May 31, 2017

Hiking in central Oregon

(...continued from previous post)

Okay, despite what happened on my first day there, the rest of the weekend was spent hiking and appreciating a different type of gorgeous scenery that Oregon has to offer. In this post, I'll just share a ton of photos and caption some of them as needed.

Pictures never do scenery justice, particularly when taken from an iPhone, but this was the best I could do.

This was my view of Mt. Hood from the airplane--I couldn't believe
what a perfect view it was! Even my brother, who is a pilot and flies
past it often, said he's never seen it this clearly.

The Portland-green that I love! From the airplane.

I took this picture from the car window as we drove past. I just couldn't
believe how out of place the mountains looked--like someone just picked
them up and placed them in the wrong spot. It was amazing. 

The first stop, which was actually unplanned. We were
driving past, and Thomas said there is never parking available
there. He saw an open spot, so we pulled in, and I'm glad!
I love waterfalls, and this was amazing.

Our second stop was a hike down to this waterfall. When we parked the car,
I felt like we were in the wrong place; you would have NO idea that this
gorgeous waterfall was just waiting for us not too far away. (By the way,
it was about 85 degrees outside!)

This looks like a postcard, doesn't it?

I was so excited when we saw some random cows chilling in the road.
Of course, we waited for them to cross the road before moving on. Despite
seeing lots of cows where I live, I've never seen them in the road before!

This place was actually not even on the map as a "lookout" or anything.
Thomas was just looking on Google Maps for places to go, and he saw
something that looked like a spot to park and see water. So we stopped,
and it was breathtaking. My second-favorite spot that we went.

My favorite picture from the trip! I was actually just showing Thomas how
he could pose for a pic, and he said it was way too "girly", and took my pic
instead. I turned out to be a great picture.

This hike was SO challenging for me. It was nearly 90 degrees outside, and
shade was scarce. We didn't bring water, because it was "only" four miles.
I later learned that four miles of hiking in these temps with full sun
is nothing like four miles of running on flat streets.

I wanted to show how high up we'd hiked, but this picture
really doesn't show it well. We found a spot of shade to catch
our breath about a quarter mile from the top.

The ONLY town for miles and miles. This was Main St.! There was one grocery
store, two restaurants, a school, a gas station, and that's about it.
But it was SO cool! And I was surprised how busy it was. Lots of people
stopping for food and gas.

The only restaurant that was open (the other was closed on Sundays). We each
got a burger, and they were amazingly delicious.

The "Philly" burger and tater tots. I was starving after our hike, and I ate
almost all of this!

This place was called Painted Hills, which is one of the "7 Wonders of Oregon".
The photo doesn't do it justice. It was unlike anything I'd ever seen. The hills
were SO smooth and looked like they were painted with stripes of red.

Another photo I took from the car as we drove past. So pretty!

This place had hills that had the most unique texture. They reminded me
of a brownie with a crackled top--which is probably a terrible description,
but I don't know how else to describe it! I should've taken a close-up.

Our final hike, which ended up being our favorite. This was halfway up
Black Butte (pronounced like "beauty" but without the "y"). This hike was
extremely challenging for this out-of-shape Southeast Michigan girl! 

View from the top. It was nearly 1,500 feet of elevation gain in about two miles.
Considering I have no hills or elevation of any sort where I live, I felt like
I would die. But I brought water this time, and I made it!

Another view from the top.

Trying so hard to balance on the rocks for a good photo op. I am the
clumsiest hiker, and nearly fell off a cliff a couple of times in our 2015 hike.
This time, I was determined not to fall!

While I was standing there, I saw an antelope squirrel. I'd seen several the
day before, from the car. I thought they were birds on the road until they
all scattered. I wanted to see another so badly, and I was thrilled when I
saw this one. I held out my (empty) hand, hoping it would come closer. He
came up to me, realized I didn't have food, and ran off. A super nice couple
heard how excited I was, and offered me some nuts from their trail mix.
The squirrel came back and I gave him an almond. I was SO happy. (I was
later told several times on social media that I shouldn't feed wildlife--I had
no idea that giving him an almond was wrong--so I'll never do it again.)

