doublemountainbrewery

A Geocache made me cry

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Simple things often make me cry. For example, this Publix ad, the song about Jamie’s Food Revolution, the ending of this marvellous book. I never know when a moment will sneak up and get me. My face just starts to feel warm, my eyes water and I don’t realize what’s happening until my eyes let out a single tear. It happens so quickly that it’s over before I can explain it.

One of those moments snuck up on me during a hike in Portland. We were doing the fairly easy Eagle Creek Hike to see the gorge from the Wauna Viewpoint. You hear cars on the highway as you do the hike but the abundance of greenery throughout the path makes up for the noise. The nature there is as alive as the slugs and snakes you’ll see along the way.

At the top of the mountain I sat down to take in the view and noticed a small plastic container next to me. It had a green sticker with the words “Official Geocache” on it. I thought a fellow hiker had forgotten their lunch, but somehow Jack knew what it was, “oh, that’s that treasure hunt thing”.

When the boys ran away to climb some trees, as they do, I opened up the container. Inside was a small notebook with a list of names and loose papers with messages written on them. Because I am an emotional nerd, I sat there reading each one, feeling inspired by the pure randomness and positivity of it all. All the sudden my face felt hot and my eyes got watery. It must have been one of the quotes about following your dreams that got me, but I held back the tears before the boys could see.

After we left Portland I read more about this geocaching thing. What a clever idea! Geocaching is basically an easy way to find adventure using the power of GPS. First, you sign up and join the geocaching community using the website or app. A map will outline the geocaches near your location. Some are harder to find than others. You can pick one located in your own neighborhood or at the top of a mountain. Sometimes you’ll leave inspirational messages, other times you’ll swap trinkets. With over two million active geocaches all over the world, there is a chance one is close to you right now.

I can’t promise that you’ll feel so inspired every time you find a geocache that you’ll let out a small cry but I can swear, on my hopes and dreams, that it will always be a bit of fun. It’s so easy these days to forget to adventure. Geocaching inspires a new way of exploring the world around you.

Like Grace Coddington said, “Always keep your eyes open. Keep watching. Because whatever you see can inspire you.”

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Found: beer, pizza and waterfalls near Portland

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As soon as we arrived in Portland, we left again. For the day. We didn’t want to, but visiting the outskirts of the city was encouraged by every single person we met. A friend of a friend even offered up his car and wrote down a small itinerary for the next day’s outing.

Small Itinerary
Double mountain Brewery and Taproom in Hood River
Multnomah Falls in Mount Hood

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clydecommonsportland

A bunch of happy hours at Clyde Commons

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Every now and then, when Jack and I are doing absolutely nothing, one of us will bring up the popcorn we had at Clyde Commons in Portland. We’ll then reminisce about the good times we had there and laugh until the tears streaming down our faces turn to sadness.

I love popcorn. I think it’s a highly underrated food that never bores. Every time I see it on a menu I order it straight away. Let me boldly state that the popcorn at Clyde Commons was the best I’ve ever had.

It was served in a clean white bowl and was spiced with togarashi, honey and butter; It was like an exotic dream that was over too quickly, hence our second serving. If I could find togarashi in Melbourne I would host more dinner parties for the sole purpose of serving said popcorn as an appetizer.

But, okay. Popcorn isn’t the only reason you should eat at Clyde Common because the vibe is fun, drinks are encouraged and the food is incredible. Still, the Happy Hour offerings is the number one reason to go! Draft beer is $4, house wines and a small variation of cocktails are $6. The most expensive plate on the food menu is $8. It’s crazy good.

From the small but plentiful happy hour menu we ordered the popcorn (duh), the mussels with fries, the burger, the chicken liver mousse and the sausage.

The Happy Hour menu is available daily from 3pm – 6pm. We were there to have beer, food, and play cards until the rain passed, but there were business meetings being had, laptops being working on, and friends gathered to enjoy the restaurant’s cozy atmosphere. Clyde Common’s Happy Hour inspires fun and human interaction. We could have stayed there for the remainder of our trip.

It was the most enjoyable happy hour(s) I’ve ever spent, and that’s not just because when we drunkenly and reluctantly left our table we headed straight for the photo booth at the Ace Hotel lobby next door.

Clyde Common
1014 SW Stark St. Portland, OR 97205
(503) 228-3333
Reservations accepted for parties 8+

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icecream

Portland’s very own Salt & Straw

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If you were to do a quick google search of “what to eat in Portland” Salt & Straw would come up on every list. Guaranteed. Ice cream parlors have joined the ranks of TV shows and movies in terms of building up cult followings (Have you seen Wet Hot American Summer yet?). I mean, it wasn’t until Gelato Messina opened in Melbourne that I even started liking ice cream. Now I cult-ly follow it all over town, as we did with Salt & Straw when we were in Portland.

My sister only had one full day there so Salt & Straw became priority. Since we had no time to waste, we took a taxi. We were expecting a grunt from our driver after telling him where we were going. Our too-large smiles and overwhelming enthusiasm would have annoyed even our mother. His face went serious as he confessed that he wished less tourists knew about the artisanal ice cream. “There’s always a line now so you can never get in” he said.

We tried to look like locals but my backpack and camera were dead giveaways. He continued, “You know, there are so many food places in Portland that don’t deserve attention. At least Salt & Straw does. It’s actually really good!”

Our excitement levels shot through the taxi.

Before we could get a word in he suggested that if we try the Stumptown Coffee and Burnside Bourbon flavor if we like coffee, and if we were feeling like something basic we should choose the sea salt caramel ribbons. “BUT!” he added, “If you like chunks you must, must, must get the chocolate gooey brownie.”

I honestly thought that Salt & Straw found our hotel reservation and sent a hype man disguised as a driver to fetch us. As it turns out, I had found the taxi driver of my dreams.

He was totally right about everything.

There is so much more to love about Salt & Straw than it’s cult following and mouthwatering flavors. The branding and cute take away tubs are excellent. The staff is ridiculously friendly accommodating and patient. Plus, the companies “farm to cone” concept is on point.

Don’t even get me started on the smell of the handmade waffle cones!

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