Wednesday, September 19, 2012

{mcneil point: switzerland in oregon}

I've hiked a lot of trails in Oregon since I moved here last March. All of them have been breathtaking, stunning, gorgeous examples of the best that the outdoors can offer. So believe me when I say that the most recent hike I went on to McNeil Point was one of the most astounding hikes I've done this year.

My friend Elizabeth and I set off to Mt Hood last weekend in search of a good 5-7 mile jaunt. After getting lost several times on the ill-marked backroads of the Mt. Hood wilderness (we joked in the car about the dumb people who drive down abandoned logging roads in the middle of the night with no map and no way out... and then we kind of did just that) we finally found the dusty trailhead and began our hike into the densely green forests that are so prevalent here.

If I thought the forest was stunning (and it was!) it was nothing compared to what lay ahead. A mile in, we noticed a break in the trees ahead and Elizabeth mused aloud, "is it about to get epic here?"

We emerged onto a narrow ridge circling Bald Mountain and were met by views.

It was like something straight out of Sound of Music. In fact, we took a corner, were met face-to-face with a larger-than-life Mt Hood and we were all like, "THE HILLS ARE ALIIIIVE WITH THE SOUND OF MUUUUSICCC!"

The weather was just cool enough to create a beautiful layer of clouds surrounding the mountain. It felt like Everest, or heaven, or the Swiss Alps.

Each step got prettier. We kept stopping every two feet to take hundreds of pictures.
I kept shouting, "Oh my God, so gorgeous!" or simply, "AHHHHHHH!"

We stood there for a bit in awed silence, and Elizabeth said,
"I think I might weep a little...."
I said, "I am weeping!"
Elizabeth said, "I mean... it's probably just the wind in our eyes, right?"
"Yeah," I said. "Just the wind. We are totally not crying at mountains right now."

Then we took some jumping pictures.
Because, you know, we do that.
I won't mention that I fell on my face the first time.

We took another corner and Mt. Hood loomed even more beautifully than before.
"Not weeping!!" Elizabeth yelled.
"Definitely not!" I yelled back.

I want to note, too, that the guide book by Bill Sullivan that I use for all my Portland hikes is quite fabulous. However, he has a tendency to be rather stoic in his writing. He will say things like, "walk 1.2 miles and when the trail forks, take the right turn for another 0.4 miles. You will circle Bald Mountain before climbing through the trees."

If I were writing a guide book, I'd have a hard time keeping it short and sweet like that, because I'd have my caps lock on auto and say something like: "walk 1.2 miles through A FREAKING BEAUTIFUL FOREST, when the trail forks, take the right turn for another 0.4 miles to an EPIC VIEW. You will circle Bald Mountain and be completely BLOWN AWAY by mountain gorgeousness, and thus spend the next 2 hours of your 4 hour hike taking 2857635 photos."

I guess that's why I don't write guide books.

Eventually we left the alpine splendor behind and kept climbing through forests and past little mountain tarns. The weather turned even colder, and the fog started rolling in more densely. What should have been more mountain views turned into a wash of white:

At 3.5 miles in, we met up with a ranger who said McNeil Point (another mile further) was wind-blasted, cold, and traversed a glacier. Expecting warmer weather, we only had wool pullovers and no jackets. We opted to hike back out rather than push onward to the peak. We worried about the group of hikers in front of us: they were wearing sneakers, cotton t-shirts and no jackets.

The fog rolled in so thick that it obscured our views on the way back.
We met up with a couple PCT through-hikers on our way out and swapped stories before heading home for the evening.

Monday, September 17, 2012

{how to make a survival bracelet}

Survival bracelets are all the rage now-a-days, aren't they? I bet you were wondering how you could save $10 and get all crafty and make one of your own.

Good news. I'm here to show you how. Or rather, Tanner is here to show you how. He got all artsy on me one day while I was making nautical bracelets, and I just had to take photos to prove I'm not the only crafty one around here. Way to go, babe! Next thing you know, he'll have his own DIY blog. :)

(Psssst: I'm pretty sure he thinks this bracelet he created is red. Let's not destroy his self-esteem by telling him it's more of a salmon pink, shall we? Saving the day with a pink paracord bracelet is totally bad-ass.)

