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Shale, Dusk, and Quiet

Icy Roads lead us to Harpers Ferry

Location: Harpers Ferry, West Virginia


Well it sure has been a while since we have posted!

Honestly, so many things have happened since our trip to the reservoir last June that I'm not going to even try to summarize it all. Instead I wanted to tell a new story :)

...

It all started with John Denver.

It was the second last day of our holiday weekend trip to DC to visit Alex. We had explored all across the Mall, seen all the monuments, played poker, swapped stories, and enjoyed drinks at the bar. We all wanted to get out and see some nature (Alex had been talking about how beautiful it was this time of year).

The plan was to drive through Shenandoah National Park across the famous Skyline Road until we reached Front Royal.

We left from Pentagon City singing "Take me Home Country Roads," and weaving through the rolling hills of Virginia.

Unfortunately, as we were driving into the park, the ranger warned us that the entire road was closed due to dangerous icy conditions, so we took a quick picture at the entrance and had an imprompteau change of plans...

At least we got a picture of the entrance!
Upon exiting the park to the west, we began to drive through beautiful, rugged farmland. I especially enjoyed all the fences!
Finally we arrived at the town of Harpers Ferry, nestled at the junction between the Potomac River and Shenandoah River.
Some defining feature of the town: it was small, old, wet, and felt totally empty, like we were ghosts exploring the world as it might have been 150 years ago.
It seemed like every main building was actually a museum, staged to look like it might have when the town was a major transportation and trade hub around the time of the Civil War.
The perfectly re-created store interiors were like a time machine that eliminated all people, echoing the past, but it felt a bit unsettling without anyone around!
We hiked up this shale covered hill...
...and took a selfie at an old church that was closed!
Further up the hill, we realized that we were actually walking on the Appalachian Trail! Here are some cool ruins we found.
Everything led to a gorgeous outlook, and a rock where Thomas Jefferson once stood when he wrote a description of the town in his journal:

On your right comes up the Shenandoah, having ranged along the foot of the mountain a hundred miles to seek a vent. On your left approaches the Potomac, in quest of a passage also. In the moment of their junction they rush together against the mountain, rend it asunder, and pass off to the sea. This scene alone is worth a voyage across the Atlantic.
We agree Mr. Jefferson ;)
As our evening wound to a close, we wandered through an incredible exhibit about John Brown, an abolitionist who attacked the city before the Civil War on his crusade to end slavery. You have to admire the guy. He ended up being hanged, but his presence has certainly never left the town. Pieces of his gallows were actually in the exhibit, which was... disturbing.
We loved this cool railway bridge!
At the other end, we got a close look at this cool writing we saw on the hill from across the river. Can anyone make out what it says??
Also, apparently Lewis and Clark got their supplies here before their journey West!
Finally, as night closed in we tried to hitch a train to Shepherdstown, but it just drove on right by! We ended up grabbing dinner at a cool British Pub before heading back to Pentagon City for the night.

It was truly amazing to get on the road again and take a journey with Molly and Alex. Here's to many more adventures!

Never stop exploring.

Cheer! 49
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Simple Days at the Reservoir

Sometimes Escaping Portland Doesn't Go Exactly as Planned!

Location: Cougar, WA


Winter always drags on in Portland. Cold rain and cloud covered skies are reluctant to relinquish their grip in the Pacific Northwest until May or June each year. Our trip to Hawaii in March was an amazing chance to break through the grey doldrums, but as sunny days began to roll around, Molly and I were feeling cooped up and eager to hit the road back into nature.

As with any good road trip, our first stop was for breakfast at the greatest bagel place on Earth: Sieze the Bagel!

We didn't really know where we wanted to go, so at first the plan was to drive East from my house until we found something interesting! It only took about 3 minutes for us to meet an impassable wall of construction 🚧🚧🚧

Luckily, we were feeling spontaneous, so we set out North towards Mt. Saint Helens and the Ape Caves!

Yes, that Mt. Saint Helens.

