Synopsis of Summer: Splendid

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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.

Crater Lake After the Storm

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Last evening's severe thunderstorm cell ignited some new fires, but at least it also provided a delightful side effect.  To answer some posters' questions, this photograph has not been retouched or enhanced in any way.

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.

Friday Photo Replay

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Today I felt the need to remember a beautiful time, and selected this butterfly photo taken at the San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

The Unparalleled Cascade Views from Tom Dick and Harry

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If you’re searching for an iconic view of Oregon’s tallest mountain, Tom Dick and Harry must be added to your “must hike” list. A mere hour from downtown Portland, the Mirror Lake trailhead will take you from trafficked Highway 26 to an impressive overlook granting views of Mt. Hood, Mt. Adams, Mt. Saint Helens, Mt. Jefferson, Mt. Washington, and even Mr. Rainier on very clear days.

I have twice hiked the Mirror Lake trail during the winter months when the lake is coated in beautiful white, but this was my first excursion in the summer time and first ever to the upper division of Tom Dick and Harry. Surprisingly, when you’re not trudging through snow, this hike goes quickly to the lake, but is absolutely worth the added jaunt to the top.

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Trekking to Hardy Falls and Hamilton Mountain

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The Columbia River Gorge is chock full of hikes at various skill levels, and one of the harder ascents I’ve just added under my belt is on Washington’s south side of the Bridge of the Gods. Seven miles from the bridge is the more famous Beacon Rock – a towering boulder with striking views of the Gorge (and a portion of the distance you will usually have to hike to get the same views). Directly across from the Beacon parking lot is a sign for campgrounds and access to Hamilton Mountain. Luckily this hike could easily be split into three lengths and difficulty levels: 3.2 miles (medium), 6 miles (difficult), 9 miles (more difficult). Having done the whole thing, I might opt for the 6 miler next time, but it’s still worth all the work.

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Boise’s hidden outdoor treasure: Bob’s Trail

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Boise’s outdoor scene might be best known for its prolific mountain biking trails scattered across the city’s many hillsides, but the hiking trails are equally spectacular. During a recent visit to Boise, a friend introduced me to a trailhead tucked into a neighborhood close to the Crane Creek Country Club. I believe the area is one of those “you don’t know about it unless someone tells you about it” kind of places. Bob’s Trail is short (just over 3 miles), but the scenery is both calming and much less populated than trails in the vicinity. Continue reading

Exploring Muir Woods

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Many years ago, I used to write twitter content for the San Francisco Convention and Visitors Bureau, and one of the sites I would often recommend to tourists was Muir Woods in Marin County (ironic considering I had not been myself). Since my parents moved to Marin last year, I have wanted to see the Woods – a national park created by conservationist, John Muir at the turn of the 20th Century. There are redwoods in Oregon, but none as famous as those in Northern California, so upon visiting at Easter, I declared my #1 tourist attraction would be the Park. It was well worth the wait. Continue reading