Monday, September 14, 2009

Oregon is for Lovers

(Morning meditation, Umpqua River)

Visiting Oregon after a year on the Big Island makes me appreciate the beauty, uniqueness, and diversity of both places. For me the common threads that tie both together are the amazing trail running, farmer's markets and ecstatic dances. I came to Ashland to visit friends Jenn and Erik and Eric and Jenny, haha. After a few days of running up insanely steep mountains in Ashland it was time for a road trip. Eric, Jenny, and myself decided to take a trip to Portland with the focus being hot springs, live music, and ecstatic dances!! It was so great to be back in a big city, it had been too long. As soon as we got into Portland we headed straight for a dance. What a great way to loosen up after a long car ride. I am more sore after a few hours of dancing than I am after a long run. Participating in dances is so great on many different levels. Its great to be able to let loose and not care what others think, really we are all just a bunch of fools! After the dance we headed to the Bagdad Theatre to see Akron Family, an amazing band. One of the things I miss the most in Hawaii is the lack of live music. Before Akron an amazing jazz ensemble played. During there last song out of nowhere a member started singing and her voice was so angelic it could make rain fall from the sky. Akron played an amazing set, the perfect mix of folk/rock/noise. After the show as we were stumbling back to the hostel in the early hours of the morning,we came across an amazing discovery. Two hula hoops!! They had stickers on them saying "Ohh Yeah we are free" with a link to a flickr page to post photos using the hoops. "Hoop it Forward!!" We were so stoked! Some people made a bunch of hoops and left them all over Portland, what a way to make the world a better place! The next day it was nice just enjoying the sights, sounds, and smells of the city. We went to a farmers market and bought a bunch of fresh fruit and sat under a tree in the park most of the day enjoying it. The blasts from a mad trumpeter echoed throughout the streets putting a smile on my face. Portland is a kick ass city, from the markets to the beautiful trails in Forrest Park. From PDX it was on to Bagby Hot Springs. I have wanted to go there ever since seeing the movie Old Joy.

After a 1.5 mile walk through lush green forest and flowing streams we reached the springs. The place is just oozing with life. There are hallowed out logs you can fill with water from the springs giving us our own log tubs.

It was so relaxing to sit in a log and listen to the creek below. The next day we went to one of my favorite spots in the world, Smith Rock. It was there that I fell in love with running all over again a few years ago while I was living in Bend.

I learned to love the long steep trails up Misery Ridge, Burma Road and Grey Butte. It redefined what a hill was to me, running up became an active meditation. We took a hoop with us on a run and stopped for some hoop sessions periodically.

(Eric running up Misery)
The memory of getting lost back there came to mind. A two hour run turned into a 5+ hour run with some serious climbs. I have never ate as much pizza in one sitting as I did after that run. It was one of those where you finally make it back to your car and just collapse on your hood! The section of trail that parallels the river makes my heart fly out of my chest! The wild flowers growing along the banks, the sound of flowing water and the train whistle whooo whoooing in the distance. I love it, I love it!!! Nothing beats jumping in the cold river after a long hot run, so refreshing.

(Back of Monkey Face)

(The river is in the sky!)


Mike Bailey said...

Hey Billy,

I stumbled upon your blog when I was searching for Hawaii and running. Two things really caught my attention. The first is I totally recognize you from some of your ultrarunning in Virginia. I went to JMU. I recall you were quite an impressive runner for being one of the young guys.

Secondly your photography is amazing. I spent some time on the Big Island in 2007 at a place called Kalani Oceanside Retreat(about 30 minutes from Hilo). Ultrarunning, ecstatic dance, yoga on black volcanic beaches, and the beauty of Hawaii all wrapped up into one. Your blog reminds me alot of myself and my own travels and adventures. Keep on living life to the fullest. Others can only daydream about what you do everyday.

Mahalo and Aloha

Half Navajo said...

Man i miss oregon and portland soooo much, it is really a beautiful place. Did you get to enjoy Musicfest NorthWest some more while you were there?


Billy Barnett said...

Thanks for the shout outs Mike and Troy. Keep the joy alive Mike!
I didn't stick around in Portland for MFNW, it looked awesome though.