Category Archives: Camping

Climbing at Vantage, with Daniel!

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Thursday, 11-Oct-2018 through Monday, 15-Oct-2018

 

Quotes from the weekend (overheard from others):

“well, we’ve got straight vodka!”

  • A group climbing, debating what they have to eat/drink at the cliff.

“Yeah, I know how to belay… You just pull it through right?”

  • A person nearby, who we later learned hadn’t ever been outside before

“Ohh it’ll be fine! What’s the worst that can happen?”

  • The worst thing you can ever hear. We kept an eye on them…

 

Daniel came out to visit! Yay Daniel!

It’d been a while since we’d hosted guests, so we were pretty excited for this chance to show off, adventure, and be a bit more sociable.  Our plans were pretty simple – meet Daniel at the airport, cook a fancy dinner, climb in Washington, and then explore Portland.  Those can be the best plans, honestly… simple, straightforward, and clean.

So we stuck with the plans!

 

Thursday

Picked up Daniel, ate stuffed acorn squash.  It was glorious. Tried to scare him with an animatronic Santa, but unfortunately that didn’t quite work… I think he expected something, and so wasn’t surprised when he found out what that something was. Went to bed early, so that we’d be ready for the weekend of adventure coming up.

 

Friday

Packed up the car, drove to Vantage. It was a surprisingly long drive… though the technical duration of the drive was exactly what we’d expected, it somehow seemed to take way longer… It wasn’t a bad drive, by far, but it definitely wasn’t a super fun one. I think it was tough because we were all so excited, honestly.

Once we arrived, we did a quick unpacking and then headed in to climb a bit, specifically at the feathers, where Sarah got in her first post-injury rock climb! We didn’t do a ton of climbing, thanks to the sun setting on us, but what we did get to was quite excellent – I actually ended up working a 5.10 by accident! I didn’t quite finish it on lead, but then Sarah came in and wrapped up her post-recovery climbing by crushing it – on top rope, since she wasn’t quite cleared for taking falls yet, but still. No issue, clean movements… she cruised up the route that had just thrown me off.

 

After climbing, we headed back to camp to finish setting up. Once done, we cooked (and then ate, of course) a delicious steak and zucchini dinner, around a fire, with whiskey!  It was glorious!

 

Saturday

Had a relaxed morning, ate breakfast, and hiked out to the Sunshine wall once it was warm enough out.  Before we left though, Sarah did a bit of exploring and scavenging, and found us a rather impressive amount of firewood for the evening… we’d brought some of our own, but you know how it is. There’s never enough firewood, and having that little bit extra can be the difference between a pleasant evening, and going to bed before the conversation gets really good. Once it was warm enough though, we headed to the Sunshine wall to get in some serious climbing.

Climbing was excellent – it was somehow almost too warm, at times, and beautifully sunny. There were a lot of people around, but thankfully we were able to work around most of them and get in a quite legitimate number of routes. See below for specifics:

  • Ride ’em cowboy
  • short trad line
  • cool arrete
  • other climb
  • trad version of other climb
  • boshido

Honestly, we should have brought more water though. As the day went on, we snacked and sipped, but the sipping ended far before the snacking did… and thanks to that bright sun (hence: “sunshine wall”) we were quite dehydrated by the afternoon. Instead of trying to push for more routes, we took the better part of valor and headed back to camp for some well-earned rest.

At camp, we enjoyed the rest of the evening – chopping firewood, cooking dinner, stargazing, all of those good things.

 

Sunday

Vantage is pretty awesome and all, but there’s a lot to do in Portland too. As such, we packed up fairly early and headed out, after grabbing a few small branches of sage to bring home.

On the way we did stop for a quick snack in The Dalles, but aside from that it was pretty much a straight burn home… quicker driving this time, but it’s still an impressively long drive. That drive makes me miss the comparatively short ride out the North Conway.

At home, we didn’t stay for long. We did a quick unpack, set Ollie up with a nice place to relax and unwind from the drive, and headed back out for a bit of adventure!

