We had a very “Oregon” Saturday.
We started our morning at the Saturday Market. I had heard mixed reviews about this market, some of which warned us that it might make us want to move back to Kentucky. Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it, the market wasn’t weird. It was mostly a bunch of local artists selling handmade stuff. Only two things struck me as odd. One, the booth selling full leather outfits, which just doesn’t seem practical in this rainy climate. And two, the woman playing the accordion onstage. But the best part was the bluegrass music. Yes, Eugene has a few town troubadours playing the banjo and mandolin. It was a lovely taste of home.
After wandering the market for a bit, we headed across the street to the farmer’s market, which was amazing. So much food. We weren’t really prepared for grocery shopping as we didn’t have any bags on us, so we only bought some local grapes and raspberries (which we may or may not have already completely consumed). But I will certainly be much more prepared next Saturday to bring home some of Oregon’s bounty!
There were also a ton of food vendors at the farmer’s market, so we got some lunch from Falling Sky Brewing (quite delicious) and chatted with the tourists visiting from San Diego. They had been in town for 3 days, and they had already done more exciting things than we have done in a month of living here. I guess vacation has a right to be more exciting than real life.
In the afternoon, we took our first Oregon outing, driving an hour into the Cascade Mountains for an afternoon of hiking. A friend told us about a place they call “the blue pool,” where the McKenzie River emerges from underground into a pool that is a crazy shade of blue, differing depending on where you are standing. The official name for this beautiful place is Tamolitch Pool. Apparently during seasons of heavy snow melt and rain, there is also a waterfall that pours over the cliff and into the pool. We’re definitely going to have to go back to see that.
The hike itself was pretty easy. Two miles in, two miles out, with very little change in elevation. But it was gorgeous. Most of the hike followed the McKenzie River, which is probably the clearest river I’ve ever seen (but everything seems clear in comparison to the Ohio River, I suppose). And when we weren’t following the river, we were hiking through lava rock, which was pretty crazy and cool.
We first saw the pool from the top of the cliff, where we watched a crazy person go for a quick swim. It’s crazy because the water in the pool is barely above freezing. And no matter how warm it is outside, that will always be crazy.
We took a rather steep route down to the pool, where we were far less adventurous than the swimmer and simply put our feet in the water. You have to be pretty careful doing that though because the edge of the pool drops off really quickly into a pretty deep pool of freezing water.
The best part of the entire day was when we were sitting on a log by the pool. There were 3 girls around our age there with their dog, Finnigan (adorable name for a dog, yes? Of course, this sparked a conversation about what we would name a dog. And don’t worry, if we ever get one, we have some good names picked out.) The dog had jumped in the water earlier and was shaking like crazy, and clearly wanted to go back into the water so badly, but the girls were doing a good job of holding onto his leash and keeping him from swimming. Three Asian tourists came down to the pool after we had been sitting for a bit. They all took off their shoes and stepped into the water and screamed at how cold it was (I’m telling you, it was really cold). Then they asked one of the girls with the dog to take their picture. So they are all standing on the edge of the pool with their feet in the water, ready for the photo, when Finnigan comes running at them (pulling the girl holding the leash behind him) and runs completely around them, wrapping his leash around the three of them. Of course, everyone is screaming and laughing and terrified that the dog is going to push the kids into the water. Don’t worry. They didn’t fall in. But it made for a pretty hilarious event. I wish I would’ve photographed the thing, but I was laughing too hard. And now that I’m reading this, I think you really just had to be there to think it was funny. My apologies for wasting your time with that paragraph.
So here’s to exploring a new place!