My sister hitched a ride to Umatilla.

I had been asking Jessie when she was coming to visit me in Portland ALL SUMMER. She's my favorite travel partner.

Jessie Relaxes

She and I have the best time adventuring together because she lets me do all the planning and as long as I include enough naps, she just goes with the flow. It really works for us . (For a recap, check out our 2009 “Sister Soiree” aka. 3 weeks in Belize & Guatemala.)

Soooo, I was uber thrilled when she called up on a Monday and asked, “What are you doing starting Thursday?” Luckily, I had nothing on the docket and on drove for 3 hours along the Columbia river to pick up Jessie in Umatilla. She had hitched a ride with Troy & Bugs who were on their way to the Gorge to spend the weekend watching Phish. Yay! Sister adventure begins!

Thursday afternoon Jessie & I headed back towards Portland and made a few stops

1- Hood River (beer/alpaca petting/Rainier cherries @ the farmer's market) 2- Multnomah Falls/Vista House

Multnomah Falls

Shadow Dance

Shadow Sisters at Vista House!

Friday morning Jessie + I met Emily for breakfast at SHUT UP AND EAT. Awesome homemade English muffins and awesome name.


Then we had a beer @ a hat store, Emily helped Jessie buy an outfit for Timmy's wedding and we headed to the Powell's-~ the biggest, most awesome bookstore in the country!

Then we got on I-5 and headed north towards Mt. Saint Helen's! I hadn't made a reservation at a campground and we pulled in as the Camp Host was locking the front gate!At 9pm! Whaaa! Luckily, there was a cancelation and we set up camp on Yale Lake.

Saturday morning we packed up and headed to Two Forests- where the lava incinerated the trees but left tree-shaped tunnels we could climb through.

Tree Tunnel

Ape Caves- we did the short tunnel (2 mile round trip) and then headed off to LAVA CANYON, which was an awesome hike with a suspension bridge, a waterfall and (eventually) some awesome views of Mt. Saint Helen's.

What's a rock like you doing in a place like this?


Then we headed off to Seattle- next post tomorrow!


Oregon is for ROAD TRIPPERS!!!

Whew! I’ve been off the grid for the past week, burning up 900+ miles in my Subaru and seeing some amazing sights! My friend Sarah Walters (from Gordonwood) has been ‘gifted’ with some free time so we decided to cruise the backroads of this gorgeous state and explore its National Park, forests and coastline!

Saturday we met up with Claire (Michigan Engineering girl who works for Mercedes-Benz) and caravanned to Crater Lake! After lunch and 5 hrs driving, we met up with Kitty Lucas (from St.Michael’s, Lansing).

Kitty had worked some magic and gotten her hands on the last campsite available on this (patriotic) holiday weekend so we made camp, grilled burgers and headed off for our first hike! We read a flier advertising a Sunset Hike up to Watchmens’ Tower with a Ranger @ 7:30pm, so we hopped in the week-old BMW (Thanks Claire!) and watched the sherbert-colored light bounce off the cliffs! And the water!!! Oh MAN!! The water was SO blue! Oddly blue. Totally fake blue. You really need to see it in person, but I’ll attempt to toss some photos in here to give you an idea. Wizard Island is actually a volcano, inside the remnants of a volcano. How meta.

Crater LakeRanger Tim Sunset on Wizard Island Golden Hour

The next morning we watched the new “How Crater Lake was Formed” video at the Rangers’ station. There hasn’t been a new one made since 1980 and it had some really cool CGI video of Mt. Mazama blowing its top and creating the lake. Then we embarked on the “Rim Tour” πŸ˜‰ a 33 miles drive around the perimeter of the lake. First stop, Phantom Ship- a cool outcropping of rock that looks like a… SHIP! Then we headed south to The Pinnacles. You can judge for yourself what they looked like. This photo is the PG version..

IMG_7681The Pinnacles

Then we hiked 1.1 miles from the rim of the crater to the LAKE! It was freezing cold but some people were jumping off the rocks into the blue water.

Boat to WIzard IslandShe almost jumped There were boat rides ($35) or you could take the boat out to Wizard Island and hike to the top for $10 more. We didn’t have enough time or $$$ to do either, but I would recommend that you hike the island. Kitty says it’s pretty epic. It took us 30 minutes of huffing and puffing to get back up to the top and then it was almost time to leave! 😦

We said goodbye and headed our separate ways. Sarah and I were on a mission to find Umpqua Hot Springs and thanks to a hand-drawn map gifted to us by a Lodge employee, we rolled into the parking lot with just enough light to set up camp and hike up to the natural tubs, scalloped along the edge of a cliff overlooking a river! Le Siiiigh.