Just a girl and an antelope squirrel, gazing at the beautiful mountains.

I asked Thomas if this was considered a mountain (I wanted to be able to say
that I hiked up a mountain); he said I could consider it a "baby mountain", haha.
But I say if there is snow at the top, it's a mountain, dammit! I actually
took a handful of snow and rubbed it on my neck and arms--it felt amazing.

On the way home, we went through the city of Detroit, Oregon. We needed
to get gas anyway, so I got a quick picture. A far cry from Detroit, Michigan!

On Monday night, we picked up Brandon (Thomas's "little brother" from the
Big Brothers Big Sisters program) and we went to Killer Burger for dinner.
I wish I'd gotten a picture with Brandon (who is now 14)--I couldn't
believe how much he'd grown since I saw him last year! He was about an inch
shorter than me last year (I'm 5'4"). He's now 5'10", just about as tall as Thomas!!

I got the "girly size" (which they started calling "pint size" recently, probably
because that's more politically correct. It's just a half-size burger) Peanut
Butter Pickle Bacon burger. Sounds so odd, but I'd had it a couple of years ago,
and it was fantastic!

Just before heading to the airport, we stopped for celebratory drinks (my
first Long Island Iced Tea, which was delicious). After the difficult hike
that day, it was SO refreshing! I wore a shirt that says "Happy" because
that's how I felt after a few days hiking in Oregon, which I basically
consider my "home away from home" now. 

It was a fantastic weekend! Someday, I'd like Jerry to come with and see why I love Portland so much. If we weren't settled here in Michigan, I would want to move there. Hiking and scenery is definitely more my thing than Jerry's, but I think he would love the actual city of Portland (when he goes on trips, it's usually to a city--breweries and baseball are to him what trees and mountains are to me, haha). I brought him back a couple of local beers from Portland, and he was thrilled ;)

Overall, my favorite hike was Black Butte, because it was so challenging (for me) and I felt proud when I made it to the top. Seeing the antelope squirrel was awesome, and the view was amazing. The people on the trail were super friendly. And I always love getting to hang out with Thomas. It was probably my favorite trip yet!

Since it's Wednesday Weigh-in day, I was actually surprised to see that I was down 0.6 pounds from last week!

Yesterday morning, I was at 136.6, probably from the sodium and water retention from exercise, but it was gone today. I was conscious not to go overboard on the food while I was gone, and I probably burned a ton of calories from hiking (on Black Butte alone!), so I'm happy that I didn't gain weight, like I usually do.

Hope everyone enjoyed the long weekend! My next trip is our family vacation to the upper peninsula of Michigan. I haven't been there in a very long time, and my kids have never been!


  1. Looks like you had a great time! I've lived in Oregon my entire life, and I love it here. I've traveled a lot, and I can't imagine living anywhere else. A lot of people are surprised when they get to the high desert East of the mountains and see the other side of Oregon. Next time you come out, you should go kayaking or on a paddleboard- I would even invite you to come out with me sometime (I always own an extra kayak in addition to my SUP, just so I can invite people to go with me).

    1. That sounds awesome! I've never tried a paddleboard, and I've only been in a kayak once. I think next time, we are going to the coast--I've not seen that yet :) You're right, I was very surprised by the desert atmosphere! I assumed all of Oregon was like Portland.

    2. Well next time you are headed this way feel free to send me a message. I am always happy to introduce people to kayaking and SUPing- I have a number of friends who have bought their own boats after I drag them along on a river run or lake trip.

  2. Love this! First off, I'm SO bummed I didn't get to meet up with you guys after all! Dan and I had planned to come down (he was gonna do a race) and hang Sunday, but with everything that happened earlier than his month we're still somewhat hermits. But I'm so glad you had a blast! Thomas is right, the parking lot at Multnomah Falls is always packed! And it was definitely a hot weekend! I think the MAX incident has struck a chord with every Oregonian near and far, present or past. You're right, that's not what we're about and I can't believe you were so close to being on that light rail. Life is too crazy sometimes. Next time you're in town, I can't wait to see you!!