We:

Ate Apple Cider Donuts!

Went to the Pendleton store!

Walked around downtown a bit!

Ate conveyor belt sushi!

After sushi was done, we were all pretty well worn down… but Daniel was visiting! And I wasn’t going to give up on bro-time just yet! We dropped Sarah off at the house, since she was crashing pretty hard, and went out on the town, finally settling into a small basement bar called “The Caves”.

Spooky, right?

Well, it wasn’t that spooky. In fact, it was really cool – I learned about yellow wine, and orange wine, and we got to sit in a tiny little alcove beside the bar. It was lovely, and honestly a perfect bro-down time. Which is a little strange, honestly. I guess Daniel’s finally corrupted me into accepting that sometimes it’s acceptable to just sit down, relax, and sip a fancy wine.

It’s very acceptable, as a note. An extremely good cap to an excellent visit full of excellent adventures!

 

Backpacking out to Green Lakes!

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Saturday and Sunday, 22 & 23-Sept-2018

 

BACKPACKING!

 

We went backpacking again!

 

I’m really excited about how much we’ve been camping recently – we’re taking our gear out, we’re getting mud on our boots, and we’re getting stronger and stronger each time.

 

This weekend was our annual backpacking trip to the Green Lakes Wilderness, nestled in the basin between South Sister and Broken Top. It wasn’t planned to be an annual trip the first time we went on it… but that was one of the fun things that we realized as we were walking in on Saturday – we’ve backpacked into this area every year for the last three years, every time with a different level of success.

The first year? Pouring rain, hiked out the next day in soaked gear.

Second year? Summitted Broken Top.

 

This year? Had a beautiful day, perfect weather, and amazing skies.

I mean, seriously… We couldn’t have asked for better weather. It was cool, crisp, clear and beautiful. It was that perfect temperature where you can walk with a pack for hours, but barely sweat at all. It did mean we had to put on jackets when we stopped for rests and snacks… But hey. Small price to pay, right?

We drove out on Saturday. We could have driven out Friday night… But hey. We worked all week. We deserve an evening to relax, right? Right. So we took one, packed at our own pace, and had a good dinner to prepare ourselves for the adventure to come.

Saturday morning, we tossed the gear in the Mustang and drove out, southbound toward Sisters. It’s a long drive though, so we clearly needed snacks, which meant Starbucks. Side note: sausage egg and cheese sandwiches are MIA all over Oregon. Dono why, but we had the chicken sausage and bacon ones instead, which were amazing and so much better. Especially when paired with Pumpkin Spice Lattes. Because I’m a college girl who loves her some fall spice. Other side note: we nearly got eaten by the lady behind us in line. No joke. She kept walking closer and closer behind us while we’re all in line, finally ending within a foot of Sarah before asking, “are you in line?”. Ma’am. No. We’ve just been standing here, walking forward as people are served, for no reason. Ugh.

Anyways it was tasty and then we drove and parked and started hiking ohh my god why did I write so much about Starbucks?

The hike started well – a pretty packed parking place, but we were presently plodding, packs perched politely upon our backs. There were a fair number of people on the trail, even at the beginning, but that was honestly to be expected – it’s a super popular place, so we weren’t surprised by the crowds.

The people thinned out as we moseyed onward, and we really started to enjoy the solitude of each other’s company… And the crashing of Ollie running through the underbrush, of course. In all honesty, we did really well on the trail to Green Lakes! We walked quickly, talked the whole way, and had a really great time.

We did run into some… Adventure… once we got to Green Lakes itself though.

See, green lakes is popular. And we’d seen a lot of folks hiking in with packs. And, for one reason or another, the first route that we took through the campground was the single combination of paths that took us past exactly zero campgrounds. And then, when we realized that, we retraced our steps instead of continuing on toward the camp site 50 yards away. And then, once we retraced, we walked the long way around toward the far end of the campground.

