Sunday, May 5, 2013

7th Anniversary Trip
















This past February 17th marked our 7th anniversary. It's been one wild ride! Since this year will bring the birth of our first child, we thought we'd celebrate by doing a little road tripping and waterfall searching. Who knows when we'll be able to do that again?

On day 1 we enjoyed some pretty views of the ocean on our drive down to Seaside, OR. There we went out for a yummy dinner near our hotel.



We'd planned to do a lot of hiking, but day 2 showed us we'd be limited by my condition. I hadn't hiked since getting pregnant, and at 6 months, I discovered hiking was a good deal less comfortable than I was expecting. I'd remained active at the gym throughout my pregnancy, so this was a bit of a surprise. The only exercise that ever bothered me until then were those with a lot of bouncing, like running and jumping jacks. Since hiking doesn't have any bouncing, I never expected it to put so much strain on my body. Fortunately our first waterfall was Youngs River Falls in Olney, which didn't require any real hiking (by which I mean I don't count the 1/4 of a mile I had to walk down to the base), but later that day we'd discover how hard hiking would be on me.

Our next stop took us to the Wilson River area. This is the region you drive through while making the trip from Portland to Tillamook. There we took a .75 mile round trip hike to pretty University Falls.
Oscar had me pose for a pregnancy pic, so I had him pose for one too!


On our way to the coast we saw Fern Rock Creek Falls (left) and Bridge Creek Falls (right). Each are viewed easily from the road.


 Near Tillamook a 1/4 mile trail led us to pretty Munson Creek Falls.
Our last hike of the day included some off road driving (something our little Prius wasn't thrilled about) and our first real hiking. It still wasn't very much hiking (2 miles round trip), but it was enough to make me notice how difficult hiking would be for me pregnant. This hike went downhill first, and I was already feeling the abdominal pressure on the way down. It was horrible on the way up!

The cool thing about this hike is that there are two waterfalls at the end - Niagara Falls (slightly less impressive than its eastern counterpart) and Pheasant Creek Falls. I've read disputing sources on which falls is which.

That raincoat was getting stretched to the limits that trip with my 6 month belly.


The next morning we went down to the Lincoln City area to take a hike to Drift Creek Falls. Since the view from the bridge was fabulous, we didn't feel much need to continue down to the base.


After that we made our way down to Florence, OR. On the way we stopped at the Otter Rock lookout. Oscar's team at work is called Oscar's Otters, so we like going to places with Otter references.

Unfortunately the weather did not make for great picture taking that day. From the nearby gift shop, one side was foggy and gray while the other side was blue and mostly clear.

Since the city is named after the rock, you'd think "Otter Rock" would be the most prominent rock around. Oddly enough, that big one you see in the pic on the left is actually "Gulf Rock." The lady at the gift shop told me "Otter Rock" is the smaller one up in the top left corner just above the land.
Here we are at the Heceta Head lighthouse lookout. We didn't take a ton of coastal pics since we'd already driven up the coast on a gloriously clear day in July of 2010. We knew the pics we took on an iffy weather day like this couldn't compare to the ones we already had.

Next we hoped to go hiking on the Kentucky Falls trail, but for one of the few times in my life, we opted out of it. It's very unlike me to not go to see a waterfall (or in this case 3) when I'm near one and know I might not be back in the area for many years, but there were too many factors working against us. First off it was a longer hike and we didn't know how much my pregnant body could take. 2nd, the weather was foggy and by the time we arrived, it was fairly late in the afternoon. It was likely we'd be finishing the hike in the dark fog. And lastly, we realized it would mean 18 miles of gravel road driving to get there. Our car already wasn't too thrilled about the gravel road driving we'd driven so far, and we didn't want to push our luck.

Fortunately there were two waterfalls in the same area that didn't require gravel road driving. This one is Beaver Creek Falls. It's nifty due to the convergence of two rivers.


And Swift Creek Falls was pretty too.

The weird thing about this falls is that there's a trail to the upper lookout, but there's practically nothing to see up there. I don't see why you'd bother making a trail only to have the view still be obstructed. There was no way to see around the big rock on the left to get a clear shot of the main cascade.


That evening we went to the beach near our motel in Florence to see the sun setting over the coast.  Below is a panorama shot Oscar took of the sand dunes we had to climb over to get to the beach.

