Five Adventures In Eastern Oregon Via Instagram

Fort Rock, Eastern Oregon

Are you now or have you ever been a geology nerd? 

In my freshman year of high school, I enrolled in an "Earth Science" course and fell for the romantic notion of working outdoors as a geologist. Most of this credit of course goes to my teacher, who taught me the differences between mica and obsidian and gave me a different way to look at the natural wonders our planet has to offer. (Fun Fact: This was also the course in which I met the guy who would become my husband many years later. He spent his time competing with me for the top grade and flipping paper footballs over my head.)

So, if there is any part of you that also secretly or not so secretly loves geology - you better start planning your trip to Eastern Oregon because it's a geology lovers paradise. We based ourselves out of Bend for a little over a week and day tripped out to some of the most amazing natural wonders I've ever seen.

Smith Rock State Park, Eastern Oregon
Smith Rock State Park, Eastern Oregon
Smith Rock State Park, Eastern Oregon
Smith Rock State Park, Eastern Oregon
Smith Rock State Park, Eastern Oregon

Adventure #1: Smith Rock State Park

Initially formed by deposits of volcanic ash and debris, filled in with basalt lava, and finally carved out by the Crooked River - Smith Rock ranks as one of Oregon's Seven Wonders. We spent our time wandering up the Misery Ridge Trail, eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on the top, and taking our time walking down the Monkey Face, Mesa Verde, and River trails from golden hour until past dusk. As we walked the last few steps up the trail to the opposite rim of the river carved canyon, we watched planets gleam in the sky and the headlamps of climbers continuing to work their way up the rock. Magical is the best word I can think of to describe the experience.

Newberry National Volcanic Monument, Eastern Oregon
Newberry National Volcanic Monument, Eastern Oregon
Newberry National Volcanic Monument, Eastern Oregon
Newberry National Volcanic Monument, Eastern Oregon
Newberry National Volcanic Monument, Eastern Oregon
Newberry National Volcanic Monument, Eastern Oregon

Adventure #2: Newberry National Volcanic Monument

While researching our adventure options, I read somewhere that if Crater Lake had never existed the area around the Newberry Volcano may have very well been designated Oregon's sole National Park. We took in just a small tidbit of the over 56,400 acres of land to explore, and already have plans in the works to return for a camping trip. 

The easiest spot to start in Newberry is with a walk up to the top of Lava Butte; a cinder cone situated alongside the main highway running through the area. From the top you can take in views of the lava fields and even walk the rim trail around the crater. If you have a capable four wheel drive vehicle and the skills to navigate dirt roads, snow, and mud - there are some well maintained Forest Service roads which can bring you up the bases of Paulina and East Lakes before the main road opens for the summer. We drove up to East Lake and marveled in it's quiet volcanic beauty - and then promptly got ourselves just a little stuck in some snow! Thank goodness for a capable car and it's very off-road competent driver!

Sheep Rock Unit of John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, Eastern Oregon
SHEEP ROCK UNIT OF JOHN DAY FOSSIL BEDS NATIONAL MONUMENT, EASTERN OREGON
SHEEP ROCK UNIT OF JOHN DAY FOSSIL BEDS NATIONAL MONUMENT, EASTERN OREGON
SHEEP ROCK UNIT OF JOHN DAY FOSSIL BEDS NATIONAL MONUMENT, EASTERN OREGON
SHEEP ROCK UNIT OF JOHN DAY FOSSIL BEDS NATIONAL MONUMENT, EASTERN OREGON

Adventure #3: Sheep Rock Unit of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument

While it's almost two and half hours away from Bend, the area included in the Sheep Rock Unit of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument was fascinating to explore. Around every bend in the road, the most colorful and dramatic rock formations appear out of the hillsides. We walked the 3.8 mile Blue Basin Loop to take in some of the best views of the blue-green clay stone originally formed by volcanic ash.

Painted Hills unit of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument
PAINTED HILLS UNIT OF THE JOHN DAY FOSSIL BEDS NATIONAL MONUMENT
PAINTED HILLS UNIT OF THE JOHN DAY FOSSIL BEDS NATIONAL MONUMENT

Adventure #4: Painted Hills Unit of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument

I think of the Painted Hills as one of the more well known natural wonders of Eastern Oregon, after all it does rank as one of the Seven Wonders and it is simply stunning. The Painted Hills Unit is a touch closer to Bend than it's Sheep Rock Unit counterpart - coming in at around an hour and half drive. There are a couple of short trails in the park, so less exploring to do, but it's still a photographers dream. We timed our visit to check out Painted Cove Trail before setting up and cooking dinner with a view of the Painted Hills during golden hour. As my husband already said; best dinner date ever.

