Tag Archives: Hiking/Camping

15th Anniversary : John Day, OR

The last few years we have made it kind of a tradition to go somewhere for our anniversary. Usually not on our anniversary, since it sometimes lands on Memorial Day and crowds…yuck….lol Since we’ve been living in OR, we done the Red Woods in CA, taken a portion of the OR coast a couple of years until we got it covered and we’ve done Mt St. Helens.

This year we decided on John National Monuments and we didn’t want to take 26 since we’ve already done that a few times. We took 84 to 97 to 206…..wow. It was so different and so beautiful.

Got to one viewing area and got to see all the peaks including Mt Rainier, which we totally didn’t expect. Saw a bunch of wind farms…that was cool.

Since we have gotten our Wrangler, when you take it out on a nice day, other Wrangler owners will wave at you. Just like bikers do, they acknowledge each other. So we’ve been getting use to that, it is pretty cool When we turned off of 84 to go south, there were so few people on the winding roads, very in the middle of no where feeling….really neat. Well, people out there wave at you also as you drive by, I felt like I was back in Germany, where everyone said “Guten Tag” when you passed them

Didn’t do it like we originally planned…..it never does work that way….lol But it worked out for the best. We decided to change from the campground we thought we were going to head to the 1st night, because it was an hour & half from each of the 3 John Day Units. We really wanted and needed to hit 2 of the units Tues if we were going to all of them in, because at the 3rd unit, we wanted to do the 4mile hike.

We hit the Clarno Unit around noon Tues, did the small .5 mile hike, saw some really cool plant fossils.

We decided to camp at the Wildcat

It was nice and quiet…..didn’t get to enjoy it to the fullest, since when we go there, we set up a portion of the camp and then headed back out to see The Painted Hills Unit. We thought it would be only about 20min away….nope, more like 50…..lol But we found it and hiked the small .25 mile trail around the very colorful and stunning hills.

Didn’t get back to our campsite until about 7 and only had a few hrs of day light to left, we quickly finished setting up camp and get us some dinner.

The next day we headed to The Sheep Rock Unit. They have a really neat museum with all sorts of fossils. Now when most people think of fossils they think of from the dinosaur age, these are from the age of mammals. The John Day Monuments are considered the best in the world for the age of mammals. People have been researching them for over a hundred years and are still making new discoveries.

Now a weather observation, we live outside of Portland and 75 degrees is very nice. So when you see it on the weather that John Day is 75, you think comfortable. Big mistake….lol It is desert and with direct sun, it is hot. Wow…..lol

We did the small hike of the fossils, then headed for the 3mile loop. (Blue Basin Hike) We’ve found that we like getting the switchbacks up out of the way, instead of using them to come down. To us it’s the hardest part of the hike and we like to get it out of the way first. When we finished the hike, we were happy with that decision.

It was also our first hike with our camelbak packs. They were so much easier then our all day hike packs with camelbak water bottles. They held 100ml and the weight was spread out so much better on our backs. Which really helped with the climb up.

Really enjoyed the hike, like all climbs up….feel like I’m going to die and I curse the gym because that is suppose to help with it and it doesn’t seem to…lol Seriously, I use a climbing treadmill at the gym to help with the up and downs like a hike, I do about 4-5miles of that 5 days a week. Go on a hike and 1/4 mile up about kills me by stealing my breath…ggeezz..

Instead of going home the way we came, we wanted to continue on 26 to 7 and jump on 84 in Baker City. On the way there we found out last camp site of the trip….called Middle Fork Campground

This was the most awesome of sites we’ve ever had….there was 10 campsites and we were the ONLY ones there.  We had the whole campground to ourselves, only one or two vehicles went by on the road, we had a small, very chilly river, that we used to rinse the hike off and the big bonus, a nice pile of chopped firewood.  It was a great way to end our last night of camping for our anniversary.

The reason for taking that route home was I’ve never seen that part of Oregon and hubby wanted me to really see the high desert plateau…..where you go from 2k-3k feet in elevation down to 200ft. That was really neat. They had a lot of spots for run away trucks to go off the road. I highly recommend checking it out….unfortunately, wasn’t able to find any links to it.

[EasyGallery id=’johndaynationalmoumentandcampi’]

**I’m trying to get the gallery to work.  They are posted in my Facebook :


15th Anniversary Camping Plans

A little back story, when we chose our wedding date, I was just thinking of trying to avoid the jump in prices that a summer wedding always brings.  And our wedding ended up on May 31st….big mistake, always stuck dealing with holiday stuff and with my current job, I have end of the month stuff to deal with…blah We should’ve stuck with the Oct date…..lol

Now when we plan to celebrate our anniversary, it is normally anywhere from a few days to a few weeks that we do our plans.  Since we’ve moved to Oregon, we’ve tried to see different parts of the northwest, especially our adopted state. We’ve done 3 trips to the Oregon Coast to get it covered, camped in the Red Woods and now we are finally going to head to <a href=”http://www.nps.gov/joda/index.htm” target=”_blank”>John Day Nat’l Monuments</a> this week.

