This is what makes the Pacific Northwest spectacular..the GREEN from being a temperate rainforest. I love the moss on the trees, and the Hoh Rainforest has more types of moss than I have ever seen in my life.
It’s a tough decision but I would say the Hoh Rainforest was my favorite spot out of my week at the Olympic National Park.
It is about 45 minutes from the nearest gas station with very spotty cell reception so go prepared. We found an outdoor clothing store on the one road that connects the Hoh Rainforest entrance to 101.
We spent a week this past summer visiting Olympic National Park.
We camped at Kalaloch Beach, very convenient to the Kalaloch Lodge which has a really tasty smoked salmon. It’s a great place but next next time I would have booked a new site for each day in the park. It got to be pretty tiring driving back and forth from Kalaloch to each new destination on the Peninsula.
We hopped down to Silver Fall State Park near Salem, Oregon to take advantage of the free admission on Black Friday. This was our first camping trip in Oregon and it’s still amazing and beautiful. The waterfalls are great and the lighting is so beautiful there.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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:
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.
Just chillin’ on a hammock with a great view at JM Butterfly BnB. The weather there is perfect nearly all year.
A view from the top of the El Rosario Buttefly Reserve. Yes I galloped on a horse to get there!
These golden wildflowers grow in meadows near the forests and the butterflies love them.
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.
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.
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.
He uses grasses for color and even the dying seedheads provide textural and color interest in the dead of winter.
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 😉
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.
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.
You know how I love clouds? Wheeler has fantastic clouds. The mist rolls in so, so romantically
The first time we stayed at this hotel that is lucky enough be right on the bay.
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.
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.