Journalism, Photography

Postscript: June 2016

Car camping

Fold-down rear seats make my old Chevy Trailblazer a good fit for car camping. Pictured here somewhere southwest of Hood River.

My June, in a list: 

I camped in a campground: Waking up, buying breakfast burritos and potatoes, running along the beach, racing birds and searching for sand dollars.

Camped in a car: Rising at dawn, driving to a placid, tree-lined lake, Mount Hood a towering and welcome imposition to the east.

Found the perfect happy hour: One that begins as my Friday shift ends.

Received a letter from Costa Rica, package from Michigan, postcard from Texas. Began riding my bike again. Got a little sunburned. Spent too much time planning trips. Started this blog a bit late because of a combination of the above.

***


Travels

Oregon coast

Gianna and I went camping on the coast during a rare weekend where overcast conditions in Portland gave way to clear skies at the beach.

Cape Lookout State Park

Our campsite was a few strides from the beach and sheltered from the ocean wind.

Lost Lake

A mid-June hike from Lost Lake (pictured) to Buck Peak was perhaps the best trek I’ve done since moving to Oregon. I started early on a Sunday after camping between Hood River and Lost Lake Resort and Campground. The 16-mile hike looped around the lake before rising to the Pacific Crest Trail for a spell and jutting off at Buck Peak. It was a day well spent.

Mount Hood

Mount Hood smacks you in the face as you emerge from the forest onto Buck Peak, around 6,000 feet above sea level. I had trouble properly exposing the snowy mountain and the trees and lake below, making for disappointing photos.

Opal Creek

Bryan and I set off late in the month for a day hike along Opal Creek in central Oregon. Remarkable shades of turquoise reflect from the creek, which was high and fast during our trip.


Reading

The National Park Service’s colors are green, and when it comes to land-management policy, it leaves the plastic on the sofas so that, as a former Yellowstone superintendent once told me, it can pass the parks along “unimpaired for future generations.” The BLM uniform is brown, and its land-use strategy is more akin to how I treat my truck: change the oil and tune the engine but don’t worry too much about scuffing the fenders.
— Outside Magazine, on the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s (relatively) hands-off recreation policies

You can debate whether he was the best to ever play the game. In Western Canada they’ll insist it was Gretzky and in Boston they’ll claim it was Orr, but here in Detroit it was, is and always will be Gordie.
— The Detroit Free Press, on Gordie Howe

They landed in Omaha, where the streets were wide and quiet; and then they were driven into the surrounding farmland, which started to smell of manure; and then they came into tiny Nebraska City, which at least had a Wal-Mart; and then they continued through 25 more miles of absolute emptiness until they arrived at what looked like nothing more than a junction in the road. One bar. Two gas stations. A main street of vacated shops and a squat municipal building decorated with a freshly painted sign. “Welcome Home Katrina Evacuees!” it read.
— The Washington Post, on a family 10 years after Hurricane Katrina

ON ROUTE 66 IN NEW MEXICO — Bob Pack forgot to bring his James Taylor CDs. Still, he and his brother and sister were having a blast, rolling among the sandstone mesas, ghost towns and kitschy tourist attractions.
— The New York Times, on road tripping

***

I read Sam Quinones’ “Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic and William Finnegan’s “Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life last month. The latter was particularly wonderful. My book of the year pick thus far is a toss-up between “Barbarian Days” and Laurie Lee’s “As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning,” which I finished in May.

I finished “Dreamland” a smarter observer of America’s opiate epidemic and the delivery, use and effects of drugs. The exhaustive account focuses partly on the proliferation of opiates in Portsmouth, Ohio, which is fewer than 80 miles southwest of my college town.

“Barbarian Days” was a pleasure to read, start to finish. Finnegan, a New Yorker staff writer, weaves surfing history and his personal infatuation with the surf lifestyle into a masterful account of a life spent chasing waves. The memoir won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for autobiography or biography. You should read it.

You should also listen to this This American Life episode about consciously making bad decisions. It’s a gem.

I recently reported about a Michigan legislator who died of a presumed heart attack while hiking in Oregon and an oil train derailment in the Columbia River Gorge that caused evacuations and left an oil sheen in the river.

While reporting the latter story, I met a young Utah couple eloping to Portland. A traffic gridlock caused by the train derailment screwed up their wedding plans — if only for a weekend.

***

As always, thanks for reading.

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My name is Jim Ryan, and I'm a breaking news reporter for The Oregonian and OregonLive in Portland. I'm an Ohio University graduate from Gaylord, Michigan.

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