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Oregon

All of our adventures exploring the vast wonderland of Oregon can be found on this page. Go ahead and dive in!

 

Adventures in Oregon: Mount Hood

Posted by on May 27, 2015 in Adventures in Oregon, Mount Hood | 0 comments

Adventures in Oregon: Mount Hood

Last Saturday, clouds blanketed Corvallis as Andrew and I had our usual morning conversation about where we should go hike for the day. I scrolled through the laundry list of places stored in the weather app on my phone. Hmm, sunshine and highs in the mid-sixties at Mount Hood – great! We packed up our stuff and hit the road. As we drew nearer and nearer to our destination, we noticed the clouds were in fact still with us and according to our car, the temperature was definitely not in the sixties. I triple-checked the weather app which still said sunny and sixties. What the heck, we wondered. We followed the road up, up, up and then lo and behold, we were above the clouds where – you guessed it- sunshine and warmer temperatures greeted us. So, lesson learned: when clouds gather and you want to see the sun, just go above them! For our very first foray to Mount Hood, we opted to hike the Timberline Trail up to Silcox Hut. At just over 2 miles, it’s a short hike but the change in elevation ups the intensity factor. As we made our way up the trail, clouds swirled around the peak almost as if their very origin was the mountain itself. We made it to Silcox Hut and found out there was someone inside to show us around. We took turns going in to check it out – and my, what a cool spot! The ‘hut’ can be rented out by groups and offers bunks for the night, dinner and breakfast: the perfect start for those looking to climb or ski. Staying here has now officially been added to my bucket list. Afterward, we explored a bit, letting the girls check out the snow. Sasha didn’t seem to care but Annie loved eating the snow – I swear that dog knows how to fit right in to any setting. It was quite an experience to be surrounded by snow but totally comfortable in a tank top – in fact we saw people at the base wearing shorts and flip-flops!   We spotted some beautiful wildflowers just starting to pop up and I can’t wait to return to see what other blooms are in store. After enjoying our time on the mountain, we loaded back up in the car and headed down in the mountain and into the clouds. But we will certainly be back to this majestic wonder – there are so many trails to take and alpine meadows and lakes to stand in awe of. It’s going to be one fun...

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Adventures in Oregon: Alder Springs, part 2

Posted by on May 18, 2015 in Adventures in Oregon, Alder Springs | 0 comments

Adventures in Oregon: Alder Springs, part 2

This weekend we headed back to Alder Springs for a longer hike past the springs and up to the Deschutes River. We were better prepared this time for crossing the creek, bringing along appropriate shoes for stepping over slick rocks. Andrew took pity on Sasha and carried her across. Once we crossed over Wychus Creek, we stopped to check out the spring. It was so cool (literally) – you could actually see water bubbling up! We continued on our way to the river, stopping briefly to let a snake takes its sweet time crossing the trail. No photo because I have no desire to encourage my dogs to get close to snakes … not to mention, I have zero desire to get close to snakes. As the trail carried us through the canyon, the scenery continued to fascinate us. Yellow balsamroot, ponderosa pines, and blue sky sneaking out from the clouds – beautiful was an understatement. After passing the junction of Wychus Creek and the Deschutes, we climbed up a rock outcropping to take a break and take in the beauty around us. I kid you not – this was without a doubt, one of the most peaceful and beautiful places I have ever been. It felt as though we had stepped into a timeless place. Blue sky above, blue water below and red rock rising at the edges as if to protect this little sliver of paradise. We could have sat there for hours but we knew we had to head back. Once we reached the creek, Sasha bravely waded through the water. She made sure to look extra pitiful while doing it but she once she reached the other side she seemed pretty proud of herself and she had no problem scarfing down the treat I offered. With a few lingering looks back, we finished our hike and waved good-bye to the canyon. We made our way back to the car,  down the bumpy gravel road, over the mountains and to the valley we call home now. Another beautiful Saturday in playground that is the Pacific...