After about an hour of driving along the winding Lewis River Road near Woodland, we began to realize that the caves were going to be totally packed with Memorial Day vacationers. A few circles around the parking lot were all it took to set us back down the mountain away from the crowds ;)

Finally we found ourselves at a trio of reservoirs near the town of Cougar: Lake Merwin, Yale Lake, and Swift Reservoir. These gorgeous lakes are managed by Pacific Power, and in clear weather, offer a beautiful view of the non-crater side of the mountain.

The day turned out super cloudy though, so we decided to make our own entertainment

Skipping stones!
Finding our zen
Investigating the local real-estate
And deciding that maybe it wouldn't be so bad to live up on top of this tree for the rest of my life, because, it looks a lot further down from here than it did when I was climbing up ;)
Even though our first few plans didn't pan out, Molly always seems to be able to turn a simple road trip into a cherished memory. One thing is for certain, I'm gonna love this girl till my last day on Earth.
Thanks for being such a great companion Molly :)
Cheer! 15
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Sauntering across Oahu

Wandering is Food for the Soul

Location: North Shore, Oahu


"Do you know the origin of that word 'saunter?' It's a beautiful word. Away back in the Middle Ages people used to go on pilgrimages to the Holy Land...Now these mountains are our Holy Land, and we ought to saunter through them reverently, not 'hike' through them." - John Muir

Magic exists in those first few days exploring a new place. The mystery of what might be around the next corner gradually gives way to familiarity as you gain a feel for your surroundings.

Something about the shade of Oahu's light, the heat of the sun, and the flowery scent of the ocean breeze that was unlike anything I'd seen before. It only took a few minutes for the sun to sink in to our bones, and our smiles

Molly and I did a lot of sauntering in Hawaii. Everything happened at such a timeless pace, like the vacation would never end, and honestly, I think a part of me will always be there. Here are a few of the places where I remember feeling most at peace in Hawaii. Places where I was able to saunter reverently - grateful for the incredible opportunity to drink in the goodness of the Island.

Watching the sunset on Waikiki Beach
At our Favorite Beachfont Bar - The Edge Waikiki
On top of the World at Diamond Head
Watching the sun set from a catamaran
Eating dinner at Disney Aulani
Walking for miles along the North Coast
Watching the massive waves crashing on Waimea beach
Floating during a rainstorm at Lanakai
Hiking through the forests of Kualoa Ranch
Riding the waves at Waikiki on our last full day

I will never forget the feeling of peace I had in Hawaii. So looking forward to many return trips!

In the meantime, check out this AWESOME video blog Molly made about our trip. I honestly don't think there is a better way to sum up this latest adventure :)

Cheer! 6
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Returning The Heart Of Tafiti

Just Our Hawaiian Luck

Location: Oahu, Hawaii


Wow it's been a long time since I blogged. Bare with me as I'm a little rusty.

Let me start by just saying, this is possibly my favorite story ever. This one takes the cake for a life-time Disney fan.

Long story short: We lived in the movie, Moana, for about 9 days and the ending turned out just as the movie did. (keep reading though because its a great story).

It's approximately day 7 of our trip. We've been loving our time in Hawaii so far. The sand, the sea, the air... the rain...

That's right... rain. Uggg. We decided to vacation before spring break because we didn't want to deal with the crazy crowds, so we went to Oahu right on the border of their winter and summer. Half the time it rained. Half the time it was sunny. Nonetheless, it was beautiful, tropical, and worth every moment.

We just returned from a beautiful day of zip lining at Kualoa Ranch (fan girling out that DWAYNE THE ROCK JOHNSON FILMED HERE).

It finally stopped raining and was a beautiful warm night out, just in time for out last couple of days, so we went out for drinks and food at one of the best breweries I've ever been to, Maui Brewing Co.

I set my purse on the back of the chair, thinking nothing of it (my mom's been to Hawaii a thousand times, it's the safest place ever she says).

You can probably guess where this is going. I got swiped. Drivers license, cash, GONE.