{survival bracelet}


@ 8-10 feet paracord (the actual length depends on your wrist size. I recommend getting more than you need and simply trimming off the excess when you're finished)
Small 3/4" trovato side-release buckle or other fastener
Wood and screws if you want to make a base for your project

Tanner has a survival bracelet that he wears daily, but being an Eagle Scout once upon a time, he was keen to make his own. And when this boy does a DIY project, he goes all-out. Rather than just weaving himself a bracelet, he made himself a wooden base thing-a-ma-jig to hold said bracelet in place while he wove it. He called it his loom.

If you want to make one of your own, the creation is pretty simple: get a piece of flat plywood and two smaller pieces of scrap wood. Measure the distance between the two scraps of wood to match the length you'd like your bracelet to be (ideally, slightly larger than your wrist diameter). Screw the pieces of scrap down to the plywood, then screw down your two buckle ends (male and female) across from each other.

To begin your bracelet, fold your paracord in half and thread the center loop through one of the buckles. Pass the ends through the loop and tighten to create a knot. With the loose ends, thread them down through the other buckle and bring the two ends out to either side.

Now you're ready to begin tying your macrame knots. You can see another example of this type of knot by reviewing another bracelet I made {here}. More instructions are below.

1. Make a loop (or a "P") with the right side of your cord
2. Lay the left side of your cord on top
3. Tuck the left end behind and up through the loop of your "P"
4. Tighten the knot.

Now, repeat the same steps, but backwards.
5. Loop the left side of your cord to create a "4"
6. Lay the right side of your cord over the left
7. Tuck the left end behind and up through the loop of your "4"

Continue making knots back and forth in this fashion until you reach the other buckle. Detach from your wood base and weave the loose ends back up through the knots on the inside of the bracelet. Then you can trim the ends and burn them, if you like, to keep them in place.

Clip your bracelet on and you have some (stylish) emergency paracord right at your fingertips! Now you'll be all set for the next time you find yourself in bear country and need to hang some food eight feet in a tree. Or for that time your dryer breaks, you lose your clothesline, and your underwear needs somewhere to dry. The paracord will be there for you. It doesn't judge.

Have fun!

Friday, September 14, 2012

{lost lake butte trail}

On our second day at Lost Lake, Tanner and I decided to go on a hike.
The options included a lazy, winding three mile trail that looped around the lake with no elevation gain, or a hike that climbed 1,700 feet in two miles.

"Let's do that one!" I said.
Tanner gave me an annoyed look while he read the description aloud: "not for the faint of heart, this trail climbs a strenuous 1700 feet in two miles, but the views are worth the effort. I hope you ate your Wheaties!"
"See?" I said. "Sounds perfect."
I think he would have left me sitting at the base of the trailhead right then, but somehow I talked him into it, and we trudged our way up a steep mountain for an hour and a half.

The views were worth the climb, and the trip back only took us twenty minutes!
So ended a very relaxing weekend (minus that hike...)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

{in which we find ourselves at lost lake}

Ah, Lost Lake. What can I say?
Tanner and I each had four days off work this week, only two of which overlapped (we may have planned that poorly... hmm...) so we capitalized on our time off together by jetting off to a small lake in the middle of the Mt. Hood wilderness, lush with campsites right along the water.

We spent the first day lounging in kayaks soaking up the sun, and I kept repeating to Tanner over and over, Can we buy a lakehouse?... I need to own a lakehouse... 
Water is my soul element. There's nothing on this earth that can tear me down so long as I have a boat, a lake or a pool to submerge in. It makes me whole. I seem to forget this fact until I am around water again; even Tanner was amused watching me stand waist-deep in a freezing cold lake, totally at peace with the world.

What I mean to say is, my superhero power would totally be Waterbending.
(Ahem... sorry... nerdy Avatar reference.)

Anyway, I think these photos pretty much speak for themselves. Almost every shot I took had some version of my bare feet propped up in a lounging position. And can we not forget that breathtaking view of the mountain? Yes, please.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

{new kitchen decor}

On Friday I showed you the new prints I created for my kitchen. Today I finished up the decor with some photographs and frames!

I'm pretty excited about the way it turned out. I kept my favorite Anthropologie measuring cups hanging on the wall on my fork hooks and filled the frames with food photographs from my visit to the farm last Labor Day (how time has flown!)

I also decorated the fridge with leftover food photos and my tea print.

Don't you just love that Anthopologie vase? I debated over buying it for the longest time and then decided I couldn't live without it. I love it.

I love the new decor so far! So bright and cheery. It almost makes me want to cook more often! ;)

Tanner and I have a belated Labor-Day-weekend, so we're off on a camping adventure for a few days. I'll see you all on Monday! :)
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...