Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Costal Daycation

A few weeks ago we took a spur of the moment daycation to the coast. We have now officially driven the entire Oregon coast and stopped in nearly every (maybe every) town along the way. We love the coast and had such an awesome day just doing whatever we felt like doing. I love a day with no plans. We were prepared for serious hiking, but again we were lazy and ended up just doing some mini hikes and a nice long walk along the beach in Seaside.We had never been to Seaside or Astoria so we spent some time in both locations. I really enjoyed Seaside. Once we got into Astoria we decided to cross the giant bridge over the Columbia to Washington so we could visit "Cape Disappointment." Again, I am not a lover of things over water, so this was a slightly stressful 4 1/2 miles for me. But the view was amazing so I tried to enjoy myself. We stopped at one of the best lighthouses I have seen on the coast. It was beautiful. It was awesome to be able to look out to one side and see the ocean, and out to the other side see the Columbia with the beautiful coastal mountains. Our final stop for the day was at the cleverly named Astoria Column.We climbed the bajillion stairs up to that top platform. The view was incredible.
Here you can see the awesome bridge we took across the Columbia. Those three distinct ridges you can see in the distance to the left in the picture above is our next big hike. I believe it is called Saddle Mountain and I am already afraid. We have found that the coastal mountains are a bit steep. Rather reminiscent of the Wasatch Front...{shudder}It was a beautiful day and so nice to get out and about after a lot of rain. Portland is making me frustrated this summer.

Luckily there is always something to do or see, so we manage to keep busy and ignore the crappy weather.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Summer Time

We have always wanted to play tennis at the Rose Gardens, so a few weekends ago when the sun was out we headed up to try and snag a court. We took a stroll through the gardens first and were amazed at the flowers. It may have been the best we have ever seen it.
The roses we in full bloom.
After our little walk we found a court and had a fun time remembering how to play tennis after a long time off. We had a pretty shaky start, but loved playing none the less. Plus the courts were beautiful. We only lasted about an hour before it was so hot we gave up and headed for the pool.
The 4th of July is one of my favorite Holidays. It is always hard for me to be away from my family on this day. Growing up I loved going to my annual neighborhood breakfast followed by swimming and movies and fireworks. It was always my favorite day as a kid.
So, in hopes to make it awesome, we spent the 4th of July day in the Gorge. We had lofty plans of big hiking but ended up just doing a mini hike that proved to be incredibly worth it. We drove most of the way which was okay by me. The view from the top on a clear day will show you all 5 of the major volcanoes in the area. It was pretty awesome.

Mt. Hood (below), Mt. Baker (above)

Mt. St Helens, Mt. Rainer, Mt. Adams
As always, the pictures just do not do the scene justice.
We also did our favorite mini hike, Onionta Falls. If you live around here you really have to do it. It is a short little hike where you hike up a river to get to the waterfall. But you have to swim part of it. It was a perfect hike for a sunny holiday.
For evening fun we drove to Lake Oswego for fireworks with the Smiths and the Cornings. It was a beautiful night and the park we were at was only moderately crowded and the fireworks were awesome. It was perfect.
We had a wonderful 4th of July in the Sunshine.
Tyler wore his shirt featuring the Canadian flag, so to counteract his lack of patriotism I painted my nails.

Hope you all had a wonderful holiday.

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Great Kayaking Adventure

One of the highlights of our Whistler trip was when we rented a double kayak and cruised down the River of Golden Dreams. It was {of course} just shockingly beautiful. We started out on the most stunning lake. It was glassy smooth and we were the only people out. It was amazing. We decided to save some money and be our own tour guides. We felt our kayak experience would be sufficient to float down a river without paying $100 extra for someone to do it with us. The winding river proved to be a little difficult to maneuver, but we got the hang of it. There were thousands of lily pads with beautiful yellow flowers blooming throughout a whole section of the river. I had never seen anything like it. Again, so so beautiful. Things began to get a little precarious at this point, when the river narrowed substantially. We spent a large amount of our time with Tyler yelling "Duck!" and I would proceed to lie flat down on the kayak as we crashed from bank to bank into the bushes. I don't know if we have ever laughed so hard before. It must have been quite a sight. Then just when we thought we were getting it together came the only "rapids" of the whole river {if they even qualify as that}. We would have been fine were it not for 1) the gigantic tree that had grown into the river and 2) if one of us {that will go nameless...ahem...Tyler} could remember right from left. Lets just say things didn't go as planned and we paddled ourselves right into that tree and got wedged between the bank and the tree. I knew at that point we were done for. Tyler still believed and did a decent job of getting us untangled. I almost thought we were going to get out unscathed, but just as we freed ourselves we paddled just a little to hard and dipped one little inch of our kayak under the water and BAM. We flipped. Those babies are pretty hard to flip on your own, but when they go they go fast. As we were whisked down the river we both somehow managed to stay by each other and hold on to our paddles. I am still not sure how we kept the paddles. It was definitely not a conscious thing. Anyway, long story short, the kayak finally got stuck in some wood and trees in the middle of the river and Ty was able to get out of the water. I was in a slightly more precarious position. I was holding on to dear life {meaning the kayak} with my feet behind me down river. Finally we both managed to drag ourselves out of the water. Then the real challenge of getting our kayak out and dumped began.Obviously we are brutally strong...err...Okay actually we think we must have had a serious adrenaline rush because that thing weighed A TON. Water is heavy friends. In case you didn't know. But finally after much heaving and hoing we managed to drag the thing out and dump the water. Honestly, I was incredibly impressed that we got it out. As were the staff that owned the kayaks. So a little while later with some very wet clothes and slightly damaged pride we were able to hop back in and finish the river without any more hitches. We were actually able to stay pretty warm while we were paddling, but as soon as we got out of the kayak I started shivering like I never have before. Glacier river water is COLD! After a nice and very hot and very long shower we were able to have some serious laughs about our little mishap. It all happened so fast that I didn't really have time in the moment to feel scared. We did however recognize that it could have been much worse, so we were happy and grateful that it all worked out. I am so glad we were able to finish because it was so incredible. And at least we have a great story to tell right?


