Category Archives: Travel

Lost Lake weekend

#lostlake #oregon

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I just came back from a relaxing weekend at Lost Lake, in the Mount Hood National Forest. It is aptly named because you will lose all cell phone and GPS reception to get there (on Lolo Pass from 26 or coming south from Hood River).  We didn’t plan on being disconnected from the internet but it was definitely nice to have a break from it all.

Lost Lake

This is the majestic view from the north day use area. Lost Lake is actually a privately run campground and you can rent boats. I was able to easily kayak from the boat launch/ general store area to the lakefront by the day use area. The lake is deceptively big, I tried to kayak from the northern part to the other side, close to Mount Hood. I would say Sparks Lake, Trillium Lake, and Waldo Lake are still my favorites but Lost Lake is definitely near the top of the list.

Lost Lake Oregon

There’s also a 3 mile roundtrip trail around the lake and a steep hike up to the butte where you can see 3 mountains.

Without having the internet to distract me, I had to amuse myself by other means. I did a set of plein air lake studies on watercolor paper:

Lost Lake plein air study 6 x 9" on watercolor paper

 

Lost Lake plein air study 6 x 9" on watercolor paper

Lost Lake plein air study 6 x 9" on watercolor paper

 

I normally don’t paint outside, you can’t really in Oregon except in the summer (at least I don’t know how other painters paint in the rain). I had to be much more economical and less fussy- using lake water in a plastic cup, not having a proper palette setup, painting much more directly on the paper. All while having bugs constantly try to distract me from painting.

Macheros Mexico, home of the Monarch Butterflies

This past month I splurged on a yoga retreat (yes fancy )to Macheros Mexico. My creative coach Nancy Cuevas and I had been brainstorming travel ideas and when she told me about this magical idea to visit the mountain forests where crowds of monarchs migrate to from North America AND do yoga….I was SO in!  I’ve added some of my favorite shots to my print shop. I need to a longer write up about my trip but I wanted to quickly give an update:

We did rooftop yoga! Here’s a black and white film shot:

rooftop yoga Macheros Mexico

I love, love the pink bougainvillea that grows in Mexico and California. I wish Oregon was warm enough, I would plant these all over my yard.

Mancheros Mexico- pink bougainvillea

 

Just chillin’ on a hammock with a great view at JM Butterfly BnB. The weather there is perfect nearly all year.

Macheros Mexico- JM Butterfly BnB

A view from the top of  the El Rosario Buttefly Reserve. Yes I galloped on a horse to get there!

El Rosario butterfly reserve

These golden wildflowers grow in meadows near the forests and the butterflies love them.

El Rosario butterfly reserve

 

Design I Like: Piet Oudulf

I realized that my favorite thing that I saw during my trip to NYC (other than my friends) was the Highline, a public garden built upon an abandoned railroad.

Highline

The fact that the gardens were the most inspiring thing made me realize that I do in fact belong in Portland!

Alison told me that the Highline was designed by garden designer, Piet Oudulf.

gardenista.com

His work is amazing. He uses lots of native plants, perennials, and grasses and he creates these beautiful landscapes that have amazing color in all seasons.

Highline

He uses grasses for color and even the dying seedheads provide textural and color interest in the dead of winter.

http://veronicatsgardens.blogspot.com/
http://www.igpoty.com/ via Pinterest

Highline

Someday I would like to visit the Netherlands and view his private garden. There are so many more beautiful, inspiring garden examples in this pdf I found on the Harvard School of Design course he taught about designing for Mood in the garden:

“Mysticism totally depends on circumstances that are out of your control. Fog, dusk. It makes you feel on your self in a different world.”

“Emotion and mood are vital to the success of a garden…They are qualities, however, that are very difficult to define in hard-and-fast terms. It is always difficult to describe why certain gardens are attractive and not others. It is even more difficult to write prescriptions for creating different moods, for mood is only something that can be planned into a garden to a limited extent.”

