Scenes from North Cascades National Park

It’s been a difficult few weeks here in Portland. On the afternoon of September 2, a teenage boy tossed a smoking firecracker into Eagle Creek Canyon, igniting a blaze that quickly consumed more than 35,000 acres. As firefighters worked to contain the devastation, Portlanders were left helpless as the Columbia River Gorge went up in …

Beauty in the Sahara Dessert, Morocco

I’ve never been one to seek out the packaged excursion. Call me old fashioned, but I truly enjoy the process of scouring guidebooks, tracking down timetables, and navigating unknown places with a degree of independence. What I may suffer from getting hopelessly lost or missing the occasional train is (usually) nothing when compared to the …

Three Days in Sevilla Spain

 There’s a great old episode of Seinfeld in which Elaine—a writer for the J. Peterman catalog—is saddled with a debilitating case of “catalog writer’s block.” The culprit? The troublesome Himalayan walking shoe. Beset with frustration, an exhausted Elaine takes to the streets of New York (to search for a houseguest who has gone missing)—only to …

Escape to Washington’s San Juan Islands

3 DAYS IN THE SAN JUAN ISLANDS, WASH. By Maura O’Brien   The New Yorker scared the living daylights out of those of us lucky enough to reside in the Pacific Northwest. In gripping fashion, writer Kathryn Schulz told of a devastating earthquake and tsunami that are doomed to destroy the coastal communities of Oregon …