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.
We have, quite simply, been really busy lately. Busy at work, busy at the house, busy with friends. Simply busy. While this keeps us, somewhat, out of trouble, it also means we have been able to indulge less often than we prefer in our favorite activity ~ camping and convening with nature.
Rather than write a long narrative on the year that was, I wanted to simply look back on the photos. Reminisce on the thousands of memories, and countless adventures that emerged on this past trip around the sun.
In no particular order, here are some of my favorite moments of 2014.
“Oh crap, she did it again!” Jim hastily rolled down the windows for a refreshing breath of fresh air, intent on dissipating the overwhelming scent of Aspens seemingly never ending gaseous emissions from the back seat. Our little family was heading to the beach for a fantastic three night getaway, taking advantage of a long Thanksgiving weekend. We’d started the day by enjoying a festive family dinner, leaving Aspen and Porter at his parents during dinner. We returned for them only to discover several pieces of drooled upon bits of something. Opps.
On our road trip to Overland Expo in May, we were fortunate enough (smart enough?) to take the road less traveled, i.e, scenic Hwy 395. This, mostly two lane, highway runs from the Canadian Border in Washington, through Oregon, and as far south in California as Kramer Junction, even dipping briefly into Nevada at Reno. Having never driven through the Sierra Nevada’s previously, we were game for scenic wonder, little traffic, and some new sites along the way. We couldn’t have chosen a better route.
The drive west on Highway 26 appears paved in gold. Lined with thousands of trees displaying a dozen shades of red and gold, the wet road reflects the multi-hued colors, creating the appearance of a golden pathway leading to weekend bliss. The sun was setting as we pulled into camp, turning the calm bay as golden as the road ahead of us.
What do you get your parents for Christmas? That baffling question that rolls around once a year, just about this season. By the age of 77 and 80, Jim’s parents have acquired everything they really want or need. In an attempt to NOT further clutter their house with stuff, last year we chose to, instead, present them with an experience. A weekend away at their choice of destination- the beach, Bend, Mt. Hood?
Darkness had fallen by the time we pulled into camp. Immediately greeted by Ron and Dario, talking over eachother, regarding the “situation”. While still at the office I had received the text from Dario advising us that they had taken over our campsite, swapping out with theirs, just next door, but we had no idea of the drama that would ensue.
The silence was deafening. And exactly what we were looking for. Day to day life had, in recent weeks, become exhausting. Yes, a certain amount of angst is simply due to restlessness in our quest to return to the road. But busy days at work, many chores at home, and spending most weekends away from home, the last admittedly self induced, had created an intense need to not just go away…but to get away.
Away from cell service, away from people, away from the cares of the world.