Crack in the ground IN THE OREGON OUTBACK
Fort Rock in the Oregon Outback

Adventure #5: The Oregon Outback

We've driven through the Oregon Outback a couple of times before, but being based in Bend, we took the opportunity to focus on visiting some of the absolutely amazing volcanic features out in this high desert plateau. It's a two plus hour drive out to the farthest site we selected, the aptly named "Crack-In-The-Ground." It's a volcanic fissure which reaches depths of 70 feet and runs under the surface of the plateau for 2 miles. Crack-In-The-Ground was hands down the most exciting area we explored on our whole trip to Eastern Oregon. The trail at the bottom is well kept and there's just a little bit of scrambling involved to navigate along the bottom. 

Before heading back to Bend, we walked around the interior of Fort Rock - a tuff ring from a long ago era when this area was filled with a lake and active with volcanoes. There's a spot towards the middle of the rim with an easy walk up to a high section to really take in the views of how large the formation is.

To keep up to date on future adventures via Instagram, you can follow me here.


Additional Resources

Travel Guide: Oregon

Photo Essay: Experiencing Soajo, Portugal

Espigueiro in Soajo, Portugal

When you close your eyes and dream of being somewhere other than where you are in that moment, where do you go? 

Thinking about it logically, I would think my brain would take me to the places that I talk about wanting to go back to the most - spots like Tofino, Hanalei Bay, and most all New Zealand. However, that's just not the case. When I close my eyes and dream of being somewhere else, I go places which have left a strong impression on me. Typically these are places where I had a chance to slow down and spend my time walking around the area in which I was staying. I find walking gives me just about the best experience in a new (or not new) place.

We spent three nights in Soajo, Portugal, staying in Casa da Barreira, built with traditional granite blocks just like all the homes around it. The streets were skinny cobbled alleys with cattle moving down them, most often followed by widows dressed in black. We spoke with our neighbors in a combination of broken French, English, Spanish, and Portuguese. One evening we were enjoying the sun on our balcony while listening to a widow and her care taker sing out their front door. Grapes here are grown along overhead trellises, above patios set up for barbecuing fish and enjoying the sun with furry companions. Coveted golden hours were spent wandering the streets and visiting the most famous grouping of espigueiros (granaries). Soajo is a place I imagine I'll be returning to in my mind over and over again.

SOAJO, PORTUGAL
SOAJO, PORTUGAL
SOAJO, PORTUGAL
SOAJO, PORTUGAL
SOAJO, PORTUGAL
SOAJO, PORTUGAL
SOAJO, PORTUGAL
SOAJO, PORTUGAL
SOAJO, PORTUGAL
SOAJO, PORTUGAL
SOAJO, PORTUGAL
ESPIGUEIRO IN SOAJO, PORTUGAL
ESPIGUEIRO IN SOAJO, PORTUGAL
SOAJO, PORTUGAL

Tips For Visiting Soajo:

  • Stay in an AirBnB or rent a traditional granite block home - hands down, it's the best way to experience Soajo.
  • Soajo makes a good in-between base for day trips to the northern, less visited, portion of Peneda-Gerês National Park for rock strewn highlands and down to the southern end for forests and waterfalls.
  • If you day trip out, make sure to get back early enough to experience golden hour and sunset in Soajo amongst the espigueiros - it's a beautiful site.
  • Don't miss the almost natural pools just above the city on the way to Peneda. It's a wonderful way to cool off after a hot day and to enjoy some laughs with the locals as everyone takes turns jumping off rocks into the pools. They're hard to spot from the road, but they're right across the road from a picnic area with a fantastic view.
  • There are two small grocery stores around the main square, but neither have any signage up to indicate so. One is tucked in in a skinny street running directly off the main square and the other sits across from a cafe on the main road running through the town.
  • Watch your feet! With loose cattle, dogs, and cats on cobbled streets - let's just say there are plenty of opportunities to accidentally step in something!

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Travel Guide: Portugal

Photography By: Adina Marguerite Pease & Fugue Photography

Ode To The Road: Goodbye To My Honda CRV

My Honda CRV on Cape Kiwanda

It was my very first car, the one I took my drivers license test in, and the one I drove about 200,000 miles in up and down the west coast of the United States. This little red SUV journeyed as far north as Mt. Robson Provincial Park in Alberta, Canada and as far south as California's border with Mexico. It was the perfect car for road tripping through my 20s.

