Let there be songs to fill the air

I’m so behind on posts so I’m combining day 2 and 3 of the San Fran trip with my mom!

Day 2 included a trip up north to Santa Rosa to Russian River Brewery!

Originally the first order of business was a stop at Muir woods. I didn’t quite believe it would be as crowded as the interwebs told me it would be, but I should have believed the interwebs as it was crowded and impossible to park. So we improvised and hit up Muir Beach.

Then I remember that ah ha! Petaluma is on the way to Santa Rosa and you know what’s in Petaluma? Lagunitas Brewing!

It was a day of delicious beer!

Finally Day 3, it was back to Santa Clara.  My mom and I have been counting down the days to this show. We tried to get Chicago tickets and no luck so when the Santa Clara shows came around, I was like I’m just going to put my name in for two and we’ll just see what happens. And I got tickets! They were shitty tickets and we didn’t really have a view, but that wasn’t about to stop us from having the best time ever!

We did decide to go with tickets to the parking area so we could tailgate and be part of the scene and that was definitely worth it! We were way out in the blue lot 1 and the scene was solid. We had some beers and walked around to see the sites.

We happened to be by all the RVs so it was hippie bus galore! So awesome!

And then we saw the show and it was glorious. I could go on and on and on and on and on about the show, but I’m simply going to say that I had a fantastic time sharing that with my mom and it’s an incredible special memory I will never forget! Also, the rainbow was real.

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The sky was yellow and the sun was blue

windmill at Golden Gate Park

This past weekend I met my mom is San Jose with one purpose, to see The Grateful Dead and we accomplished that purpose, along with a bunch of other stuff! So, I decided to break the trip into 3 parts to do it justice and because otherwise it would be one really long post.

I flew in from working in Dallas on Wednesday night and met up with a friend I randomly made at the San Jose airport a few months ago on a layover. Seriously. This is how I make friends hence I have only 1 or 2 friends in Portland and the rest live scattered about the country due to work, bluegrass shows/festivals, and randomly making travel friends. I guess since I’m rarely in Portland, it works itself out. So, we had a few beers and caught up and had some good conversations and listened to some Grateful Dead and other music. Music is one of my favorite things to talk about.

the pacific ocean

Thursday I picked up mom and the fun began! We had reservations at AsiaSF Thursday night and determined we didn’t want to deal with the rush hour traffic on the 101 so we went a head to the Golden Gate Park and Haight/Ashbury area earlier in the day.

Hippie Hill at Golden Gate Park

We checked out Golden Gate Park and had lunch overlooking the Pacific Ocean.  I was determined to find the carousel to ride in the park only sometimes I’m not good with details like that perhaps the horses on the map didn’t indicate that there were many carousels for my enjoyment. We finally found it after we took a little stop at Hippie Hill only to discover that they had just literally started the last ride of the day. But we shall persevere and decided it was time for our next stop at the Grateful Dead house.

the house!!!!

We met a few other dead heads at the house and all took turns getting pictures of each other there.  We enjoyed the Haight/Ashbury area, although parking was a bit of a bitch. The atmosphere and many different kinds of folks there were quite fun. Funnily enough I got many compliments on my octopus tattoo on my thigh and people were generally nice. Which I was surprised by because I may have a bad opinion of San Fran thanks to all the tech companies there. But the folks in the Haight/Ashbury area seemed like the solid sort of either chill hippies or maybe dangerous street people. Regardless, those are my people so I enjoyed it. And even though I’d never want to live there and I really don’t ever want to have to drive there again, I would go back especially to take Eric to visit and to make Indie stand in front of the Grateful Dead house with me.

DSC00498We also met this super rad cat named Butters.  His owner was super sweet and kind enough to let us take a picture of Pete with Butters. Indie sends a stuffy with me on every trip and I send him pictures every day. This helps us stay connected since I travel so much for work. Pete is my favourite to bring with so I was quite happy when he said I could take Pete on this trip and Pete was quite happy to meet Butters.

Then we went to AsiaSF. AsiaSF is an experience all in itself. It’s dinner and a show and the show is put on by very beautiful transgendered women. It’s a little like a drag show with lip syncing and dancing, but it’s more than that as well. It’s a super fun time and I definitely recommend you take your mom there too! The food is absolutely phenomenal and the ladies are downright beautiful and really talented dancers!

All in all, the first day was fun. I only freaked out about driving in the city a few times. I’m not a good city driver. I get overwhelmed easily.  Off to bed we went, ready for adventures with breweries the next day!