We finally made it to Whistler for a few days of outdoor awesomeness. We were extremely lucky with the weather. While it was not as hot as I prefer, we did not get rained on and were able to do everything we wanted to. This place was amazing. Whistler is truly outdoor Disney Land. We are already planning a winter ski trip.

On our first full day we rode the gondola up to the top of the Whistler Mountain, then we took it across to Blackcomb. It was stunning at the top of the mountain, and Tyler could hardly contain himself looking at all of the ski runs. The view from the Gondola crossing from peak to peak was amazing. We were hundreds of feet in the air and could see everything.
After we got to Blackcomb we took a bus over to the only chair lift still operating. Just for the sake of making Tyler want to cry because he did not bring his skis, we took the lift to the top. It was freezing cold, but very fun. There were still quite a few people skiing, and there were big jumps set up so we had fun watching the pros.
The village was adorable and full of exorbitantly priced food and shops. I managed to get myself out with only buying one t-shirt. Proud moment for me.
We also rented mountain bikes and attempted to ride. We tried to get serious and do some medium level trails, but that lasted for about 20 seconds before we realized we were way out of our league and had to stick to the paved, or at least relatively paved paths. We really loved mountain biking and are going to try and pick it up as a new hobby.
We had to ride in our jeans because of a little kayak mishap which we will get to later. Suffice it to say our "outdoor gear" was a little soggy.
Jeans or no jeans we were super hardcore. Obviously. Our Japanese Tourist Meter was hitting a 9 or so right about here.
We took some lovely evening walks.
It was just so nice to be outside for pretty much a straight week. I get so tired of being stuck in an office all day, and Tyler has not really seen the light of day since dental school started, so this trip was just what we both needed.
Beautiful Lost Lake
Mar and Lar cruisin on the bikes.

We are so lucky to have them and so grateful they are always willing to do these outdoorsy style vacations with us. They are the best.We loved Whistler so much. We cannot wait to go back.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Oh Canada!

We took a full day driving from Washington up to Whistler. It was {hyperbole free} the most beautiful drive I have ever experienced. The Sea to Sky highway that led from Vancouver up through the mountains was almost unbelievable. It felt so good to be in the mountains again. I forget just how much I miss living near them. Anyway, we spent the early after noon in Vancouver. Tyler and I fell in love. It is a gorgeous, clean city full of surprisingly friendly people. I loved the cultural diversity as well. I am sure that the hot sunny day contributed to my insta love.
We spent most of our time in Stanley Park. We walked around and enjoyed the art shows, gardens, totems and city views.
I really enjoyed checking out the totem poles. The stories that went with them were super interesting and the carvings were equally impressive.
The one and only Mar and Lar.
Larry searched long and hard for the perfect spot to get their picture taken that showed the beautiful gardens and city. Who wouldn't want to live here?
After Stanley Park we searched out the Lynn Canyon suspension bridge. Not one of my favorite activities if I am being honest. The bridge was swaying all over the place because there were so many people on it. I got stuck out in the middle between hoards of tourists taking pictures. I was not a happy camper. I would say that generally, I am girl who just prefers to be on solid ground. But I will say that no matter how much I dislike the potential activity, I will always try something once. Regret is not something I do well with, and I usually regret anything I skip out on.
We stopped at several overlooks and two beautiful waterfalls on our drive.
Next stop...the beloved Whistler.
God Bless Canada. My future homeland.{KIDDING MOM!}
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