Wallowa-Whitman: Day Three

Waking up on Mirror Lake wasn't too shabby.  And making our way back through the Six Mile Meadow was a great way to spend our last full day in the Eagle Cap Wilderness.  We stopped again at Moccasin Lake where I sat for hours in the sun and read, dangling my feet in the bluest lake I'd ever seen.  Barry went on a hike up to Glacier Pass.


Wallowa-Whitman: Day Two

We started our second day with a 4 mile hike between Horseshoe and Mirror Lakes through the Lakes Basin, passing Lily, Lee, Douglas, Moccasin Lakes on the way.  Unreal.  I freaked out every 10 minutes or so about how unbelievably gorgeous it all was.  Alpine lakes kept popping up out of nowhere!

Moccasin Lake was our favorite.  No one around.  A neat land bridge that crossed the lake, bringing us to our spot where we splashed in the cold water and lounged for a bit.  Heaven, I tell you.

After making it to Mirror Lake, taking our packs off, and setting up our tent, we set off for a 2 mile hike up to Eagle Cap.  I made it as far as the eagle's shoulder before I got too nervous about the loose, exposed trail.  Barry made it all the way up to the peak.  Then back down for a hot meal and more gazing at the evening sky.


Wallowa-Whitman: Day One

The 6.5 mile hike from Wallowa Lake near the town of Joseph to Six Mile Meadow in the Eagle Cap Wilderness got my body adjusted to moving with a pack on.  My lower back wasn't happy for the first mile or so, but I got the feel for things soon after that.  We stopped in the meadow and made lunch before crossing the West Fork of the Wallowa River.  The bridge there was down, so we took off our shoes and waded through in bare feet.  The water was cold and was a sweet as a massage on my legs.  We hiked 2.5 more miles up (up, up, up) to Horseshoe Lake.  Had I know what an ascent the second part of the hike would be, I probably wouldn't have been up for it mentally.  It was a good thing I didn't know - getting there in the afternoon in time to get settled and watch the evening set in was perfect.  We were greeting by a beautiful lake that made for a spectacular campsite setting.

We set up camp, made a tasty dinner, and gazed at the lake for hours.  Watching the light change as the sun set and moon rose was mesmerizing.  I was fast asleep before it really got dark out.

Oh, yes.  There are black and whites.




An Anniversary, A Graduation (Of Sorts), and A Bug

Last week, Barry and I celebrated 12 years together as a married couple (17 years together, 18 if you include the year that I had a huge crush on him before we started dating... but I guess you really shouldn't include that year).  I say it with regularity, but I'll say it again here in honor of our anniversary: I am so lucky to be married to my best friend.  There is nothing in my life that makes me happier or more content than my relationship with Barry.

To celebrate our anniversary in the city, we visited Loyly for massages which were followed by a ridiculously good dinner at Ava Gene's.  I cannot recommend both places enough.  But the big celebration took place outside the city - way outside the city.  We went on a backpacking trip - my first backpacking trip ever - in the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest.

We certainly have gotten our fair share of camping in this summer.  And this year we've managed to find campgrounds that have been almost empty on our "weekends."  But we've also moaned and groaned about campgrounds that are overrun with people, where the sounds of generators and car doors slamming break the silence that we look for when we go camping, and where we don't quite feel removed enough from the comforts of civilization.  The answer to overrun campgrounds is, of course, backpacking.  Barry had been backpacking plenty of times when he was younger, but I'd only been car camping.  I was worried about how happy I'd be schlepping all of my camping supplies on my back for days and about not having my cast iron dutch oven with me for serious campfire cooking.  But I wanted to really escape for our anniversary, so I was up for giving backpacking a try.  From car camper to backpacker.  That was my graduation of sorts.

Guys, it was awesome.  Phenomenal.  Amazing.  Beautiful.  This trip blew me away.  The part of Oregon we visited is insane.  The gorgeous mountains and lakes we saw looked unreal at times.  Seeing so few people over the course of four days and setting up camp wherever it suited us was so peaceful.  Hiking into new places every day with a 30 pound pack on my back and to be rewarded with stunning views was so gratifying.  And taking care of all of our needs using only what we could carry was completely satisfying.  I officially have the backpacking bug.

I was camera crazy on our trip.  Over the next few days I'll be posting photos from the trip here.  Please excuse the excessive amount of photos that I'll be sharing.  My head and heart are bursting with goodness from our little backpacking adventure.


Back for Just a Bit

 Fussing in the apartment.
 Loving breakfast and lunch at Sweedeedee.

Walking all over town.

Preparing to leave again...
this time for my first backpacking trip.
I've talked about going backpacking forever.
Our 12th wedding anniversary seemed like the perfect time to do it.
See you when we return.


Where His Other Leg Went?

That's my favorite line from our trip to Cleveland, spoken by my soon-to-be-three-year-old nephew, Luca.  It wasn't in reference to the guy sitting on a sculpture outside the Cleveland Museum of Art (above), but it was in reference to a modern sculpture inside the museum of a very realistic single leg sticking straight out of a wall (I've forgotten the artist and title of the work).

We had a great visit with my family.  We got in our fair share of deer viewing in my parents' yard.  We Bananagrammed our hearts out at my sister's place where we were treated to delicious fish and steak tacos and lots of great Great Lakes Brewing beer.  We explored a bit of Ohio City, catching a Todd Hido show at the Transformer Station.  And my mother passed on a trick that my brother taught her that my obsessive compulsive side just loves: when loading the utensil basket in the dishwasher, load like utensils in the same basket sections so that when you unload them, the spoons are with the spoons, the forks are with the forks, etc.  Imagine how much sorting time you can save when putting the clean utensils away! Genius!


Homeward Bound

Cleveland, here we come!  And not a moment too soon.  I was in a sporting goods shop the other day and saw a man - a man who bore a striking resemblance to my father - sitting alone on a bench, waiting for whomever he was with to finish up their shopping.  Seeing him all alone there, being all alone myself, and suddenly feeling struck by the fact that it's been way too long since I've seen my family, I started crying.  Not big-fat-tears-rolling-down-my-cheeks-while-I-suck-in-my-lower-lip kind of crying, but crying nonetheless.  I miss my family bad.  But that's all about to change.

The plants are watered, we've finished up the milk in the fridge (always a goal of mine before we take off for a trip), and we're on our way to Cleveland.  There will be swimming and kayaking and laughing and grilling and birthday celebrating and maybe a preseason push-up competition (to be followed by the official Christmas push-up competition later this year).  I'll be back here in a week.  The sulu-design etsy shop will reopen then, too.  I hope your upcoming week is as good as I anticipate ours will be.