Charlie Brown’s Christmas Tree

We cut down our very own Charlie Brown Christmas Tree this year. It was a little sad but we decorated and it ended up being quite adorable. This year I added a fire truck ornament to the snowshoes Forrest bought for me last year. (Hopefully we’ll be snowshoing soon in our future!)

 

Among the presents under the tree were a couple pairs of new snowboots and a copy of The Mountaineers Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills. Lookout 2010…here we come!

Originally posted on the blog: Evergreen Rambles.

Thanksgiving Snow

After a few days of food and family over the Thanksgiving weekend Forrest and I headed for the mountains. We headed out for the southern Washington Cascades. Our plan was to head south along the western side of Mt. Adams, perhaps exploring the northeastern side of the mountains if conditions allowed, then returning to the west side and popping out in Trout Lake.

After filling up in Packwood (by the way, I don’t recommend the rest stop just south of town on Highway 12…very very cold stainless steel toilet seats), we headed up towards Wallupt Lake (Johnson Creek Rd aka Rd 21). I was pretty aware this was an ambitious plan but I knew Dad had hunted up in that area in mid-November. Unfortunately, it had rained the day before and the snow was a slushy, slushy mess. We made it to about 3,200 feet before we manged to get stuck in about eight inches of snow. After digging out it was apparent that continuing up that road wasn’t going to be possible. We headed back down towards Randle and tried to go over Road 25…which just happened to be closed. We jumped over to Rd 23 and I wasn’t feeling particularly optimistic about our chances of making it up and over to the other side but making something of what had been a pretty dismal weekend was at the top of my priority list.

We manged to keep chugging up the hill, winching ourselves out once, and eventually we made it to the junction with the road to Takhlakh Lake. There were tracks leading up the road so we figured we could probably make it up to check it out. Once up at the lake, we met up with a group of friends who’d been camping at Takhlakh every Thanksgiving weekend for about ten years. They were very welcoming and we sat around the campfire drinking beer with them before crawling into the Jeep for a good night’s sleep.

The next morning we woke up and Mt. Adams made a lovely appearance over the lake. After some breakfast, we headed out and hoped to continue over the road to Trout Lake. We made it over Babyshoe Pass thanks to the trail broken by our new friends but once we got beyond their help the going was slow. It wasn’t long before we realized that making it over the next pass was not really a possibility so we turned around and headed for Cougar.

Our trip hadn’t turned out quite as well as we liked so we settled for some pretty darn good Chinese food in Camas with Forrest’s mom and headed home.

Originally posted on the blog: Evergreen Rambles.

Lolo Pass & Hood River

We headed north for a weekend to hang out with Jason & Anna up in Hood River (and also to play in the snow and drink some yummy beer!). We stopped briefly in Sandy and had what were some pretty disappointing doughnuts before heading up the area where Jason’s been building some mountain bike trails for IMBA.

We helped out with the trail building for about a half hour or so before setting off on our next adventure–crossing Lolo Pass. The snow was perfect for this adventure! I’d never been snow wheeling before and I had a blast–well, I think seeing the bear tracks was actually my favorite part but it all works. It was a pretty nice day, considering it was November, and Mt. Hood even came out of the clouds for a couple minutes! On our way out towards Hood River we made a brief detour up to Lost Lake it was just us and a couple of snowmobiles and lots and lots of snow.

Back down in Hood River we went to a British style pub that advertised having “hundreds of beers.” Most were beers we’d had in bottles and we settled on an IPA of some sort to share. Then we headed down the Full Sail to have a couple pints–the Vesuvius IPA and Wassail. Vesuvius got a big thumbs down but Wassail was a good as ever.

After that we met up with Jason and Anna at the condo they’re subletting until the purchase of their house is final. After a little bit of relaxation we attempted to go to Double Mountain Brewing for dinner but it was packed so we headed up the hill for some sushi! (Forrest was a good sport all around.) After a lovely dinner we headed back down to Double Mountain for pints (Forrest and I consumed a Fa la la la la and the IRA…alll yummmmmyyyyy).

The next day on our way home we checked out the salmon hatchery and sturgeon viewing area near Bonneville Dam. We also checked out the Oregon side of the Bonneville Dam visitors center. After that we headed to Eagle Creek to finally see all the waterfalls we’d heard about. I got more than a little distracted though by the salmon running upstream. I pretty much stood on the side of the creek in awe, completely oblivious to the smell of rotting fish.