No idea why we did that. Don’t know who chose those routes. No idea. All I do know was that our 4mile day turned into an 8mile day, and that I got cranky enough for Sarah to literally tell me to “shut up, stop complaining, and eat a Snickers”.

It helped. It helped so much.

And then, at the far end of the Wilderness Area, at the edge of the world, we found the ideal campsite.

I can’t even begin to describe how happy we were when we saw the site marker, and realized that it was open for us. This place was covered by huge trees, had a nice little log to sit on and make dinner, and overlooked the meadow that drained into the lake nearby. There was a small steam gurgling nearby, and the trail was far off to the side. Like I said – ideal.

After we put down our bags and set up the tent, we kept walking a bit, curious as to what was down the path. We went a ways down, and ended up meeting a pair of backpackers who were also looking for a spot… they’d checked almost all the other ones, and were on their way out of the wilderness area planning on looking for a back-country spot outside of the camping restriction zone.

Being the good samaritans we are, we offered to share our site, and ended up having camping buddies for the evening!

They were friends from San Francisco and New York City, if I remember correctly, exploring Oregon for the week. They were fine – we honestly didn’t really chat that much; we had dinner together, but then sort of went back to our own sections of the campsite to relax for the evening.

Our evening activities? Stargazing, and celebrating the equinox! Summer had passed, and Fall was in; we burned some sage, talked about how far we’d come so far this year, and slept in the beautifully crisp night.

———–

The next morning we got up slowly – our campmates were up and gone by the time we started packing up, heading to summit South Sister, I believe.

We didn’t have remotely such lofty goals. Instead, we relaxed. We made some breakfast and a lot of coffee, and enjoyed the quiet as the day warmed up. I had brought a book, but it honestly took me a while to get into the swing of it… instead I just dozed and wandered a little, while Sarah explored the marsh by our campsite looking for an ideal place to paint.

Once she found it, I joined her and we lazed in the sun, her painting and me reading. It was a very good day.

But unfortunately home was calling. Not loudly, mind you, but it was calling. After a while we packed up camp, and started the hike back out.

Thankfully, hiking out always seems to go quicker than hiking in, and there honestly isn’t really much to report from the walk back. It was lovely, slightly quicker thanks to us going direct instead of circuitously, but extremely lovely. Good weather, happy excited Ollie running next to us, clear skies… Yes. It was absolutely a good day.

Camping at Veda Lake 02 & 03 September, 2018

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Camping at Veda Lake 02 & 03 September, 2018

Sunday, 02-Sept-2018 through Monday, 03-Sept-2018

 

