Mount Tacoma | 2 Days in Mount Rainier National Park

Just looking through the photos for this post is making me want to go back pretty badly. The worst part? I know that we have a busy summer ahead of us and probably won’t make this happen. I feel I need to admit to myself that Mount Tacoma (Mt. Rainier) and I were just a summer fling. There could have been something great between us, but we both knew we were moving in different directions (okay, Mount Tacoma isn’t exactly leaving). I’m really, really glad we met, and our time together really was great.

mount tacoma/mount rainier

Like I’ve said, I really did love/thoroughly enjoy/do highly recommend all the other parts of the road trip that we took last August, including our Portland, Hood River, and Bend time and our Oregon Coast time. But the two days that we spent in Mt Rainier National Park easily win.

mount tacoma/mount rainier

We had the most gorgeous day for our “long” hike, as you’ll see in the photos. After eight days of campfire bans in state parks, the two nights/mornings with campfires seemed entirely too fun. Camping mid-week meant we even got to enjoy a ranger-led storytelling program, something that we haven’t done before. Everything about these two days was perfect within our little worlds.

mount tacoma/mount rainier

Our hike, the ever-popular and easily accessible Skyline Trail, might be on the beaten path, but was nevertheless lovely. So lovely, in fact, that it actually brought me to tears at one point. I just had to cry at how beautiful everything was and how happy I was in that moment. I know you’re assuming I’m a softy right now, and you’re maybe not entirely wrong, but this sort of thing doesn’t happen that often to me. Clear little streams with tiny wildflowers in the foreground and that towering, glacier-covered Mount Tacoma in the background. It’s hard not to feel blessed beyond measure when you’re placed in this setting. (I didn’t ask the twelve-year-olds who were forced to hike this with their parents, ha).

Ay, okay, I’ll stop my blabbing and leave you with our photos for a bit.

skyline trail, mount rainier national park, mount tacoma

skyline hike mt tacoma/mt rainier national park

skyline hike mt tacoma/mt rainier national park

skyline hike mt tacoma/mt rainier national park

skyline hike mt tacoma/mt rainier national park

As you’ll notice, I look like a gomer person who is actually hiking while we’re hiking. Have you read this article about beauty/travel yet? And yep, I guess I do post photos of myself relatively often, huh?

Mount Tacoma | 2 Days in Mount Rainier National Park

skyline hike mt tacoma mt rainier

skyline hike mt tacoma mt rainier

skyline hike mt tacoma mt rainier

skyline hike mt tacoma mt rainier

skyline hike mt tacoma mt rainier

skyline hike mt tacoma mt rainier

skyline hike mt tacoma mt rainier

skyline hike mt tacoma mt rainier

skyline hike mt tacoma mt rainier

skyline hike mt tacoma mt rainier

skyline hike mt tacoma mt rainier

After hike one, we spent some time stopping at overviews, visiting waterfalls, and reading at the campsite before prepping our last campsite meal for the trip.

waterfall near mt tacoma

campsite food mt tacoma mt rainier

Like I said, I know that for the foreseeable future there will be no more Mount Tacoma in my life. But golly, even the thought of being able to return later in life makes me giddy. (I do seriously hope that there are glaciers galore remaining). Until we meet again…

skyline hike mt tacoma mt rainier

 

 

Camping the Oregon Coast Part | Sand Dunes, Rolling Waves, and Lots of Seafood

oregon coast short hikeSometimes I’m still awed at how new places can still feel so wonderful and make me feel so small, particularly after I have researched the places I am visiting in depth during the planning stages. I love poring over photos; planning is fun, and neither of these take the wonder out of the actual travel for me. Ahh, vacation, I miss you.

I loved our time in Portland, Hood River, and Bend. But because of forest fires, voracious hunger interest in eating as many things in Portland as possible, and wanting to simply enjoy the company of Leah without rushing around, we didn’t hike too much, even though we spent plenty of time outdoors around campsites and picnic tables.

After leaving Bend and reaching the coast, our trip seemed to open up a little, allowing more time for hikes, morning beach coffee and even beach yoga! Yeah, I know, I’m totally that person you saw while on your vacation.

oregon covered bridge

Our first stop was near Florence, Oregon. We stayed in Jessie M Honeyman Memorial State Park. The campgrounds here are large, and while that means your campsite might not be completely isolated, we still really enjoyed it and found a nice site easily. Trees that large between your site and your neighbors’ tend to help.

campsite and tent

coffeemaker on campsite stove

Our first “real” hike of the trip was the delightful John Dellenbeck Dunes Trail. I still, for the life of me, cannot figure out how there was no one hiking this but us. Well, on the way back, we did see one other hiker, but the dunes were spectacular, and we had the ocean all to our selves at the midway point. For a girl who has never been to the world’s great deserts, I was enamored. If I had known what was in store, I might have packed some Moroccan tea, desserts, and had a real, proper desert picnic. 🙂

The trail starts out as pretty unassuming. You’re still on dunes from the get go, but the vegetation has grown in.

John dellenbeck trail

Then, you reach the expanse.

John Dellenback Dunes Trail Oregon

And it gets just a little more surreal.

John Dellenback Dunes Trail Oregon

John Dellenback Dunes Trail Oregon

John Dellenback Dunes Trail Oregon

John Dellenback Dunes Trail Oregon

sand dunes

plant in sand

man walking on sand dunes trail

Then you reach vegetation again.

vine tunnel on sand dunes

Here’s that ocean we had to ourselves.

John Dellenback Dunes Trail Oregon

At this point, we snacked, watched birds, and read for a bit before heading back. The afternoon winds had picked up, making it harder to see the tracks we’d left in the morning. Thankfully, the trail is marked with posts throughout, so our return trip didn’t end with getting lost in the dunes. As I said, for someone who hasn’t had much desert exposure, this hike felt otherworldly. Loved it!

