Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Under Our Noses

We were in the mood to explore. Up for something new. Felt like we needed to get "out." But where?

Falls in Downtown Oregon City
(Photo: C Imes)
Then I had an idea. I doubted it would be anything dramatic, but there was a waterfall nearby that we'd only passed by and never seen up close.

We've lived in our small, historic town on the Willamette River nearly three years now. This waterfall was right smack dab in the downtown area. We pass it multiple times each week. It's about time.

I tried to make it a secret adventure but our resident teenager and pre-teen insisted on knowing where we were going. I told them. Their response: "Seriously?" They opted out, so Danny, Easton and I piled in the car. (This post is my "I told you so!")

Oregon City 7th Street Elevator
(photo: C Imes)
Hardly more than five minutes from home, we parked and walked a half block to the top of the stone stairs. Our unique community has an elevator that doubles as a public street linking upper downtown to lower downtown. But it was closed for the evening, so we took the stairs. And that's where I wanted to be anyway, because I had never climbed them. I didn't realize that the waterfall went right beneath them. What a pretty spot! Leafy green trees created a tunnel of shade for our descent.

Taking the Stairs in Oregon City
(photo: C Imes)
In the mood to meander, we headed past shops and restaurants and across the highway to the edge of the Willamette River to see what could be seen. We've driven by that spot hundreds of times in three years. Other than a few fishing boats and kayaks, we had never noticed anything worth writing home about. But we were in for such a surprise!

Our Surprise Visitor: A Sea Lion! (photo: C Imes)
We stared at the water, foam still swirling from the Willamette Falls. Danny noticed the river seemed almost alive in places. Then suddenly the surface broke—two sea lions! We're more than an hour drive from the coast. How can this be? But it was.

I-205 Bridge over the Willamette
(photo: C Imes)

We watched the sea lions for quite some time, following one fellow as he lazed his way down the river, poking his head up for air now and then. (It turns out the local fishermen are deeply concerned. There are at least 30 sea lions this year, and they're eating too many salmon!)

West Linn-Oregon City Bridge
(photo: C Imes)
By the time we headed back to the stairs and up to the car, I was all the more convinced: You never know what you'll discover if you slow down. Linger longer. Park and walk. Take it all in.

There's a whole lot of life happening right under our noses.


  1. Oh for those who have eyes to see what is all around us! Thank you for this lovely reminder, Carmen.