I am a sucker for a good UNESCO Heritage Site. Having explored dozens of them, all around the world, we were eager to end our birthday trip to Mexico on a high note with a trip to Paquime, in Casas Grandes. Easily the largest civilization in the Chihuahua desert, villages formed here as early as 700 AD.
We always love a good mountain town, whether it be someplace stylish a’ la Whistler, somewhere close to home like Government Camp, or the adventure capital of the Copper Canyon, Creel. Leaving our spectacularly situated hotel on the rim of the Canyon, we were circling back to the United States, but not before being lucky enough to spend a few hours wandering scenic Creel.
Time is always surprising; It seems like just yesterday, not nearly 27 years ago, that I first locked eyes with Jim, in Ken’s living room. Jim, full-bearded and scruffy, just off the boat from Alaska. Myself, fully focused on going to school for international law and moving to Paris. An unlikely pair? Apparently not~ Six days after our first date Jim asked me to marry him, and the rest, as they say, is history. Astonishingly, June 2nd we will be celebrating our 25th anniversary. 25 years… it seems unreal, and presents a very literal example of how fast time moves by.
I lowered my camera, sniffing the air around me like a dog. Jim and I looked at each other with the same silent question reverberating between us. Where was the smell of roasting coffee coming from? We wandered around corners and down cobblestone alleys, never quite finding what we were searching for, that elusive scent seeming to ebb and flow with each turn. Reluctantly, we returned to our hacienda for dinner, unsure that we hadn’t dreamed the entire olfactory experience. Tired, we called it an early night, sure that our quest for the coffee of Alamos was for naught.
Cactus. Giant Cactus. Tree-like Cactus. Small, blooming Cactus. The drive to San Carlos is filled with Cactus! We began in Phoenix, driving south and over the border. The continuing display of cactus followed as we went, ebbing slightly at times, but a nearly constant reminder that we were not in Oregon anymore!
The forecast said 50-70% chance of rain. Perhaps high winds. It didn’t matter. We were going to the beach. Some are drawn to the vast, dramatic vistas of the desert. Some feel more attuned to lush mountains. While we love being out in nature in general, the ocean has a special place in our souls. I long ago realized that, while I love the contrast of the desert, the presence of water is what feeds my soul. Time in the mountains is always treasured, but needs to include water in form of lakes or streams for me to be fully happy. But the ocean, I am so drawn to the ocean, a curious enigma considering I get sea sick and am terrified of big waves and strong currents. I suspect growing up in the Midwest has scarred me for life! After a fantastic weekend camping with friends the week before, we packed up our little foursome and headed off into the weather to get our fix.
Cambodia remains one of the countries that ranks highest on our list of those places that most pulled at our heartstrings, and makes us long to return. There is, undeniably, the crown jewel of the ruins of Angkor Wat, the long boat trip to Battambang, and the traumatic and powerful sites of Tuol Sleng and Choueng Ek at Pol Pot’s Killing Fields. There are gorgeous beaches, that we still need to get to ourselves. But, during our time in the country we experienced so much more of this very poor, and yet vibrant country, particularly in the capital city of Phnom Penh.
We spend a lot of time exploring Oregon’s many state parks. A LOT. So we were beyond thrilled to finally make our way to experience Cottonwood Canyon, Oregon’s newest state park, and check it out for ourselves. Opened in 2014, Cottonwood is a mere 30minute drive off of the mighty Columbia Gorge Highway, sitting scenically next to the John Day river.