Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Busted Opal Creek - Girls Weekend

We had been excited about a girls' camping weekend to Opal Creek for weeks!  Miru and I left early last Friday with a car full of wood, food, booze, and cheer...until we reached the first full campsite.  Certainly one full campsite was not going to stop us.  Then we reached the second full campsite.  By the time we arrived at the third full campsite my cheer turned to panic, and when we began to franticly look through the 300 campsites at Detroit Lake on our phones and saw that ALL were reserved, my panic turned to deep disappointment.  Obviously we underestimated Oregonians fervor for camping!

Grasping at straws and trying to think of ANYWHERE we could camp I thought of our family friend who owns waterfront property on the Willamette in the French Prairie near Butteville, OR (only 40+/- minutes from Portland).  I called her and prepared myself to find out that it was also unavailable.  Somehow the property was free!

We rushed over there and once we unloaded and I had my first beer - the cheer returned and we ended up having a fantastic time.  Not only did we have the whole property to ourselves (minus a quiet and removed man who lived in a trailer on the property and whom we saw 3 times for a total of 3 minutes the whole weekend), but there was a boat house attached to a large dock, a rather nice outhouse, and a fire pit circled with halved logs for benches.  We were glamping for sure!  We ate great food, we jumped off the dock and swam, we built big hot fires, we played cards against humanity, we skinny dipped, we slept under the stars on the roof of the boat house.

For being a bust of an Opal Creek trip, last weekend was pretty great! Thanks to Miru, Diane, and Molly for being such good sports and rolling with the punches.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Forlorn Lakes, Gifford Pinchot National Forest

My good friend Kelsey invited me to join some of her friends on a camping trip to Forlorn Lakes.  She and her husband Adam had been before and talked about how beautiful it was, but this was my first time.  And It was indeed a beautiful setting. I drove up by myself in my trusty little Kia Rio, praying I wouldn't get a flat tire on the rocky roads (I should have had more faith - she is a champ and I'm grateful to have her!  Yes - my car is a girl.)
I met up with the crew, set up camp once we chose our site, and got to work on relaxing.  In the evening we had fantastic conversations around the campfire that spanned from politics, to women's issues, to celebrities/movies, to war, to our jobs, to disease...you name it!  It was a much needed connection for me and I'm glad these people were willing and wanting to engage in intellectual conversations.  
Thanks y'all for a fun camping trip!  Don't be strangers.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Lost Lake and Found Treasures

A couple weeks ago I joined my friends on a 2-night camping trip to Lost Lake near Mt. Hood.  The weather ran the gambit from sunny and warm, to thick fog, to rather heavy rain.  I guess that's Oregon for you.  

The day we arrived was beautiful.  We set up camp and Brian and I walked down to the lake to catch one of the most amazing sunsets I've ever seen (likely due to the many forest fires raging in Oregon and Washington).  

The next morning we woke up to heavy fog which lingered over the lake and opaquely obscured the tops of the trees.  We hiked around the lake and at one nondescript spot, Brian was drawn to the bank of a creek.  Somehow, and we still don't quite understand how, Brian spotted a small tupperware covered with camouflaged duct tape.  He opened it and inside was a little notebook, a pen, a plastic mustache that made a snooty laugh when you pushed the button, and a stamp with blue ink.  The notebook said that it was a replacement for the original one that had been filled up with notes from people who had happened upon the same box - since 2004.  

So naturally we all signed the book, stamped ourselves (including the little babe with us - who, by the way, was a super trooper and such a joy to camp with), took some time to marvel at the randomness of the occurrence, documented with photos and went on with our day.

I've been so fortunate to be able to camp with friends this summer...and we're only half-way through it!  To Amanda, Brian, Nate, and Baby Rye - it was a blast!  Let's do it again soon.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

2014 Portland Highland Games

Truth be told, Danny has been in my family's lives for several years now (and for many more to come - the lucky fellow is marrying my beautiful sister!) and I have not once seen him perform at the Portland Highland Games.  Travesty!  

I've seen him perform plenty of other times, but this event is truly something to behold.  Men in skirts...throwing HUGE tree trunks (cabers).  Women and girls gracefully dancing to an arguably inelegant form of music.  Stands selling merchandise like cloaks and swords.  It.was.awesome!  It also happened to occur on an extremely hot day which seemed to make it all the more magical. 

With our beers in hand we cheered on Danny and his band.  Next month they are off to the Highland Games in Scotland - we wish them the best and will be eating haggas and drinking scotch in their honor.  Good luck Portland Metro Pipe Band!  You killed it at the Portland Highland Games, now bring home the gold from Scotland...or whatever it is you get when you win best bagpipe band!  A flock of sheep?

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Early Morning Hot Air Balloon Fun

About a month ago I joined my friend and business partner, Erin and her family for a fun photo session.  This one required a very early morning rise (something they are much more accustomed to than I am) and a trip to Tigard, OR for a hot air balloon extravaganza!  Quintin, having grown up thus far with a mother, or a father, or an auntie pointing a camera at his face is quite accustomed to being photographed.  Catch him in the right mood and he is the perfect little model (those sparkling blue eyes and big lips...I mean c'mon!)  And fortunately the thrill of all the colorful balloons (or bah-oons, as Quintin calls them) put him in the best mood!

With great excitement I've watched Erin and her husband Ken grow their family; first with a pup, Sophie - and then with their incredibly sweet and rambunctious son, Quintin.  Over the years I have had the fortunate opportunity to closely experience this families' ups and downs and am impressed by the grace with which they handle it all.  And  I am especially proud to be an honorary auntie to Quintin - a little boy who lights everyone around him and never ceases to amaze with his capacity for true, genuine, unadulterated love.  I continue to learn from them daily.