Tag Archives: Driving

A Scotland Adventure – Part 5, The Old Man of Storr on the Isle of Skye

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Hello, and welcome back to your annual story time of Ben and Sarah’s international adventures! Keeping with the tradition of the last few years, Sarah and I visited with her family, this year going back to Scotland.

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Saturday, 28-Dec-2019

 

On our first full day in Skye we went searching for The Old Man of Storr.

The old man is old – I don’t know how old rock pillars are, but they’re probably extremely old, right?  Millions of years?  Yeah, that seems right… and Wikipedia confirms it – something around 2.8 billion years old.  Which kind of seems too old to me… but then again, I’m not a geologist, so I don’t really know.

The Old Man of Storr is old, let’s just roll with that.

The Old Man of Storr is also rainy, we learned.

 

As all piled out of the van at the parking lot, and immediately grabbed all the rain gear we could find before heading into the mist and rain.

As we climbed higher, the rain kept getting worse – to the point that Bill and Henry had to turn around to protect their camera equipment.  Sarah, Leah, Greta and I powered onward and upward though, continuing on as the rain turned from “rain” to “Bleak”, and then went through “Dreak” and even into “Lashing” at one point.  It was impressive… but thanks to the waterproof phone, I was able to get some pretty excellent pictures!

We sort of saw the Storr, but only barely.  Still, absolutely worth the adventure, in my book.

 

After turning around and coming back to the warm van, we moseyed onward toward Kilt Rock for a quick peak at the waterfalls, before heading back into town to dry off and warm up!

 

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!

 

June 10th, 2018. Going back into the Columbia River Gorge

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Saturday, 10-June-2018

 

It’s been a while since we’ve been in the Gorge.  I mean, technically we’ve been there a lot, since the Thousand Acres dog park is just barely within the limits, but I’m not counting that right now because I don’t want to.

ANYWAYS.

We drove out to the Gorge!

It wasn’t a perfectly sunny day, but I’m being honest when I say that the rain clouds actually added to the beauty of the drive.  Sunny is all well and good, but the dappled sunlight and rolling clouds really made the drive seem… epic?  Adventurous?  Rough and tumble?  I’m not sure which words to use, but suffice to say that it was really pretty.

 

Our goal way to check out Vista House, via the Portland Women’s Forum view point.  We hadn’t originally planned on seeing the View Point, but that’s part of a fun scenic drive, right?  Stopping randomly to see the sights?  It was excellent, and a really great view of both the gorge and Vista House itself.  And Ollie got to stand on a water fountain.  So… there’s that, which is pretty fun.

Vista House itself was not quite what I expected, but it still exceeded expectations anyways.  For one reason or another, I was expecting an actual House, sort of like an Inn?  Or maybe a Frank Lloyd Wright building?  Instead, it mostly reminded me of a tomb.  Which isn’t really the goal, I would assume, but hey.  It is what it is, and this was a small marble building, designed as a circle with a vaulted ceiling.  And I was just in Rome, where there’s a bajillion of those all dedicated to dead people.  So.  You know.  Expectations.

So the adventure was excellent.  Simple, straight forward, and enjoyable.  Exactly what we needed on a rainy Sunday.