As 2015 came to a close, I realized that while I wouldn’t call it the best year, it was full of challenges and events which have helped form me into a stronger (albeit slightly wider) person. As an active Oregonian, it was most difficult for me to hang up my snowboard for the season as well as my road bike in order to make way for bodily healing. I’m happy to report that I am on the mend and look forward to sharing more outdoor adventures with you in 2016, but 2015 was absolutely the year of much cooking and a few outdoor memories. Sometimes life throws you a curve ball, and while I didn’t accomplish all my wishes during 2015, I made many other memories that wouldn’t have been possible if life happened the way I planned.
Below is a compilation of the best of the best:
Mushroom ravioli with roasted butternut squash, hazelnuts and spinach in a cream sauce
Hiking up to Cairin Basin (Mt. Hood, OR)
Crazy awesome oyster shooters and beer flights at Fort George Brewery (Astoria, OR)
A brilliant way to spent 4th of July: Cascade Head (Lincoln City, OR)
Mt. Tamalpais view from Larkspur, CA
A most amazing autumn view of Mt. Hood (Lost Lake, OR)
The best damn olive tapenade e-v-e-r
Mt. Hood’s profile from Maryhill Winery (Columbia River Gorge, WA side)
First pop up jewelry show for Mother’s Day!
Dahlia Festival (Canby, OR)
Sadly, my family bid adieu to our beloved Aussie-Border Collie mix, Delilah. You will be greatly missed, Miss D.
Columbia River Gorge view while hiking to Ponytail Falls
First stab at zucchini noodles was a resounding success
New Year’s Day frozen waterfall hiking at Triple Falls (Columbia River Gorge)
Zucchini “tortilla” and breakfast burrito
Avalanche tulips blanketed the way to Cairin Basin (Mt. Hood, OR)
Ground beef and veggie zucchini boat
Coconut shrimp with grilled apricots and peanut coconut jalapeno drizzle
About to descend into the Ape Caves lava tubes (Mt. St. Helens, WA)
Waterfalls at Hug Point (Canon Beach, OR)
Veggie Burger (would have been vegan, but I had to add cheese)
Common sense seems like a typical response to how to behave on the trail, but you’d be surprised how many have no clue. My friends over at Modern Hiker kindly put together a few tips that everyone should consider while adventuring outdoors.
(Read the full article on REI’s blog. Bullet points below are quoted from the article.)
Hikers vs. Hikers
Hikers going uphill have the right of way. This is because hikers heading up an incline often have a smaller field of vision and may also be in that “hiking rhythm” zone and not in the mood to break their pace.
If you’re about to pass another hiker from behind, announce your presence, even with a simple “hello”.
When passing, always stay on the trail to reduce erosion.
In group hiking, always hike single-file, never taking up more than half the trail space, and stay on the trail itself. Over time, those off-trail boot prints can badly erode switchbacks and destroy drainage diversions.
When a group meets a single hiker, it’s preferable for the single hiker to yield and step safely to the side.
Hikers vs. Bikers
Bikers are generally expected to yield to hikers on the trail, though it’s usually easier for hikers to yield the right of way—especially if a mountain biker is huffing and puffing up a tough incline.
Bikers should never expect a hiker to yield.
Bikers should call out as they come down steep slopes or blind switchbacks, and should also let hikers know if there are other bikers following them.
Hikers should also be aware of their surroundings on shared trails, particularly with mountain bikes quickly coming around any bend.
It’s Thanksgiving week, which means I’m compelled to reflect on the past year and consider the most wonderful events I’ve experienced. With some recent life changes, I’m reminded of the importance to stay true to yourself and focus on what makes you happiest. For me, that includes hiking a mountain, laughing and enjoying beers with friends, traveling to new (and old) favorite cities, and, of course, cooking up a storm. Below are a few photo representations of my most thankful 2014 moments:
Chia seed fruit cobbler
Frozen waterfalls in the Columbia River Gorge
Tom, Dick and Harry
Mt. Hood from Coyote Wall
Goat Rocks Wilderness in Gifford Pinchot
Mt. Tamalpais, Marin County, CA
See what white speck on the right side? Yup, it’s a mountain goat! Goat Rocks Wilderness, Gifford Pinchot National Park
Mt. Adams, Mt. Hood, Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Rainier
Hood to Coast
On the way to Goat Lake
Sausage and Veggie pasta in creamy tomato vodka cream sauce
I have wanted for years to see frozen waterfalls, and Portland’s early winter finally afforded me the opportunity to see some beauties. The Columbia River Gorge has over 100 waterfalls, and many of them freeze over during the cold snaps. This excursion takes us to the E Columbia River Historic Highway to view Horsetail Falls, Ponytail Falls, Multnomah Falls and Bridal Veil Falls.
Distance and Difficulty: Total of 3 miles across all the waterfalls, with the longest stretch being 1 mile round trip. Easy.
Elevation Gain: up to 350 feet gain
Directions: From I-84E, take exit 28 at Bridal Veil and turn right onto the Historic Highway. Drive for about 4 miles until you see the Bridal Veil parking lot. After you’ve enjoyed the Falls, head back east on the Historic Highway and stop at the various waterfalls (you’ll see them all the way down). Choose the falls I’ve noted, or go even further down toward Ainsworth to Elowah and McCord Falls, Latourell Falls, or Lancaster Falls.
Tip: I strongly recommend cramp-ons for this kind of a trek. The snow is very packed, so snowshoes aren’t necessary, but regular hiking shoes don’t offer the right amount of traction. I immediately picked up a pair from REI after NOT having cramp-ons and am very excited to test them out.
There’s something special about the first hike of Fall. The air is cooler, filled with the smell of retired leaves and dampness, and the multi-color visual display is heart-warming. I celebrated the new season with a simple hike to the Gorge’s Elowah Falls. This destination is a gem – far from the Multnomah Falls crowds, and simple for the whole family, no matter what age.
Manta Ray Dive (Kona, Hawaii) – Photo credit: Hawaii Oceanic
Mountain Biking (Hood River, OR)
Ponytail Falls (Columbia River Gorge)
Hardy Falls (Columbia River Gorge)
Tom, Dick and Harry (Mt. Hood)
Columbia River Gorge (Oregon side)
Stand up Paddleboarding (Portland, OR)
With one of the hottest summers on record, I found myself extra incentivized to find ways to cool down and enjoy outdoor time. Hiking is a standard practice for me, but I also expanded my horizons and added mountain biking (a first!), stand up paddleboarding and a Wildlife Safari to my summertime activity.
Write ups are still in the works for some of these adventures, so in the meantime, enjoy this little gallery of my hiking, biking, and paddling over the past three months.
Wild fires are running rampant around the country right now, wreaking havoc, draining resources, and displacing many families from their homes. In the midst of these natural disasters, however, sometimes amazing things happen. Yesterday, the Crater Lake National Park posted this incredible, untouched photo of a double rainbow. I think “awe-inspired” is the best way to describe it.