The next morning we headed down to the Coos Bay area to see Golden and Silver Falls. Fortunately winter is the ideal time to see them, and they were fantastic! We had a long drive that day or I would have liked to take the longer trail to the closer view of Golden Falls (left). Most of the year, Silver Falls (right) is just a trickle, which is why it only gets a 2 out of 5 star rating in the waterfall book I use. It was lovely when we saw it. We would have each given it 5 stars, but after seeing his picture, I see why he only gave it 2. His picture is from the trail we didn't take. There's a trail leading up to each side of it, and had we had more time, I would have liked to take the other one as well.

Oscar got some gorgeous panorama shots of this falls!
And some not so gorgeous shots... Where did my neck go?!!!

We spent the rest of our day driving down to Redding, California. I wanted to see waterfalls that trip, Oscar wanted to see sun, so we did both. We actually weren't sure where we would end up when we left. We knew we'd go down the coast to see the waterfalls I'd mapped out for us, but after that we just looked up the weather and followed the sun. Oscar was so thrilled to see the sun that he went for a run that morning and ran by this peace labyrinth above.


After that we saw the sun would be in Sacramento, so we drove down there. That day we needed to get our car serviced desperately, and thought it'd be nice to visit the Sacramento temple. How convenient that the Folsom Lake Toyota is just around the corner from the temple!


That night we went out for Pho', Oscar's new obsession. I like it too, but it does not work for me while I'm pregnant. I'd eaten it at 12 weeks without a problem, but at 6 months it gave me some serious bloating pain. It was the first truly unpleasant pregnancy symptom I experienced (I was one of the lucky ones that never had morning sickness). I was miserable for the rest of the evening, not being able to get comfortable either walking around or lying down. I didn't realize the pho' was the problem until I ate my leftovers the next night and ended up miserable again. I haven't had pho' since. It's one of the first things I intend to eat after I have this baby.


The next day was warm, sunny, and perfect. We walked the entire day, about 9 miles. I had some pregnancy pressure, but since it was all flat and I could go at my own pace, it wasn't too bad. First we walked to Golfland to go mini-golfing (this was the same course we went to in 2010 that decorates for Halloween), then we walked to Pasta Pomodoro for lunch, then we walked to a movie theater to see the first installment of "The Hobbit," and lastly we walked to a nail salon to get pedicures. Boy were our feet ready for that foot message! Unfortunately we had to walk back to the hotel afterwards. It wasn't too far, but after our feet had just been pampered it was the last thing we wanted to do.


On our way between Golfland and Pasta Pomodoro, we passed this restaurant "FATS." Oscar and I laughed that you would actually give a restaurant such an unappealing name, but the aroma coming from it was amazing!


We had a few days left before we needed to return home, so we visited an old teacher of Oscar's who's now living in the tiny town of Cathlamet, Washington. We went to church the next day and ran into the Hargrove family who used to attend our last ward in Lynnwood. Small World! Later that day, Nancy and Bill Nelson drove us to the even tinier town of Stella to see their little waterfall. We had fun playing games and celebrating Nancy's birthday with them that evening.


About 6 weeks after our trip, Oscar and I took a hike up to Rattlesnake Ledge, not knowing there was still a fair amount of slushy snow on the trail. Fortunately this hike didn't bother my pregnant body nearly as much as the February hiking had, even though the trail was steeper and I was now over 7 months pregnant. I still don't know what was up with month 6 being my most physically difficult month (up until now that is, the last 5 weeks before the due date).

For the most part this trail was hard packed, but slipping became an issue for the final 1/10th of a mile. Fortunately an experienced snow hiker offered me his hiking poles for coming down that icy stretch. Without them, I would have had to get on my butt and slide.


Oscar took this lovely panorama while we were up there. I'd hiked this trail alone in Fall of 2011 on a gorgeous day, so I have plenty of pretty pics. But nothing I got that day can compare to this!


And to celebrate, we stopped off at XXX Root Beer in Issaquah. My chicken fried steak burger was monstrous! And the Root Beer float made with their homemade Root Beer was delicious! The detriment to this place, though, is that they're a bit expensive and they don't take credit cards, so have cash or a check ready when you go.