Olympic National Park

In February, at the height of the rainy season in the Olympic National Forest, the Other Half had a work function in Seattle. Since it fell right around President’s Day, we decided to meet up and visit another national park over the weekend.

On Saturday morning, we drove to the Kalaloch Lodge, a rustic lodge which sits on the Olympic Peninsula within easy driving distance of several beaches, the national park, and the national forest. The views from the lodge are beautiful, and the front desk has an entire closet full of board and card games to play while you listen to the sound of the ocean after dark.

Our first goal was to visit the Hoh Rainforest, a lush temperate rainforest which contains a 17-mile trail to the base of Mount Olympus, the aptly-named and well-known Hoh River Trail. While we didn’t complete the trail due to the limited time we had in the area, we had a great time looking into the clear waters of the river while we hiked. There were several places the trail was difficult to find due to washouts or fallen trees, but it made the adventure that more interesting and fun.

We were also able to visit Ruby Beach, windswept and gravelled, which serves as a dramatic foreground for the many storms that break over Olympic Peninsula.

But the highlight of our trip was clambering over a mountain hilariously titled Colonel Bob. No one else was hiking in the misty morning fog, and even the birds were quiet when we started. As we hiked upward and clambered, the views fell away around us and reminded us why we love visiting the outdoors- that inner peace you can only feel when you’re surrounded by nature and those you love.

Black Mesa State Park

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When you think of the state of Oklahoma, you might envision one of a very short list of things:

(1) The strange political nature of some of the area’s politicians

(2) Wheat and cattle, flowing over a flatly monotonous expanse

Oklahoma may have both of these things in excess, but it is also a land of surprising diversity. In it is contained a part of the wet and scenic Ozark Plateau, the Arbuckle and Wichita Mountains, the expansive and refractile salt flats in the north, the wet and sticky southeastern swamps, the deciduous forests of the east, and, of course, the plains regions. In the panhandle are plains and desert leading to the highest point in the state: Black Mesa, which stands at almost 5,000 feet elevation on the Oklahoma-New Mexico-Colorado border.

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Oregon Coast Road Trip Part 2

Just south of Newport the next morning, the dog reminded us that all of Oregon’s beaches are public access. The only limiting factor is finding parking when the weather is nice.

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We stepped out to enjoy the brisk morning, with the faintest frosty edges causing the sand to glisten even as we slipped our way along to the shoreline. Well, we did, at least. The dog ran at breakneck speed into the surf, only turning when he realized how cold it really was.

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Oregon Coast Road Trip Part 1

Woohoo! After a hiatus, it looks like I have some time to start writing again.

Over the new year, we decided to drive the length of the Oregon Coast, with the idea that we could start in Astoria and end at Redwoods National and State Parks before coming home. We got up in the dark hours of early dawn and began the drive to the coast.

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Ecuador Day 1: Arrival and Parque Itchimbia

Okay, guys, be excited. After 3.5 years of planning, saving, debating, and salivating (figuratively) over the adventures to be had on the South American continent, a few things happened in the last month:

(1) The Other Half and I are graduated and moving on to Real World Things across the Continental Divide (Yay!),

(2) We finally got to go on our honeymoon/graduation/adventure thing in Ecuador (Spoiler: It was AMAZING), and

(3) We just packed everything up in the house, including all of our fur- and scale-kids, and are moving west this week. Cross your fingers we don’t have any flat tires, floods, or otherwise on the trip out there.

So, in honor of the changes we are about to see in our lives, you get a change in writing style (hopefully you’re throwing your hands in the air in surprise and not exasperation). Over the next several weeks (maybe longer) I’ll be posting narrative journal-style entries and a small portion of the 15,000 pictures we took while we were on our trip. And no, that’s totally not excessive. So there.

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Where to go at six in the morning

We were struck with this question when we awoke on Mustang Island the next day. We could immediately head for our ultimate destination and stop for breakfast along the way. Or we could stop and eat breakfast with waterfowl at the Leonabelle Turnbull Birding Center before heading off.

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