Mount St. Helens and the Plains of Abraham, Again

A trip up to the Plains of Abraham on Mount St. Helen's is becoming an not-quite-but-almost annual event for us.  We headed up there again last weekend.  It's a nice hike on a bike-friendly trail (I'm not confident I can swing that approach yet, but curious to try it someday) and the views at the top are gorgeous.  We woke up to the mountain being socked in with dense clouds below us.  I love a morning on a mountain.  And a night.  And a day.


Old Dog New Tricks Exhibit F: Bike Packing

I bike a bit, I backpack a bit, but I've never done both at the same time.  That is, not until this weekend.  Barry and I headed to the Oregon coast so he could introduce me to bike packing.  We've talked about riding from Portland to the coast one day, and this was a very little taste test to see if it's something I might really be up for.

We drove our bikes out to Tillamook (yes, drove our bikes - remember this was meant to be a very little taste test), had a take-out lunch with fantastic beer at de Garde Brewing, and then pedaled to Cape Lookout.  It was a bit of an adjustment to ride with a full pack on my back - a pack with a sleeping bag, sleeping pad, clothes for the night, a little stove, coffee press, mugs, food, book, camera... you get the picture - but it wasn't as hard as I thought it would be.  Once I figured out how the pack would move as I pedaled and once I settled into a good pace, the ride was great.  The hike/bike-in only sites at Cape Lookout are sweet, and being on the beach with the salty ocean air was such a nice change of scenery for us.  We strolled on the sand, saw a molting seal (I never knew!), reminisced about time in our childhoods spent in Nags Head, and watched the sun set over the Pacific.

The following day, after a long leisurely morning on the beach spent drinking cup after cup of coffee, comparing patterns on broken bits of sand dollars, and reading The Old Man and the Sea, we rode up the coast to Cape Meares then back to Tillamook for lunch at Pelican Brewing before heading home.  The verdict is still out on whether or not I want to bike all the way from Portland to the coast, but I'm definitely up for more bike packing trips.


Zigzag Mountain

I cannot remember the last time Barry and I went on a hike.  Like, just a hike.   A hike without loaded packs on our backs, a hike without the intention of camping out overnight, a hike without saws and rakes and a chainsaw and other trail-clearing tools.  Some time constraints and a minor injury kept us from doing the other things we'd often do on a weekend day, so yesterday we headed out for a good old day hike, plain and simple.  We hiked to Burnt Lake on Zigzag Mountain and then up to the summit which rewarded with great views of Mount Hood, Adams, Rainer, and St. Helens.  We ran a lot of the way back to the trailhead - turns out it's pretty freeing to hike without a bunch of weight on your back.


Eightmile and Columbia Hills

Columbia Hills State Park in Washington has a lovely path for an easy bike ride with beautiful views of the Columbia River Gorge.  Barry and I rode it on Monday after riding Eightmile Loop Trail earlier that day.  Eightmile was a particularly satisfying ride after Barry and I cleared the trail of downed trees last weekend.  Also particularly satisfying?  A sweet potato and pulled pork burrito at Everybody's Brewing post-rides.


Carlton with the O'Connors

We spent a gorgeous couple days in Oregon's wine country with Barry's parents this weekend.


Season Change!

It official.
The snowboard has been tucked away and the mountain bike has been dusted off.


Weekends Patterns

At the end of March and beginning of April, my weekends had a distinct pattern to them.  Day-one: a mellow day in the city with daydreams of snow on the mountain or clear skies on the trails.   Day-two: a fun day outdoors, looking forward to better conditions outdoors to come.

Several weekends ago, I spent day-one fussing around the apartment.  It's been a while since I've spent an entire day doing that.  That used to be my jam, remember?

I went up to the mountain by myself on day-two for a gorgeous day of spring snowboarding.  I had a great time riding Mt. Hood on my own for hours.

The following weekend, day-one was filled with biking around town and getting little needs taken care of.  Fine.  Day-two was more fun: snowboarding in the morning and mountain biking in the afternoon.  Conditions for both activities weren't quite what we'd hoped for - the slopes and the trail were both okay, not great - but it was great to be outside all day with Barry.

The weekend after that, I spent day-one in the city again.  On day-two, thwarted by melting snow on the mountain and rainfall all over but needing to get the heck out of town, we put in some time doing trail maintenance in anticipation and hope of good mountain biking weather soon to come.  We were rained on for hours while cutting and hauling downed trees on the trail.  But again, that outside-with-Barry-all-day thing.  Great.

The weather is starting to come around.  Weekend patterns are getting an upgrade soon.