A Wonderful Girls Weekend Exploring Central Oregon

Well if you’ve been watching TV at all lately you’ve probably seen the latest ad campaigns by Travel Oregon titled the 7 Wonders of Oregon. If you haven’t experienced these wonders you need to, they’re all breathtaking.

A few weeks ago we went on a girls trip to enjoy the Painted Hills, Blue Basin, Thomas Condon Paleontology Center and Smith Rock. It was amazingly fun and we enjoyed the wonders of Oregon.

Our weekend started staying at Eagle Crest Resort. The room was reasonably sized and the price was good. We enjoyed a little hot tubbing an wine to start the trip off right. The next morning we headed off to Painted Hills.

Stop #1 - Painted Hills

Painted Hills

Painted Hills. The pictures do not do this any justice


Painted Hill, Oregon

My girl taking a rest at the top of the of the Carroll Rim Trail


Painted Hills

Just a tad windy at the top

Painted Hills

That moment scared me!

Next we made our way to Blue Basin, words cannot even describe the beauty of this area and pictures did not capture the color of the basin.


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Blue Basin

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My baby is taller than me :(

On Sunday we woke up to hike Misery Ridge at Smith Rock. WOW the view and the hike were both mesmerizing!  We woke up early to catch the sunset, unfortunately there was too much cloud cover but it was still well worth the early morning. 

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Smith Rock at Sunrise

Misery Ridge at Smith Rock

A perfect weekend!

A perfect weekend!

Do you have a favorite place in Central Oregon to hike? Tell me where, I would love to hear about it.


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New Years Day Hike – Castle Rock and Carpenter Mountain Lookout

New Years Day 2014 was amazing! My husband, nephew and I went for a 2 short hikes in the Mckenzie Valley.

We started our day off late as usual and then going the wrong way at Cougar Reservoir but finally made it to the right road for Castle Rock lookout. The lookout is no longer there but the views are great. This trail is a heavy use mountain bike trail so I wouldn’t recommend it in the summer but on this crisp winter day we had the trail to ourselves.


Top of Castle Rock

Sun hiking at Castle Rock

Finally out of the fog in the valley and there’s SUN!

Castle Rock

He doesn’t look very happy with me!

Castle Rock

A little rest before we head down the mountain.

The pinky promise from attempt #1.

It was only 11am when we got in the truck so we decided to head across the highway to Blue River Reservoir to hike up to Carpenter Mountain lookout. I was skeptical that we could get up there due to the elevation, 5,039 feet, but sure enough the roads were clear. I’ve attempted this hike twice already and failed. The first time was just the kids and I, we were about half way up the mountain and a lightning storm struck. Colton was scared out of his mind and made me promise I would never take him hiking in the rain again.  The second time we tried in February, I know not too smart but I just bought my Jeep and we wanted to play in the snow.

The long drive and the steep ascent were certainly worth the views. WOW, it was amazing. Carpenter Mountain is a staffed lookout in the summer, I believe its one of the few in the cascade mountains.


The start….


The first look at the lookout.

 The start of our hike began with the sign, heck 1 mile is not far at all. Well, let me tell you when you feel like you are going straight up it takes a while. The worst was scaling the rocks.

Our first look at the lookout, yep its on top of this HUGE rock.


Amazing view. We could see from Diamond Peak to the tip of Mt. Hood.


Wolf Rock

This was probably the most interesting discovery of the day, Wolf Rock. It’s the largest monolith in Oregon and towers 1000 feet over the surrounding area. It’s our next adventure!


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A nice outhouse near the lookout. You should check it out!

Thanks for reading my blog. If you have any hiking adventures that I should attempt please share them with me.

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DietBet with Me – Let’s keep the pounds off this holiday season.

As I grew up and into my 20’s and early 30’s I always heard everyone say how hard it is to keep the pounds off as you get older. Well… I never believed them until these past 2 years.  HOLY COW! The pounds sure have packed on. Yep, I will say it, I’m much much heavier than I am okay with. I either hide it well or my friends like to lie to me, because trust me I wasn’t this heavy when I was pregnant with Colton. So, I’m taking a stand or at least trying to be proactive for the holiday season.  Goal

Today I started the Dr. Oz 3 day detox and cleanse. I’m not hopeful but I will try it. The first shake did not taste so great (insert pukey sound here).  I also just started a DietBet challenge and invite all of you to join me. DietBet is a fun way to lose weight and be social with your friends.  I was first introduced to it last summer and was successful. Join DietBet with me and stay in those skinny jeans.

Click Here to Join 

Have Fun! Lose Weight

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Winopee Lake Trail – An August Trip

Our August backpacking trip was a blast! The kids, dogs and I went alone since Skip had to work on Friday. It was beautiful! Our goal was Mink Lake but we only made it to Winopee Lake.

Skip was nice enough to put together all of our packs the night before. the only bad thing is he always expects an emergency so my pack weighs WAY too much!

Getting us all ready!

Getting us all ready!

We looked eager in the beginning.

We looked eager in the beginning.

Our morning started at Cultus Lake. Its a long walk around the lake, we came across a bunch of mountain bikers and runners from the resort. The first camp was disgusting, human feces and trash everywhere, it was truly gross. These were all big camps that people got to by boat, they were certainly not hikers or backpackers.

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After 2 1/2 miles we reached the wilderness permit signs

Only 3.5 miles to go for a total of 7 for the day

Colton is not excited to go 3 more miles, its starting to go uphill too..

Colton is not excited to go 3 more miles, its starting to go uphill too..