Sarah at the hot springs


The next day we meandered along Scenic Highway 138, stopping to cook Quinoa for our lunch at the edge of the Umpqua River, like good little hippies. Then we read books because we are also pretty nerdy.Sunset Bay Umpqua River

That night (After accidentally patronizing a TeaParty Pizza Shop) we caught the sunset at Sunset Bay! Perfection!

Up early the next morning for a tour of the TIDE POOLS! So cool!

Sea StarTide Pool Hike

Then we darted off up the 101 and crossed over lovely bridges and gasped at spectacular scenery.Foggy BridgePercy Vista

That night we camped near the beach AND near the aquarium in Newport! We spent the morning watching the otters get fed, the seals do tricks and walking thru the tunnel in the shark tank! JELLYFISH!!!

Eeeee! Best aquarium ever!

!Shark Tunnel Jellyfish IMG_8104

Sadly, we had to head home (so I could recover for my trip to Seattle this weekend. Grin.) ONE last stop in Lincoln City before heading inland towards Portland. Yelp found us some crispy, fresh FISH & CHIPS (the aquarium made us hungry) and we got them to-go and ate them on the beach, watching the kite-surfers. Great way to end a road trip. πŸ™‚ But then, on the way home we stopped at Lawrence Gallery in Amity and saw 20+ Dali prints! They ranged in price from $4,000 to $360,000! Epic collection! They had already sold 9 pieces. Then we decided THAT was the best way to end a road trip and proceeded to get stuck in traffic… because you can’t drive anywhere on a highway here and NOT get stuck in traffic. :/

The End.


E & A’s SQUASOME Roadtrip!!! (Mon-Tues)

Erica was off this past week- a well earned break from Nursing school, before she begins her 10-week residency at the Pediatric ER. We knew that we wanted to explore Vancouver, BC & when I got a reply from a long-lost friend in Squamish we headed north. Monday we stopped in Seattle, saw the infamous Troll under the bridge and spent a few hours being overwhelmed by the tourists and the traffic near Pike's Place Market.

We headed north to Everett to hang with Kathryn (Erica's Doula friend) and have yummy beer at Skuttlebutt brew pub. We camped out on the floor of her studio apt and left in the morning, Mexican Chocolate Mocha in hand, to continue our journey.

We brunched with Erica's friend from boarding school and rolled into Vancouver for a picnic lunch on the beach!


We soaked up some rays and continued on- next stop; Stanley Island! Rolling through downtown Vancouver at rush hour gave us the chance to admire the tall buildings and pretty shops. Then we parked along the water and went to explore the island park. 10 minutes after leaving the car, I return to grab my wallet and find a parking ticket! There is no sign, no marking on the pavement that indicates a fee for parking! Grrrr. I spy a guy with a reflective vest nearby and accost him~ what can I do about this injustice?!?! He said it happens all the time and that I could go buy a parking pass now and then e-mail the city and tell them the story. Ok. (PS- It worked!!! I didn't have to pay!)

It's still Tuesday, we're still in Vancouver but I'm bound & DETERMINED to get to Squamish for the 7:30pm showing of STAND, a Eco/Oil documentary about a local guy named Norm who Stand-Up-Paddles (SUP) the proposed 350km oil tanker route through Howe Sound.

Norm Hann

Here's the top 5 things I learned:

1- Norm has been SUPing through the Haida Gwaii islands for 10 years and has been adopted into a tribe.

2- Norm is an awesome athlete! He played on the Canadian Nat'l basketball team and is currently sponsored by Quicksilver.

3- Norm is having a baby with my Storer Camps friend, Jen Segger (she's insanely sporty- ie. she did a 6-day race across the Sahara Desert, she runs the Leadville 100, is on the DART- Nuun Adventure Racing Team and is sponsored by Salomon!)

4- The oil pipeline in the movie is being proposed by Enbridge Oil, who you might have heard of when one of their pipelines spilled 1 million gallons of oil into the Kalamazoo River in Michigan. That was almost 3 years ago and they are still cleaning it up.

5- SPIRIT BEARS! They are cream-colored Black bears, born only in this coastal area of British Columbia! They are one of the non-aquatic species who would be affected by a potential oil spill. Since the Hecate Strait is more treacherous to navigate than Prince William Sound (where the Exxon Valdez crashed) everyone who lives in the area is worried that a spill is more a “when it happens” versus “if it happens” kind of thing.

STAND Teaser from b4apres media on Vimeo.

After the show, Erica and I headed to Alice Lake to set up camp. The sun went down after 9:30pm so we made it down to the lake just as it got dark and watched the bats darting low over the water.



