Monday, December 29, 2008

Snow Snow Christmas Snow

Christmas Eve with Friends

Alyssa with our new World Market clutch thanks Mom and Dad!

Fixing the obstruction on highway 46

Highway 22 up to Mt. Hood on Christmas Day

The most snow in Oregon for 10 years!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Breitenbush Hotsprings: Peaceful Relaxation in the Middle of the Cascades

Silent Pool
One of the Many Trails Around the Grounds
Main Lodge

Brietenbush Hot Springs is probably one of the most relaxing and peaceful places I have ever been. I spent a day lounging in the middle of the cascades guiltlessly contemplating my inner exsistence at the spirtually inspired, 100% self sustainable, vegetarian retreat.

Unlike most of Oregons hot springs Brietenbush has a restriction on the number of people that are let into the grounds each day. They try, successfully, to keep numbers to a minimum in order to preserve the esscence of the experience along with the peace and tranquility of the environment. Brietenbush has been homesteaded since 1904 but was known much earlier and frequented often by the local Native Americans. Since 1985 the resort has been community owned and across the river, that the springs are named for, lies a small village of individuals who have payed their dues to be allowed to live amongst the hot springs.

Brietenbush is more than the hot springs that it is most famous for it is also a retreat center. The resort has many overnight bungalos ro accomodate those who plan to make their stay a little more permanent. Along with your meditative dips into the geothermally heated and stoned walled pools you can enjoy the sauna which is heated by a hot springs river that flows beneath the wooden slots in the floor and heats the room with the naturally occuring steam. If you are tired of the heat you are allowed take part in one of the many other activities presented for free. Edgu, yoga, or a walk on one of local BLM trails are always an option.

My day began in pools and the sauna where I was told I would feel the best results from each if I altered from hot to cold. In other words this meant getting out of the hot tub/sauna and dousing myself with ice cold water and then returning to the hot tub/sauna. After a good many rotations in the over seven pools I made my way into the lodge for lunch which had been prepared for me and was an amazing organic vegetarian borritto buffet. From this all to filling lunch I headed into the woods and explored the local scenery and the trails which skipped from one side of the Brietenbush River to the other. After returning from my retreat, from my retreat, I ventured over to the sanctuary, a hexagonal building with a steepled roof where I joined about a dozen others on pillows positioned in a circle with legs crossed for an hour and a half yoga session which lasted into the night.

If you have the opportunity the cost is less that you would ever imagine. You are asked to pay what you think the experience should be worth and for your meals in advance. For both myself and my partner it combined cost us less than $50. We recieved an hour and a half long yoga session, amazing hiking, delicious food, and renouned relaxation. Make your way down the gravel path to the humble parking lot and spend the day in the woods.


Thursday, November 13, 2008

A Break In The Weather, A Day At The Beach... Pacific City, OR

Haystack Rock From The North Side of Cape Kiwanda

The Center of Cape Kiwanda

Cape Kiwanda
Pacific City From Cape Kiwanda

Today was the first in many days (probably around 2-3 weeks) that the sun decided to shine. Today also, fortunately for me, coincided with my day off. I made the most of the opportunity and ventured to Pacific City, OR: .
Pacific City is unique in many ways, the first of which is that it has both a micro-brew at Pelican Pub (I recommend MacPelican's Scottish Style Ale, and a couple of tasting rooms such as Basket Case Vineyards ( Perfect for the man or woman, like myself who enjoys watching the surf with a cocktail. The second is Cape Kiwanda sand dune, where the majority of the above pictures are taken on top, around the side and in the middle of. I was unsure of the parameters associated with my wondering on the cape and often found myself in situations where I would suspect a "Do Not Enter" sign should be. In all of my searching in the aforementioned areas I could not find a single sign or another human being which made the experience even more surreal and exciting. I will admit that at points I was a little uneasy when the force of a wave slamming into the cape shook the sand under my feet. Two of the pictures above (2,3) were taken in situation where I had to capture the shot before the sea captured me. Though there were not signs in the particular areas that I adventured into, after a more thorough search of the cape I did come across many well marked areas that were designated as "Do Not Enter."
Alltogether I loved Pacific City. If you have the chance to go, take the opportunity and don't bother looking for the signs.
Pacific City is located approximately one hour NW of Salem, OR and we would love to bring you there.
Connor & Alyssa

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Happy Halloween We Miss You

October at Smith Rock

Andrew and I After our Second Pitch.

