For the longest time I have dreamed of exploring the Oregon coast and Redwood National Park in Northern California. This past weekend, we made a quick trip, but were sure to get in every ounce of adventure we could in the short amount of time we had. We were also able to get in a precious visit with one of my longest and closest friends who just had a baby. Below are some of the highlights from our trip. I can’t wait to go back!
Friday, May 4, 2018
We left Lake Tahoe at 8:00 am and headed North on Hwy 395 toward Susanville. Our destination today was Eugene, OR. There are many different ways that you can get here, but we opted for the more scenic route that passes by Mt. Lassen, McArthur-Burney Falls, Mt. Shasta, and then takes you to I-5. The drive was beautiful and we made note of several campsites along the way that we’ll make sure to check out next time. One of those was McArthur-Burney Falls. It is a beautiful area, has an impressive waterfall, and Lake Britton to explore. There were also probably at least 120 campsites here, with the option to rent cabins if that is more your style.
We made it to Eugene about 5:00, had dinner with my friend, then Brian and I went out for a few drinks. One place I would definitely recommend is the Bier Stein. It is a beer lover’s paradise and they have everything you could image from sours to DIPAs to PBR. Make sure to check it out if you are ever in Eugene. There is also a Voodoo Doughnut that is open 24 hours just down the street. Dreams do come true!
Saturday, May 5, 2018
After a nice brunch at my friend’s house and more baby time (there is never enough baby time!), we left Eugene at about noon and headed for the Oregon coast. Once again, we opted for the more scenic route along SR 126 to Florence. From here, we traveled down the 101, stopping in Coos Bay for lunch at a local brewery, 7 Devils. They had great food (I got a barley bowl with roasted asparagus, cauliflower, and manchego cheese), and a local band of old timers playing everything from the banjo to the harmonica to a homemade bass.
Next on our itinerary was the Southern most city in Oregon on the coast, Brookings. This was a cute little town, has some amazing beaches, and is only a few minutes north of the Redwoods. We got to our room at the Westward Inn about 6:00 and then headed to a place right across the street from our hotel, Vista Pub. They had a decent draft selection and pretty good food (their garlic jack cheese curds were amazing!). They also had some really knowledgeable locals that we struck up a conversation with to get some insider tips on where to find the biggest redwoods around. That led us to our adventure the next day…
Sunday, May 6, 2018
We woke up around 8:00 and couldn’t leave the Oregon coast without first exploring the beach. We headed to Harris Beach SP and wandered around on the beach checking out the tide pools lined with sea anemones and starfish. This beautiful stretch of beach has some amazing rock formations and all sorts of things to explore. This would be another great place to camp that we can’t wait to come back to.
After the beach, we set South on the 101 toward a grove of redwoods in Jedediah Smith SP that all the locals told us was a must, even though they had reservations about giving up their prime location. If you’re ever in the area, Google Stout Grove. The drive to get here is absolutely beautiful, off the beaten path (you’ll actually follow a dirt road to the parking area which fits maybe 20 cars), and there are no entrance fees. There are a couple of hiking options, one mile through the grove and a few spurs that go along the river. Either way, you’re likely to pass by the largest tree that I have ever seen, which is 17 feet in diameter! It is absolutely jaw-dropping.
After we moseyed through the grove and took copious amounts of pictures, we headed to the next spot on our list, Fern Canyon in Prairie Creek Redwoods SP. The drive to get here was equally as beautiful as the drive to Stout Grove and leads you to the ocean with gorgeous views of the coast. It was $8 to enter here, or free if you have a National Parks pass, and there is a lot to do and see. One thing at the top of our list next time, is to camp on the beach at Prairie Creek campground. We also can’t wait to go back to Fern Canyon.
Walking through Fern Canyon was like nothing I have ever experienced. It’s a little less than a mile from the trailhead to the canyon and you will know when you get there. The walls must be 20-40 feet high and are lined with ferns and some of the most dense greenery I have seen. There is a creek you follow the entire way and lots of opportunities to get your shoes wet. I was wearing waterproof hiking boots (that turned out to be not so waterproof), and will probably opt for sport sandals next time. Either way, Fern Canyon is a must if you are ever in the area.
From here, we headed to Eureka for our last night of the trip. Eureka was a quaint town, but I gotta tell you, Sundays are completely dead. The whole downtown area with cute shops and restaurants was all closed. We still managed to have a fun evening with a little bar hopping starting a Lost Coast Brewery and then going to Humboldt Provisions, the Shanty, Vista Del Mar, and Steve and Dave’s. You could probably skip the last two, but the other three were pretty fun.
