Thursday, September 04, 2008

The Oregon report

I feel so old and so hip, all at once: I've joined Facebook. It's really addictive at first, trying to find all the old friends and colleagues I can think of to see if they are on too and want to be my friend. And it's lovely to get back in touch with these folks, especially the dear Andy Reinhardt and my little bro, Marc Lowenstein. And to see Marc's delicious baby girl! Wow. Life does go on, doesn't it.

Tomorrow we are going camping at the DAR campground in Goshen for two days and I am looking forward to it but it's also something I haven't done in, oh, 15 years. Camping, I mean. I don't know if we have any fuel in the stoves, I don't know what's in all those camping boxes in the garage, I don't know if I'm even going to like this. What if we all get devoured by mosquitoes? Should I just be grilling at home and sleeping in my bed? Could be.

Something about seeing all those familiar faces on Facebook makes me think back to all these various parts of my life, LIFE, Milton -- I've been reading John Donne recently, first time since high school. I'm on the pro-Donne side, in case you were wondering.

A brief Oregon report:
Bondi showed us a great time. We ate wonderful food, enjoyed her lovely renovated home, went to two local town pools, had dinner with my aunt and uncle, went to the Japanese garden and the Rose garden, Lily and I spent the afternoon at the wonderful zoo, on and on. Just a lovely city, kind of what Northampton would be like if it were city.

The other part is that we visited Dave's cousin and husband near Hood River. They took us on a fantastic hike through some wonderful Pacific Northwest forest, those big old moss-covered cedars and doug firs, I guess, and after about a mile and a half we came to this extraordinary waterfall. It was awesome and awe-inspiring and a bit scary, especially when Lily stepped back toward the churning punch bowl in order to take our picture. We both said, "No!" at the same time and climbed back up to the path to go back.

That night they told us to sit in the hot tub while they made dinner, so we did, looking out over the Gorge and the cliffs and the trees. Really nice. The next day we drove part of the Fruit Loop and turned off at Mt. Hood, which towers above everything around it like this gigantic ice cream cone. Or maybe a sundae, with whipped cream on top. It's Oregon's Mt. Fuji, Dave says. It hadn't registered with me that it's volcanic, but of course, it's volcanic. Duh. The whole place is, with extraordinary cliffs framing you and pumice everywhere on the ground. Lovely. We ate lunch at the Timberline Lodge and had a chance to revel in the glories of the New Deal and the WPA.

Then we drove a couple more hours to Bagby Hot Springs (also here) and hiked in a mile and half through old-growth forest to these wonderful hot tubs hewn out of cedar logs and heated with 136-degree water piped in through sluices to your own private bath -- you let the water in by plugging the tub with a big wooden bulb and pulling up the wooden door. Then you go to the cold water tub with a bucket so you can cool the hot water enough to soak in it.

The logs were big enough for the three of us, although we got into the group round tub instead. That felt pretty risque 'cause the men there were naked, but one guy had his seven-year-old and she and Lily got on well. I guess the party starts as the evening comes on so we hiked back out after about an hour and a half. But it was awfully relaxing -- I gather the water has lithium in it, among other minerals.

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