It’s been four years since we met and in true ‘Michael’ fashion, he found us the most secluded, magical camping spot in southern Washington to celebrate each other. I’ve never met someone that loves looking at maps like he does. To be fair, some of the spots he finds have definitely led us to some not-so-great places haha.
Anyway, the view from this spot was unbelievable. You could see five mountains when it was clear!! Mount Hood, Mount Adams, Mount St. Helens, Mount Rainier, and Mount Jefferson. I have to admit, this might have been my favorite campsite ever. We are already planning to take a few of our close friends up here again. The road to the top was pretty sketchy with steep cliff sides, but the drive up was absolutely worth it.
Here are a few of my favorite snapshots from our weekend.
This story may be a little TMI, but I just really appreciate him for this. It was about one in the morning on Saturday, when I woke up from really terrible cramps. Being a girl is not so fun sometimes. I tried to not wake him up, but he did anyway. He ended up finding me some ibuprofen and knew I needed to be distracted. So he got our jackets and pulled me out of the car and oh my gosh… the stars!!!! We could see the milky way with our own eyes!!! We don’t get to stargaze often living in the city and wow. It was soo beautiful.
We ended up going back to bed about an hour later and then waking up again for sunrise. Life really is all about the adventures, no matter how big or small.
Some snippets: We got cherries from Hood River, Oregon (which are the best!!). I was recommended the Tokyo Cult cookbook, so I brought it to read. We had baseball going through the radio and just kicked back and listened to our favorite team.
This cute deer wandered around our campsite!
Sunrise & sunset of Mount Hood.
It’s amazing where life has taken us in the past four years and I wouldn’t want to change a thing. We have a few big goals for the next couple of years, so I am excited to see where life takes us from here.
What is more remarkable, beautiful, invaluable, and against the odds, than finding someone in this blizzard of billions that you want to commit to celebrating the rest of your life with? Unknown
Found along our walks in a city aptly named “The City of Roses”.
All of these were taken at Washington Park at a section known as the International Rose Test Garden. You can find over 10,000 bushes of roses with more than 650 different varieties. It’s a stunning sight to behold.
Not much else to say here because the beauty of these flowers speak for themselves. ❤
As delicate as flower, as tender as rose petals, choosing to be tender and kind in a harsh environment is not weakness, it’s courage. Luffina Lourduraj
Colchuck Lake, The Enchantments
Wenatchee National Forest
The mountain has left me feeling renewed, more content and positive than I’ve been for weeks, as if something has been given back after a long absence, as if my eyes have opened once again. For this time at least, I’ve let myself be rooted in the unshakable sanity of the senses, spared my mind the burden of too much thinking, turned myself outward to experience the world and inward to savor the pleasures it has given me. Richard Nelson
We are six months into 2020, and I think we can all agree it’s been quite the year. Not only are we all fighting a global viral pandemic, there’s a fight against racial injustices, gender inequality, and police brutality happening all at the same time.
With everything going on, I couldn’t find a way to shut up off my mind. My phone was alerting me that I’ve been on it for far more hours than usual. Our conversations at home seemed to revolve solely around what was happening in the world. I’m pretty sure I’ve cried more in the last couple months than I have in my life. I’ve definitely experienced hate and racism, but learning about the violent injustices towards our black community has been devastating and heartbreaking.
On top of this, Michael lost his dad, my father-in-law, from his fight against kidney cancer. There’s nothing that can really prepare you for this type of situation. Nick is truly one of the good ones and to lose him like this, makes life seem so unfair. I wish we could have had him be Pappy to our kids one day, but I know he will be there with them in spirit. Several months ago, Michael wrote something that we never posted. So I want to share it here.
My dad is the epitome of the protector of our family. He showed me what it meant to be strong and that family always comes first. When he started dating my mom (who already had two kids: me and my sister), he wasn’t that much older than I am now. I have so much respect and appreciation for him taking on that responsibility and stepping in as our father figure without any hesitation. If my life continued with my biological dad in it, it would be completely different in the worst way possible.
I wish I didn’t struggle with knowing how or when to express my feelings of gratitude and love for him as a son because I do. Without a doubt, he has helped me become the man that I am today.
It’s hard to grasp how life is going to be without him. There’s such a fear of the unknown for me.