It’s labor day weekend, and we’re not planning on laboring particularly hard.  In fact, our goal is to basically labor not at all.  The car’s going to do the bulk of the laboring.
Specifically, we’re going backpacking!  Sarah’s first post-surgery backpacking trip!  Woo!
It’s a trial run, though, not a full-on trip.  More of a “see how our legs feel, and make sure all the gear still works” kind of trip, instead of a “let’s work ourselves and be exhausted by the end of it” sort of trip.
With that in mind, Sarah was careful about which hike to pick… and found what was absolutely the perfect destination for us: a place called Veda Lake.  It’s a small lake South of Mt. Hood, about a mile away from the trailhead.  The challenge, though, is getting to the trailhead itself – it’s 30min down an extremely rough road – rough enough that the trip reports all warned us that we’d need a tough vehicle and even tougher nerves to make it up.
Sunday
Thankfully, we’re tough cookies, and the Subaru is just as tough a car as we are cookies.  We made it up without any trouble, and found a beautifully empty parking lot waiting for us.  There were cars there, true, but not nearly as many as we’d seen on the drive in – and since it was labor day that was a rather major blessing for us.
The hike in?  It went quickly and easily.
I mean, come on.  It was barely over a mile – we’re out of shape, but thankfully not that far out of shape.  I’ve been working out a fair bit, and Sarah’s been doing a ton of PT, so the hike was pretty clean for us.  The only challenges arose from my backpack – this was the first time I’d taken it out for a real backpacking trip, and it’s definitely a bit different than the one I’ve gotten used to.  I… hesitate to admit to the sheer number of curses I uttered as I was packing it and trying to get it comfortable, but that’s how it goes with a new pack, right?
We walked in, past a few groups walking out, and even passing one going in!  Don’t let that fool you though, the only reason we were able to pass them was because they were a huge team – three humans, four dogs, and one kayak.  Not one of the light ones either… one of those heavy wal-mart kayaks.  They… they were making some life decisions that day.
Anyways, we ended up being thankful for that Kayak, because it slowed the other team down long enough for Sarah, Ollie and I to get one of the best campsites on the lake.  It wasn’t right on the water, but it had a nice fallen tree to eat dinner by, and enough room for us to set up the tent on perfectly level ground beautifully devoid of any roots or rocks.  It was lovely, and we had camp set up quickly enough that we were able to spend some time exploring the lake and playing around in the water before dinner.
One strange thing we found?  Spears.  As in, wooden sticks that had been sharpened, and stabbed into a dead tree in our campsite.  Not in a creepy way, though.  I know that description sounds “children of the forest hunting for your face-meat”, but it was more “some young kids sharpened sticks and threw them at a tree because it’s fun” sort of thing.  So clearly Sarah and I had a spear-throwing competition in the middle of the woods.  I can’t remember who won, but I can promise that Sarah and I both enjoyed ourselves thoroughly.
Dinner?  Simple stuff this time – just mountain house freeze-dried meals and some whiskey and tea.  It was a practice run, remember, so we wanted to go light and simple.  No back country cooking cuisine this time, I’m afraid.  But hey – that’s fine.  We enjoyed ourselves immensely!  Just being outside, watching the sun set and then watching the stars come out… it was beautiful, and an amazing chance to enjoy spending time with each other.
Evening
Random challenge that I didn’t expect to run into?  Getting Ollie to come to bed.  When we camp, Ollie usually runs right into the tent… but for some reason she was on full sentry-duty this time, insistent on guarding the campsite all evening.  She was good, and came when we called her, but she wasn’t super happy about it.  She’d even made a little nest for herself under one of the trees nearby, so that she could overlook the camp and keep watch… cute!
Monday
Monday dawned bright and early – it was perfect, and we were even able to wake up quietly and pleasantly, since Ollie was nicely tired from the day before and wasn’t quite into full spaz mode just yet.  Getting to bed early definitely helped too; we were up and mobile early, having breakfast and enjoying seeing the sun rising over the mountains around us.
Quick side note?  Starbucks instant lattes are delicious… when they’re fresh.  Turns out, they do go bad.  Not like “make you sick” bad, but… definitely less than optimal.
We played around in the lake a little bit, but honestly… it was cold, yo.  Veda Lake is in a depression, with pretty steep hills all around it, so we didn’t get any direct sunlight until we had already packed up and were heading out, sometime around 9:30 or 10:00.
We’d planned on staying most of the day; swimming and catching crawfish and enjoying the solitude of the lake, but that didn’t quite work… so instead we aimed to head back into town early and enjoy the chance to rest, relax, and make a fancy dinner.
Packing went well, hiking went well… the walk out was honestly really pleasant.  The sun had already risen, so it was that perfect kind of weather where it’s warm, but not hot quite yet.  Cool enough that we enjoyed the walking, but not so cold that we wanted to put jackets on.
Ollie, of course, loved the whole event – sprinting forward and backwards, jumping over logs, and sending out the kind of happy energy that makes you wish that you could just run screaming through the woods for hours at a time.  You know, like I did when I was younger and somehow even less sane than I currently am?  Yeah, just like that.
It was a good trip.
**Last side note: Ollie doesn’t like sitting up front at first.  She’s always cranky about coming up, instead of just hanging out in the back seat.  But the problem is that she gets bored in the back seat, and barks at everything that looks interesting as we drive.  Once we drag her into the front seat, she remembers how fun it is to stick your head out the window!**