Snow Bird

Despite the arrival of spring, Tim and I decided to enjoy a snowy adventure today. Mt. Hood isn’t too far from Portland so we took advantage of some free time and headed into the forest for a 6-mile snowshoe hike. We have learned over the years to arrive at trailheads early to avoid the inevitable crowds. Usually we only cross paths with a few folks, which provides us with much-needed solitude. After all, that is why people choose to escape into the wilderness, right? Most of the people we saw today were families with kids arriving as we were leaving – perfect timing!

We chose a trail that looped around Trillium Lake and maintained a relatively easy grade (except for the last 1/2 mile which was UPHILL!). The path was wide and if it had been a clear day, Mt. Hood would have been visible over the lake. Unfortunately, every time we go snowshoeing it is cloudy and snowing! We have yet to see Mt. Hood on a snowshoe excursion. Maybe next time…

We did, however, spot a Stellar’s Jay perched in a tree (also pictured at the top of this post). He was so tame and hardly budged while I snapped away taking his photograph. Beautiful, isn’t he? He was extremely round!

We were also confronted with a mighty dinosaur!

(forgive the snow splotch on my lens)

It was a great day to be outside enjoying the snow. We hope to get one more snowshoe trip in before the snow disappears:

Looks like we have at least a few weeks!


For Serious Hikers Only

Trail Mix Brownies!

I felt a small wave of inspiration yesterday and created a new recipe for my forthcoming vegan brownie cookbook. It’s frustrating how easily motivation can plummet and then disappear. If Tim hadn’t been demanding treats these brownies may not have happened. I can’t recall ever taking brownies on a hike, but hey, why not? These have homemade trail mix in the batter and on top of the finished brownies –  twice the trail mix! I may experiment further with different nuts and dried fruits in future batches.

Brownies while hiking seems perfectly acceptable to me!

Up, Up, and Almost Away!

Last week Tim and I went on a backpacking adventure. Our original plan was flattened when the trail we chose turned out to be a mess of overgrown, tangled, scratchy brush that towered over my head in most places. It was disappointing to say the least considering the area we were in was gorgeous and crowd-free. Oh well.

Lost in the brush – can you see me?!

We turned around and immediately scanned our hiking book for another option. Luckily we weren’t too far away from Bend, OR, one of our favorite outdoor recreation destinations! Yay! So, we settled on camping that night on the banks of Devil’s Lake and then climbing to the summit of South Sister (Oregon’s 2nd highest mountain) the following morning. Good choice!

Full moon keeping us company by our campsite

Despite the never-ending steepness of the trail, reaching the top was a mighty wicked reward. We hiked the same trail six years ago and it was fun to revisit the area. The best part about the South Sister climb is that you don’t need any special mountaineering equipment (depending on the season, of course). You just need determination, lots of water, sustaining snacks, and a good set of lungs! The trail is 12 miles round trip and takes a whole day, but it doesn’t matter because the beautiful scenery makes you forget the struggle. Take a peek!

Early part of the trail – flat for maybe a mile…

Climbing higher…

A gorgeous glacial lake about a mile or so from the summit – Tim and I actually dipped into this lake on our way back down – it was FREEZING (literally). The day was hot and sunny and all the climbing made the quick dip a worthwhile decision!

Getting closer (see the trail cutting into the red rock near the top of the photo?)…

Tim climbing…

Tim walking across the crater of South Sister – we’re almost to the summit!!!!

We made it! Top of South Sister: 10,360 feet. You can see Middle Sister and North Sister behind us. If you look closely, Mt. Jefferson is a tiny speck above the point of North Sister. The smoke on the left of the photo is from a forest fire nearby. It was WINDY!

An unobstructed view of Middle and North Sisters

That’s the trip! The way back down was much faster, but harder on the knees. Thank goodness for trekking poles!

What are some of your favorite hiking places?

Who’s the Big Winner?!

Hello everybody! Guess what? It’s time to announce the winner of the Soy Candles by Phebes giveaway! Exciting! The winner is… Amanda! Congratulations! Amanda choose the Fig Tea & Cucumber candle. With summer in full swing, the scent of cucumber should keep you cool and comfortable! I will contact you by e-mail so we can arrange to have your candle shipped. Thanks to everybody who entered the contest. If you didn’t win, don’t fret – the kind folks at Soy Candles by Phebes are offering readers a special deal: Simply visit their website, buy three candles, and get a fourth free!  Mention that you found the offer on my blog and sit back and wait for your candles to arrive! Seriously, there are so many scents to choose from, you won’t be disappointed. These candles will relaxxxxxxxx you!

Speaking of relaxing, here are some photos from a recent backpacking trip Tim and I took:

Big Slide Lake (we saw osprey!)

We encountered some downed trees on the trail.

Heaps of fluffy green ferns lined the trail.

Snow covered parts of the trail, but that made it more fun!

A buddy we met at our campsite – he posed for at least ten minutes!

Our dinner: soba noodles, coconut curry sauce, kale, and bell peppers.

Our campsite with Big Slide Lake in the background.

Yay! We are planning another backpacking trip soon, so stay tuned for more pictures!! I hope everybody is enjoying some sunshine!

Summer Wrap-Up

It’s been a long while since my last post. Summer kept me busy:



Visiting with my super awesome, lovely friend Celine;


Attending Portland Veg Fest;

Tent & Sun & Fog

Camping on the Pacific Crest Trail;

Nods on Trail

Hiking in the misty, foggy, rainy wilderness;

Misty Ridges

Enjoying the view from our campsite;

Picking Berries

Picking wild huckleberries;

Goofy 1

Goofing around to keep warm;

Protester Tim

Protesting the circus in Portland;


More protesting;

More Apples

Picking apples in Hood River, OR;

Me & My Dad

Visiting with my dad;

Portobello 2

Eating yummy food at Portobello Vegan Trattoria in Portland (lasagna);

Portobello 1

More good food from Portobello (portobello mushrooms and polenta);

Storm in the Gorge

Watching an approaching storm in the Columbia River Gorge;

Nods & Mountain

Backpacking near South Sister (a mountain in Oregon);

Wickiup Plain

Looking into the distance on the trail;

Tent at Sunset

Enjoying the sun setting;

Don't bug me while I eat my bagel sammie!

Munching on tasty bagel sammies;

Cafe Yumm 1

More eating (post-trail food from Cafe Yumm in Bend, OR);

Cafe Yumm 2

I think that’s about all I have for now. Summer was also lots of relaxing, bike riding, donut-eating, cooking, canning, baking, and spending time with Tim. Fall is my favorite time of year though, so expect a bit more of a post commitment this season!