A Short Hike Out of My Comfort Zone: Tamanawas Falls

Our First Hike

One of the pitfalls of dating and meeting someone you like is the part where you want to demonstrate what a great gal pal you are by attempting to show an interest in the guy’s hobbies and pastimes. 

This had led to me having a garage full of golf gear, tennis junk, and other sporty equipment I didn’t really want to blow cash on.  (Beware another potential pitfall: weight gain due to some couch potato guy’s obsession with BBQ or chicken wings!)

You Can’t Get There in High Heels

It’s Summer 2015, and I find myself dating a guy who is into hiking and photography.  About four weeks into our dating it was time for me to gal pal up and go on a hike to scenic Tamanawas Falls

It’s a 3.6 mile hike listed as “moderate” (whatever that meant).   But I read it’s where Cold Springs Creek spills over a 150 foot lava cliff near the eastern base of Mount Hood.  Groovy!  The elevation gain on the hike was 560 feet.  (“Is that a lot?”

All I had to do was dig a pair of hiking shoes out of the back of my closet that had been gifted to me in 1994.  Yay, I don’t have to run and buy anything I will have to store in my garage if this guy bogues out on me too!

But I’m scared.  What if Mr. “I-Just-Climbed-Mt-Saint-Helens” is disappointed if I am not able to climb like a mountain goat?  Not to mention I hardly know this guy and I am letting him take me out in the woods!  (“Chicken Wing Guy” fed me a steady diet of horror movies, so I KNOW what can happen in the woods!) 

So the night before my hiking debut, I take him to a party.  After a few glasses of wine, the hostess laughs at the idea of me wandering in the woods, and informs “Hiking Guy” that I am a City Girl.  I am just thinking, “Get a good look at this guy so you can identify him if I go missing, Girl!”

Yum! Amiright?

Next day, off we go!  I spent two days creating a stylish picnic lunch for us to dig into on the trail:  my man-pleasing stuffed sandwiches (packed with a colorful array of meats, cheeses, and roasted veggies), Italian penne pasta salad, and a peach blueberry tart.  (See all these recipes below!)

For this first outing in Sasquatch’s neighborhood, I decide wine waits until I’m safely home! 

A photo at the last outpost?

We drive for what seems like hours in his tiny loaner car.  (He claims his Jeep is in the shop!)  Not a great start for a foray into the woods.  

Spoiler Alert:  I Live!

Finally, we park and set out on what was a beautiful stroll through the forest!  Tiny dogs and children seem to be making short work of the trail, so I think maybe I’ve got this!

I am feeling great! I’m enjoying tall green trees, the sound of flowing water, and cute log bridges.  Occasionally I bounce ahead so “Hiking Guy” could get a view of my booty in yoga pants. 

Our pace is totally doable! Any fears of him running off ahead and leaving me alone in the woods was gone. We stop for photography moments and enjoy the lovely picnic lunch I packed for us, while sitting on a rock by the cold mountain river.  We talk about our hopes and dreams while we bond in nature.

When we reach the base of awesome Tamanawas Falls, wow!  I take a deep breath.  I made it!  That was easy!  I passed the test!

Feeling the spray from the 150-foot falls!

But wait there’s more!  “Hiking Guy” casually informs me that we will stop and take some photos at the base of the falls. 

Then we will climb up a huge pile of wet moss-covered boulders halfway up the cliff and go behind the falls!  What?!  Who IS this guy?  He wants me to do what

I calmly hide my terror and smile.  After all, he is attractive. And one of only a few single guys in the Portland Metro area with a full head of hair, so I’ll play along. 

It turned out to be quite easy.  I scaled the boulders like a sleek agile cougar… mindful of the fact that his camera was sometimes pointed at me, so I had to make sure I looked cute!

The payoff:  a sense of accomplishment, an amazing view, and a romantic kiss behind the waterfall.

We had a lovely hike back out. “Hiking Guy” delivered me safely back to my front door in civilization like a gentleman. 

I was back at work the next day in my high heels without even chipping my glitter toenail polish.

And that was the first of many happy trails together!