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Adventures in Oregon: Alder Springs

Posted by on May 12, 2015 in Alder Springs, life in general | 0 comments

Adventures in Oregon: Alder Springs

This weekend, we headed out for an afternoon hike at Alder Springs. After driving over the mountains and through the quaint town of Sisters, we turned down a little road that quickly dwindled into a narrow, rocky lane that only the most creative would call an actual road. We slowly and carefully navigated our way over the dips and bumps to the trailhead and set off. We traveled through a landscape vastly different from the rest of our hikes in Oregon thus far. Dry, gravelly soil and scrubby vegetation, high plateaus and rugged canyon walls. We hiked down to Wychus Creek and while Annie and Andrew were all for crossing the creek and continuing on to see the Deschutes River, Sasha was having none of it.That coupled with the fact that I had led us on a lengthy detour during our drive there meant we’d have to come back another day to follow the trail beyond the creek. (not to mention that water was c.o.l.d!) We headed back the way we came and took a short trail called ‘Old Bridge.’ Spoiler: there is no old bridge or really anything to hint that such a structure existed. That was okay though because the scenery was plenty to take in. We followed along the water for a ways, passing craggy rock face and tall Ponderosa pines. We even passed some bones that had evidently been a snack for some four-legged creature – Wile E. Coyote, perhaps. As the afternoon gave way to evening, we returned to the car and made our slow and careful exit. Winding along the gravel lane, we admired the beautiful colors playing out across the land with mountains watching in the distance. The dogs were especially interested in the free range cattle standing feet from our car … and occasionally in the road. We definitely plan to return to cross the creek and see the Deschutes so stay tuned for take two. I’ll just have to figure out how to turn Sasha’s extreme hatred of water into true love between now and then. Easy peasy,...

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Adventures in Oregon: Silver Falls State Park

Posted by on Apr 22, 2015 in Adventures in Oregon, life in general, Silver Falls State Park | 0 comments

Adventures in Oregon: Silver Falls State Park

Ever since we moved to Oregon, it seems that as soon as someone finds out we like to hike, they tell us that we have to go to Silver Falls State Park. What’s so special about Silver Falls, you ask? Well, for starters it has ten waterfalls, and if that’s not enough, you can actually walk behind – that’s right, behind (!) – four of them. So, why has it taken us so long to check it out? This little statement, “Pets are prohibited on the Canyon, Maple Ridge and Winter Trails.” The dogs know when we are going hiking and it’s tough to break their little canine hearts… especially because they know how to be vindictive little suckers when they feel we have utterly wronged them. However, we finally built up the mental toughness to say no to their pleading eyes and set out without them – gah, we’re the worst pet parents, aren’t we? After a picnic lunch at the park, we consulted a map for all of five seconds and decided to do the Trail of Ten Falls (a combo of Canyon Trail, Winter Trail and part of Rim Trail) in a somewhat reverse order, owing to the hoards of people who were setting off in the other direction. We didn’t really pay attention to the mileage and ended up hiking 8.7 miles but it didn’t feel that long (until the next day :)). We said hello to some meandering deer and set off down Rim Trail and then turned onto Winter Trail. After descending a ways, we reached our first waterfall: Winter Falls, so named because it is sustained by winter runoff. We finished out Winter Trail and turned onto Canyon Trail. We soon came upon the next waterfall, Twin Falls. We continued along the trail until we came to North Falls and I was left speechless. The waterfall itself is spectacular as it plunges 136 feet but what is truly incredible is the carved out rock behind it. As you walk behind the water, it feels as if you’re in a cathedral. Despite the loud volume of the water thundering down, it seems more appropriate to whisper. Somehow, Andrew managed to pull me away and we kept going. Up, up, up the steps and then under the highway to reach Upper North Falls. This waterfall cascades into a peaceful pool, providing a serene stopping place. After admiring God’s handiwork, we headed back down the trail and unfortunately were stuck behind a group of oblivious kids who were blasting pop country music. We managed to distance ourselves from them and before we knew it, we were at Middle North Falls and I was again astounded by seeing the backside of a waterfall. I’m sorry I don’t have any better words than it was just so cool. Some fancy description there, Heather. Back on the trail, we saw three waterfalls practically one after the other: Drake Falls, Double Falls and Lower North Falls. A mile later, Lower South Falls greeted us and I ecstatically made my way behind the sheet of water cascading down –  again, so cool! We wound our way up a zig zag of steps (185 to be exact) and another mile later, came the grand finale, South Falls. I took far too...

