Mini Vacation Photo Essay

Earlier this month Tim and I took an extended backpacking trip in southeastern Oregon. We chose a three day loop in the Strawberry Mountains. The timing was perfect because I had just quit my job and all of the anger, anxiety, and frustration that had been brewing inside of me escaped (hopefully for good!). It was a wonderful vacation, especially since we were visiting an area that was new to us. Here are some photos from the trip:

We passed through the Biglow Canyon Wind Farm and the Klondike Wind Farm on the way to our destination. Driving past all the turbines was incredibly mesmerizing. They just kept appearing as we approached the top of a hill. When we looked behind us, all we could see were turbines dotting the landscape. And, it was super windy (which makes all those turbines happy!).

As we continued on, we entered into the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, which is essentially a 14,000-acre park in eastern Oregon renowned for its well preserved, remarkably complete record of fossilĀ plants and animals. The scenery was stunning:

Next, we finally (after a good six hours+ of driving) started our hike! Above is a shot of all the gorgeous wildflowers we saw in the first few miles of the trail.

And then we climbed, and climbed, and climbed, and climbed until we reached almost 7,000 feet. It was a pooper of a climb, but the temperature was hovering in the mid 60′s, so it was perfect!

Then I snuck around in the bushes taking pictures of Tim cooking our dinner. We had gorgeous views across the valley:

And a lovely sunset too:

Lots more climbing on day two led to more views:

We actually encountered quite a bit of snow and Tim had to kick steps into it so we could safely traverse the trail. We were happy to make it to the top of a saddle and rest:

Tim is crafty with the camera so we are out of focus here, which is probably best for everybody.

We reached our campsite,

and made dinner.

On day three we crossed lots of creeks,

Goofed around,

and enjoyed nearly 48 hours of total solitude. We didn’t see a single soul the entire hike until the last two miles of the loop. It was wonderful!

On the drive back to Portland, we stopped and admired the Painted Hills:

The weekend was the best way to celebrate escape from a dismal job and kick off new beginnings for the future. You can check out more photos from our trip here (for example, you might want to see the chocolate cake we made while camping!).

I hope everybody enjoys the upcoming weekend!

“W” is for Whiffies

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Whiffies Truck

What isĀ Whiffies? Well, let me tell you! Whiffies is the name of a fried pie cart in Portland that serves up sweet and savory hand pies. They even have vegan options (and a separate vegan fryer for those vegan pies – how nice, right?!). Tim and I had never visited Whiffies prior to last Saturday night so we decided to take the plunge. Unlike most folks, I am not a fan of fried stuff (except for frites) but late night treats are usually (always) an exception. I opted for a Pumpkin Creme pie and Tim chose a Peanut Butter & Chocolate Chip pie. We didn’t have to wait long and the surrounding crowds provided plenty of entertainment (it was especially amusing to make mean faces and scoff at a girl wearing a real fur coat). Anyways, back to the pies!!! Golden flaky crusts and generous amounts of filling make the $3 price worth every penny, but let me just caution you: sometimes the filling can explode out of the shell and down your chin, onto your pants, and perhaps your shoe too. Messy indeed, but tasty too. My pumpkin filling reminded me of pumpkin pie and Tim’s filling was as it should be – a perfect balance of peanut butter and melty chocolate chips. However, we will reserve future trips to Whiffies for special occasions only because my tummy can’t handle a whole pie plus bites (and bites) of Tim’s pie. Here’s a shot of the nice end of my pie all fancied up at home:

Whiffie Pie

Annnnnnnd, just for some extra fun, here is what happens when I have Whiffies pie filling running down my face while trying to take a photo of Tim eating his pie without properly adjusting my camera setting because I am holding the camera with only one hand (pie in the other):

Whiffies make me loopy

Oooooooooooooooops-a-dozzle!

Back to Eden

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Despite feeling a bit ill on Sunday, Tim and I rode our bikes over to the new vegan bakery in town, Back to Eden, for some serious treat sampling (and, of course, to avoid the much needed rest I should have been getting). Sugar is good for curing head colds anyways…

The interior of this sweet little bakery is so darn cozy and homey! Not only are baked goods available for sale, but vegan cookbooks, local crafts, jams, Dandies, and other fun are nicely stocked for purchase too. We had such a difficult time deciding what to get and ended up with a takeout box full of goodness. Let’s see… White Chocolate Butterscotch Pecan Cookie, Cinnamon Tangerine Muffin, Peanut Butter Fudge, and an Orange Creamsicle-Filled Cupcake… All so very, very, very, very good!

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Tim ready to dive into our box of treats!

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Inside the bakery

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Inside one of the bakery cases

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On top of the bakery case

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Our selections

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The mighty Cinnamon Tangerine Muffin

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Inside the Creamsicle Cupcake

We definitely enjoyed the treats and will certainly be biking back for more soon!

Stay tuned for a sweet giveaway I will be having soon!!!!