It is about a 4hr drive to the 1st campsite of <a href=”http://www.forestcamping.com/dow/pacficnw/umacmp.htm” target=”_blank”>Bull Prairie Lake</a>, just north of the 3 parts of the John Day Nat’l Monuments. We want to see the <a href=”http://www.nps.gov/joda/planyourvisit/painted_hills_unit.htm” target=”_blank”>Painted Hills</a> and the <a href=”http://www.nps.gov/joda/clarno_unit.htm” target=”_blank”>Clarno Unit</a> after we set up camp Tuesday.  Then Wednesday, pack up and head to the <a href=”http://www.nps.gov/joda/sheep-rock.htm” target=”_blank”>Sheep Rock Unit</a> to do this 4mi hike : <a href=”http://bp2.trimbleoutdoors.com/ViewTrip.aspx?tripId=536378″ target=”_blank”>http://bp2.trimbleoutdoors.com/ViewTrip.aspx?tripId=536378</a>

Hoping to get our 2nd campsite in <a href=”http://www.fs.usda.gov/malheur/” target=”_blank”>Malheur National Forest</a> before all the sites get taken.  But with it being mid-week and school still in, the odds are on our side.  =)  Thursday we’ll come out of the Nat’l Forest at Baker City and jump on 84 for the 5-6hr drive to head home.

The weather keeps going from overcast to sunny…..lows at night in the 40s and highs in the 60s/70s, really hoping it works out and we get to see some stunning scenery.  Totally looking forward to some hikes, even if not looking forward to the drive…..lol

Right now, I want to get more done, work wise and for the camping…..but keep thinking I’m missing something…..grin  Never ending cycle.

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope everyone is having a great day of family and food.  As I start this, hubby has the turkey in the oven and we have football in.  Been way too long since my last actual blog, doing our normal of gym, errands and work.  =)

I have finally got what family info I have and put it on ancestry.com  So far a few of my cousins have added info, which is cool.  Just would love to get even more.  I have all of my great-grandparents names and only one set of great-great grandparent’s names.  I lucked out on the great-great grandpa, he had lots of kids and descents who have put info on ancestry.com and I’ve got as far back as the 1500s in Germany….so that was really, really cool.  But for everyone else, I haven’t been able to get across the pond back to the old country.  =(  Doesn’t help that I can’t read German…..lol  If I can get back to the 1500’s on all of the direct lines, I’d be very pleased.

I just want to establish where the bloodlines are from and then what I really would like, it is find the distant and current relatives that are still in Europe.  I know that my maternalgrandfather’s side was still in, what was then East Germany, in the 1970s.

After getting tied into it for week, I’m taking a break.  When I start back up, I think I’m going to start on uploading pics so maybe it will enjoy other family members to  add to it.  Then I want to start something on my hubby’s side……there is so much to do, that my head spins on where to start.

**Just had our turkey dinner…..tummy is stuffed….grin  He made a great meal.  I think I just love having all the different types of food together…..and look forward to the leftovers.

I’m hoping that I’ll be able and go and visit my folks this coming June.  It has been too long.  And I would love to time it with their 40th wedding anniversary.  =)

This year has just flown by, I think not having an actual summer didn’t help.  It was so wet/damp at the beginning and so short.

We did get one more camping trip in and totally lucked out and got awesome weather!  We went to Mt Rainier National Park back in Sept.  It was sunny and in the 80s.  We took off the jeep t-tops once we got into the park.  It was so beautiful, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

We camped at Cougar Rock, it was so peacefully….helps to wait until after school is back in session….grin


On the drive around the park, we stopped at a glacier river, that showed it’s history of how it has moved through the years.  Meet a couple that lives just across the river in Washington from PDX, that has been going to Mt Rainier for years and has seen all the changes.  They must have been in theirs 80s, they were so neat to talk to.  Would’ve loved to talk some more, but we were out in the open without any shade…..very hot.  Putting our hands into the glacier river felt so good.

Glacier River


This year's bridge, until it gets wiped out. =)


2011 0907 Mt Rainier 0073

On the drive up.

2011 0907 Mt Rainier 0084


And we drove up to Paradise so we can do a small trail and see Nisqually Glacier.  Since last winter was heavier then usual for snow and our summer started later, parts of the trail still had snow.  But the small hike had such an elevation increase at times that it took 3hrs round trip.


2011 0907 Mt Rainier 0129


Start of the hike.


2011 0907 Mt Rainier 0190

Wildflowers and snow.  =)


2011 0907 Mt Rainier 0192

A waterfall off of the glacier in the distant.

2011 0907 Mt Rainier 0208


2011 0907 Mt Rainier 0250

The range, with Mt Adams way in the back round.

2011 0907 Mt Rainier 0285

A very icy, but refreshing feeling stream.  We put it on our necks and face, didn’t drink….not recommended unless filtered.


Have a great turkey day!




Happy Thanksgiving!

This gallery contains 11 photos.

