Summer Adventures Part II

Are you ready for Part II of my summer adventure series?

When Tim and I returned from our cross-country road trip we were very tired. But, we did summon the energy to go blueberry (and marionberry) picking the next day. On that same trip to our favorite u-pick farm, we also took home five pounds of fresh pickling cucumbers – the first of the season! That afternoon I made blueberry jam, marionberry jam, and dill pickles.

A few days ago Tim and I decided to go on a day hike. We choose the highest hike on Mt. Hood, the Cooper Spur Trail. We actually started off on an unofficial trail and just followed a ridgeline until we reached a junction with the Cooper Spur Trail. This made for a strenuous, but very scenic 8+ mile loop. It was unbelievably quiet. The only sounds we heard were from our own movements, the occasional gust of wind, and river currents. Despite a gorgeous 75 degree Friday afternoon, we only crossed paths with a small handful of other hikers, all headed in the other direction. I love having a trail to ourselves!!

Mt. Hood

Can you see me standing on the rocks? The summit of Mt. Hood may look enticingly close, but it is actually still about 4,000 feet higher than where I am standing.

Our lunch spot yielded views of five mountains. You can see three in this photo (although they are hard to spot with the small size of the photo): Mt. Saint Helens, Mt. Rainier, and Mt. Adams. We could also see Mt. Hood (of course!) and Mt. Jefferson.

The trail and some more spectacular views

The trail on our way down presented views of Mt. Rainier (very faint on the left) and Mt. Adams. We also saw plenty of yellow and purple wildflowers.

People skiing in the distance

Tim admiring Mt. Hood (my favorite photo of the day)

We have plans for two backpacking trips in the next few weeks: one around Mt. Saint Helens and one around the Three Sisters. It’s time to start meal planning!


Summer Adventures Part I

Wildflowers and Mt. Hood

Hi everybody! It is certainly never my intention to let so much time pass between blog posts. However, the last several weeks have been very adventurous. Sunshine in the Pacific Northwest has been a stranger this season so any opportunity to find warmth is welcoming. And I sought the sunshine! I am splitting my recent adventures into several posts because I have too many pictures to share.

I mentioned in previous posts that fruit picking is the ultimate highlight of my summers. Spending the morning in a sunny, quiet, open field collecting berries is one of the best stress relievers. This year I managed to pick mountains of fresh local berries (with Tim’s help, of course). Aside from enjoying the fruit fresh and stuffing as much as I could into my freezer, I also canned nearly 30 half pints of treasures. My resource for delicious jams and preserves is The Joy of Jams, Jellies, & Other Sweet Preserves by Linda Ziedrich. Every recipe I have made so far has been a no-fail, simple, and fun afternoon project. I’ve had my copy checked out of the library for over a month! Look at all those jars:

Bounty of jams

Then, at the end of July, Tim and I visited my family in Pennsylvania. I hadn’t been home in nearly four years so the trip was well overdue. My older sister and her family, who live in Germany, were visiting too. My sister has two children, one I had never met. I am absolutely terrible with children but homemade cupcakes and trampolines can fix my aunty ineptness:

Cookies-n-Cream cupcakes

My nephew, Kai, jumping on a trampoline from my childhood

Sunset on Lake Erie

We lounged around in the sunshine, wandered the shores of Lake Erie, spent a day at the local amusement/water park, made lots of yummy vegan food, and then spontaneously decided to drive across the country back to Portland. We took a car my dad gifted to us since our 16+ year old car has been having some troubles that are too costly to fix. We visited friends in Madison, WI and Omaha, NE along the way. It was fun, but goodness, was it ever HOT! The temperatures exceeded my comfort limits and detoured our travels. Scenes from the road:

Road in Wisconsin

Puffy clouds enroute to Madison, WI

Wind turbine

Me and my friend Tait in front of Madison’s Capitol building

Somewhere on the way to Omaha, NE

Banana Pecan Pancakes from McFosters in Omaha, NE

Cloudy skies in Colorado

Little America, a rest stop in Wyoming

Sunset over Wyoming landscape

Wind turbines in Eastern, OR (almost home!)

The road trip was exhausting, exciting, and gorgeous. It was nice to visit with friends and drive through new places. We have a few more adventures planned in the upcoming weeks and a trip to Nova Scotia with Tim’s family fast approaching. Check back tomorrow for Part II of my Summer Adventures series!