    1. I was bummed I didn't get to see you, too! Thomas told me that you had hoped to come down, but that it didn't work out (which I totally understand). I still call the restaurant that you met us at for drinks last time, "That one restaurant where Laurel met us for drinks" because I can never remember the name of it!! Hahaha.

  3. I've been a reader of your blog for years...and I live and practice in Bend, Oregon. I was so excited to read that you enjoyed our neck of the woods. :)

    1. I more than enjoyed it... it was spectacular! :)

  4. Someday I will visit Oregon - I have always felt it is my place :) I love your rainbow shirt, by the way.

    1. Thank you! I actually bought it at Salvation Army for $1, and it still had the original tags on it! I was pretty excited about that :)

  5. First of all, I'm mostly shocked that you've never had a long island before!! Of course, growing up in Wisconsin I've been exposed to maaaaany different kinds of alcohol so maybe it's different lol. Sounds like such a great trip! Those views are beautiful!

    1. Long Island's are popular here as well, but I always just assumed I wouldn't like it (because it's about 90% liquor, haha!). I was surprised how good it was!

  6. As the sister of a park ranger, I can't help but mention hiking preparedness. Speaking of the "what ifs" you mentioned in your previous post, going out on a four mile hike with elevation gain without any water or supplies is downright dangerous. You easily could have ended up one of those people my brother has had to rescue from the side of a mountain on more than one occasion. You should always, always hike with the supplies you would need to last at least a full day out in the wilderness, including water and food and clothing. Not to mention letting people know where you are and when you are expected to be back.

    It sounds silly to someone from Michigan where most of our trails are all flat and populated and never far from civilization, but in doing so, you'll prevent someone like my brother from having to get out of bed in the middle of the night to rescue you.

    With the amount of readers you have, letting them know SAFE hiking practices seems like a wise idea.

  7. Such beautiful scenery. I especially like the picture of Mt. Hood taken from the plane--simply stunning! Waterfalls are one of my favorite things. When we went to Yellowwtone last summer, I particularly loved all the waterfalls we saw in the Park. My wedding ring (which I have had re-sized more times than I can remember), now resembles a waterfall, at least to me. Last year when I was having it re-sized yet again, I had them add some very small diamonds to the wedding band (similar to the diamonds which had fallen off years ago) and they encircle the solitary (on one side) from the engagement ring and remind me of a cascading waterfall now, which I really love.

    1. I couldn't believe the view of Mt. Hood! Remember when I wrote about how I managed to get a first class ticket for cheaper than coach? I had the best seat! I wish I could fly first class all the time ;)

      The wedding ring sounds pretty! I love waterfalls, too. I never really appreciated them until I was an adult. Actually, scenery in general was never really appreciated when I was a kid!

  8. This is going to sound totally weird; but I can tell in the tone of your writing how much happier you are.
    I've been reading for years. I don't know if its the correct diagnosis, the correct meds, the trip or all of it combined, but I smile knowing just how happy you sound in it all.

  9. Wow beautiful photos, thanks for sharing so many with us! Looks (& sounds) like you had an amazing trip :) Mount Hood looks quite similar to Mount Taranaki, which is a few hours away from where I live in the North Island of NZ. I totally agree, every time I drive near the mountains I think how fake they look & so out of place! But stunningly beautiful of course.

  10. Loved reading about your Oregon travels and so glad you enjoyed the trip. I live on the Coast, and next year if you come I suggest hiking Saddle Mountain and Neahkanie Mountain. Both are challenging hikes yet very doable.... and I would LOVE to join you if it works out. PS - The tall waterfall you visited is Multnomah Falls :-)

  11. Your pictures are wonderful! Now I really want to visit Oregon! =)

  12. Your pictures are wonderful! Now I really want to visit Oregon! =)

  13. Wow, what amazing scenery! I can see why you love it so much! Makes me want to go and take my camera!

  14. I'm so glad you like my state, Katie :-) I think all the hiking opportunities are pretty awesome. Next time you are in Detroit (Oregon) one of my favorite hikes is nearby - Stahlman Trail.

