Best. July. Ever.*

This month was pretty damn spectacular.  Portland's weather was glorious with beautiful blue skies and enough heat to really make it feel like summer.  And Barry and I took full advantage of it, with lots of great camping, hiking, swimming, reading in the park, and city-strolling.  It hit me yesterday that today is the last day of the month, and I had a momentary freak-out, thinking that summer is coming to and end already.  But wait!  There's still August!  With a trip to Cleveland to visit my family just around the corner and a backpacking trip a couple weeks away, this is shaping up to be the best summer yet.

*I can say with confidence that this has been the best July we've spent in Portland in the six years we've lived here.  At the start of each new month, I've gotten into the habit of reading my blog posts from the same month in previous years.  And looking back on the July posts from the past few years, I've definitely been anxious about summer not feeling like summer - about the summer months floating away before summer weather really arrived.  But that's not been the case this year.  We've had an amazing stretch of good weather and when this summer comes to a close, I'll definitely be able to say that we squeezed every last ounce of goodness out of it.

That being said, I don't know that I can say this has been the best July of my entire life.  When I was little, there was a huge party every July 4th on the street on which I grew up.  Fenwood Road was barricaded at both ends and neighbors mingled in the street.  Families set up chairs on their lawns and hung out with each other all day long.  There was a big pot-luck dinner with hamburgers on the grill.  There were potato sack races with plastic trophy prizes.  There was face painting.  And kids were able to ride their bikes and roller skate down the middle of the street to their hearts' content.  We caught fireflies at night and watched neighbors set off fireworks in their back yards.  I couldn't think of anything more awesome when I was a kid.  The street party was also the setting of my first venture into the jewelry business - one year I set up a stand and sold friendship bracelets there.  So July on Fenwood Road might take the cake, but Portland 2013 is coming in at a close second.


Now At Betsy & Iya


Very last-minute photos of a very, very small sampling
of the new sulu-design pieces now at Betsy & Iya.



On The Clackamas: Day Three

The best part of last weekend's camping trip was Barry's brilliant idea.  Brilliant.  At 6:30 Monday morning, while it was still a bit dark and chilly at the campsite, Barry and I headed a few miles up the road to a hot spring, where we soaked for an hour while the sun came up.  No sound but the movement of the river, long rays of sun streaming through the steam from the spring, soothing water after a day of biking and hiking - we couldn't have asked for more.  But there was more.  After breakfast back at the campsite, we headed to Big Eddy for a day of laying on rocks and playing around in the sun.  And again, aside from a couple rafters paddling down the river, we had it all to ourselves.  This is shaping up to be our best summer in Portland yet.



On The Clackamas: Day Two





We had such a great day on the Clackamas River on the 4th that we went back to camp there last weekend.  We set up at Ripplebrook Campground.  Barry went on a looong bike ride from the campsite; I went on a hike that started at nearby Rainbow Campground, where we've camped before.  It was a perfect day, followed by a wonderful evening of dinner by the campfire.


On The Clackamas: Day One

While looking on-line for swimming holes at which we might spend the 4th of July, we came across Alder Flats, a pretty little spot on the Clackamas River.  Barry and I headed out there early on the 4th and had an awesome day.  There's a pretty hike down to the river, the river is gorgeous, and for most of the time were were there, we had it all to ourselves.  We loved it so much that we ended up exploring other spots on the river the following weekend.