn't checked my bag? What if that man in line for his ticket didn't take so long? I could have been on that train, and that thought was terrifying. I was SO so sad for the men that actually lost their lives over this. One was an Army veteran, and the other had just graduated college last year. Another man was stabbed, but (thankfully) is expected to live. (Here is a news article with the details.)

Portland is a very diverse and accepting city in general, and for some man to be so hateful toward a young Muslim woman is not at all what I would expect there. In fact, I've been trying to convince my parents to go out there, because I know they would love and appreciate how pretty it is. This incident is not at all something that represents the city.

For these three gentlemen to step in and intervene is exactly what I would expect, because that's how people are in Portland! Everyone there is SO nice and friendly (another thing I love about the city). When they stepped in to try and calm the man down, the man quickly pulled out a knife and stabbed them, killing two and injuring the third.

Anyway, that was in the back of my mind for the rest of the weekend. I feel so bad for the men who lost their lives, their families, the girls that were targeted and had to watch as the men died while trying to help them, and all the other people on that train who had to witness it.

Well, despite what had happened, I was able to appreciate Oregon for what it is--a beautiful state with amazing people and scenery. I'm actually going to post my photos from the hikes in a separate post. It just doesn't feel right to post them here. So, I will share them in a post following this one...


  1. OMG Katie. I didn't see yesterday's post until today (6/1), and am horrified that you were so close to that attack. So many "what ifs," but in the end perhaps God was looking out for you. I do NOT understand such hate. Are they born with it, brought up with it, learn it, HOW does it happen? Was there an incident in this man's life that made him HATE? All I feel is love. Love for humankind, love for diversity, respect for other's opinions and beliefs, and I wish others could realize that we are all different and that's what makes the world so beautiful and interesting.

    Oregon is stunning. I have only driven through the state as a kid, on my way to visit my Aunt in northern Washington, and that was back in the early 60's, so it's been a while since I've been there. You make me want to go back and check it out. The scenery is stunning.Glad you got to go and enjoy the Pacific Northwest with your friend once again.

  2. Oh my gosh, that is awful! The amount of anger in some people is hard to believe! That is really scary.

  3. thank you for visiting our area, I am actually in the Willamette valley about an hour south of Portland. That was very tragic, so glad you were safe and had a great trip!


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