Monday, May 7, 2018
The day we always dread, the day we come home. We left the hotel at 6:00 am and hit the road to make it back in time for Brian to be at work by 2:15. Of course, we opted for the pretty and slightly slower route, which lead us through some beautiful country. Although we made it back with only 15 minutes to spare for Brian to be at work, it was worth every second.
I am already daydreaming of our next trip to Oregon and the Redwoods. It is an amazing area, and seeing a longtime friend along the way, is always a bonus. Have you ever been to the area? What was your favorite thing to do?
There’s no better compliment from Brian than, “this is blog worthy,” when I am experimenting with a new recipe. The inspiration for this recipe originally came from a Cooking Light email that landed in my inbox, but there was one thing wrong. It called for an InstaPot. I haven’t quite jumped on the InstaPot bandwagon yet, but this recipe still sounded like I needed to give it a try. It was a cold winter night and I needed a fiesta in my mouth!
Have you ever stuck your hand out with a few seeds on it, only to have a cute little chickadee land on your fingers and pluck that morsel off of your palm? No? If this sounds fun and you want to channel your inner Snow White, Chickadee Ridge is your place to go for an experience like no other.
Whenever I try to follow a paleo lifestyle, or at least reduce the amount of inflammatory grains in my diet from things like bread, pasta, and rice, I always turn to sweet potatoes. They are so satisfying, provide a wonderful source of carbs, and are full of nutrients like vitamin A, vitamin C, manganese, copper, potassium, and much, much more. Here’s a few of my favorite sweet potato recipes I’ve made over the years:
It’s that time of year again. The time of year where it seems like every person who has a blog or social media presence is posting about one of two things: 1) a review of the previous year, or 2) what their goals are for the coming year. While cliche, I do think that reflection and goal-setting are an important part of personal development. I also believe that there is something to be said about making those things public. If you’ve announced the ways you plan to grow and develop to the entire world, you’re that much more likely to do it, right? It’s worth a try.
I can’t believe it. My little girl turned 11 today. Over the past 11 years, she has taught me patience and responsibility, but most importantly, unconditional love. Roxanne has been by my side through ups and downs, and always, always, loves me no matter what. There really is something to be said about the loyalty and comfort that dogs can provide.
Over the past year, we’ve really started experimenting with new recipes in our cast iron dutch oven every time we go camping. I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into at first, but I have come to absolutely love it. It’s probably because I just put the stuff in the dutch oven and then Brian does all the hard work—moving it around, putting coals on top, making sure it is the right temperature—but between the two of us, I think we have a pretty good thing going.
I can’t believe it’s taken me two months to write about my awesome trip to Kauai, but better late than never? This was my fourth (or fifth??) time visiting this amazing island and it did not disappoint.
If you’ve ever heard the term “island time,” you know it refers to a slower than average pace. Like a really slow pace. I only wish that vacation went by in “island time” speed. Instead, it seems more like time is on steroids and goes by way too fast. There is just never enough of it. We definitely made the best of our time though and I’ve put together all the highlights of each day.
If there is one place I can never get enough of in the Lake Tahoe area, it is Desolation Wilderness. The 63,000 acre area with endless trail systems and lakes has a solid permit system that keeps it from being overcrowded. Although this sometimes works to your disadvantage if you can’t secure a permit, it is worth the solitude. Every time I go, it is a different experience with memories to cherish for a lifetime. This past weekend with Brian and our fur babies was no different.
I have been toying with the idea of dehydrating my own backpacking food for quite some time . Sure, I love Mountain House, Ramen, and oatmeal, but I really wanted to find a way to make delicious backpacking meals that didn’t make you question what you were really eating. The only problem was, I wasn’t sure where to start. I love cooking, but dehydrating can be a little intimidating in that it requires special knowledge and equipment.
Don’t fret! I’ve put lots of hours into researching and experimenting for you, and have to say that my first finished product turned out better than any prepackaged meal I’ve had. A couple of things before I get to that recipe. To start, you’ll need a few things:
I am so excited that I got my first girls’ backpacking trip in this summer! Several summers ago my friends, Lisa and Jenn, became my wilderness soul sisters. We backpacked together four times that summer (Desolation Wilderness, Grouse Ridge, Bear Lake, and Star Lake) and haven’t done it since. We made a point to get out the other weekend to somewhere new and beautiful, Loch Leven Lakes.