After a bit, we finally decided to get hiking. We didn’t go too far, just the 2.1 miles up to Punchbowl Falls. It was beautiful though and definitely somewhere worth coming back to sometime.

On the way home we learned a couple of things: The North Face does not sell technical climbing equipment or shoes, the Woodburn Outlets have Christmas style traffic at 4pm on a Sunday in November, and that I can lead Forrest right to a place but if I even almost over shoot the destination it doesn’t count.

Originally posted on the blog: Evergreen Rambles.

Waves and Wine

Mom and Aunt Laura made it down to the Valley this weekend for a bit of relaxation. We met up in the morning and headed out to Newport. We had lunch at Bay 839. The tapas were great and it was really fun to hang out and just talk.

After lunch we headed north towards Lincoln City. We took a quick break in Lincoln City to walk on the beach and had wine not been calling my name I would probably have ended up in the water. We headed back inland towards Dallas and started making the rounds of the wineries.

Our first stop was Chateau Bianca. I was rather unimpressed by this stop. The wines were pretty good but the guy who poured the wines was such a boor. The next stop at Firesteed Winery was much more pleasing. I loved ALL of their wines especially the $60 pinot noir…

We made a couple of other stops: Orchard Heights Winery…which just ended up being kind of shabby. We also checked out Cubanisimo Vineyards which was pretty cute and the wines were okay but nothing super special. The afternoon had gone so fast we were all pretty surprised to find that it was getting close to five and most of the wineries would be closing soon. We did manage to get to Bryn Mawr Vineyards before they closed and it was my favorite stop of the day. They only use estate grown grapes…and they only have four acres! The wine was fabulous and I was enchanted by the small garage sized operation.

The day wound up with dinner at Big River in Corvallis with Forrest. My food was really awesome (chantrelle risotto) but Forrest’s pizza wasn’t too great. We did discover the Double Mountain IRA though so the dinner was definitely worth it.

Originally posted on the blog: Evergreen Rambles.

Wine-ing with Stacia

Stacia came up to visit from California and I did my best to show her a good time here in Oregon while still getting some work done. True to “The Twin’s” form this involved sampling alcohol from the moment she landed at PDX Monday afternoon. We sampled beer at Lucky Labrador Brewing Co. and caught up on life. Back at home we drank some wine (Airlie 7 and Cardwell Hill Cellars pinot gris) and it didn’t take us long to decide that wine tasting was out Tuesday activity.

Stacia insisted that we go to Airlie so she could taste all their wines (she had a minor obsession with 7…a perhaps justified one but an obsession nevertheless). We took the back way through Wren and tried to make a stop at Cardwell Hill but they weren’t open. I decided to stop and check out Fort Hoskins because I was tired of Forrest saying it was dumb and refusing to check it out (he was right). I ended up being glad we went back to Airlie because the owner was there–I think it’s always more fun to talk to the owner than someone they’ve hired to pour wine. Stacia bought two bottles of 7 and promised to beg Trader Joes in LA to stock their wine again.

After that we went to Emerson where I caved and bought a bottle of their estate pinot noir “Avelena.” From there we tried to visit Illahee which was closed and still kind of under construction, then tried to visit Cherry Hill, and one other winery (Dancing Oaks?) that seems to no longer be in operation (which we found out after we drove into someone’s driveway).

We were finally successful with Van Duzer Vinyards. I kind of liked the crazy woman who served us our wine while Stacia hated her. (The $10 tasting fee may have had something to do with that.) The winery itself was a little over the top but their pinot noir was fantastic and it was really fun to taste their port and dessert wine (firsts for both of us). Then we hit up Left Coast Cellars where I was underwhelmed with both the wine and the feel of the place–Stacia loved it.

We probably should have headed back to Philomath at that point but we were having too much fun so we headed up Eola Hills Road and found Bethel Heights Vineyard. They had wonderful wines, the woman who poured for us was awesome, and the tasting room was adorable. Again, we begged off on “just one more” so we wound up the day with a visit to Cristom Vineyards. It was sooo much fun, I love visiting wineries!

(Other wineries I’ve tried in the Valley include Lumos Wine, Pheasant Court Winery, Veridian Wines, and the previously mentioned Cardwell Hill.)

Wednesday we headed up Santiam Pass to do a little hike. It turned into a fun adventure on Forest Service roads with a little 1 mile hike the summit of Jumpoff Joe Mountain. Nothing strenuous (450 feet? elevation gain) but fun anyway. We stopped at Oregon Trail Brewery to buy Forrest a growler of the Wit–it just so happened to be 9/23 and I thought I’d bring him a treat. Forrest, Stacia, and I went put-put golfing after dinner and then came back home and drank some beer for a chill end of the day.

