Summer at Willamette Valley Vineyards

This past weekend, I attended the Wine Blogger’s Conference in Portland, Oregon. As part of a wine excursion, I visited Willamette Valley Vineyards just south of Salem and snapped this photo as the sun was just beginning to set.  For more about the wine conference, check out my wine blog: Oregon Winette.

Willamette Valley Vineyards

 

 

Hiking the Seclusive Siuslaw National Forest: Kentucky Falls

After two failed attempts to find Kentucky Falls, I finally made it to this beautiful forested hike deep in the Siuslaw National Forest. Featuring three tumbling waterfalls, the Kentucky Falls trail is a fantastic 4-mile half-day hike that follows a bubbling creek through the shade of lush trees. An out and back trail that starts with a steady downhill climb, the hikes showcases some of Oregon’s best cascading water. (One more Bucket List hike checked off!) Continue reading

Getting My Hippie On at the Oregon Country Fair

The 90s may be alive and well in Portland but two hours south in Eugene, Oregon the 60s are flourishing like a flower child. From tie dye, tattooed and topless to forest fairies and free-spirit skippers, the hippie in everyone comes crawling out of the closet for three days each summer at the Oregon Country Fair.

Oregon Country Fair enterance

In as bohemian of garb as I could gather (and feel comfortable in), I wandered through the looping forest paths. Lined with moss-cover huts filled with vendors, delicious local foods and colorful crafts, the fair grounds unwound through the lush green fields just 15 minutes east of Eugene in a fantasy splendor like Narnia’s version of the red carpet.

Dandelion people

To my right a half-cheetah with devil horns growled by and then to the left a couple of bloomed dandelions strolled hand-in-hand. Hardly able to wipe the grin from my face out of pure joy, I dizzily walked the festival and simply enjoyed getting lost and people watching. Traveling the same route several times without even realizing the similarities, I’d zigzagged through the crowds pulled by my curiosity to view art tucked in nooks and crannies or to stop to listen to a rousing concert by a vagabond musical tribe.

Band

A phantasmagoria of sights, smells and smiles – I have never experienced such a varied festival – or a more welcoming one. Each character at the Oregon Country Fair strutted their stuff like a true individual and showed no fear to standing out.

Combining music, the arts and a whole lot of free-spirit, the Oregon Country Fair celebrates acceptance with endless free hugs. Its a place where anyone – and I mean anyone – can get there hippy on.

Pulling everyone together – the 100% daily hippies, families and even a Hurley clad bro –  the Oregon Country Fair offers free hugs to difference.

Mixing it up and moving to Portland!

I’m back! Sorry everyone for the short hiatus from posting. I recently took a new job in Portland, Oregon and have been crazy busy with the transition. Last week I moved north to the big city into a studio apartment – man did I have to downsize my stuff! It’s amazing how much crud you can accumulate in a few years, but the purge felt good…real good!

After a few days as a new, very lost & lonely urbanite, I am finally settling in or I have at least found the grocery store, set up internet and a located good place for a run and a cold drink. Here is a photo from my first run through Washington Park. I think I’m going to like it here!

Washington Park, Mac Trail, Portland

With this big change, you can expect new posts and photos about my explorations around this northern region of Oregon and maybe even more from Washington as well. But no worries, I will still be hiking, running & traveling to show off this beautiful state that I call home!

Hiking along the Umpqua River

To celebrate National Trails Day and to enjoy the outdoors, I joined up with a bunch of women from my church in Eugene for a day of hiking along the Umpqua River in southern Oregon. Following a portion of the Rogue-Umpqua Scenic Byway, we stopped for three short hikes to beautiful cascading waterfalls on the north Umpqua. Each building in size and awe-power, the waterfalls filled the day with relaxing river sounds and a chance to get away and enjoy the fellowship of other women in the wild! Continue reading

Climbing into the Canopy in the McKenzie River Valley

Surrounded by a rainbow of green and the scent of fresh spring forest, I hung out with my feet dangling and wide grin on my face. Nothing could ruin my spirits – especially at 100 feet off the ground! Gazing over the tree tops in the HA Andrews’ Experimental Forest while attached to an old growth, I breathed in the light and clean McKenzie River Valley air and took in the moment of my first successful tree climb.

I had the joy this past week of taking a tree top adventure with Pacific Tree Climbing Institute. Based out of Blue River, Pacific Tree Climbing Institute is a registered Oregon outfitter that takes visitors on an amazing experience to explore the lush and alive forests of the Pacific Northwest. Using ropes and harnesses, the duo who owns the company, assist, train and teach guests of all ages and abilities how to climb into the forest canopy.

Using my legs to boosted myself upward and then gliding my hands up the rope, I slowly but surely moved my way up the tree. The further up in the tree we progressed, the more the beautiful little details of nature popped out: the bark with its rough surface and color like rich, dark chocolate and sweet smell, the hanging gray-green beard-like moss, and the rush of the nearby the river. In the tree top, the forest fully came alive in an animated orchestra of textures, smells and sights.

Only for a brief moment at the beginning was I afraid – where the heart quickly skipped a beat – but amazingly the higher I went the more confident and exciting the trek became. The first one to the top and the last down, I was a kid again as I hung about the limbs in that evergreen park.

Beyond just leading quick day climbs, Pacific Tree Climbing Institute also offers overnight trips in the tree canopy and educational programs. Find out more about Pacific Tree Climbing Institute and book an adventure that you won’t ever, ever forget!

Check out more photos from my climb:

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