Summertime in the Sierras is in full-swing and I was so happy to get a camping trip in this past weekend. Because of other commitments on the weekends and a snowpack that is still monstrous at high elevations, this was our first camping trip in the mountains this year. Either way, it felt good to get back in the woods for a few nights, cook over an open fire, and swim in a cold mountain lake.
Our choice this past weekend was Gold Lake, located off of Gold Lake Highway in Plumas National Forest. The lake is one of dozens of lakes in the Lakes Basin Recreation Area. A couple of summers ago when we hiked the nearby Sierra Buttes, you could see all the lakes in the area from the peak. It is definitely a beautiful sight.
The first five days of my June 100 Mile Challenge have come to a close. I’ve gotten a pretty good start on my mileage and put in 13.15 miles in the first 5 days – only 80 some-odd miles to go in 25 days! Below is a recap of what the first few days looked like:
- Thursday (6/1) – 5.58 miles on the elliptical
- Friday (6/2) – 3.09 mile run by the Lake
- Saturday (6/3) – 1.42 mile hike in Galena Forest
- Sunday (6/4) – no miles; just gardening and lots of house chores
- Monday (6/5) – 3.06 mile run by the Lake
- TOTAL MILES @ 6/5 – 13.15
It has been so nice to be outside in Tahoe lately. Spring (summer?) is finally here and the weather has been perfect the past few days. If you’re anything like me, when the weather gets warm, one of my go-to things to eat for lunch on a weekday is a big salad with whatever leftover protein I have in the fridge from the night before.
When I graduated with my MBA this time last year, I told myself that I was going to get back to one simple thing that helps make me feel whole–running. Well, a year has passed and I haven’t run more than a few days in each week…and there have been lots of weeks when I didn’t run at all. We can all relate to the excuses of work, life, weather, etc., but the fact is, if you really want it, just do it.
In my last post, I wrote about finding a little gem of a beach when we were driving home from Tomales Bay, CA a little over a month ago. This past weekend was Memorial Day and we decided to make a trip back to the coast to explore here some more. The little town of Dillon Beach, CA is located at the mouth of Tomales Bay on the Sonoma Coast. Without traffic, it is almost exactly a four hour drive from Lake Tahoe. We packed up and left on Saturday morning and were at the campground by mid-day.
Looking outside on a gloomy Tahoe afternoon in April, all I can think about is the beautiful adventure we were lucky enough to go on this weekend. I didn’t know anything about where we were about to go. Only that my parents were there for the first time in September and fell in love with this quaint little area on the California coast. They loved it so much that they wanted to share it with us this weekend (thanks Mom and Dad!), so we packed our bags for a four hour road trip to Nick’s Cove, located in Tomales Bay, CA.
Yesterday was our oldest fur baby’s 13th birthday. Yep. 13. I guess there is something about the fresh Lake Tahoe air and fetching tennis balls in the ice cold, crystal clear water. We would have loved to take the old dude for a dip in the Lake, but it was a pretty miserable day with rain and snow showers. Side bar, Mother Nature, did you get the message that it is supposed to be Spring??!?
I am so glad this week is finally over. I have been hanging on by a thread, just trying to make it to the weekend, without whatever crud I have in my head turning into a full blown cold. This weekend is going to consist of nothing but naps, movies, and some delicious shepherd’s pie. Oh, and snow. Did I forget to mention snow?
Happy Valentine’s Day all you sweet people! Whether you are in a relationship, single, or undecided (???), this ooey gooey Hallmark holiday is great reminder that we need to spread love every. single. day. Walking around full of hate and victim thinking does nothing good for anyone. Nothing. Let today be a reminder that love heals all things, and it is absolutely free to give to someone else!
It was our youngest fur baby’s birthday over the weekend. Well, we don’t really know when his official date of birth is since he was a rescue, but Friday was close enough and we made sure that we celebrated this big ball of love’s special day. I have never met a dog like Wez and he stole my heart from the day his dad introduced me to him. Well played, Brian, well played. Wez is some sort of Aussie Shepherd mix and a constant source of laughter. When he isn’t on squirrel guard, he is in your face or lap, trying to get as much attention and love that he can. He is the most loyal dog I have ever met and I am so happy that I get to share a part of my life with him.