When I share stories about road tripping - I don't often mention the car(s) which allow me to take such fantastic trips. Of course when we've road tripped off-continent we rent the tiniest car we can get - but at home, it was my daily driver which served me so well for over a decade.

My 1999 Honda CRV was handed down to me in my second year of college. It always had a little extra from your standard model - outfitted with a front skid plate, slightly larger wheels, and fog lights. Early on it even sported a special cable which I could hook up my wheel model iPod. Additional features like the sunroof and picnic table built into the back truly made it the perfect car for road tripping. 

Alas, at sixteen years of age, it's time for my beloved Honda CRV to go on to a new home. This is certainly not a car blog and I'm not the kind of person who anthropomorphizes my cars - but my Honda CRV has been such a huge part of my life in travel I felt it deserved a little celebration of it's journey with me.

So here comes the gratuitous car pictures, from as far back as I could find them; beginning with 2004 at the mouth of Highway 1 on the Northern California Coast all the way to 2014 in the exact same spot.

At the Mouth of Highway 1 on the Northern California Coast
Near Markleeville, California
Off road near Big Sur, California
The CRV In Banff, British Columbia, Canada
The CRV On Whidbey Island, Washington
The CRV On Cape Kiwanda
Road Tripping the Oregon Coast
At the mouth of Highway 1 on the Northern California Coast


RambleGood's Launch Collection

In Other News...

We just launched an awesome giveaway over on the RambleGood blog! You could win a complete four-piece set of our limited edition Launch Collection! Including the infinity scarf, head sock, and two drawstring bags.

So hop on over to the RambleGood blog, read the terms and conditions, and find out how to enter!

Create: Starting A Small Business (Or Two!)

Introducing RambleGood

If you subscribe to my newsletter for creatives who live to wander, then you got the official word over the weekend that I'm getting ready to finally launch my handmade travel goods business next month; RambleGood. I've been providing little teases around this site for months now and recently added the logo to my side-bar. Our website has been live for a couple of months but in the past few weeks I've overhauled it from a coming soon page to a space where we'll share stories about the vision behind RambleGood and eventually open our shop. 

This entire experience has been transforming to say the least - I've learned more practical knowledge and skills in the past six months than I ever did college. From licesensing requirements to taxes and shipping - opening a small business with physical products is a steep learning curve. That being said, I don't think I've ever been more exciting about starting my work day at 5:30am

Why A Handmade Shop?

I've always been a maker and I've always made things to use during my travels. Take that, combined with my belief in the power of handmade to connect us and an academic background in international relations/conflict resolution and you have the vision behind RambleGood. Sure it's hard work and a big commitment to produce everything by hand in-house but thats what makes it so special. We could have had our products mass produced but then, they wouldn't mean quite as much would they? I love knowing that fabric Zeke has cut and I've sewn has made it's way to Machu Picchu and Milan. 

Through the power of handmade, we want RambleGood to do it's part in raising awareness both about the world and non-profit organizations doing good work in it. 

I don't want to give away all the special details about RambleGood here; so hop on over to our blog and check out the very first post; Introducing RambleGood.

On Not Going the Blog Monetization Route

I've had this blog since 2010 and I've been blogging since 2007 - while I've briefly considered advertising and affiliate programs, it's just never been the right fit for me. This blog has never been about business, sure it's connected me to some amazing opportunities like writing an e-book and helped me to travel more through comped lodging - but it's purpose has never been to put money in my bank account. While I'm certainly not against extra income, I'm not interested in making this site a money making machine full of posts without a point or purpose - other than advertising for some one else. 

To me, this space is where I get to do the travel writing work and photograph I enjoy reading - something I find very little of around the web. This site is also meant to be a resource for those are looking for less big city travel tips and more outdoor ideas. My travel guides aren't something I maintain only for others - I use them myself when returning to some of my favorite places! 

Some days I even consider this space a portfolio of my multimedia work and I'm always hoping it helps me continue to grow my freelance travel work with words, photographs, and videos.

Wait, What's the Second Small Business?

If you follow me on Vimeo or ever step over there to pursue our trip videos - you may be wondering where user AdinaMarguerite disappeared to! Well, it's been a long time in coming but it's official now - Zeke and I have formed our own production company; Dog On A Boat Studios. Perhaps you caught a glimpse of this new title in our most recent trip video

Well anyway, we've been filming travel videos for over a year now and even doing a bit of special event videography. It's something we both truly love to do and so we decided it was time to dive in, invest in ourselves, and get this rolling as a business. Extra plus? We both have different strengths in video production and very different eyes for light and composition. Makes us a pretty darn great pair if you ask me.

Since we're diving into this new venture at the same time as launching RambleGood, we're a bit behind on building out our new web home for Dog On A Boat Studios. So for now, you can always follow us on Vimeo and keep you're eyes here for our next travel video. 

Finding My Neverland: Tofino, British Columbia

Tofino, British Columbia

A big thank you to the folks at Tourism Tofino for helping make this trip possible by securing us a discounted rate at the Ocean Village Resort and arranging a surfing lesson with Pacific Surf Company. As well as for helping us with plenty of recommendations for great hikes and where to eat some great gluten free food.

When you see or hear the word "Neverland", does a certain image immediately come to mind? Perhaps that image is influenced by the Peter Pan stage play, the 1953 Disney movie, or the colorful 1991 film, Hook. I admit my own version likely draws some influence from the current television show, Once Upon A Time.

However in my mind, that image looks a little less tropical and a bit more wild and rugged. While it's certainly influenced by pop culture, I draw most of the image from the time I've spent on the Northern California coast. I grew up traveling through the Anderson Valley, along the Navarro River through the redwoods, out to the Pacific Coast, and north along Highway 1 to Fort Bragg, California. While staying at my grandparents bluff top home, my imagination blossomed on this wild and rocky coastline. When was old enough to drive I would make the journey solo, to write short stories about children and teens being thrown into grand adventures.

Tofino, British Columbia

Fast forward to late last fall, when I got the idea in my head to spend my 30th birthday in a little surf town on the coast of British Columbia’s Vancouver Island. Tofino, as it turns out, was the place I’d been dreaming of in my head and referring to as "Neverland". From the most amazing golden hours I’ve ever experienced to trees which look like they hold mysterious secrets (like a long ago crashed bomber), this place is my Neverland turned real. The possibilities for exploration are endless and I can’t wait to return for more adventures.

Tofino, British Columbia

REcommended Adventures

The Wild Pacific Trail | Just south of Tofino in the town of Ucluelet, there are six different sections totaling eight kilometers trail along the coastline. We walked the Lighthouse Loop and Ancient Cedars Route. My favorite part? The views of endless sea stacks in Barkley Sound with interpretive signage for all the ships wrecked in the rough seas of the area.

Tofino, British Columbia
Tofino, British Columbia

Ocean Village on Mackenzie Beach | To be really blunt, I'm not sure I've ever stayed anywhere more dreamy than these simple beach front cabins. My creative instincts were simply bursting at the seams with thoughts for stories, photographs, and films. My favorite part? Making myself a spiced hot chocolate in my cabin and strolling the misty beach in the morning and light painting at night.

Tofino, British Columbia
Tofino, British Columbia
Tofino, British Columbia
Tofino, British Columbia

Pacific Rim National Park Reserve | It's no secret that I LOVE Canada's National Parks and Pacific Rim is one of the easiest to explore. With eight, short but fascinating trails winding out to the coastline and through the forest - this is where your imagination can really run wild. We walked the boardwalk trail out to Schooner Cove (where I swear a pirate ship was about to turn up around a sea stack) and found our way out to the crash site of an Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) Canso Bomber. This last trail is mostly unmarked, quite boggy (I had mud crest over my hiking boots at a couple of points), and easy to get lost on. For those reasons, as well as for historical preservation and respect, I won't provide you with any details on how to reach the site. If you're curious, you can certainly Google your way to some directions - however, please don't consider attempting it unless you are truly prepared for the conditions and have route finding skills. All that said - it was an amazing adventure.

Surfing and Beachcombing in Cox Bay | As I've mentioned, I'm a surfer and couldn't have been more bummed about not being able to surf on Tofino's lovely beaches due to a recent head injury. Instead, Parsley and I beach-combed while Zeke partook in a lesson with Pacific Surf Company.

Tofino, British Columbia

Golden Hour on the 1st Street Dock | Watch float planes land and small boats ferry people to and from the surrounding islands and areas accessible only by air or sea. Depending on the time of year, I'm told this is an excellent place to watch the sunset. In November, you'll miss the actual sun - but the light reflected over the water won't leave you wanting more.


Additional Resources

Travel Guide: British Columbia

Photography By: Adina Marguerite Pease & Fugue Photography