Climbing at Smith

Smith Rock Through the Brush

Sunrise at Smith Over the Crooked River

My cousin Andrew and I descended, or ascended, upon Smith Rock last weekend for a beautiful climbing and camping trip. Smith Rock is located in central Oregon and if you look back a few posts ago, was one of the first places Alyssa and I stopped in our initial jaunt across our new home, Oregon.
Smith is the birth place of modern American sport climbing and with more routes then I could think to fit into our weekend we made our journey east to central Oregon. We arrived late and laid ourselves under the stars next to the Crooked River in the $4 a night Bivouac camping area across the river from the cliffs. The Crooked, which meanders through the park and sits just below the gold and pink walls is not often fished within the park limits but is a popular fly fishing river upstream.
Smith has a great history and even greater climbs. The rock here is tuff and basalt, known for its texture. After a few routes of searching for foot holds I came to the realization like every climber eventually does at Smith, that there are foot holds everywhere. The rock, when looked at closely resembles some make-shift organic concrete that set up before it was smoothed out with small pebbles protruding from it's surface. This may be because of the geological history of the area and that tuff is technically consolidated volcanic ash common to the central Oregon area. The marble sized pebbles that sit sticking out of every inch of the walls surface are hard to identify at first to those who are not used to using miniature pebbles as sturdy unyielding stairs. Once identified as such you are on your way to becoming part of the ardent community that prevails at Smith. The local climbing "bums" who spend their time mesmerized by the jagged peaks that rise from the shores of the Crooked and out of the dust of the desert terrain are like most Oregonians, very welcoming. These climbers were more than willing to give me beta (a climbing term for information) when my guide book would seem to fail me or when I would fail it. An example of the gracious fun loving attitude can be seen here where a local, Joel Sprenger dressed as Santa Claus, slack lines across the top of Smith Rock to the mouth of one of the most popular multi-pitch routes in the country, Monkey Face.
Smith Rock is one of the most unique and inspiring places to climb in the country with sport and trad climbing that will challenge the best of climbers. The community is welcoming and fun, and the weather is almost always dry which creates close to year round access.
I highly recommend taking the desert roads and heading to Smith. If not to climb the hiking in the area is beautiful as well.



Monday, October 13, 2008

Fly Fishing: The Crooked River and the Metolious

The Metolious River

The Crooked River

Ron and the Red Side

I met the husband of one of Alyssa's bosses at a dietetics potluck the other day and he asked me if I would be interested in going fly fishing with him. Little did I know the trip would turn into a 6am to 10pm all day fishapalooza. He did show me two great rivers though, The Crooked in central Oregon and The Metolious in the high Cascades. It turned out that I had a great time and that Ron was a great guy. The Metolious is world famous for its fish and I hooked into a big one but snapped him off a soon as I hooked him. Otherwise, I caught one fish all day and it was on The Crooked river at about 1pm. The fish is what is referred to as a Red Side and is a unique to Oregon version of the Rainbow trout. Above are some of the pics. Including a picture of Ron with a Red Side that he caught on a tiny black and yellow nymph.



Saturday, October 4, 2008

coffee, wine, and beer

That's what the Pacific Northwest is all about. It is not hard to find someone who is passionate about coffee, wine, and beer around here. Every street in town is littered with drive thru coffee stops and I think Starbucks owns at least 50% of city real estate in OR. Today Connor and I made our first wine tour around the outskirts of Salem. (And not a drop went in the spit bucket, mind you). The Willamette Valley wine region is rapidly growing in popularity, and becoming known for their pinots, due to the shorter growing season. We thought it was about time to see what the fuss was about.

