I’ve spent my last two birthdays in Jefferson Park. It’s hard to imagine a better way to mark a year than sipping a flask of cheap whiskey as the sunset slides over Jefferson’s glaciated face, its reflection rippling across Scout Lake. This year, with any luck, I’ll celebrate on the banks of the Rogue River in Southern Oregon’s Siskiyou National Forest, after a bit of frolicking in the Oregon Dunes (for a dispatch from that otherworldly landscape, click here). It’s become a tradition: special occasions are marked in the outdoors. Especially in this final, fleeting pocket of time prior to autumn’s chill, it just feels right to do any and all celebrating amid Oregon’s crazy patchwork of sand, forest, and volcanoes.
I’m sure I’m not alone. A singular reverence for our landscape, it seems, is woven into our Oregonian sense of self. That’s why issues like this one are so fun to report. It is quite literally our job to flee the anesthetizing glow of our computer screens and head for the wilds. And flee we did. For this month’s cover story, our staff logged nearly 3,000 miles to bring you 34 trails crisscrossing our state (and Washington!) ripe for the strolling, climbing, scrambling, and biking. We’ve got lava caves, we’ve got hobbit trails, and we’ve got wildflowers aplenty!
A fitting complement to this compendium of statewide splendor, our other two features feel tailored to the devoted Portlandian. With “Data City”, executive editor Zach Dundas and associate art director Amy Martin have assembled a frisky sequence of maps, charts, graphs, and timelines that explain the very DNA of our city. (How old are we? What languages do we speak? Where do we come from? What’s the lifeblood of our economy? And, of course, what’s the historical significance of The Real World: Portland?) And to round out the introspective mix, we have Taylor Clark’s delightful profile of venerated science-fiction author Ursula K. Le Guin—prolific writer, longtime Portlander, and one of the just-plain-coolest women around. In the wake of Le Guin’s barn-burning acceptance speech at last year’s National Book Awards, Clark animates the pioneering author’s brio, bravery, and lasting impact on the literary world. We are honored (and more than a little starstruck) to have her in our pages.
All in all, it’s a great month to revel in the joy of being a Portlander. Summer is high, the days are still long, and we live in one of the greatest places on earth. Go celebrate.