Miss you and love you, Nick.
We realized we both deeply needed some self care. We don’t know a better way other than going outdoors and having no phone service.
A lot of campsites and outdoor areas are still closed, but when we found out this hike was actually open, we had to do it. It’s been on our list ever since we moved here and oh my GOSH is was incredible. All-in-all, we hiked over eleven miles, and it really kicked our butts. Our legs were killing us towards the end of the hike. But this view… is therapeutic. Alpine lakes are magical and so worth the hike up to them.
We still cannot get over how stunningly beautiful this hike was!!
After enjoying the view from a higher spot, we wanted to continue along the trail to see if we could find a spot down closer to the water.
And we found a spot closer to the water!!
After hiking, we found this lovely dispersed camping site near a lake. It rained all morning and night. I love our conversations together when it’s just the two of us like this. Life together has been a dream and I am just so excited for what’s to come.
Sending a lot of love out to you all.
Times are extremely wild and sensitive right now, so I hope you can take some time to find some mental peace and joy.
There’s not a whole lot of adventuring going on these days, so here’s a few throwbacks from a summer road trip to Horseshoe Bend and Antelope Canyon in Arizona!
In a previous post, I wrote about our separate (and totally different) road trips that we took across the country when we moved from Texas to Oregon. These two stops were some of my favorites. So much so that I sometimes bring up to him how much I want to move to Arizona or Utah for a little bit. Maybe one day!
Horseshoe Bend, Arizona
Antelope Canyon, Arizona
On the tour to get to Antelope, I sat next to this beautiful family. They noticed I was alone and was so incredibly friendly by sticking by my side during this adventure. Very grateful my paths temporarily crossed with these folks. I think I even still have the daughter’s phone number somewhere. Anyway, thanks to these three for their kindness and the memories.
You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover is yourself. Alan Alda
If you visit or live in Oregon, you have most likely visited this magical place! And if you are from a totally different state, like how we are from Texas, this place will never cease to amaze you. What hike in Texas or Oklahoma, or even California would you ever get to see ten waterfalls?!
Anyway, here are some of the waterfalls we captured and I even attempted to label the names of them 💙 :
Silver Falls State Park, Oregon
Lower North Falls
Lower South Falls
We are all naturally seekers of wonders. We travel far to see the majesty of old ruins, the venerable forms of the hoary mountains, great waterfalls, and galleries of art. And yet the world’s wonder is all around us; the wonder of setting suns, and evening stars, of the magic spring-time, the blossoming of the trees, the strange transformations of the moth… Albert Pike
In spring of 2017, Michael and I were visiting Portland because he was visiting his new workplace and I was interviewing at OHSU. We talked to a stranger about local recommendations and they suggested this hike.
We didn’t read about.
We didn’t look it up.
We just… went and did it.
It ended up being one of the hardest hikes we’ve both ever been on. The elevation gain was so difficult. I’m almost thankful we didn’t know what to expect, because we wouln’t have done it otherwise. We even got cheers once we got to the top by the people that passed us because we told them we were struggling haha 😅.
In May last summer, we decided to do it again to see the sunset at the top and to hike down at night. We can definitely report that the hike is still very difficult! However, the sunset made it so. worth. it. It was like we were seeing a live painting because the color changes were unreal. And we finally saw all of the wildflowers!! 💛
On nights like this when the air is so clear, you end up saying things you ordinarily wouldn’t. Without even noticing what you’re doing, you open up your heart and just start talking to the person next to you—you talk as if you have no audience but the glittering stars, far overhead. Banana Yoshimoto
With what’s going on these days, Michael and I are definitely distancing ourselves from everyone outside of work. He’s works for the government to monitor infectious disease, bioterrorism agents, and when needed, even COVID-19. I am treating immunocompromised cancer patients with radiation at a few different hospitals. Neither of us want to risk the chance of not doing what we love, and I definitely do not want to put my patients in any more risk than they already are.
With everything going on, I’ve been reflecting a lot about us and our lives and some of the things I really really appreciate.
You all. We just reached over 100 followers on this blog, and I feel so grateful. Every single one of you who have chosen to click that follow button to join us in our adventures through our love and our life in the Pacific Northwest means a lot. Thank you for sticking along with us and sharing your stories as well.
