Celebrating Portland’s Season of the Sun

Our executive editor explores why Oregonians deserve a kick-ass summer more than any others.

By Rachel Ritchie August 1, 2014 Published in the August 2014 issue of Portland Monthly

Image: Shutterstock

There is not a thing in the world like a Portland summer day. Sure, other places are plenty nice. Some may even be more beautiful. But they don’t deserve the season’s glory like we do. They haven’t suffered the blindingly wet bike rides, the unnerving lunchtime hailstorms, the weeks when that pleasing golden orb doesn’t make a single cameo on your phone’s weather app. (That was all in June, mind you.)

When the real thing arrives in Portland—and it typically happens long after the solstice would indicate—a gleeful, citywide euphoria sets in. What we endured becomes irrelevant. All that matters now is squeezing every last drop of joy out of our abbreviated season of cloudless skies, protracted days, and sweaty nights. My fondest summer memories sit close to the surface. Treading water in Trillium Lake, engulfed in the wide reflection of Mount Hood. Wandering the Opal Creek Wilderness, late-afternoon shards of sunlight perforating the old-growth canopy. Eating juicy tomatoes on the rocky banks of Buck Lake. I’m sure you have your own backlog.

Two years ago, we put out our first “Summer Day Trips” issue, highlighting eight of the region’s best swimming holes. (Psst: you can still find them here.) Between the road closures, spitting rain, and near-freezing water of early summer, the feature was difficult—if not downright dangerous—to report. But once we sent the magazine out into the world, we quickly realized we were onto something. Not only did it fly off newsstands, it inspired an unbridled fury in many who guarded some of these swimming holes like trade secrets. Droves of them took to our website to express their dismay, complete with vicious reports of “slobs and filthy people” cramping their style. It was a hit.

So this August, we decided it was about time we revisit the fertile territory of summer adventure. For our blow-out day trips feature, we reached beyond swimming spots to create a full menu of summer possibility: wine-tasting, berry-picking, canoeing, picnicking, antiquing, crabbing, skiing. You can have it all! And for good measure, we even threw in a scoop-by-scoop retrospective of our homegrown ice cream titans Salt & Straw, just as they prepare to launch their empire in Los Angeles . 

Though ambivalence on a summer morning can be paralyzing, remember: there is no way to waste a Portland summer day. It will be glorious. A bit of inspiration, though, will go a long way. We hope you’ll find it here.

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