Full on Oregon Day 2.
This day was a biggie; while all attendees of this fabulous Travel Oregon weekend went 4 separate ways---to various adventures---we were certain ours was the most daring. Actually we tagged the word #docious (tweeted hashtag) to describe our never-ending fun. A handful of us signed up for the 'Paddles and Pints' with life-altering elements including a private flight down to the Rogue River, a visit to Wildlife Images near Grants Pass, a rafting adventure sponsored by Rogue Wilderness and beer/wine/food at a rendezvous point along the river. I know: take a moment to let it all sink in. We are still wrapping our mind around this brilliant, well-orchestrated 'day 2'.
Let me back up.
We woke up bright and early, slid on swimsuits and water shoes (Andrew had the most revolutionary water-shoes; ask him about them) and snagged a delightful breakfast at the hotel. Specifically: coffee from Water Avenue Coffee and pastries from Baker & Spice (I went head-first for the peach hand-pie---with peaches from Baird Family Orchards. YUM. Good fodder for the forthcoming river-filled day). We then tucked into taxis, and hopped on a small plane... which I have never experienced. Have you?
Flying in a tiny plane felt much safer than I anticipated. Though be wary: opening that flask far above land means it will spray the cabin like a fire hydrant gone awry. Just sayin'. Oh, and gorgeous views.
We landed and were intercepted via a fanciful bear-endowed bus and taken to Wildlife Images to see animals being rehabilitated and reintegrated into nature. It was a quick visit (a must-visit if you have school-age kids), but we saw vultures, eagles, owls, a badger and coyote then enjoyed a fantastic outdoor breakfast. I say this with enthusiasm b/c when I came home and shared with my family: I stood within inches of an eagle, petted a badger and then we ate crab cakes and this AMAZING muffin. It was so, so good with the crumble on top... and then my family all broke out in hysterics b/c I was that much more enthralled with the muffin than the eagle. Which, to them, seemed ironic;). Can't imagine why.
Cool eagle versus cranberry-studded strudel muffin: the eagle should win. But now you know why my family has cause to laugh: it's all about the food.
Next up: Rogue Wilderness Adventures. Loved it, loved it. If ever you want a wild adventure: pick southern Oregon, aim for the famous Rogue River and make memories that will last a lifetime. They offer multi-day kayak and camp trips, short rafting trips and more. Amazing sites, wilderness, rapids, great guides. Pick worthy buddies. I was luck to tackle to Rogue with new-friends-that-I-now-adore-even-if-you-made-me-jump-off-the-cliff: Linda, Andrew, Nicole, Rika and our guides Amazing Jimmy and Scott. What happens on the river, stays on the river...
We were happy as water-sprayed, sun-soaked clams when we climbed aboard the plane and headed back to Portland. After a plane and taxi ride, we scooted to Portland's Pearl district for a roof-top BBQ sourced by local chefs and vendors (memorable: Oregon hazelnuts and the Rogue River Blue Cheese---that salad was a tear-jerker). This 'Burgers and Brew' dinner included sliders (eggplant, elk, beef, lamb) from Metrovino, the Gilt Club (add these to your must-visit list) and a bevy of beers. I loved: Splendor beer from Pendleton's The Prodigal Son Brewery & Pub.
I literally fell into bed. Happy. Maybe delirious. But full: on Oregon.