Hiking/Outdoors

ROMP BY THE RIVER

Spring has finally arrived in the Northwest. This means we now suffer from skitzophrenic weather patterns, SUN, rain, SUN, rain, SUN, SUN, SUN (cue the hopeful feelings), then rain, rain, rain (cue the depression as you start to believe the sun will never return and you actually somehow slipped backwards into winter).

With that being said, when the sun decides to arrive, it is in everyone's best interest to head outdoors.

After raining all morning suddenly the skies opened and I realized it was time to capitalize on our fortunes lest we be blessed with rain all next week. So I gathered my leash and my pooch, and headed to the Deschutes river, also known as my next door neighbor.

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I wont lie to you and say that sometimes I don't ache all the way down to my toes for Seattle. That I don't long for the days when I could jump on a buss and 15 minutes later be in the heart of downtown Seattle. But something I always felt was lacking from Seattle was this.

Sure, there were lakes, and parks, and wilderness 'areas' in Seattle. But on a day like today, you bet you'd run into 70 other people. Here, I walked for 15 minutes, and suddenly I was playing in my own private wilderness.

I guess it makes up for the lacking of hip happy hour options.

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I love how Oly's face is a little deformed by the slowness of my iPhone's camera. Even with the deformity there is no denying that this is one happy pooch.

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Yes, that is my dog trying to eat the plants growing on the bottom of the river. She's special like that.

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I tried to capture this moment a million times. Having Oly run in front of me, then crouch down with my phone at the ready and call her back. In the end this shot made the cut because not only does Oly look happier than I've seen her all day running loose in a field as dogs always long to do, but the rays of sunlight in the top corner make the shot even more euphoric.

But I could just be sun drunk at this point.

It's hard in the Northwest not to get excited about a warm spring day. You'll have to excuse me. I'm sure if it rains tomorrow I'll be back to my gloomy self.
 

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Ashley, the Accidental Olympian




BEND

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Do you remember the movie All Dogs Go To Heaven? It was a total joke. Dogs, dying and heading up into the heavens? Flying around in the clouds with halos and shit? PLEASE. I am pretty sure even the Christians were offended by that one.

In reality I am pretty sure that when a dog dies it makes a quick pass over Rainbow Bridge and then receives a pass to enter into the REAL Dog Heaven, which is more commonly known as Bend, Oregon.



AN OLY-TASTIC CHRISTMAS

Adam, Oly and I would like to wish you and yours a MERRY CHRISTMAS! Or whatever it is you choose to celebrate this December.

Oly would come on over and wish you a holly jolly day herself, but she's too busy being in heaven. She's already told me she has no intention of ever coming home with us. She's going to live on this rug right in front of the fire for the rest of her days. 

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Oly has also alerted us to the fact that Christmas chew toys beat regular chew toys any day. They're festive, and tasty, and people keep giving them to her as distraction methods. And with all the new people around to meet this weekend, there are plenty of opportunities to deploy distraction techniques.

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Even better than the fire, and the special treats are the walks. Walks without leashes, walks near large bodies of water, walks that last for hours, and walks that include unbridled chasing of squirrels, bunnies, ducks, and discovery of elk poop.

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It's a doggy Christmas miracle.



THE WILDRENESS DOESN'T WANT ME TO BE HAPPY

Since my new motto was to appreciate what I had and stop being a whiny little bitch, I thought I would invite my friend along on Saturday for a hike in the Olympic National Forest, which is sort of in my backyard. I've been meaning to visit this impressive wilderness all summer, and I figured the fresh air and the exercise would be good for all parties involved.

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The day seemed perfect for a hike, we were constantly surrounded by a cloudy mist, there wasn't a single other car waiting at the trail head, and we'd found our trail with little struggle. I was thrilled to finally be able to check off 'Hike in the Olympic National Forest' on my summer to-do list. Overall the forest was unlike anything I'd ever seen before. Old growth forests give off the impression that you have stepped back into the Jurassic Era. There are giant ferns littering the floor, gigantic mushrooms grow in colors you didn't realize occurred in nature, and everywhere you look grow the most awe inspiring trees I've ever stood beneath.

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We started on such a positive note, smiling, happy, impressed by our surroundings, and then we discovered a bees nest. And when I say discovered, I mean was attacked by one. One moment we're walking around pointing at things like tacky tourists at the Empire State Building, the next Oly is surrounded by bees, my friend is SCREAMING and running in one direction, and I'm flailing my arms and booking it in the other direction. I knew this was an usual forest, but I wasn't aware that it was the forest of killer ground bees. After much hyperventilation from my poor friend I was able to convince her to run at full speed (because that's true hiker safety) past the nest. No one was stung, and thankfully no EpiPens were needed. We continued on, sure it was simply a fluke experience.

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Besides the bee hiccup in the beginning we made it to the lake in one piece, had lunch, and after a quick break decided to head back. While crossing a section of the trail we'd been by once before we were lucky enough to encounter ANOTHER KILLER BEES NEST. I don't know if Oly has a death wish, or just doesn't like me very much, but once again she stuck her nose in a ground bees nest. Because pissing off a bee hive in the middle of nowhere is a fun way to spend a Saturday.

This time we weren't as lucky. Oly got stung, and then I quickly realized I had a killer bee attached to my pant leg humping that little stinger over and over, trying as hard as it could to sting me in the leg. This little fucker was pissed. After jumping around and kicking my legs like a maniac I realized the only way I was getting this angry guy off my pants was by using a stick. Once I flicked him off I was feeling all triumphant like, "Look at me, no bee can harm me!" Then TWO of his buddies showed me a thing or two and managed to get under my backpack and sting me on the back. It was such a mess. My friend is screaming bloody murder on one side of the nest, I'm jumping around screaming "I'VE BEEN HIT! I'VE BEEN HIT!" on the other side, and poor Oly is shaking uncontrollably. Oly, what do you think of your first hike so far? Fun huh!

Once my poor friend had climbed off the trail and literally bushwhacked her way back to where I was, all we wanted was to be air lifted out of this evil forest with all the killer bees. Knowing that we had to finish the hike, and still walk past the FIRST bee hive was almost too much for us to bear.

Looking back I totally know why this trail was listed as 'infrequently used' in my guide book. Because it's EVIL. Through the entire hike we kept remarking how strangely quite the forest was. No birds, no animal tracks, absolutely no forest noises of any kind. We assumed it had something to do with the deep mist, somehow it must decrease the forest noises we thought. How serene we remarked. Then I realized, there wasn't anything magical about this trail, it was quiet because the killer bees killed everything. Birds, attacked by bees. Deer, mauled by bee swarms. Other hikers, devoured by those little black and yellow killers.

Nothing like a day fighting off evil bee swarms to really start yourself back on the path towards positivity.