The pile of pumpkins outside my neighborhood grocer is a harbinger, as is the growing pile of leaves in my driveway. Though the thermometer and seasonal calendar still say it’s summer, I can smell autumn on the breeze. The countdown to fall has begun, and we have precious few (hopeful emphasis on few) days of summer left. Maybe it’s time to consider completing an end-of-season recreational to-do list and also restock your stash box with summer faves, because before we know it, harvest season will be here and we’ll be putting our water shoes away for another nine months.
This year’s outdoor recreational opportunities may have been a bit more tame due to a succession of fierce heat waves, but here’s a news flash: This is the new normal.
Alpine lake floats in September? Yes, please. Hide-and-seek on Larch Mountain in shorts during Virgo season? Count me in. Whispering farewell to summer from the sandy shores of Sauvie Island while corn mazes hum with visitors in the background? Babes, I’m already in my plus-size bikini. And I’ve got all my strain recommendations for these bittersweet, summer finale vibes at the ready.
Frog Lake + Dirty Taxi
Portland newbies in search of the perfect, last selfie of summer will be crowded into Trillium Lake with novelty floats, but if that’s not your scene, Frog Lake is just as lovely, typically a bit less crowded, and biologically diverse enough for all your nature-photo needs. Bonus: Its sandy shores are the perfect place for stoned sunbathing.
One potential lake day smoke is Dirty Taxi, a super-euphoric, bright and enthusiastic hybrid sativa. The body effects can last for hours, and the head highs are reportedly crystalline and giddy. Expect a stank perfume, peppery exhale and powerful onset .
BUY: The Kings of Canna, 1465 NE Prescott St., C, 971-319-6945, thekingsofcanna.com.
Swan Island Dahlia Festival + Skullcap
Wandering through acres of flower farms in the full summer sun may soon no longer be a pleasant activity as Oregon temperatures continue to creep upward. But since we’re losing daylight in September, the afternoon highs are not quite as brutal, making this the perfect time to pack a parasol, sun hat or visor and twirl around Swan Island’s dahlias (the annual titular festival runs through Sept. 30).
The aptly named Skullcap is a balanced hybrid, which is to say its effects walk the line between soothing and invigorating. Users report a calm, happy, easy-to-manage head high and a relaxing, elastic body high perfect for flower strolls and parasol twirling. Expect a sour funk perfume and sweet, doughy exhale.
BUY: Homegrown Apothecary & Dispensary, 1937 NE Pacific St., 503-232-1716, homegrownapothecary.com.
Mount Tabor Sunset + Sour Sunset
If you’re a longtime resident, you already know about this scene, but for newly minted Portlanders, taking in a summer sunset from the west-facing slopes of Mount Tabor is a rite of passage. Substantial crowds gather to bathe in the otherworldly golden-hour light, while random musicians pluck away at their instruments. The air is lightly perfumed with cannabis—in a wholesome kind of way, not a music-fest kind of way—and from that vantage point, Portland is the one of the easiest cities to fall in love with.
Sour Sunset is known as a physically relaxing strain, with a crisp, creative head high. At the onset, the high is euphoric but eventually softens as you fall into a mellow bliss. It’s ideal for an evening spent lounging on a picnic blanket while imagining the painting you could probably make of the epic sunset you’re watching.
BUY: Gram Central Station, 6430 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., 503-284-6714.
Peninsula Park Rose Garden + Velvet Glove
Tucked behind Portland Community College’s Cascade campus is a whimsical rose garden with a short hedge maze, sparkling fountain, paths of intricate brickwork, and shade trees perfect for playing hide-and-seek. Of all the rose gardens in town, it’s arguably the most charismatic and, thus, a great place to be stoned with your arms, thighs and toes out.
Velvet Glove results in a classic, space cadet head high that feels a bit like having cotton between your ears, and almost acts like a sedative to the body. Before taking a meditative walk through the labyrinth, a puff of Velvet Glove might deliver just the right attitude adjustment to enjoy the space without any inner background noise. Expect a gassy, citrus nose and pungent exhale.
BUY: Electric Lettuce Dispensary, 203 NE Weidler St., 971-407-3150, electriclettuce.com.
Oaks Amusement Park + Purple Cotton
For countless Portlanders since 1905, no summer is complete without a trip to iconic Oaks Amusement Park, even if these days you’re just there to watch the Screaming Eagle from the riverfront picnic area. However, if you do make it onto the actual midway, the right strain can protect you from carnie overstimulation, keep you loose enough to avoid whiplash on the Adrenaline Peak roller coaster, and ensure you stay focused enough to finish a game of mini golf.
Purple Cotton delivers a weightless, euphoric head high, and a silky, springy body buzz that, while not necessarily energizing, still supplies some measure of perk. Expect a cotton candy sweet mouthfeel and funky fruit aroma.
BUY: Happy Leaf Portland Dispensary, 1301 NE Broadway, 971-800-0420, happyleafportland.com.