Sounds like painting too 😉

 

I wish I was in Wheeler

You probably haven’t heard of Wheeler, Oregon. It’s a sleepy town on the Oregon Coast named after some timber baron, and is probably my favorite spot so far on the coast.

It’s got everything- water views, mountain views, and forests.

Wheeler

It’s an estuary, which means it’s ecologically diverse from all of the salt water and fresh water coming together, and is home to all sorts of cool birds like cranes and herons.

wheeler3

You know how I love clouds? Wheeler has fantastic clouds. The mist rolls in so, so romantically

Wheeler Bay

The first time we stayed at this hotel that is lucky enough be right on the bay.

wheeler2

I had the best time kayaking in the bay- it was near sunset, with the golden light shining on us and we were paddling right next to all the ducks and birds.

Be careful though, the second time I stayed with them they wouldn’t let me borrow the kayaks. I think you need to be staying with them at least 2 nights.

wheeler7

 

wheeler1

 

Little Crater Lake

Tucked in the Mount Hood National Forest is Little Crater Lake.

When I first came across it on Google, I was intrigued. I had been to Crater Lake, which was of course amazing, and I wondered what was Little Crater Lake. I asked a few of my native Oregonian friends- they had never heard of it. It turns out Little Crater Lake is aptly named…it’s much, much smaller than Crater Lake in diameter, but also very deep  at around 45 feet deep. Yes that’s feet, not inches. And it is freezing cold. I think they said the water was 34 degrees…brrrr! I actually thought Little Crater Lake felt colder than the water at Crater Lake.

The depth gives Little Crater Lake this amazing turquoise blue color, none of my iphone photos really could do the color justice.

From most of the photos (including mine) that I’ve seen of it, Little Crater Lake looks like a small, ordinary lake. But up close, you see shallow water that immediately veers off into an abyss. There were a few fallen trees, but you really cannot see the bottom.

I am proud to say that I jumped into this freezing water. And one must jump in Little Crater Lake to experience it.  You can’t ease into it, your body just won’t let you.

Even a few seconds of dipping my feet into the water, when the weather was a horrid 100 degrees back in Portland and most of Oregon was scorching,  left me running back to shore.   The water was cold, but man it felt so clean.

The other cool thing about this campground?

There’s a trail, about 1/2 mile from Little Crater Lake that takes you to the head of Timothy Lake where it looks more like a river than a lake. The water there is also pretty cold.

And yes, I accidentally hiked the Pacific Crest Trail, in my bathing suit and wet shoes.

Accidentally hiked the #pacificcresttrail #wild

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Hood River

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I haven’t been to Hood River in over a year- it had been too long! We love going to this English pub called Oak Street Pub, although I was bummed that they no longer serve St Peter’s English Ale that comes in the great green glass bottle. This time we found this amazing playground on the waterfront. They just make playgrounds way cooler these days. There was a mini climbing wall which I made a fool of myself in front of little kids who were much more adept at scaling the structure. The colors of the foliage reminded me of Colorado: silvers,yellows, and burnt orange.

As I walked along the water towards the Columbia Gorge windsurfing association rental spot, I spied a snow cap peering over the gorge. Does anyone know what mountain or butte that could be?

I’m so glad I had my water shoes on. There were several paths down to the water and I walked in the river hugging the bank. The most beautiful glowing light filtered through the red twig dogwood and other river flowers.

I love the way the light shimmers across the water and how it illuminates the rolling layers of hills that make up the Columbia Gorge.

I can’t wait to come back to Hood River!

Siletz Bay

Siletz Bay near Lincoln City on Highway 101 is a great family friendly beach option.

Siletz Bay

It’s right next to Mo’s Seafood, a restaurant that has got their operations locked down, I mean they get you in and out – fast- and the food is reliably good. Get the clam chowder in a bread bowl. Of course if you have kiddos be warned that even though the wait is only ever 10 minutes at peak holiday times, you will be forced to go through their gift shop to get to your table. Brilliant business.

