Category Archives: Portland

Portland #2: Roots

Returning to Portland after 9 weeks in Alaska raises many questions- why do I come back here? What is next? Am I really ready to keep going?


My first apartment building in NW, just across from Trader Joes.

In many ways, Portland is the city that I have become an adult in. I moved here on my own to work and live as an adult- my childhood was not here, my schooling was not here, my family is not here. I’ve lived here on my own, making my own friends, my own money, my own adventures, and my own mistakes on the way. This is the place that I first recognized the principles that I now feel re-dedicated to, and I’d be lying if I didn’t feel the roots of my adulthood sunk into earthy corners of this city.


Important progress on the front steps of The Commons.


My most recent contribution, and my first deck building experience.

Not surprisingly, I’ve had an intensely busy week since returning from my overnight bike tour last week. Great times with friends, significant progress made at the Commons project, and a few great workouts have meshed with more domestic tasks like sorting gear, buying bikes, and researching future travel options. There is a lot to do to recharge after my summer in Alaska, and in some ways I’m not quite ready to fire on another major adventure yet. Fortunately I’ve got a few weeks of smaller adventures planned, and sharing my plans with people here helps me re-motivate. I have the wonderful problem of too many great people to see, some of whom will have to wait. Tonight I’m headed north to fulfill some long overdue climbing goals in northern Washington State. Let’s hope the weather holds!


All of the recent residents of Breanne's house on Vancouver.


Med ball ring dips at Crossfit Fort Vancouver. More pain in my expression means more quality.

Portland #1: Community

“So how has this experience changed your personal relationships?”
My friend Luna was getting the update on my trip, except our conversation was markedly different from most of the other similar conversations I’ve had in the past few days being back in Portland.  Luna asks the most wonderful questions, and listens with an intensity that removes your ability to bullshit an answer.

The question provided me an opportunity to articulate a few important points that I’ve been thinking about often in the past 6 weeks, but that I hadn’t articulated succinctly- but the answer lies in a single word, community.  A few examples:

  • My relationship with my brother has grown stronger in the past 6 months than it has been in the past 6 years.
  • I’ve practiced building a new sense of community with an amazing group of climbers and travelers from Australia, England, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Canada, South Korea, and various US states.
  • I’ve learned to share what I have better, and accept what others offer me more willingly.
  • I’ve returned to Portland to find a community of friends eager to share my adventures, support my aspirations, and send me on the next leg of my trip.

Most recent mornings, I’ve woken up and taken stock of the day only to do a double take while wondering if it’s actually possible my life could be so good.

I’ve been in Portland since late Wednesday night, and I’m here to switch out my gear and fly to Alaska on Tuesday morning.  I decided to leave the valley when I did to ensure I had enough time to give a little more time to The Commons, see friends that I have missed dearly, and ensure I have ample time to consider exactly what to take for 2 months in the Alaska range.  To some, the preparations may seem daunting, but I’m grateful to say that the only overwhelming part of the past few days has been receiving the amount of good energy from so many wonderful people.  I can’t accept credit for having so many wonderful people in my life in one place- but I can consider it proof that “the universe is unfolding as it should.”  I’ll let the photos detail some of my recent activities.

Sunny local climbing at Broughton Bluff.

So exciting to see drywall in The Commons.

It was an exceptionally fun Sunday morning bike ride.

Real friends will let you sort your gear in their living room.

Being here feels solid and familiar.  Like home? Perhaps, but that seems too strong of a question for this stage of my explorations.  I’m thrilled to feel the energy, support, and strength that come from just checking in with so many of the people that I care about, and at the same time am unbelievably excited about the upcoming prospect of 9 weeks in one of the most inspiring places I’ve ever been. Booyah.  This is the most sincere thank-you to everyone who has made this place feel so grounding the past few days, Portland feels like the perfect launch pad for the next stage of adventure.

There is a certain romance to all cities dominated by their bridges.


