hiking and trails, nature, photography, travel

Portland Garden Adventures

We usually have one day each week to explore outside of our Corvallis comfort. We decided to spend an afternoon in Portland at the Japanese Gardens and The National Sanctuary of Our Sorrowful Mother also known as The Grotto.


(note: Another round of photos on my Android. Unbeknownst to me, it was set to a really high ISO…At least I figured out the cause of the blurriness…I thought I’ve just been slowly losing all of my photo-taking capabilities. So, I will apologize for the poor quality, whether you care or not.)

Japanese Gardens

The flat gardens were made up of raked white sand, which I suppose represent water. It created a beautiful contrast with the pale pinks and the rich green moss.

The cherry blossoms had mostly passed, but there were still some late bloomers. It was overcast, so everything reflected a very subtle light, creating an illuminating glow — this is something I love about the Pacific Northwest, as it is fairly common.

The National Sanctuary of Our Sorrowful Mother:

This 62-acre botanical garden in Northeast Portland has some grand views of the north and offers a nice walk along cobble pathways and lush grounds. The heart of the shrine is Our Lady’s Grotto, a rock cave carved into the base of a 110-foot cliff. Half of the garden walk sat on ground level, while the other half sat up on the cliff side.

Sylvan had never really experienced anything of the Catholic realm before, so I thought this would be a fun experience for us both, as I spent a majority of my life going to Catholic school and spent every Sunday at Mass.

The buildings were very much a mix of modern and traditional stone, but the content and displays of the garden and monastery were very traditional. They provided a unique mix of natural and religious messages, but the content swayed heavily to the religious side. I really appreciated the experience and the the natural, wooded setting. I had a good laugh taking Sylvan into the gift shop, as I had to explain all of the religious items, prayer cards, icons, and rosary beads to him.  He asked me to recite some of the prayers to him, which I proudly had a 96% success rate of doing.

There was a labyrinth on the upper part of the garden, atop the cliff side, which one could reach by elevator. We took the time to walk it in silence, which took about ten minutes or so. Walking a labyrinth every evening might be a nice way to wind down and collect your thoughts of the day. It definitely eased my mind and cleared my head for the time being.

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