This year has just flown by, I think not having an actual summer didn’t help. It was so wet/damp at the beginning and so short. We did get one more camping trip in and totally lucked out and got awesome … Continue reading

Long Time…..

It has been a long while.  It has been busy.  For the month of July we had our nephews, Jon and Dylan.  That was interesting.  Not use to having kids around on an everyday basis.  But it was fun.

Hubby had talks with them, the normal right and wrongs, helping mom, being brothers.  Tried to teach them to clean up after themselves, clean up around the house without being asked…..we’ll see if anything sticks…lol  But at that age, you can only try.

We took them on a small hike on Mt Hood, around Trillium Lake

Hubby with Dylan & Jon at Trillium Lake

Even got to see a critter on the trail.

We took them to the Oregon Zoo, getting Jon to smile for pics is tough….Dylan, he loves to smile…lol

Jon & Dylan

After the zoo we went to the Portland Rose Gardens…..it is something to see.  Dylan loved the smell of the different roses.

Portland Rose Gardens

We took them back to Canada and had an extended family camping the first weekend of Aug at Cultus Lake.

Hubby with Eliza

Spent one of those days at the water park….that was a ton of fun.  That weekend was full of lots of food, talk and good times with 48 people.  =)

Hubby & I

Most of July, we had below average temps and above average rain….during our “dry” season.  We finally started getting decent weather towards the end.  So didn’t do as much with the boys as we really wanted to.  But still had fun. =)

We did have a fun gift for the boy’s Uncle Von….grin  This is something college fans, especially Big Ten fans would appreciate.  Their Von is a HUGE Michigan fan and you know, our loyalties are with Purdue….sooo..  We decided to give their uncle something to remember us by.  We all dressed in Purdue gear, hung a Purdue flag and took a picture that we printed out and put into a Purdue frame, so he can put it in his Michigan room….grin  As he said, it is the people in the picture that matters, not what we were wearing……LOL

The boy's gift to their Uncle Von, a HUGE Michigan Fan. =)

Aunt Patrice & Uncle Von getting their gift from the boys. =)

A week after we got back we decided to go for a small trip.  We never drove up the 101 coast of WA….BIG mistake.  We were expecting it to be scenic like Northern California and all of Oregon….wow, disappointing.  The first part of it, you had all the sloughs….which were kind of cool to see.  And the Kalaloch Beach of the Olympic National Park, was really cool….that is what we expected to see more of.  But the rest of the drive was boring…..no really scenic areas, just tunnel trees and what scenic areas there were….like 2 of them, there were no pull offs to enjoy them.

The bridge out of Astoria, OR into Washington

Kalaloch Beach, Olympic National Park

Hubby had done some research and found where we wanted to try and get a site.  Well, that was totally full.  =(  And then we visited like 5 more sites before we found a place to camp.  This was the first time we have never made reservations.  People made fun of us for that, well, we’ll stick with making reservations.

We camped lite, food wise.  Took some dehydrated foods, a few subs and oatmeal….kind of nice not to have a lot of bunch of excess of stuff, but kind of weird.

We got our site at Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge…..it was really nice.  Had enough camp sites, it was well maintained.  We would like to go back to and do more exploring.

Trail at Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge

Dungeness Spit

The next day we had a dilliema, we were going to try and visit friends or go to Hurricane Ridge, Olympic National Park in the opposite direction.  We really wanted to see our friends, but the whole point of the trip was the site seeing and any hiking we can get in.  So we decided on Hurricane Ridge….totally worth it!  This is what we expected and wanted.

Zoomed in on Mt Baker from one of the pull overs on the way up to the Ridge

At Hurricane Ridge

We so totally want to go back and do some camping at the base and do some hiking up there.  There was still snow up there while there was a stunning amount of wildflowers everywhere.  Loved it!  I highly recommend it.  It helped to make up for they day before, that was a big disappointment.

On our drive out we saw signs for the Olympic Game Farm in Sequim.  We drove through Sequim, WA and found that it was the most pretty town we have ever driven through….lavender every where.  We both enjoyed and didn’t like the Olympic Game Farm, the reason why we didn’t like it is only because we hate seeing animals caged/fenced up.  We know that they are there for a reason and are taken care of and we love seeing them close up, but rather see them in the wild.  We did enjoy feeding them wheat bread.  =)

A Kodiak Beer telling me to give him another piece of bread....LOL

A Yak, they are not shy on getting close to get a treat. =)

So at least our trip ended on a high note.  =)  We are already planning on next trip.  Trying for Mt Rainer again, by the back roads….got turned around last time.  But we know were we got turned around, so going to be more careful…..we ended up on roads that weren’t on the map…..lol

I have gotten myself back into reading.  Kind of helped that our Borders is going out of business and I’ve made a few trips.  I finally got the finally 2 books of The Clan of The Cave Bears series….been almost 20yrs since I read the Plains of Passage.  It is going to suck not to have a big bookstore near by.  I love Powells, but don’t want to have to head into PDX all the time for that.  That is life.  =)