  15. Hi Katie, I've been reading here for several years, commenting occasionally. I was one of those people who told you not to feed the squirrels...then you blocked me. So thanks for that. I'm happy to hear you at least learned for something from my comment.

    1. There were several people who mentioned that I shouldn't have fed the squirrel... and they did so kindly. Your comment was rude, and there was no reason to be rude to me. I was happy and excited, having a great time (unaware that I was doing anything wrong); and then for you to write a rude comment rather than stating your opinion in a gracious way was uncalled for. The other people who educated me about feeding the squirrels got their point across nicely, and I appreciated that--and that is all I ask.

    2. If there was something rude about my comment that offended you so much, I'd really like to know what it was. All I said is that you should not feed the wild animals because it poses risk to the human and animal. Then I said you should google "Bubonic Plague Yosemite" because it's relevant to what was pictured in your Instagram shot.

      Was it because I was the first person to mention it? With as large a following as you have, I'd hate for you to be sharing unsafe wildlife practices with others. It was not an easy comment for me to write, especially since it followed behind so many "OMG THAT'S AWESOME!!" ones. I was careful to write it in a way that was direct yet gentle. Either way, I was offended that you blocked me if that's how you treat your readers, I'm not sure I need to keep following your blog.

      On another note, my sister has had bipolar for fifteen years and I truly wish you the best in your treatment and future. It's not an easy life to live.

    3. Karen,
      I don't remember the exact words of your comment--I didn't delete the comment, but when I blocked you, I think Instagram automatically deleted it. Anyway, I will unblock you if you'd still like to follow me. But you may not want to --I've changed quite a bit lately. For 10 months, I went through the worst depression of my life (it was much worse than I ever made it sound here on my blog). After the longest 10 months of my life, I was finally feeling better, thanks to the new meds and therapy.

      On that trip to Oregon, I felt amazing! I was SO happy when I made it to the top of that (mini) mountain, and then when a few squirrels came right up to me looking for food, it was the best I'd felt in probably a year. (I'd spent the last two days hoping to catch another glimpse of one of those squirrels on the side of the road, so the fact that they came right up to me nearly made me faint with joy).

      I know that sounds ridiculous, but there really aren't words to describe that feeling of pure joy. I was so excited to share about it (not knowing that I had done anything wrong by giving an almond to a squirrel). I saw your comment as a wet blanket, there to ruin the happiness I felt. (Even if you meant it in a kind and informative way, please understand that I get a lot of comments that are written just out of spite--people deliberately trying to hurt me--and it's hard to know the difference sometimes). I simply asked myself, "Is this someone that I want to share my life with on Instagram?" and the answer was no. So I blocked you, without a second thought. I didn't want anything to ruin the happiness I was feeling that day.

      Now, I understand your concern--and had I known it was such a big deal (judging from several comments after yours), I would have reacted differently. I hope that by my explanation, you will understand why I did what I did. I'm sure it was childish to expect that my good mood could be preserved by a simple button on Instagram, but after feeling the way I felt for 10 months, I was willing to do anything to preserve my happiness that day.

      You are actually the first (non-spam) person I ever blocked. Even when people are deliberately mean or rude, I don't delete comments or block people. But lately, I've been trying to fill my life with positivity and happiness, and your comment, in that particular moment, felt like an attempt to burst my newly-happy bubble.

      Anyway, I didn't intend for this comment to get so long. I just wanted to explain why I did what I did, and that reading your comment here, just now, made me realize that I jumped the gun and I should have reacted differently. Thank you for calling me out on it and for sharing your side of things. I appreciate that!


I used to publish ALL comments (even the mean ones) but I recently chose not to publish those. I always welcome constructive comments/criticism, but there is no need for unnecessary rudeness/hate. But please--I love reading what you have to say! (This comment form is super finicky, so I apologize if you're unable to comment)

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