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Grand Finale in the Cascades

Posted by on Apr 16, 2015 in Adventures in Oregon, life in general | 0 comments

Grand Finale in the Cascades

For my mom’s last adventure during her visit, we decided to go all out and show her as much beauty as we could in the Cascades. After making a quick stop at New Morning Bakery for some necessary edible provisions, we set out on our journey. Along the way, we paid a visit to another covered bridge – Weddle Bridge in Sweet Home. Before we knew it, we were deep in the Willamette National Forest and making our first stop in the mountains – Hackleman Old Growth Grove. Since Andrew and I have only been there when it was either raining or several feet deep in snow, I was excited to walk the loop with sunny skies overhead. It is always a humbling experience to stand beneath these ancient giants. We even saw a few lingering patches of snow as well as the always fascinating shelf fungi. (I’m such a sucker for perfect little water droplets – I was very proud of myself for showing some restraint and only snapping a few photos.) Next up, we visited Clear Lake, which – you guessed it – is astoundingly clear. I don’t think I’ve ever seen water so transparent – it is undoubtedly the exact definition of ‘crystal clear.’ We couldn’t get over the rich colors, a result of diverse life underneath and the reflection of a gorgeous sky above. Just look at that clarity – I’m still amazed even as I type this! From there, we set out for Koosah Falls, where we admired the thunderous sheets of water plummeting down, down, down . Less than a mile from the falls, we stopped at Carmen Reservoir and spread our picnic blanket. Sheltered from any wind, our little picnic spot proved to be a fantastic place to bask in the sun while we dined on tabbouli and pasta salad from the bakery. For dessert, we all shared a pecan sticky bun and an orange walnut butterhorn – basically a giant, delicious pastry slathered in citrus frosting that will become your new favorite treat. Sasha was our canine escort for the day and enjoyed a little lunch of dog treats before she too sat back to soak up the sun. The local avian residents drifting by in the reservoir made sure to put on an entertaining show for us. We managed to pick ourselves up from the sunny little shore and get back in the car so we could check out Sahalie Falls. We walked around to the top of the falls to see where the river transforms from a smooth, shiny flow to a gushing torrent. After we departed the falls, we ventured from the Willamette National Forest and into the Deschutes National Forest. We drove to Camp Sherman where we saw the headwaters of the Metolius River. It was incredible to think that so much water just springs up from the ground (in the photo above) to continue on, providing a source of life to flora and fauna. To close out our adventure, we drove into the quaint little town of Sisters for a good view of the mountains. Such an amazing site to see! The town was beyond charming and I can’t wait to return and properly explore all the adorable little shops and cafes. It was a very...

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Adventures in Oregon: The Covered Bridges of Linn County

Posted by on Apr 14, 2015 in Adventures in Oregon, Covered Bridges of Linn County | 0 comments

Adventures in Oregon: The Covered Bridges of Linn County

While my mom was here, we spent an afternoon exploring some of the covered bridges in Linn County, the next county over. Linn County is home to nine covered bridges and five of those are located around the little town of Scio. So, my mom and I headed up the road to tour those five. First up was Gulkey Bridge, built in 1939. Second, we saw Shimanek Bridge, built in 1966 and the only red covered bridge in the county. As we were driving along Thompson Creek, we happened to spy these handsome horses getting a cool drink in the creek. Third on our route was Hannah Bridge, constructed in 1936. Fourth, we visited Larwood Bridge which was built in 1939 where Roaring River and Crabtree Creek converge. A lovely little park is just below the bridge and seems like the perfect place for a future picnic. The final stop on our tour was Hoffman Bridge, built in 1936. It spans Crabtree Creek and is apparently quite a good fishing hole, as evidenced by the young man who proudly showed us all the fish he had caught and told us about the ones he had hooked the afternoon before as well. Touring the bridges was a laid-back way to enjoy a sunny afternoon and I look forward to taking Andrew on the same...

