It Had Been Too Long, Cleveland

It had been two years since Barry and I had been to Cleveland to see my side of the family.  We went back to celebrate the high school graduation of my smart, sweet, funny nephew.  My sister and her husband threw a great party, as they always do.  The weather was gorgeous.  We hung out on Lake Erie.  We stopped at a brewery we've enjoyed in the past.  And we spent lots of good time with my parents, who I miss so much when too much time passed between visits.


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.