6-8. Walking Among Ancients

There aren’t many places anymore in the American forests that are untouched – where trees haven’t been shaved down at least once and where the streams are allowed to flow with their will.But for us lucky few who can withstand the damp, gray setting of the Pacific Northwest are surrounded with possibilities to explore these ancient natural wonders.Yet few of us venture to the forests to explore. And why – they really aren’t that far away. Some places you still have cell phone reception for those you afraid to disconnect.

Reaching for the Sky

Within an hour drive of Eugene, Oregon and through the beautiful and lush McKenzie River Valley stands trees that are over 650 years old. They climb upward to the sky with awe that is way beyond the skyscrapers of the city. And while this spot is not a popular drive-through like the Redwoods, the moss covered trees and fern laden groves that line the Delta Old Growth trail is just as accessible to the nature repellent person as it is back-country to the tree huggers. (Bucket List hike)

The Big Tilt

One of the stops along the extensive McKenzie River Trails that follows the river from Springfield to the top of the McKenzie Pass in the Cascades, the Delta Old Growth trail offers are short ½ mile loop trail to see the woody towers. At the entrance of the trail, a self-guided map provides hikers information about the plants and their uses by the Native Americans who used to flourish in the area. Along the nature tail you’ll see not only majestic giant Confiners like Douglas-firs, hemlocks and cedars but also other ecosystem layers that cover the ground and are essential to the forest’s framework.

The trail is located in the Delta Campground off of highway 19, also known as the Aufderheide. From Eugene drive about 45 miles east on highway 126 then turn right on hwy 19. The campground is immediately on the right.

Walking the trail

Sword fern sprout

Clover

Hanging Moss

So Tall....

#Chardonnay Day Recap

The wine was flowing and the fingers a-typing to commemorate the day of the chard.

While I am an avid wine drinker, I have never been a huge chardonnay drinker (I always left that to my mom). With a bad rap of tasting like you are gnawing on a tree or drinking butter cream – or that is only for Cougars (great article by Indie Vinos), I have frequently overlooked the variety, especially if I’m paying. But to participate in the world-celebration of chardonnay day, I opened my mind and mouth for some new Oregon chards.

The Slate

Held at TheSlate, a trendy Portland car display room/community space with spray-paint, stenciled records hanging on the wall, the Taste and Tweet had a hip, open feel very fitting for the social media wine event. Hosted by Indie Vinos, an online wine-venture to bring hard-to-find artisan wines directly to the public through the website, I heard about the event through Twitter, which I admit I have become sickenly addicted to – I think I check my Klout score almost more than the scale. One of my followers @KarinMcKercher, who works for Indie Vinos, sparked my interest with a tweet mentioning the evening. One it was free, two it was about wine, and three I was free so why not. Additionally I’ve always wanted to meet other tweeter and wine peoples, so after a half day of work I made the trek two hours north.

With only two hours to taste, the wine aficionado and tweeters attacked 15 different artisan Oregon Chardonnays with smart phones in hand. Using hashtags #chardonnay and #IVTnT to follow the chatter, the battle was drawn – to oak or not to oak, that is the question.

The tasting included Chardonnay’s by:

Kramer Vineyards (Follow @kimkramerwine)

Thistle (Follow @Thistle_Wines)

Durant Vineyards (Follow @OregonOliveMill)

Adelsheim (Follow @Adelsheim)

Winderlea Vineyard and Winery

Chehalem (Follow @chehalemwines)

Stoller Vineyards (Follow @Stoller_Vineyards)

LongPlay (Follow @LongplayWine)

Pudding River Wine Cellars (Follow @puddingriver)

Apolloni Vineyards (Follow @apolloniwine)

Seven of Hearts (Follow @7ofheartswine)

Ayoub

So what style won the battle? It’s up in the air. It’s like what Aron Hess, the winemaker for Longplay said, “wine is kind of like music – it’s a question of taste.”

Top Tweets of the Night

@NWWines: #IVTnT#Chardonnay @Adelsheim 09 Willamette Valley 86% stainless taste nice acid soft berry http://twitpic.com/52yxwn

@PDXfoodcarts: This 2009 #chardonnay from Adelsheim would go great with fishy chips from @EuroTrashCart #ivtnt

@oenoblog: INOX #Chardonnay from @chehalemwines #ivtnt brilliant clear water white gold

@Anna_V: The crowd is loosening up at the #chardonnay speed tasting wonder why? #closeproximity #yummywine #ivtnt

@bottlescene: And @chehalemwines 09 Ian’s Res. #chardonnay has a beautifully complex nose…I almost don’t want taste it…almost ;) #ivtnt #orwine

@nwwines: #IVTnT #Chardonnay 07 SV Estate Chard @Stoller_Winery nice soft oak on nose smooth Finnish http://twitpic.com/52z2ss

@oenoblog: 08 @longplay jory slope #chardonnay clean lots of candied tropical fruit caramel some creaminess #ivtnt

