I make no secret of the fact that summer is my favorite season. No, not because it is my name. It tops the list for me (and my husband Mike) because it is the short window of reliably warm weather in which we can engage in our favorite recreational pursuits.
Hiking, swimming, kayaking, camping, cycling, and others are some of our favorite things to do. While I’ll admit they can be done year round, it just isn’t as appealing to do most of them when it is dripping buckets and 45 degrees outside. Since we have two, maybe three months each year with heavenly weather, it is during that time that we feverishly try to cram in as much outdoor activity as we can, knowing that nine months of rain stands between the next round of adventures. For a two-minute video explanation of that, set to some of my favorite scenery, click here.
These are the A-B-Cs of me.
That being said, I figured I’d post a handful of highlights of some of our adventures this summer. I have become increasingly bad at posting things on social media regularly, so here they are, at least some of them, in one place.
Betting on good weather in June in the Pacific Northwest is about as reliable as betting on a drunkard to win a game of darts. So when nice weather rears its head earlier than expected, it is time to spring into action.
Seeing as one of our greatest loves is hiking, and we’ve not managed to do much of it in the last several years, I made sure to earmark a few Saturdays to strap on our boots.
The following pics are from our trek up Saddle Mountain, a coast range hike which yields a stunning panoramic view of the ocean and surrounding terrain, on a clear day.
OK, so we didn’t get that 360-degree view, but we got a good workout. Then…
We proceeded to Cannon Beach, where again the drunkard at the dart game pulled one out for the team; a rare clear, warm, sunny day greeted us as we grabbed lunch and then headed to the sand for a stroll.
The weather was so unusually beautiful that we decided to be spontaneous and stay overnight since we were already there under favorable conditions and didn’t want to go home. There were SO MANY people at the coast, we were lucky to find a hotel room, even more so, an affordable one.
In a busy life full of hustle, work and responsibilities, a reprieve and the opportunity to savor a perfect day are a treat that we remember for a long while.
The month of July held two more beach weekends, which totals up to two or three more than usual for us.
The first was a trek down to Depoe Bay, OR where we were generously provided lodging at a vacation home belonging to the owner of an art gallery in town where Mike has some of his watercolor painting for sale.
A general rule of thumb: if you’re driving that far away for the weekend, might as well do more exploring while out and about. On the agenda: lunch at one of our favorite coastal brewpubs (guess which one?), a hike up Cascade Head, driving down the coast for lighthouse viewings, and exploring the sights in Florence, Oregon.
Our next beach trip involved camping with some friends in Brookings, OR – the southernmost city on the Oregon Coast before heading into California. It was a long drive (about six hours) for a weekend trip; good thing the scenery was beautiful!
On the July weekends that we stayed in town, we put some miles on our hiking boots.
After the devasting wildfire in the Columbia River Gorge last September and the resultant closure of many of our favorite close by hikes, we ended up going further out, to less popular trails. One such hike afforded views of Mounts Hood, Adams, Rainier & Jefferson. I didn’t get any good pictures on that hike, however.
Typically the warmest month of the year, August was a little tricky this year as I had a lingering cold for the first part of the month, to be followed by wildfire smoke for most of two weeks, obscuring the sun, dropping temperatures, and making it less than pleasant to be outside. Nevertheless, we did enjoy some outdoor time.
Another camping trip up to beautiful Lake Quinault in Olympic National Park yielded a mix of clouds, smoke, cool temperatures and rain (it rained buckets on Saturday).
Though the hopes for a trip camping next to a beautiful lake included swimming and kayaking, we adjusted plans in light of the uncooperative weather. Instead, we napped, sat by the fire, read, went for short hikes and visited. We are decent lemonade makers if you know what I mean.
The rest of the story
Those were some of the highlights of the summer. There were plenty of others, but I don’t want to bore you with excruciating details. Suffice it to say, other hikes, camping, backyard BBQs with friends, family reunions and parties filled our summer with many delightful memories.
We continue to appreciate the stunning beauty of the region in which we live. We count ourselves fortunate to have both our families close by, and a myriad of great friends with whom we share life. It is truly, a wonderful life. We are grateful.