Conquering the rock

A couple weeks ago we camped at Beacon Rock State Park as our first camping trip with baby.
In preparation for our hike up Beacon Rock, the Pie decided to steal my pancake. Which was smeared with peanut butter. Although I hadn’t intended to introduce peanut butter so soon, once it was in hand (and in mouth) all that was left to do was laugh and photograph. And hope that there isn't any reaction.

As we packed up and got ready to head out of camp, the Mountain Man and the Pie share a hilarious joke. Probably about how cool it is to steal mama’s breakfast while she’s pouring coffee. Hilarious.

We took a walk to the car to drive out of the campground and get to the rock.

And we arrived at Beacon Rock, and were pretty impressed. I crouched down on the highway to get everyone in the shot.

Beacon Rock has a sordid past. Some claim it to be the second largest monolith in the world. That determination seems to depend a lot on how you define '”monolith” and “large”. It was named “Beaten Rock” by Lewis & Clark as they made their way up the Columbia River, and then for no apparent reason, Clark began calling it Beacon Rock in his journals. Eventually the name was officially changed. The Biddle family bought the rock for $1, just because Henry wanted to climb to the top of it. The Biddle Family wanted to protect the rock and tried to sell it to the state of WA as a state park, but Washington wanted nothing to do with it… until Oregon said they’d love to make a state park of it. And now it sits, in WA, a state park with a trail to the top.

We set out to hike the trail. I was amazed at the condition of the trails – graveled near the bottom, then carefully paved with rocks poking through to protect the paving. Then there were bridges and railings as we climbed. A lot of time and money and back-breaking schlepping went into this trail.

A great view of some of the switchbacks on the river side of the rock. The switchbacks reminded me of climbing the mountains in Hallstatt Austria and stumbling across entrances to old Roman Salt Mines. And also, it made me think of the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse at Disneyland.

The clouds were out, but the views were lovely.

The Columbia meandered through the trees.

And at the top, we took a picture, 850 feet above sea level. I was a little pink from the climb. The Pie was a bit sleepy.

After hanging out on the top for a while, marveling that slugs were thriving even on the rock, we headed back down.

And back at camp, mama thought it was time for a nap. The Pie would argue different.

After our “nap” we hiked down to the little creek behind our campsite.

The hike down was easy – until the end, when we had to climb down a fallen and decaying tree. But once we were down, it was worth the slide.

The Pie and the Mountain Man went for a dip.

The next morning we slowly packed up camp and headed out. We decided to go to Powell’s in Portland. It was a dangerous proposition. Last time I went, I made the Mountain Man swear not to let me buy any books. I walked out with more than I could carry on my own.

The time before that I went with a friend. We weren’t friends anymore after about an hour in the bookstore. She wanted to leave. I was driving. She lost.

I’m glad the Mountain Man and the Pie like Powell’s as much as I do. In fact, it was the Mountain Man’s idea. And although we ended up with nothing but kids books, we managed to find some favorites from our childhood, some which have proven difficult to find elsewhere, and a few new cool ones. We got a birthday gift for the Pie’s cousin and stopped at the café for an espresso.
The Bookworm Blend was a favorite. 

Then, as we left the café, I noticed a sign that justified my obsession with books. Thank you, A. Edward Newton. And Powell’s.
Wait a second… are the two of you in cahoots to make me buy more books?


  1. oh I love Powell's so much!!!!!!!!!!


  2. the strongest love/hate relationship in my life is with powells. it's like disneyland to me, if disneyland was fun for adults and had free chocolate - the good stuff. and also if disneyland did all my chores, made me magically lose 20 pounds, fixed my hair and bought me a better wardrobe, house, car... it's pretty much the best. and i hate it.


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