Photography. All through my teenage years, I was always painting. I loved art so much, but it became really hard to keep it up when college started. Just a couple of years ago, I picked up the camera to just capture a few moments. Since then, my love for outdoor and food photography has grown into a creative passion that I truly can’t imagine life without anymore. After working so much since graduating, I finally bought us a brand new camera and upgraded our old one this week. Goodbye T3i, helloooo EOS-R!
Us goofing around. Michael and I are almost always messing around, wrestling with each other, having tickle fights, or even… grabbing each other’s butts. My personal favorite… his kiss attacks when I’m in a funky mood because it always somehow gets me out of it. 💙So grateful for him for always finding a way to make me smile, even when it’s really hard to.
Family. My parent’s always reaching out with concern for my health and safety and… sending me all the congress updates on how I can get student loan debt relief during this time hahah. They’re the best. Also- big s/o to my in-laws and my (basically) aunts for sewing masks for me and my coworkers in case we run out. Ya’ll are incredible!
The selfless frontline or essential workers out there who are sacrificing their health and safety right now in order to help others, and I do not mean just in the hospital. For one small example, I know a few teachers who are using this time to make sure their students are getting fed each day and given resources for education beyond the school’s means. There are soooo many stories like this. I can’t say enough words to say how absolutely incredible and heroic they are. Sending so much healing love to people like this every single day.
I know it’s tough these days. When you can, take a few moments to just reflect on the good things, even if it’s small. If what you are thinking about brings a smile to your face or makes your heart happy, do that thing a little more every day. 💙
Michael & I could sit on a park bench and stare up at these beautiful trees and flowers for hours.
The significance of the cherry blossom tree in Japanese culture goes back hundreds of years. In their country, the cherry blossom represents the fragility and the beauty of life. It’s a reminder that life is almost overwhelmingly beautiful but that it is also tragically short. Homaro Cantu
These days, the sun is staying up a little more in the evenings, the flowers are beginning to bloom, and there’s less rain in the forecast. Just those little things make us pretty darn happy as the season is changing. The end of winter is sort of near and we are ready for it.
The painted hills are truly a natural wonder. All of the layers of yellow, gold, reds, and blacks reveal millions of years of history. It’s incredible. Eastern Oregon is the other side of the state that gets a little bit overlooked sometimes. Yes, it’s a lot less green and a lot more desert-y, but it is still breathtaking in its own way.
Life has been pretty darn crazy since the year started! How is it already March!? Even though it’s been busy, it’s been an amazing start so far. When things get like this, it’s hard not to get nostalgic for some past trips we’ve had. Here’s a few photos from when we visited this place with our friends, Seanne and Scott Holmes. 💛
We are hoping to plan a few more camping / road trips with these two! These are the friends that have become a part of our family here and I’m so thankful to have them in our lives.
We are coming up on our one year wedding anniversary next month. I still can’t believe how fast time is flying! There is so much planned for this coming year, and we are definitely looking forward to all of the opportunities and adventures to come.
You can pack for every occasion, but a good friend will always be the best thing you could bring.
As much as we love disconnecting from everyday life to find ourselves adventuring in the outdoors, we also really enjoy simple dates within the city.
Through all of high school and early college, I was either painting or playing the piano. I love the arts and any chance we get to visit a museum, we gotta do it! In Seattle, there’s the Chihuly glass and garden exhibit that is… mind-blowing. All of the unique blown glass pieces are illuminated to show off the most vibrant colors. Your jaw will drop from how incredibly beautiful it is.
Take a peek below!
Also, the Native American blanket wall (first photo) you get to see when you enter the exhibit is incredible.
Also, this is just us enjoying ourselves on a rooftop after our date. 💙
Whether the glass is half empty or half full, you have the power to fill it up. Matshona Dhliwayo
Sometimes it’s just the two of us in a mutual awestruck silence taking in how extraordinary Mount Hood really is.
I felt my lungs inflate with the onrush of scenery—air, mountains, trees, people. I thought, ‘This is what it is to be happy.’Sylvia Plath
Tamanawas Falls, Mount Hood
Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature — the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter. Rachel Carson
Psst! We are going to let you in on a little secret of ours…
When we have friends or family visit us from out of town, we have probably taken almost all of them (if the weather behaved) to these easy-to-visit-but-absolutely-stunning sights along the Columbia River Gorge. I mean.. how could we not?! The drive is less than an hour away from Portland. Even after visiting several times, we still aren’t tired of these views.