Tamanawas Falls Stuffed Sandwiches

This is a "choose-your-own-adventure" sandwich! The meats and cheeses can be almost anything, but I go for maximum color. Cut in wedges, it makes a dramatic presentation!
No ratings yet
Prep Time 1 day
Course Picnic
Cuisine American
Servings 4


  • 1 Loaf Sourdough bread Hollowed-out
  • ½ lb Sliced cheeses
  • ½ lb Sliced deli meats
  • 1 cup Mixed greens
  • 2 tbsp Basil fresh
  • 1 Onion
  • Various Roasted veggies tomatoes, bell peppers, eggplant, etc.
  • 2 oz Vinaigrette


  • Day before serving hollow out the inside of the bread (save for stuffing or croutons)
  • Roast veggies for 30-45 minutes at 350 with olive oil salt/pepper (This is especially important for tomatoes to keep them from making the bread soggy.)
  • Drizzle the vinaigrette on the inside of the hollowed out bread
  • Line the inside top and bottom of bread with sliced cheese (The cheese prevents sogginess.)
  • Add the roasted tomatoes next
  • Continue layering veggies and lettuce, placing the deli meats in the middle
  • Bring the top and bottom together, wrap sandwich in wax paper, then plastic wrap crisscross with rubber bands
  • Place in fridge overnight with something heavy on top to press it down
  • Next day cut loaf into up to 8 wedges, wrapping each secure with a tooth pick if needed, put in Ziplock bags.


A few steps taken in assembling ahead of time will minimize ending up with soggy sandwiches, especially since everything is made the day ahead of your party or picnic.
Keyword cheese, deli meat, sandwich, sourdough
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Summer Penne Pasta Salad

This colorful salad is best made a day ahead. Great for picnics, parties, and pot lucks.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 30 minutes
Course Salad
Cuisine American, Italian
Servings 8
Calories 231 kcal


Penne Pasta Salad

  • 2 cups Penne pasta
  • 1 Tomato large, chopped
  • ¼ cup Red onion chopped
  • ¼ cup Carrot chopped
  • 1 cup Cheddar cheese cubed

Basic Vinaigrette

  • 3 tbsp Olive oil extra virgin
  • 4 tbsp Red wine vinegar
  • Salt/Pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp Dried oregano
  • 1 tsp Dried basil
  • 2 cloves Fresh garlic
  • Fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese or more, to taste


  • Bring salted water to a boil and add pasta
  • While pasta is cooking, chop veggies and add to a bowl
  • Add the vinaigrette to the veggies, giving them time to soak in the goodness
  • Drain pasta and add to the bowl
  • Toss to coat the pasta with the veggie mixture
  • Taste test and adjust seasonings, olive oil, and vinegar
  • Let cool to room temp, then add cheese cubes
  • Toss, taste test, make adjustments
  • Refrigerate over night
  • Again toss, taste, adjust
  • Finish with fresh basil and parmesan cheese


This serves 2 but can easily be doubled or more for parties.


Calories: 231kcalCarbohydrates: 23gProtein: 8gFat: 11gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 16mgSodium: 149mgPotassium: 145mgFiber: 1gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 968IUVitamin C: 3mgCalcium: 155mgIron: 1mg
Keyword pasta, salad
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Peach Blueberry Puff Pastry Tart with Crumble Topping

Store-bought puff pastry makes this tasty tart quick and easy!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 4



  • 1 sheet Puff pastry (I prefer Pepperidge Farm)
  • 2 Peaches peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 cup Blueberries
  • 3 tbsp Sugar
  • 1/4 cup Old Fashioned Oats
  • 1 tbsp Butter softened
  • 1 tbsp Brown Sugar


  • Put the puff pastry in a round, oiled pie tin
  • Layer sliced peaches on top of the pastry
  • Scatter blueberries on top of the peaches
  • Sprinkle the sugar on top of the fruit
  • Fold the edges of the pastry over the fruit
  • In a bowl, add the oats, softened butter, and brown sugar
  • Mix with your hands (or a fork) until the mixture resembles a crumble
  • Scatter on top of the tart
  • Place in a 400 oven for 25-30 minutes


The pasty will be golden and puffed up.
Keyword blueberries, oatmeal, pastry, peaches, puff pastry, tart
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

1 comment

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