From here, we hiked and camped our way up the coast, stopping at bakeries, craft breweries, and all roadside attractions. We hiked short stints at Cape Kiwanda, Cape Lookout State Park, and Cape Meares. We saw the Haystack Rock plus a couple other haystack rocks. We stopped for seafood lunches and made purchases at fish shops for campfire/campsite meals. Every lookout seemed to be a must-stop. And it was hard to put the camera away…

oregon coast

oregon coast

oregon coast camping trip

oregon coast camping trip

oregon coast camping trip

oregon coast camping trip

oregon coast camping trip

oregon coast camping trip

oregon coast camping trip

oregon coast camping trip

oregon coast camping trip

oregon coast camping trip

oregon coast camping trip

oregon coast camping trip

oregon coast camping trip

We all have hiking skirts, right?

oregon coast camping trip meals

oregon coast camping trip

oregon coast camping trip

oregon coast camping trip

oregon coast camping trip

bird with baby birds

oregon coast camping trip

oregon coast camping trip crabcakes

berries in pancakes

oregon coast camping trip buoy brewing

oregon coast camping trip mate at beach

After a few days of coastal living, we wandered back inland. We didn’t reach our last stop of the trip until just after sunset, so we were surprised in the morning to see this giant waiting for us.

mount rainier mount tacoma

But I’ll save this beauty for another post. As always, thanks for reading.

*******

Here’s a list of the places we visited along the way and would recommend to others for camping, eating, imbibing, or stocking up on interesting foodstuffs.

Camping

Restaurants/good places to buy fun food

Stops for Beer Pilgrims

Biscuits, Breeze, and Brews | A Trip to Portland, Hood River, and Bend

For months I was certain I was going to stop blogging. I was planning to just let it disappear into the web oblivion. My computer had crashed, and I thought I’d–at least temporarily–lost my motivation for blogging. I wasn’t really sure why I was doing it. Sure, I like to have a webspace to track my learning, but I could do that off-blog too.

Portland Guest House

Then a friend asked me about Sevilla and I was able to easily look up our photos from any computer. And then Jordan and I wondered what we were doing for his 30th birthday and we could track it down. And then someone asked me about my home state and I was easily able to share snippets from home by accessing the blog. Friend 1 convinced me I should renew, just in case I wasn’t 100% sure I wanted to stop blogging.

And somewhere along the line, although I am still computerless, I decided while I like sharing about excursions but feel a bit sheepish about doing so, I do like having an accessible digital travel and learning journal 🙂

So I’m back. And sharing about our trips and excursions from last year. The good news? We’ve been quite the homebodies in the last six months because we’ve been quite busy, so it won’t take me too long to catch up.

——————-

Last August, the mister and I rented a car and took ten days off to explore the Pacific Northwest of the US. He’s been to Seattle and Olympic National Park before, and obviously we’ve seen a bit of BC, but otherwise, neither of us had really had a chance to explore this area of the continent before. We took off to Portland, met up with our pal Leah (you might be able to see a bit of family resemblance, too), and then explored Columbia River Gorge, Hood River, and Bend together.

Our time in Portland was more limited than we wanted it to be, but we also wanted to save as much money as possible by camping as much as possible. That means we squeezed as much eating and brewery visiting into 36 hours as possible. For the record, the visit to Pok Pok did convince us to buy the cookbook (okay, I used store credit…) upon return.

Portland didn’t disappoint. It was as tasty, as hilarious, as hipster as we had expected. The brews as varied and delightful. The bookstore as great as I’d hoped. The coffeeshops were as pretentious (but still as good) as we’d hoped. I couldn’t hold the giggles in!

portland food truck court
DSC_0444

waffles portland

powells books portland

powells books portland

heart coffee portland

biscuits and gravy portland

pearl bakery portland

After getting our Portlandia on, we headed to the gorge, saw Oregon’s most well-known waterfall, and kept on moving to Hood River. We camped just north of town across that wee bit scary bridge in Hood River. We hit up Pfriem and Double Mountain breweries in the afternoon, took out our bread and charcuterie at the campground and had a mini feast while checking out the scenery.

multnomah falls

mulnomah falls oregon

pfriem brewery

columbia river gorge

pfriem

camping hood river

Before heading to Bend, we stopped a lavender farm (about a month too late for too much purple) for a picnic. The farm was surrounded by orchards as well, so we stopped by one randomly to stock up on some fruit for the road.

mt hood lavender

picnic oregon

mt hood lavender farm

lavender

mt hood lavender

DSC_0510

If you remember all the way back to August, you might remember that the news was full of information regarding forest fires. Our intentions were to hike a few lovely hikes in Bend and then head to the Crater Lake Area. Sadly, the hikes near Bend weren’t exactly easy breathing nor complete with their normally beautiful views. The most convenient entrance into Crater Lake National Park was also closed. Still, we made the best of our time, taking a bit of time for hanging around the campfire pits that we weren’t allowed to use due to the burn ban, visiting Deschutes Brewery, and hiking some easy hikes. And since I’m like referring back to these posts for birthday info, it’s worth noting that I turned 30 years old in Bend 🙂

bend oregon camping

bend oregon hike

bend oregon hike

bend oregon hike

bend oregon rapids

bend oregon

bend oregon lava

bend oregon lava

Sadly this is where we had to part ways with Leah. We were so thankful and grateful that she was able to take the time and meet us for this leg of the trip. Being with these two is always full of laughs and fun 🙂

bend oregon lava

From Bend, Mr. and I headed west, hitting the coast, but I’m most certainly not going to bog you down with all the photos in one post. Happy to be back. Hope it’s for a while 🙂