E & A’s SQUASOME Roadtrip!!! (Wed-Thurs)


Wednesday AM, Jen rolled up to our campsite on her bike and took us for a swift hike around the lake. Then she told us to go hike The Chief (see above) which she did 3 days a week until her 2nd trimester! Well… she described it as “an hour of nearly vertical hiking” and she does not exaggerate! I am not an 'uphill' kind of girl and this hike was epically hard. (Jessie- it was reminiscent of that volcano we hiked in Antigua when the guide kept offering me a horse. Ugh.)

The last bit involved dragging myself up a rock slab with some chains they has bolted into the wall! Then, I wedged myself into a crack and just when I thought I was almost done… a ladder. Oh geez. But the view? It was TOTALLY WORTH IT! Howe Sound on my left, logging industry stuff in the middle and Squamish on my right. Glorious!

ChiefView-SHPhoto by STEPHEN HUI

1048488_10200397159355792_283545694_o 981303_10200397159755802_1952418421_o

This hike was H-A-R-D! It seems unlikely that Shroooooms would have made it easier…

Next, we hopped in the car for some well-deserved 'sitting' time on the way up to Whistler. Jen had worked/trained there for years and some of the 2010 Winter Olympics took place there as well. It was nice. Too nice. It had that slightly eerie, pre-fabed feeling that Vail and Beaver Creek have. Don't get me wrong, we dug it. We sat slope-side and ate a $18 burger while we watched the bikers bomb down the hill, spraying mud everywhere. That was cool. Also, we were watching the Stanley Cup & drinking Kokanee (for Ron)!


We also happened upon a post-race celebration put on by the staff… who were drunk, dressed in drag and dancing to a live Calypso band. Not much to do in the off-season…

We decided to head down to Vancouver to camp that night since we'd have a long drive the next day, so we turned the Subaru towards the Sea-to-Sky highway and headed south.

The road is gorgeous plus we spotted a black bear, foraging for berries! We made it to Porteau Cove by 9pm and enjoyed the view of the sound but didn't camp because it cost $38 and was 10meters from a train track! So we ask the ranger if he has any suggestions for a campground closer to 'The Couv'? He started us on a crazy/late night/campsite hunt with his super-vague answer. But Wed night we camped in Burnaby and got up stupid early on Thursday to high tail it home.

Thursday: we explored Grandville Island (great!), I discovered that I am a lifetime member of the Canadian version of REI (MEC), and we ate breakfast sandwiches on homemeade veggie biscuits in Gastown! Then we spent 2+ hours stuck in 3pm? traffic outside of Seattle. Blerg. The 2 positive things that came out of it were: 1- I bought a pop @ BK's and got to use a touch screen pop machine and 2- I figured out what I want to do for a job! This is a revelation that requires a whole post of its own, so you'll just have to wait. πŸ™‚


It’s all about who ya know!

I realized that finding a job in Portland would be difficult. I did lots of web searches and made some phone calls and got some leads from friends. (Thank you!) When I arrived I had TWO interviews! Yes! The day after we arrived I went downtown to the MAC, Mulnomah Athletic Club to interview for a swim instructor/guard position.

The staff were super friendly and the members didn’t look too fancy- but then I learned that the club is the ‘Largest Athletic Club in the world’! With 500 employees and 22,000 members- it takes up 2 full city blocks and since it backs up to the Timbers stadium, you can watch professional soccer matches from the back balcony. Nice. The interview went great but they only need 4 hrs of swim instruction a week and since it’s a 30 min drive + annoying city parking I didn’t think I’d be able to make that work. 😦 Strike 1.IMG_8878

The next day we headed back out to the Columbia River Gorge and crossed the Bridge of the Gods to Washington state. My next interview was at the brand new ZIP LINE course at the Skamania Lodge.IMG_8910 The view from the lodge.

Dad and I rolled in and we got to join the tour going out- 8 cables through the trees. None were notably high or fast but it was fun to cruise around in the forest and along the golf course.


The guy who runs the course is looking to open one at every lodge in the company, 30 in total, and was looking for someone to help him run those in the future. Possibly the very distant future. Strike 2.

The Skamania course was only 3 weeks old and the owners of the other lodges are looking for increased traffic before they sign on. School lets out soon, so maybe there will be some need for another zip tour guide, but I doubt the pay will balance the 55 minute drive. Anyhow- dad and I had a fun time with Wilson and Bobby zipping around the trees. (Special thanks to DeAnna who works for the company who built the course and trained all the happy tour guides.)