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Adventures in Oregon: Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm

Posted by on Apr 9, 2015 in Adventures in Oregon, life in general, Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm | 0 comments

Adventures in Oregon: Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm

When my mom was planning her trip out here, she had one request – to visit the Tulip Festival at Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm. Acres and acres of gorgeous flowers? Only if you twist my arm. We paid a visit to the festival last Thursday, driving up through the beautiful Oregon countryside. Naively, I thought by going on a weekday that there would be fewer people … when will I realize this is never the case? However, even with a full parking lot and plenty of people, we never felt crowded. There was ample space to wander around and take billions of photos. I expected the flowers to be pretty but when we walked up to the fields I was blown away by row after row of brilliant color. I think I must have exclaimed, “Wow!” about 342 times, give or take. So many varieties and colors to see! We strolled up and down the rows, each turn offering a new vantage point to appreciate the rainbow of color beneath a picture-perfect blue sky dotted with fluffy clouds. It was photographer heaven! Rather than subject you to my clumsy descriptions, I’ll let the pictures do the talking. The festival runs through May and in addition to the tulips to admire, there are all kinds of kid-friendly activities, food and even wine-tasting. There are of course tulips for sell and my mom was kind enough to buy me some potted tulips – I’m so excited for the buds to open! On the way home, we stopped for lunch in Mount Angel which is an adorable little town with a heavy Bavarian influence. We strolled through the tiny downtown and watched the Glockenspiel put on its performance – so charming! Apparently they host quite the Octoberfest which we will definitely have to check out. Such a lovely day that I’m grateful I could share with my mom!   **************** Want to catch up on other Adventures in Oregon? Check out the Oregon Page or start with one of these: Blue Pool Sahalie & Koosah Falls Heceta Head Cape...

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Adventures in Oregon: Tamolitch Falls (Blue Pool)

Posted by on Mar 30, 2015 in Adventures in Oregon, life in general | 0 comments

Adventures in Oregon: Tamolitch Falls (Blue Pool)

When we visited Koosah Falls & Sahalie Falls, we knew we had to plan another hike to check out Blue Pool, located just a little further along the McKenzie River. Blue Pool is at the base of Tamolitch Falls …. or what once was a waterfall. The falls are dry now and water streams underground into the pool. Since last week was spring break in the area, we had high hopes that the trail would not be crowded …. you may laugh now. There were soooo many people! By far, this was the most people (and dogs!) we have ever encountered out hiking. The hike itself was relatively flat with a lot of mud … we’re talking massive puddles but they were easy to scramble around. Unless you were Annie and you preferred to walk right through them. Sasha would take the utmost care to tiptoe along the rocks, well out of reach of any mud but Annie plunged in with relish. Silly dog. The pool was spectacular. Gazing down into the crystal clear water, you see a vivid blue reflecting the sky and trees above. Incredible. We continued around the pool, crossing the dry rock bed where once upon a time water flowed and made our way down to the water’s edge. Aside from a pack of mountain bikers yelling and being generally obnoxious, it was amazing to experience. After admiring the view for a little while, we headed back down the trail, with the McKenzie River on one side and moss-covered lava scree on the other. All in all, the hike itself was beautiful and easy but it will probably be a long while before we head down this super-popular trail again. I know I’m an 89-year-old grandma trapped in a 32-year-old’s body but I just don’t see the need for grown adults to yell and scream when you’re out hiking – or smoke for that matter. I was always fairly confident that smoking and hiking did not go hand in hand so imagine my surprise to walk through a cloud of tobacco at the pool. Can you imagine how much fun I’ll be when I really am 89 years old – I’ll be knocking cigarettes out of people’s mouths with my cane and carrying around a megaphone to yell at folks to hush. I can’t wait! I digress. Despite the noise and smoke, we enjoyed the hike and Sasha and Annie certainly had a good time as well, judging by their rock-solid naps in the backseat on the way home. And now to get ready for my mom – she arrives in t-minus 6 hours and I am so...

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Adventures in Oregon: Sahalie Falls & Koosah Falls

Posted by on Mar 3, 2015 in Adventures in Oregon, Hiking, Sahalie & Koosah Falls | 0 comments