Michael and I both grew up in Texas, so we used to joke around about how when we would see a small stream on a hike back then, we would be so excited. Nowadays, we are constantly blown away by the mountains, the waterfalls, the rivers, the trees and everything else we get to see in the pacific northwest.
Here’s our little tour. 😊
Columbia River Gorge
Bridal Veil Falls
If you visit Portland and don’t visit these falls, did you even come visit?!
Yes – it gets crowded. Probably the busiest tourist spot in Oregon, but worth a visit. She’s just so picturesque.
Rowena Crest Viewpoint
Hood River, Oregon
I’ve posted this quote before, but it’s a personal favorite. 💙
Here in the corner attic of America, two hours’ drive from a rain forest, a desert, a foreign country, an empty island, a hidden fjord, a raging river, a glacier, and a volcano is a place where the inhabitants sense they can do no better, nor do they want to. Timothy Egan
Crater Lake is known for its vibrant blues… but when you’re there at sunrise or sunset, the colors you get to see are unbelievably stunning. Seriously… on a clear summer day, take that road trip out there. It’s 100% worth it.
We had already planned to wake up early, but did not expect to witness the most magnificent sunrise. Seeing all of the soft shades of blue, pink, and orange painted across the sky was truly a sight to see.
We felt like we had the whole place to ourselves because no one was around us. This place is also very special to us because it was the last road trip we were able to take Layla on before she passed away.
Experiences like this always remind us to appreciate and love the little things in life. ❤️
Mount Thielsen in all of its glory in the early morning.
We also got to witness a pretty darn amazing sunset here, too.
Sunset at Crater Lake
Our little family at sunset. Miss you, sweet Lay.
This grand show is eternal. It is always sunrise somewhere; the dew is never all dried at once; a shower is forever falling; vapor is ever rising. Eternal sunrise, eternal sunset, eternal dawn and gloaming, on sea and continents and islands, each in its turn, as the round earth rolls. John Muir
I think we are going to go out on a limb and say… these are our favorite waterfalls in Oregon!
These two nearby waterfalls are incredibly easy to access and you will leave feeling like you were just in a scene straight out of a pacific northwest postcard. It’s incredibly beautiful. When you go, definitely wear waterproof everything and bring extra microfibers because your camera will get wet.
We also included a couple of photographs to compare the falls between the spring and fall season. 💙
Koosah Falls, Oregon
Sahalie Falls, Oregon
Detroit Lake, Oregon
This was a little pitstop we had on our road trip. It was a beautiful lake.
To find the universal elements enough;
to find the air and the water exhilarating;
to be refreshed by a morning walk or an evening saunter…
to be thrilled by the stars at night;
to be elated over a bird’s nest or a wildflower in spring —
these are some of the rewards of the simple life. John Burroughs
What’s my guilty pleasure? The thing is, I never feel guilty about pleasures. Tom Hiddleston
We were talking about what some of ours were the other day, and we figured we would share them here. Here’s a few of them. 😊
a cozy campfire:
We got so incredibly lucky finding our current place. Our landlord is one of the most wonderful human beings ever. Favorite thing? Our bedroom opens directly into this upper level deck that has this view!! The guilty part? We prefer to stay home more than going out on most days.
Michael loves to build things! He removed the back seats out of our FJ cruiser and built a storage platform that has so much space AND can fit a full size mattress on top of it. There’s nothing like getting the bed set-up, opening the back window, and enjoying the view wherever we are. Also – check out the spice rack he made for me!! (I know, terrible photos. They’re from my Instagram stories haha.) It’s so nice that I can see them all now versus shuffling through them trying to find the right one.
cheese & charcuterie:
Sometimes, you just gotta let yourself enjoy the little things in life. 💛
This winter wonderland, Bavarian-style mountain town in Washington state is absolutely a dream and if it’s not on your places-to-visit list yet, it should be. It is unlike any other town we’ve ever visited up here in the pacific northwest.