The valley is beautiful and just right for all sorts of crops not just grapes. Much of the produce that we buy comes from less then 25 miles away. The farmer's markets this time of year are overflowing with peaches, berries, apples, and pears, all grown in this region. Yummy!

I guess the rainy season is almost underway so we have a few more sunny weekends that we must make the most of.

Keep in touch.

Alyssa and Connor.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Coast... Neskowin

Here are some pics from the coast in the town of Neskowin about an hour from our apartment...

Another reason to come visit... hint hint....


Connor and Alyssa

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

OR at last settled at Fur Villa Apartments

Hey everyone. Connor and I have finally gotten the apartment together and looking decent enough to take pictures. We do not have much furnature to fill the place but it is nice to have room. There is an extra bedroom for anyone who wants to come visit... (hint).
So far so good. Connor is going to his second interview today with a company called K Designers. They do home remodeling. I had a Serve Safe class yesterday and learned how to avoid poisening others while preparing food. Other than that I think we have the rest of the week to check out our surroundings. Yesterday evening we drove around downtown Salem and checked out the Salem Hospital where I will be spending my first 4 weeks of internship. It looked really nice, and we saw signs claiming that it is the best hospital in OR.
Until next time...
Alyss and Connor

Sunday, September 21, 2008

We Have Arrived

We made it folks. We have been in Oregon for a few days now. Stopped off in Bend, OR Friday before making it to Salem on Saturday at 11a.m. pacific standard time. Bend was great we went to an amazing mexican restaurant and went climbing at Smith Rock (pictured below). Our apartment was pleasantly supprising. We feel like we have to much space for how little stuff we have. So we went to good will yesterday to try and find some furniture and found an awesome picture of a group of owls instead, which now sits in our bathroom. Anyways, we are here and safe and are trying to put everything away. Come visit us becuase we have a full extra bedroom where you may sleep comfortably. We will post some more pics of the apartment soon sorry it's sort of a shambles still.


Alyssa and Connor

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Buffalo, Bears, Elk and Trout

So, we made it to the rockies, over the river and through the woods. Against all odds we made it through not one but two nights of camping in Yellowstone National Park. Now we are sitting back in the hustle and bustle of the "civilized world" in a Comfort Inn and Suites in Boise, Idaho. I know in our previous posts we mentioned that the drive through South Dakota on highway 90 was boring. Dear God, did I ever wish I was back on highway 90 after driving highway 84/86 through southern Idaho. I guess we did decide on the drive because it was less hilly than going north to Coeur d'Alene and hence better on our vehicles. Little did we know how flat and treeless the world could get and still not be desert.

Before we got into Yellowstone we were blown away by the beauty of the Big Horn Mountains. There was also the stop off at Connor Battlefield, oh thats right and I messed some people up.

On a brighter note we were fresh off two perfect days of 70 degree weather and cloudless skies in Yellowstone where we saw Buffalo and Elk galore. We did see a grizzly (from our car) at dusk on our first night walking back into the woods about 10 miles from our campsite. Along with the bear we listened to Elk calls that were close enough to wake us out of a deep sleep. But my personal favorite were the trout. I was able to catch a few brown and a rainbow on the Firehole River the most unique river in the park and one of the most unique trout streams in the world. This is because along its path a high number of gysers pour over its banks and heats the river beyond typical trout stream temperatures (take a look at the river here ). If you look close at the picture below you can see I am fishing it in my sandals and shorts mid-day wadding through the perfect mountain stream. Alyss and I took some amazing pictures and saw some great sites in the park spending a full day driving and stopping and driving and stopping. One of our favorites was the battling buffalo which we have a video of but I can't seem to upload it so I will have to do that soon for you.

Alyssa wants you to know how scared of bears she was, very.