@KelseyIvey & @Anna_V: So super cute these #chardonnnay boys #maybetimetoslowdown #ornot #ivtnt ;)

@oenoblog: Next is @puddingriver 08 #chardonnay clear bright medium deep straw yellow. Tropical banana caramel and marshmallow #ivtnt

@OregonOliveMill: RT @nwwines: #IVTnT #Chardonnay Durante Vineyards 09 Chard Dundee Hills @OregonOliveMill tropical nose, toasty nice Finnish

@dieselboi: New fan of @puddingriver. They have a rooster on their label.#chardonnay #ivtnt

@dieselboi: Drinking some @apolloniwine. When I see the name, I think of purple rain.@appolonia #chardonnay #ivtnt

@bottlescene: Sean Driggers & his 2 #Chardonnay efforts. Great work on both! 07 reserve is my unique wine o the night…so far! #ivtnt http://t.co/zX5PrbQ

@decoywine: RT @Anna_V: The room erupts with friendly conversation #chardonnay as social lubricant #ivtnt

@AyoubWines: RT @oenoblog: 09 Ayoub #chardonnay clear bright gold. Soft nose creamy vanilla pear. Dry great length fresh yellow apple candiepear vanilla. #ivtnt

@KelseyIvey: Favorite thing about the #IVTnT #Chardonnay tasting with @indievinos is tasting #Wine with others with huge wine vocabularies.

Recap

By the end of the night (at least for me, since I needed to drive back to Eugene) our group of wine-tweets had the hashtag #IVTnT trending in Portland. (@TrendsPortland: @ivtnt is now trending in #Portland http://trendsmap.com/us/Portland)

And as @HarvestMari tweeted “You guys, I might be a #Chardonnay believer,” I think I may be converted as well. Go Oregon Chardonnays!

Cheers to Being Single!

While I always knew the time would come, I didn’t expect Wedding Season to come so soon. Now that I’m out of college, it seems everyone is getting married – planning the reception menus, picking out the white dress, and basking in honeymoon sun and bliss. And if they aren’t already signed up on the Knot.com, sometimes girls even without a ring on the finger are planning out all the details in their head so to be ready when that special someone magically appears. But as friends settle down and prepare for the house and 2.5 kids, all I wonder is What is the rush? When did being single go out of style? I guess I’m behind on the times.

Bride and Groom's first dance

While I am not in the line for marriage and have only been a bride’s maid once – I am slowly becoming the ultimate guest – hitting up that open bar and free food in style – and saying Cheers to being single! So I thought with weddings shows practically on every channel this spring and so many relationship status updates on Facebook to keep up with, that it was time to share some of my wedding love.

Something Old

In a maroon and gold sparkly dress paired with a black knee length sweater duster, I stood in the back of a gaggle of girls that smelled like a flower store staring down at my clunky black sandal clad feet. With a scarlet red face from ultimate embarrassment that my parents sent my twelve-year-old single self to the front of the room and the inevitable pre-teen pimples, I begrudgingly waited for the traditional toss to be over. With hands at my sides and completely unprepared, I found out in a split second that the fragrant scent coming from the wedding scene wasn’t from the single-and-mingling females in front of me but actually the rose bouquet hitting me in the face. My babysitter had quiet the arm. (Yes babysitter).

The wedding tradition of throwing the boutique and garter go back centuries and the folk lore further. Those lucky to catch the iconic items are said to be the next to marry, but if this was true – I feel bad for the unfortunate souls of the ladies who would still be manless from my accidental catch.

While movies such as Wedding Crashers and 27 Dresses, portray women as the fighters for the title of next in line, from the majority of weddings I’ve attended the ladies are the last to move while the boys go crazy for the little leg tie.

Today I think the tradition is more of a sign of availability. In an across the room game of charades, my parents signed to me “take down names” when the eager guys awaited the flying garter at the wedding I attended last weekend.

Something New

Reuniting with old friends

While Pipi Middleton may have pulled off wearing white at the wedding of the year, I wouldn’t try this new trend at the next wedding you attend ladies.  About.com gives a great list of the general clothing dos and don’ts for wedding wear because those hot new trends may sounds like a great idea, but sometimes going with classic can be classy. Rule of thumb, if you wouldn’t want your grandmother to see you in your clothing choice, the bridal party’s grandmothers doesn’t want to see it either.

Something Borrowed

Even with two left feet, I leave it all out on the dance floor. Yet don’t expect me to be the first person to hit the floor especially if the music blaring out of the speakers is in the Top 50 from this year. Wedding audiences span the generations and so should the music. Borrow your parents IPOD for tunes that bring people together. When I was young I can remember my parents offering to pay me to dance with my cousin at a family wedding, but I stubbornly stayed glued to my seat. But now with a confident lead, even if I don’t know the person, dancing hand-in-hand to some classic swing or oldies-but-goodies is a great way to get the crowd moving and get to know one-another.

Something Blue

Weddings aren’t about being blue – they are a time of celebration. So if you are sad about being single, just lift your glass to the couple and know your time will come. But today is there day. Cheers!