Erica is being awesome & found me a house/dog sitting job AND babysitting for a family she knows. Β The lesson here… tell everyone you know what you need and then let it all work out! Β Yay!

Haystack Rock; Too bad Percy isn’t a PUFFIN!

This wooden puffin was the ONLY puffin we saw @ Haystack Rock.

I was excited to see the Pacific & convinced Dad to drive with me to Cannon Beach to see Haystack Rock. We drove 1:45 hrs away from sunny Portland to the overcast beach. We were underwhelmed with the weather but excited about the cool seabirds that were circling Haystack Rock. PUFFINS!!! Dad got lots of pix of these funny flying penguin-esque birds. It wasn't until after we called mom to tell her about seeing puffins, that we noticed the informational sign that said those birds wer Common Murre. Bummer. Dad called mom back to tell her about the misidentified puffins & she said, “Well, you've never seen a Murre before today either!” She's got the right idea! Thanks mom!

Here's dad getting a nic photo of a Common Murre!



Voluptuous, Playboy, Girls Night Out, Honey Pie!

Roses have entertaining names!

Dad and I spent Tuesday wandering amount the roses of the Int'l Rose Test Garden. The roses smelled devine and looks spectacular! I had never seen so many roses in one place.

And some gorgeous dogwoods!

Dad I also spent some time in the more serene Japanese gardens up the hill.

There were koi ponds and raked stone gardens and a floral display put on by the Portland Japanese flower-arranging school.

The Ikeban technique utilizes elements found in nature like driftwood or wasps nests! Odd. Dad & I weren't super impressed.

Percy found the perfect spot for some peaceful meditation. Then, while I was in the gift shop, Dad made friends with a guy in a Traverse City shirt who was waiting for HIS daughter! Next week Claire & I are going out for dinner! Yay for more Midwestern friends!


Portland has so many nicknames!

When I last left you, Dad and I were driving west after a SUPER FUN 3-day weekend in Colorado.

I have summed up the following 2 days of driving with the following photos:

1- We drove along the train tracks a lot and dad always counted the number of engines. NINE was the most we ever saw, 5 in the front and 4 in the middle of a very, very long coal train.

2- We were super excited to see the Columbia River Gorge! Yay WATER!!!

3- We stayed at a dirty Motel 6 in Boise but it had custom bedspreads!

4- When we’d drive thru a tunnel Dad would say, “Shields up!” And we’d slide our sunglasses up. (You’ll have to imagine the pix of that one…)

When we arrived in SE Portland Erica wasted no time & initiated us into the food truck fan club! Thanks, Erica!

Now for all the (well-deserved) nicknames.

CLOUD CITY: The first few days it seemed to rain every morning, then every hour after that… but just for a while. I have been told that this does not qualify as rain and only tourist carry umbrellas.

PDX: This is the airport code and gets used a lot in web addresses.

BRIDGE TOWN: Portland is divided in 1/2 by the Willamette (Will-AM-IT…rhymes with dammit) river (N-S) and there are a whole mess of bridges to get you from one side of of town to the other.

CITY OF ROSES: Wiki says: In 1917 a group of Portland nurserymen came up with the idea for an American rose test garden. Portland had an enthusiastic group of volunteers and 20 miles (32 km) of rose bordered streets, largely from the 1905 Lewis & Clark Exposition. Portland was already dubbed “The City of Roses” so this was leveraged to enhance the reputation.

Jessie Currey, president of Portland’s Rose Society at the time, petitioned for the city to serve as a safe haven for hybrid roses grown in Europe during World War I. Rose lovers feared that these unique plants could be destroyed as a result of the war. Foreign hybridists sent roses for test from many countries and the garden was an immediate success. Today, Portland is the only North American city that can issue its awards to roses of merit throughout the world.

STUMPTOWN: In the 1850’s PDX was growing so fast that they were cutting down trees to make new roads but didn’t have time to dig the stumps out. They just cut them close to the ground + painted them white.

BEERVANA: I thought Michigan had plenty of MicroBrews… but not nearly as many as here! PDX has more brewpubs per capita than any other town! Dad & I went to HOPWORKS with Matt & Emily and I had a yummy Granola Brown.

KEEP PORTLAND WEIRD: Dad & I have already met quite a few interesting folk. Like the homeless lady infront of Hopworks who wanted to know if we had eaten any good food in there. Wierd but friendly. Dad kept pointing out the young ladies with florescent pink hair. There are some wild dressers in this town! It keeps it interesting!

The photo contains a ‘Portlandia’ reference: Put a bird on it! Hilarity ensues here: Put A Bird On It! – Portlandia –