First off- a huge shout out to all my Portland friends that made last Friday at Amnesia Brewing an incredible night.  I am so honored to have so many wonderful people in my life.  There was no small sadness for me in saying goodbye however, knowing that I won’t be able to continue to share experiences with all of you. I’m not sure where I will land, maybe Portland again, maybe not, but I look forward to continuing to carrying the lessons and shared experiences forward with me as my experience unfolds.

The blog has been quiet, mostly because life has been intensely loud.  These posts are a little out of order due to the fact that the time of events happening, time available for blogging, and availability of internet don’t always line up.  Even just recounting the myriad of events, people, and activity in the last week leaves me feeling exhausted.  I spent most of last week working at the commons as planned.  We finished installing ductwork for the heat recovery ventilator, insulating wall panels, and installing roofing details.

After 3 years of working in HVAC, I finally actually DID something tangible.

Evenings were filled with seeing people and last minute errands as I struggled to clean out my living space and organize my gear.  Doubly huge thank you to my good friends Colin and Danielle for hosting my ridiculous amount of stuff in their basement while I am traveling.  As much as I enjoy planning and sorting and purging, by Friday I was thoroughly exhausted.

I must really like this bed to put in the work to move it.

My room for the last 15 months, now empty... an amazing place to call home.

I'll be sad to see this bike sell, but excited to upgrade. Funny how my bikes always look the best right before I sell them...

After celebrating Friday night, I was up early to finish a few last details before leaving town, and then headed out to Smith Rock.  Despite a hangover, lack of sleep, and the effort of moving, I was undeniably amped to roll out of the Portland rain and into the Central Oregon sun.

Somehow this all fits in my Jetta?

Yup! Time to roll out...

Okay, now on to more posts about interesting stuff…


There was a girl at the show I was at last night.
I should have asked her to dance.
I didn’t under the excuse of “well… I’m leaving Portland next Saturday.”

The truth is, I was chicken.
I guess we all chicken out sometimes.
Posted here to remind myself not to miss the opportunity again.

Chinaman, 5.11b, at Frenches Dome, OR - where I finally came to terms with lead falling on bolts.


Somehow, I ended up thinking about church this weekend.  I haven’t attended a traditional church in years, and I’m quite satisfied with that- however this weekend, I found myself noticing that the places I was in, and the things I was doing, had some relation to that word.  It was really a banner weekend…

Church is beautiful- I spent Saturday morning climbing with a great friend at a small mixed ice and rock crag just south of Mt Hood.  Always a fun day out, and great workout hanging on my tools in preparation for my trip to Valdez, Alaska.

Church is beautiful.

Getting pious on my first mixed climbing lead ever.

There’s music in church- Saturday night I had the pleasure of playing cello with the Strangled Darlings.  It was our first gig, the space was a little noisy and we had trouble hearing each other, but we made it work and it was a great first show together.  Makes me excited for our upcoming gigs in California.

There's music in church (photo credit to Pat Clinton or Mark Clark).

There is salvation in church- Sunday morning I woke up and found myself reading “Church of the Big Ring“.  I don’t consider myself a bike racer- commuter, enthusiast, and active rider yes, but racer no.  Sunday morning however, the sun was shining and the pavement was dry.  There was a cold wind blowing down the gorge, and I knew it was time to race my bike.  As cycling is one of the few activities that doesn’t aggravate my foot, I was excited to push from my house up the Columbia Gorge, up Rocky Butte, and back through NE Portland.  It was some of the only time I had to myself for the weekend, and I didn’t hold back.  Even in a short ride, I can feel the recent work done in the gym paying off mostly in being able to climb out of the saddle for a much longer period of time.  When we push our bodies to the physical limit, we strip away the useless, the non-essential, and the act of stripping this away offers salvation.

(there isn’t a photo because I didn’t stop pushing until I got home and got off the bike)

There is charity in church- I spent Sunday afternoon in the office using my professional skills to support one of my personal passions.  The Commons is a project that I deeply believe in, and I feel lucky to call one of its creators one of my best friends.  Pulling together an envelope load for the building isn’t exactly fun, but it is necessary.  I’m excited to see this project take shape.

Charity is an opportunity- I feel lucky to have professional skills that can benefit a great project.

If you were a part of my weekend, you are a part of my congregation- thank you.