Michael wanted to snowboard for his birthday and when we found out this adorable village up in Washington was pretty close to a ski resort, it was a no-brainer. Our good friend, Ashley, wanted to learn to snowboard while I learned to ski, so she came along with us too!
Can you believe 2020 is right around the corner? How is there only two more days of this year left?
As it typically does, another year has flown by without us realizing it. And of course, so much has happened. We were driving home the other day and we just went back and forth about what was most memorable and what wasn’t.
We aren’t going to write about what wasn’t so great, but in no particular order, here are a few of our favorites from 2019. 😊
When we found out Michael’s old friend, Jonathan, from college was doing a huge cross country road trip with his girlfriend, Laura, and they were going to be in the pacific northwest, we had to take a few days to go adventuring with them!
We decided to meet up with them at Mount Rainier National Park and because we didn’t have service, we had to pre-plan our meeting site and approximate time. We chose the Paradise area around Reflection Lake.
7.5 miles RT.
2200 ft elevation gain.
Unobstructed panoramic views.
This was our first fire lookout!
This place is also first come first serve for overnight stays. We thought it would already be taken, but when we arrived, nobody was staying there!! 😭 We wish we had our backpacks with us. Next time we visit a fire lookout, we plan to bring a small backpack of necessities just in case we can stay!
Although I deeply love oceans, deserts, and other wild landscapes, it is only mountains that beckon me with that sort of painful magnetic pull to walk deeper and deeper into their beauty. Victoria Erikson
Crater Lake will take your breath away. It is such a unique place no matter what time of the year you visit.
In the winter though, it’s different.
There’s a quiet stillness that envelops you when your surroundings are blanketed in snow. But don’t be fooled by how beautiful it is… winter here is definitely cold and harsh. Moving here from Texas, winter in the northwest is still something we haven’t gotten used to yet. Luckily, it doesn’t snow too much in the city here in Portland. If you visit Crater Lake in the winter, do not forget to stuff your gloves with some hand-warmers!
In the summer of 2017, I did my first solo road trip from Dallas, TX to Portland, OR. It included the Grand Canyon National Park.
I drove over over 3000 miles in twelve days. I slept in a tent for four days, stayed in a hostel, booked three different Airbnbs (I needed to shower), and slept in my car all of the other days. I’ve never traveled alone, so the idea of doing so for almost two weeks was slightly terrifying. But… it was one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself and I had an absolute blast! I learned how to be resourceful, self-aware, flexible, and most importantly, I learned how to trust myself. I slept in super sketchy areas, but I’m happy I did. Sometimes traveling isn’t always so glamorous, but it still can be a great experience. I know I wouldn’t trade it for anything else. 💛
Michael also had to do his road trip alone because he left for Portland one month before I did, and his road trip was totally different from mine (our maps below!).
Here’s the route of most of the places I visited. ☺️
And this is Michael’s general road trip route below.
Mount Rainier National Park might be the most visited place we’ve been to since moving to the pacific northwest, and we already can’t wait to go back.
Even though we live in Oregon, we tend to gravitate more towards Washington for hiking and adventures. There is SO many hikes we want to do, but finding the time to roadtrip up there has been tricky due to work / school.
Below are some photos from one of our favorite visits up there. 😊
Sharing Michael’s parents first time visiting Hawaii! It made our hearts so happy to hear about their adventures and see their photos. We couldn’t help but share some of them. I seriously cannot get over all of the shades of blue coming off of the sky and the ocean water. It is just something else.
With Michael’s dad, Nick, having stage IV kidney cancer, seeing them take this bucket-list trip is heartwarming. They have gone on so many incredible trips in the last two years. Nick has a huge interest in war history, and he just came back from France visiting WWII sites. So having him get the chance to visit Pearl Harbor with his wife, Kim, was a pretty surreal moment. This trip to Hawaii may have been unexpected, but it turned out to be perfect timing.
I know they’re still exploring Hawaii, but we are so thankful they are still having a romantic trip together. These two have really taught us the value of making every moment count and making the best of any situation. Pretty sure Hawaii is on our travel list next year!
There is just something mysteriously magical about the ocean. Maybe it’s all of the brilliant shades of blues it can be, or maybe it’s the unpredictability of its storms, or even all of the life that is teeming underneath the surface. Whatever it is, whenever we visit the coast, there’s a sense of awe that just takes over us.