It was a quick visit but it was so so fun!!

Originally posted on the blog: Evergreen Rambles.

Rambling Oregon 4th

What a 4th Of July weekend!

We got in a bit of everything–Friday evening we rode up to Green Peter Lake where Tony’s friends had taken their boats for some 4th of July camping. We got in some time on the water–I got to go tubing!–and enjoyed their bonfire (Forrest was firewood gather-er extraordinaire. We also commandeered their canoe for a moonlit paddle. It was a gorgous summer evening of which I have a feeling this summer won’t have nearly enough.

On the morning of the 4th, Forrest talked me onto the Montessa for some more motorcycle training. After some frustration–for both of us–I finally was able to start it up and ride nice circles around the church basketball court. Tony showed up and we rode out to his grandparents house on the Siletz for a picnic. What a place!!! There’s a nice deep swimming hole in the river (complete with a zip cable), a deluxe picnic shelter, and the all-important outhouse.

We cruised on down to the coast mid-afternoon to join the crew down there. The temperature drop going down the hill into Newport was killer! There were some “fireworks alterations” fortunately with no altering injuries, followed by the professional fireworks show through the ocean fog. Not quite the Lakin beer, lawn darts, and fireworks extravaganza but fun nevertheless.

We spent a lazy Sunday mainly hanging around the trailer with Tom & Kay briefly venturing out for a visit to Yaquina Bay Lighthouse and a (windy) walk on the beach. By the time we got home we were both anxious for showers and tried to watch a movie–neither of us were too awake when it was over!

Tacoma this weekend for some baseball with the Lakin cousins and California in a week and a half!

Originally posted on the blog: Evergreen Rambles.

Redneck (and red back) Weekend

The last weekend of June brought GORGEOUS weather to the Willamette Valley. I started out my Saturday making some yummy strawberry freezer jam (as I was informed at the Farmers Market I almost missed my strawberry window). I’d forgotten how much stirring it takes to dissolve the sugar but all-in-all I had a pretty good time dancing and singing my way around the kitchen.

Despite needing to do some work around the house I threw on my bathing suit and headed to the backyard with my book. I wasn’t going to be outside all that long and figured I couldn’t get that burnt in an hour so I passed on the sunscreen. Loving the feeling of sun and getting involved in my book I didn’t realize how much sun I was getting. It wasn’t until I pulled on jeans for the ride out to Willamette Speedway for an evening of cars, gas fumes, and general white-trash I realized how burnt the backs of my legs, my butt, and my back were. I’d really gone and done it this time.

I had a much better time at the track this time around–less overwhelming. Forrest still gives me a hard time for not making friends out there but I can’t even fathom where to begin. I know it shouldn’t be hard but I always feel like everyone there is perpetually busy with something racing oriented (only makes sense right?) and that leaves racing talk as the only entry to conversation which I feel entirely unqualified for. It’s a problem I really need to figure out an answer to because between the track and motorcycle gatherings I look to be finding myself in it a lot.

Sunday I was a bit disappointed that Forrest wasn’t in for going hiking as we’d discussed earlier. I understand that he’s tired of being in a car after commuting all week but I’m on the other end of the spectrum and am tired of being in Corvallis/Philomath. Instead we spent the day up on the Hardwick’s property on the Luckimute. We spent some time building a trail to the beach– okay, Thomas, Ezra, and Forrest did most of the work…I tried to throw branches and brandish a shovel where it seemed appropriate–it’s frustrating sometimes not having the experience they do because I CAN be useful but chances are I’m not as efficient and not as strong so someone ends up sweeping in leaving me standing staring.

I did have a bast driving around the makeshift racetrack they’ve built for a couple junker cars. I agreed to do it in the sprit of trying something new but I’ll admit to a feeling of resignation as I pulled on the ski googles behind the wheel of the windshield-less S10. A few turns into it–after I at least understood that there was no powersteering and my brakes were suspect–I found myself having a really great time. I was pretty suprised and I think Forrest was almost shocked. We did some more work, did some swimming, and I actually rode a motorcycle. Funny how much I enjoyed it when I was TERRIFIED every second I was on the bike last fall (I maintain I was so scared then because motorcycles seemed so foreign.)

All in all it was a good weekend–even if it means I’ll spend the week with scratched up legs and slathering myself with aloe and lotion.

Originally posted on the blog: Evergreen Rambles.