There’s parking near the restaurant with public bathrooms. The lot does get filled up early, but it was pretty easy to find street parking near there. My definition of easy street parking is a ginormous amount of space that you can pull straight into. No backing up or parallel parking.

And the beach is not windy. I will post about these other beaches on the Oregon Coast where I felt like I was lost in  a wild sandstorm, and then had the brilliant idea to lose my iphone.  But anyways Siletz Bay is relatively more protected from the beach, and while I usually would strongly recommend bringing some kind of umbrella/tent/ shade, this beach is fine for lounging about with just a towel.

One thing that is very interesting about Siletz Bay is how much it changes from low tide to high tide. Here we are just hanging out on this enormous stretch of sand with no neighbors as typical of the OR coast.

It almost looks like we could just wade across to that peninsula/sand bar that is in the distance.  But come high tide, and then the beach becomes a bay.

I was shocked how far inland the water comes in. What was a fun splash through some puddles to get to where we were sunbathing earlier in the day, would have been a full on potential Darwin Award ordeal to ford the bay during high tide.

These changes make Siletz Bay a very interesting place to explore, with these cool pools and ripples that form during low tide.

And speaking of Darwin Awards, my favorite part of Siletz Bay are the three rock formations that are near the road.

During low tide, you can simply walk from the parking lot near Mo’s all the way to this area.

There’s actually another parking lot on 101 that is directly adjacent to this area. But I guess they don’t really want people to hike down this part, because the path is pretty steep and they actually have completely blocked off the entrance with a wooden fence.

Siletz Bay

I had an awesome time climbing these rocks and perching along side these trees to get a spectacular view of the bay.

But climbing down from there was a bit more precarious than I would have liked.

Oregon Coast: Moolack Beach

Moolack Beach

Ok, so I already expressed my love for Beverly Beach. And I’m not sure where technically Moolack Beach starts and Beverly Beach ends. The Oregon coast is great like that…it’s so expansive.

Anyway when we went to Moolack Beach we had the bright idea to bring our tent. Having a tent on the Oregon Coast was a brilliant thing..shielding us from the sun and and the wind, and we got a nice private area to snooze in. Naps on the beach are a win!

#pnw #oregon tents are great for the beach #camping #adventure #bestoforegon

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Not sure if we’re technically allowed to have a fire on the beach, so shhhh don’t tell anyone. Food tastes soooo much better over a wood fire.

campfire Moolack Beach

Yes we enjoy long walks on the beach.

Heading off into the sunset…

Mount Talbert

Man, Mount Talbert is a great looking butte. It’s in the Milwaukie / Clackamas area. We lucked out and went hiking up there in the middle of grey January on one of the lone sunny days that month. What a great park for hiking!

I took this on my iphone and it’s now my phone’s wallpaper. This is one of the few times that I think my iphone actually beat film!

Mount Talbert: I love Oregon’s fern-lined forest floors

Here’s the shot from my 35mm:

84840011

And on some black and white film:

Mount Talbert

 

Mount Talbert

Breathtaking Beverly Beach

We liked this state park so much that we went back and camped on Thanksgiving week. Because pilgrim sandwiches and canned cranberries are so much better by the fire on the Oregon Coast 🙂

The entrance to Beverly Beach is actually underneath Highway 101. Neat!

 

I was obsessed with the way the sand looked at low tide, the ripples and the shimmer.

Low tide ripples #beach #oregoncoast #pnwcollective #pnwonderland #pnw #oregon #grammaster3

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Because I had anticipated some stormy late autumn weather, we booked a yurt.

We actually had awesome weather. And then we came back to Portland for the start of the rainiest December on record. It rained, A LOT. And it sucked. So I guess our glamping on the beach was kind of like the eye of the storm, tricking us into a false sense of security and bam! rain for days. I’ve never ever seen it rain that hard for so long. But enough of the doom and gloom, check out these amazing views.

And man look at this sunset. The sand was so smooth and endless … I really have no words. And yes this photo was #nofilter, that was all mother nature.

I couldn’t resist..here’s one more: