Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Windy Days

Well…Seems I’ve not been a very good blogger. We’ve been back for two weeks now and I have yet to post a single thing. It’s been a bit of a rollercoaster ride these last couple of weeks – there’s much to catch you up on (but by the color of my blog…you might be able to guess my news…).
First – vacations!
My husband and I headed down to Hood River, Oregon for our annual windsurfing extravaganza. Obviously this time, there was no windsurfing for me…just sitting on the beach and reading…and then sleeping…then reading some more…and sleeping some more….and eating. When I felt like it, at least. While we were there, we were visited by my Mom – out from Idaho over the weekend, bringing lots of good treats to much!
We were also joined the same weekend by some good family friends. They have four kids, a girl and three boys, and it was a ton of fun to watch them play in the water and attempt to learn to windsurf. They are such a close knit, loving family – they provide a wonderful example for Jim and I to follow and I love spending time with the entire clan.

While we were there, we got to visit quite a bit with Jim’s good and long time friend, Roger. Roger is headed off to nursing school in Portland this fall, but was still living in Hood River during our visit. He joined us for dinner several nights and took us to one of my new favorite spots on a non-windy day – Lost Lake.

Jim and I were not able to hike as much as we have before– mainly because I just couldn’t keep up this time. It was a bit too much for both baby and I. We did go on three of the easier hikes (other people would call them walks, I call them hikes!)

Punchbowl Falls

Last year, when we visited Punchbowl, it started raining not long after we got there…so we were not able to truly enjoy the falls the way it should be enjoyed, by lounging and viewing and swimming. I take that back, Jim swam, I did not. I’m not much into water that freezes my brain. This year, the weather was perfect. While it may have been more crowded, it was certainly a lovely day to sit and gaze at the falls. And I learned that the pregnancy books are right, pregnant skin really does burn much more easily than non-pregnant skin.

Wachella Falls

Wachella falls is a beautiful hike – not far back in, about 1.5 miles with very little (to a hiker, not a walker) elevation gain. We were again rewarded with wonderful mists and beautiful views. And my dear husband, who is learning so much about photography, actually carried his tripod in so he could get good shots, including ones of us both. Although, I think we may want to invest in a remote clicker, because he’s going to trip over a root one of these days, rushing to the shot.

Lost Lake

When the wind is not up in Hood River, one must find alternative things to do…which is not hard in such a beautiful area. When the wind is not up, the heat is…so one day, we chose to escape to Lost Lake. Lost Lake is located on the north side of Mt. Hood, at an elevation of 3140…it takes about an hour from Hood River, the last 20 minutes of which are winding mountain roads. There is a campground and resort on the lake –and were it closer to Hood River, I’d be tempted for us to stay there! It was high enough up that the temperature was not so high. The lake itself is pretty ice cold, but I was at least able to wade and not be too uncomfortable. The boys (Jim and Roger) swam…but then again, they’re crazy windsurfers. If I’d had a wet suit on, maybe…
We did learn that the best way to enjoy Lost Lake would be tied off on a floaty – lazing the day about. We did sit in the water and then back on the shore, then back to the water…but a floaty would have been *perfect*. That's me below, rocking the 16 week baby bump.

We also learned that bug spray is a good thing at Lost Lake. We didn’t have any, and later in the evening were paying the price. But that’s one small downside to these beautiful views of the lake and the mountain.

Rainbow Trail

No trip would be complete without us doing a little something crazy…so we followed the Rainbow Trail. Just north of town, there is a huge, huge pipe that was put in place (and replaced at various times as technology changed from wood to steel) to bring water down from the mountain, to the town. The pipe runs along the Hood River, up the valley toward Mt. Hood. It runs roughly parallel to the Mt. Hood Railway and Highway 35. Rumor had it that certain portions of the pipe had small cracks and when the sun was shining, the water that sprayed out in fine mist was like a garden of rainbows.

Unfortunately, our guide book was old enough to not take into account the huge storms three winters ago that wiped out huge stretches of the pipeline, knocking them completely into the river below and rendering the pipes useless. To our knowledge, the pipes will not be replaced as newer technology is now providing water to the region.

However, the pipes provide a great hiking path back up the river and into the woods – and puts one in awe, thinking of the hard and dangerous work it must have been to put these pipes into place nearly 100 years ago. Those pioneers had a work ethic and will to survive that we can’t even comprehend.

Of course…Hood River would not be Hood River without some windsurfing….here’s my boy starting a jump at a sailing spot called “The Hatch” (short for “the Hatchery” because it is next to a hatchery on the Washington side of the river).

A few things we learned about camping in a trailer camper…

  1. Cleaning out the toilets is not a fun task…phewy!

  2. Having a toilet that no one else uses is WELL worth it, especially in the middle of the night when you’re pregnant and use it repeatedly.

  3. Having a trailer ROCKS when it’s raining…wet tents suck.

  4. However, watching a lightening storm from the safety and dryness of your trailer really does NOT suck.

  5. Trains in the middle of the night do suck. To do for next year...find a different campsite.

  6. You have to remind your husband that YOU are on vacation too…and thus every meal does not need to be cooked BY you in the trailer… Thank goodness for the $1.50 tacos at the little taco joint on “the heights” in Hood River.

  7. Having a trailer just plain beats out a tent, period. At least for long term camping.

  8. I-84 is REALLY windy headed from Hood River to Portland, but it is REALLY REALLY windy when you’re pulling a trailer.

  9. I am still the Pente champion. Okay – that has nothing to do with a trailer camper…and my husband never reads this blog to contradict me….but unless he’s cheating by calling the first game of the night the “Championship”, I still kick his butt.

  10. Being together 24-7 reminds me how much I miss my husband when he’s working crazy busy hours and there’s really no one else on Earth that I am more content to be with than him. That has nothing to do with a camper trailer…but the trailer is so much better than a tent, I’m just in a better mood when I’m staying in one.
Anyway…those were the highlights of the trip. We’re hoping that he’s able to bid off good time in the season next summer so we can repeat the experience with baby in tow! We’ll have to see where he’s at in the vacation bidding list by then….