Adventures in Oregon: Sahalie Falls & Koosah Falls

The last time we ventured into the Cascades was Christmas which felt like it was only a minute ago but somehow was actually 2 months ago (… how is this possible?) We realized we were long overdue for a hiking excursion there so last Saturday we set our sights on Sahalie and Koosah Falls. We drove south to Eugene, turned onto Highway 126 and wound our way along the McKenzie River for about an hour. It was such a beautiful drive! We started at Sahalie Falls and hiked the Waterfall Trail which is an easy 2.6 mile loop. We decided to head north first, crossing McKenzie River on a very narrow log bridge. Annie wasn’t too sure about it. She literally would not set paw on it until Sasha and I made it all the way across. We continued along the trail, following the river south. The trail itself is fairly rocky – not one you want to hurry along without looking down, unless of course you like tripping. The combination of moss-covered rocks lining the trail, towering trees and crystal clear air really gave a sense that you were outside of time. Walking through those woods along that path, it could have been any day, any year, any century. Beautiful & serene doesn’t even begin to describe it. We followed the trail on down to where the river empties into Carmen Reservoir and then headed back up the other side. The dogs had their requisite bribe snack for being patient while I took a perfectly reasonable amount of photos. The water in McKenzie River is perhaps the bluest and most pristine water I have ever seen in my life. Rushing along, it truly looked aquamarine and yet so unbelievably clear. As we rounded the bend, the rainbow dancing off Koosah Falls came into view. After snapping a million few photos, we continued on up the trail to finish the loop out at Sahalie Falls. If you look closely in the photo below, there are two crazy people standing right at the edge of the falls. They had to cross the smaller falls to the right to get where they are – crazy, I tell you! Nothing happened to them thank goodness but just in case you weren’t sure – waterfalls that furiously plunge 100 feet down are not something you want to go dip your toe in. There’s your PSA for the day. At the base of the falls, Andrew spied a small cross leaning against an old log. ‘Sahalie’ means heaven in Chinook jargon. I don’t know the story of that little cross but it was an unexpected and beautiful reminder of God and His abiding presence everywhere. I needed that reminder. Hiking – it can take you far and bring you near all at the same time.   —————————————– Check out our other Adventures in Oregon on the Oregon...

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Adventures in Oregon: Kentucky Falls

Posted by on Feb 26, 2015 in Adventures in Oregon, Dogs, Hiking, Kentucky Falls | 0 comments

Adventures in Oregon: Kentucky Falls

Since moving to Oregon, my weekends have changed significantly. A typical Saturday morning finds me with a mug of coffee in one hand and a guide book in the other. Andrew and I pore over suggested hikes and locales within an hour or two’s drive. “Do you want to head to the coast or the Cascades? See starfish or mountain views or waterfalls?” This conversation would make sense to me if we were on vacation. But we’re not. This is regular old everyday life. But with a pinch of adventure thrown in. This past Saturday was no exception. We settled on hiking Kentucky Falls, nestled in the Coastal Range between Eugene (about an hour south of Corvallis) and Florence (on the coast). We had detailed directions on how to get there and let me tell you – the getting there was an adventure in itself. We turned off Highway 126 and found ourselves winding up, up, up on logging roads that could be described as questionable at best. I was somewhat startled to look out the window and realize we were so high up – it seemed at one point that we were literally driving along the peaks! With such a clear, sunny day, we could see for miles. We continued on, turning onto one crappy road after another. Most of the area we drove through is under the Bureau of Land Management and as far as I can tell, they do their very best to not manage any roads that run through said land. Patience is essential on this drive: all the bumps and dips are eagerly waiting to eat your axle and if you want to deny them the privilege, then you must drive at 0.1 miles per hour. I may be exaggerating. Or not. This is Roman Nose Mountain. I had no idea it even existed until we drove right by it. I’ll bet you didn’t know it existed either … until now. You’re welcome. During this slow-going, body-jarring drive, you think to yourself, ‘This is great! We’ll have the trail to ourselves! What other fools would make this ridiculous journey?’ And then you round the final turn along the winding road and the parking lot comes into view. The parking lot that is packed to capacity except for one tiny half-spot that you squeeze your Jetta into. And you laugh and shake your head as you realize this is Oregon and everyone’s just as crazy as you are about trekking through the great outdoors. After we filled in the last available space in the parking area, we hit the trail with Annie, Sasha and my tripod that is apparently made out of lead. Kidding – but that sucker is heavy. The descriptions we had read of the hike all described it as moderate to difficult with a steep climb on the return so we fully expected the hike to be challenging. Spoiler – it’s not. I think it would fit more in the moderate-easy category. It’s a 4.4 mile out-and-back hike that goes down on the way in and up on the way out but the climb is never truly steep and the path is pretty well maintained. A little less than a mile in, we came across Upper Kentucky Falls, cascading gracefully down amidst...

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