A little water break for the kids and dogs. The Corgis little legs are getting tired at this point

A little water break for the kids and dogs. The Corgis little legs are getting tired at this point

Finally we made it to Winopee Lake, the view was gorgeous! There wasn't great lake access though and we didn't catch any fish.

Finally we made it to Winopee Lake, the view was gorgeous! There wasn’t great lake access though and we didn’t catch any fish.

At this point Colton was concerned that there was going to be a thunderstorm, he was pretty upset. But we were luckily just some wind but no rain or thunder.

At this point Colton was concerned that there was going to be a thunderstorm, he was pretty upset. But we were luckily just some wind but no rain or thunder.

The night was a bit of a struggle, I brought our 2-person backpacking tent for 2 kids, 1 adult a beagle and a corgi. It was a tight fit and I didn’t get a lot of sleep.

Skip met us at camp the next morning about 9am, he got up at the crack of dawn to hike in. Since i wasn’t happy with the lack of fish and poor lake access we decided to pack up and move to a new lake.  Our new goal Teddy Lakes, it was a windblown MESS with tress down everywhere. We couldn’t even get to the lake. Failed plan there.

Muskrat Lake was beautiful (I’m kicking myself now for not getting any pictures)  with baby frogs everywhere. You couldn’t walk anywhere without stepping on them. The old trapper shack in the meadow was fun to explore, we found names and dates back to the early 40’s. At this point we were  just 4 miles from the car so we decided to hit the trail and go home.

Overall another successful trip. As I’m looking through our pictures of all the fun we’ve had I really really miss summer!

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Too Much Snow on Opie Dilldock Pass – A failed backpacking trip

The days started out at 4am loading our packs and getting ready to spend the night at the Obsidian Falls near the PCT. We started off on White Branch Trail heading for the PCT over Opie Dilldock Pass, and thats where the day came to a halt. At least 3 feet of snow met us right after Four in One Cone.

The day may not have ended as we would’ve liked but it was fun with some amazing weather.

Little Brother from Four in One Cone

2 feet of snow on White Branch Trail about 1/4 mile from the PCT

2 feet of snow on White Branch Trail about 1/4 mile from the PCT

Very fresh cougar tracks

Very fresh cougar tracks

Almost at Four in One Cone

Almost at Four in One Cone

Little Brother behind us

Not sure where the trail is...we spent a lot of time looking at the map

Not sure where the trail is…we spent a lot of time looking at the map

Before too much snow

Before too much snow

An  amazing view! Little Brother and Collier Cone

An amazing view! Little Brother and Collier Cone

Even though we didn’t reach our goal I was a very happy girl!

On the way back down the trail to the car.

On the way back down the trail to the car.

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Collaboration Equals Awesomeness

It is the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed. —Charles Darwin

I like to think of myself as a fairly intelligent person with some pretty exciting and innovative ideas. Yet, I am humble enough to know that my ideas get exponentially better when I collaborate with my fellow warriors of enthusiasm. (If you don’t know what a Warrior of Enthusiasm is I highly encourage you to read this blog)

Collaborate, Think out of the Box Most often collaboration and great ideas don’t happen in a boardroom or an official conference call. For me, they happen in the hallway, the kitchen while getting coffee or during random conversation. A good idea turns into an awesome idea in this type of environment.

Why does a casual atmosphere inspire a more collaborative environment than other settings? I’ve pondered for quite some time. I’ve finally come up with my top 5 reasons:

  1. Boardrooms are stuffy

  2. Big groups can be intimidating

  3. A formal meeting does not foster thoughts & discussion it encourages presentations & statements 

  4. People tend to try to prove how smart they are in the boardroom. (I think it has something to do with the big table) 

  5. Casual conversations do not require an agenda or have a time constraint. It is simply a conversation 

Although my thoughts are not backed by a scientific study I do think that these five reasons have some validity. As I move forward in 2013 I have 2 resolutions that I will focus on

  1. Collaborate more because collaboration equals awesomeness

  2. Attend fewer formal meetings

How do you collaborate best? Do you think that great ideas are created in small groups or formal teams? I’m interested in hearing your thoughts.

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Opportunities are Abundant, Just Look!

If you really want something, and really work hard, and take advantage of opportunities, and never give up, you will find a way. ~ Jane Goodall

Jane Goodall has some of the most amazing quotes and I find her extremely motivating. This particular statement resonates with me.

Mowitch Lake Getting what you want is not always easy and it may not seem attainable but when you look for opportunties within your path thats when you succeed in your goals. I’ve never been the type of person that knew what I wanted to do with my career, some may see this as a poor quality but I think of it as “open to new experiences”. I have the basics down and always knew I wanted a few core things in life:

  1. A happy & healthy family
  2. A job that could support my happy & healthy family
  3. To make a positive impact in the world (I won’t cure a disease but as long as I make a positive impact that’s what counts)
  4. To always experience new things (preferably in the outdoors)
  5. A job that made me smile when I went to work

So, how do these things get accomplished without having a defined goal or path? For me, it’s just as Jane Goodall states that

  • WORK hard
  • LOOK for opportunities
  • NEVER give up

Opportunities aren’t always easy to spot, similar to the small island in Mowitch lake (photo above), but if you look hard and you are patient you will see them.

I’m not sure what the secret sauce of life is but I do know that you can’t wait for things to just come to you. Many times life sends us on a different path but for me as long as I remember my core values and goals everything will work out just fine.

As I move forward into 2013 I will continue to focus on my 5 core goals and I will continue to look for wonderful opportunities. This will assure me that I will have another great year with my family, my beagle and of course several backpacking trips.

What are you going to do in 2013 to ensure it will be great for you?

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