The next morning we search the whole room. Nothing. Call around to the brewery. Nothing. And just like that, I don't have an ID. My first thought: I get on a plane in one day. Well... crap.

About an hour later... my new iphone x that has never given me trouble, shuts off. Black screen of death, but Siri is still talking to me. What the heck?

Then, it starts pouring and we miss our second evening catamaran because I can't get on it without an ID. "I can't even."

What's a girl to do. One bad luck after the next... THEN I REMEMBERED! A long time ago when I was little, my mom told me about this rumor called Pele's Curse. To those who aren't superstitious, your probably laughing pretty hard right now. But I wasn't laughing. My family is full of old catholics and I wasn't about to test my luck.

I thought back to the day we rode mopeds around the island and picked up some coral in the shape of a heart that I found to give to Nate's mom (she collects cute heart shaped stuff). I put it in my backpack and thought nothing of it. Until now.

It's 11:30 at night and I'm tearing my backpack apart to find this thing. Nathan thinks I'm going crazy and keeps asking what's happening. I grabbed the heart shape rock and grabbed his hand chanting all the way down to the beach saying:

WE HAVE TO RETURN THE HEART OF TAFITI !

I was not about to get on an airplane with that thing in my bag. Sorry Nathan's mom. No heart this time. :(

10 minutes after returning the rock to the ocean and praying to the Hawaiian gods to take the bad luck away, my phone magically turned on.

Moral of the story. Don't be me. Don't steal the Heart of Tafiti.

Cheer! 4
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Falling Down Mt. Hood

Learning to Ski is Hard!

Location: Timberline, Mount Hood


At the end of 2017, my amazing college roommate Alex and his girlfriend Megan visited from DC. He loves mountains (back in the day we climbed Kilimanjaro together!), so we decided to ring in the New Year at Mt. Hood. The view from from Silcox Hut was stunning. Ever since, I started craving another trip down to the mountain.

Lucky for my brother Jeremy and I, Molly used to be a ski instructor at Timberline (the main ski lodge on Mt. Hood), and she decided to take us up to learn how to ski and snowboard!

Every Good Trip to the Mountain Starts with Joe's Donuts!

I was pumped as we drove up the ever-more-snowy roads on the way up the mountain. I've always wanted to learn how to ski, but never actually got around to trying. Same story with Jeremy (who was sporting a fancy new 'stache for the occasion) ! In honor of our childhood, we listened to the SSX Tricky Spotify playlist.

We rented our equipment and left for the bunny hill. Jeremy and I fell over and over as Molly showed us the ropes. It's seriously hard to stop!

Jer being a #legend
Even on the lift, I can't keep my skis straight :P

Eventually we left the bunny hill to try out some of the green runs. Jeremy got lost, so Molly and I decided to wait for him at the lodge. As we got off the lift, I crashed and burned on the way back down ...

Not posed. Love how my ski stuck in the ground ;) Ouch!

Eventually we found Jeremy (he wasn't dead!). After eating some delicious nachos for lunch, we decided to get adventurous and try some of the blue runs. Let's just say that if Jeremy managed to flip on purpose as many times as he did on his epic crash - he would be an Olympic medalist ;) I didn't do too much better, but it was seriously so much fun :)

At the end of our final run, I caught this video of Molly giving Jeremy some tips:

After a long day of winter activities, it's definitely time for snow angels!

After a long day of skiing, take time to stop and make #snowangels😇 #waZzea #webeninjas

A post shared by Molly Voorhees (@molly.voorhees) on

I seriously love skiing, and I'm looking forward to getting better over the next few years! Hoping to make it to Mt. Bachelor in Bend before the end of the season :)

Thanks for reading!
Cheer! 3
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Checkout the Story Finder or link to...

- Shale, Dusk, and Quiet - Harpers Ferry, West Virginia

- Simple Days at the Reservoir - Cougar, WA

- Sauntering across Oahu - North Shore, Oahu

- Returning The Heart Of Tafiti - Oahu, Hawaii

- Falling Down Mt. Hood - Timberline, Mount Hood

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