2 Days in Bend


Oh did we have quite the fun Friday and Saturday in Bend.  I’ve been over to the Bend area quite a number of times. Last year I was out that way often for climbing at Smith Rock so needless to say despite having been over there often, I haven’t explored much.  I didn’t even make it to Smith this time as I’m not really climbing right now for a variety of reasons so no one had to suffer through me trying to figure out how to shoehorn that into the trip, which made for quite a relaxing time.

We left early on Friday because we wanted to camp at Skull Hollow and it’s first come first serve and well, there wasn’t a reason for us to wait around Portland so over the mountain we went.  Skull Hollow has turned into one of our favorite camping spots although I will say this time was the least dramatic time we’ve been there and boy was that a nice change! It’s in the high desert and the space is quite open, there’s no light pollution so the stars are amazing, and you always get to hear coyotes at night. We are not light weight campers, we car camp and we bring many of the comforts of home and we don’t apologize for it!

At Crux. Playing. The Sisters, Broken Top, and Mt. Bachelor are in the background

After a quick camp set up we were off!  We went over to Crux brewery, which is by far one of my favourite breweries not only for their excellent beer, but also because they have a huge lawn with some lawn games set up and you can bring a blanket or chairs and just chill. They have good food there, but even more importantly is that they have a couple of food trucks and the El Sancho truck makes some of the most legit street tacos ever. The tongue taco is to die for! DSC00287 DSC00289 DSC00290

Then we were back to the campground for the evening. It was windy. Soooooooo windy! But we managed to batten down the hatches and had no tent blowing away issues, which we were honestly a bit concerned about.  As noted before, the stars were amazing, but the wind was cold and the daylight was lengthy so we retired after looking at the stars for just a bit.

The setting sun

Morning found us with quite a conundrum, the gas stove was not working. Luckily we hadn’t used up all our firewood the night before (we nearly did and decided eh, we’ll save a few for a small fire in the morning). So, Eric saved us all and made bacon and eggs over the fire. The bear and I hung out and enjoyed the morning.

Morning sunshine
There’s a bear in that tree!

Then we were off for the main event of the weekend, which was checking out the Lava River caves in the Newberry Volcanic National Monument. I was pretty excited because my parents got us the National Parks annual pass and I thought I would get to use it earlier this year at Glacier, but it was off season so no need to pay so this was going to be the first use. However, it was the 25th anniversary so it was free. No real complaints, but I just laughed and noted that with all our plans to go to parks this year it would be hilarious if we hit them all on special days and didn’t need to pay at all.

Indie was a bit nervous, as was I, when we first went into the cave, but he warmed up quite quickly. He even was on board for and enjoyed turning out all the lights to be in the total darkness. He noted several times that this was his favorite part of the day.


Then because the boys humor me, we did another unplanned hike along the Deschutes to and it was AMAZING!!! I haven’t spent much time by the Deschutes and this particular section of it was so beautiful!DSC00426

Eric was not a fan of taking this picture as I’m sitting on the edge over some raging rapids.


Indie was also not pleased with the heights and I picked him up for a picture. This is not him smiling, he’s yelling “AAAAAAHHHHH!”DSC00475

Then back home over this beautiful mountain we went. The bear got into the car and fell asleep immediately.DSC00483It was an amazing weekend and we had so much fun. It was then off to Dallas for me today and I don’t get home until July 3. I’m meeting my mom in San Fransisco this weekend for the Grateful Dead show. This means that I won’t see the little bear until the end of July because my mom is traveling up to Portland to pick him up and take him to stay with them for a month. So we had many snuggles this morning before I left. Eric and I are going to enjoy some adventures on our own for the month of July!


Even More Weekending

I believe highly in weekends and I believe in doing as much as possible in each and every weekend even if that sometimes means laying about in a hammock.

DSC00074This weekend was kind of full of randomness and a lot of thai food.

DSC00077We’ve recently gotten into disc golf because it’s a great reason to walk around the park. We don’t really take it that seriously and we’re by no means good and we don’t care so really we have a good time. This weekend we decided to hit up the course at Rooster Rock and have a picnic and river day. DSC00080This is my insane disc that I like to call my disco disc. Look how it just naturally found that little mushroom grove to go chill in. I took a regular distance driver and modge podged it with glitter because I really wanted a crazy glitter disc. Pretty sure I totally fucked up the aerodynamics, but lucky for me that I’m a shitty player and I can’t tell the difference so I get to use my disco disc.

DSC00081But we decided to skip going to the Columbia River while at Rooster Rock and after a round of disc golf and a picnic of spring rolls (which I’m getting rather good at making), we headed over to the Sandy River. I discovered my favorite spot along the Sandy River last year after a day of climbing at Broughton’s Bluff. It’s not the most reclusive spot on the Sandy and occasionally a train goes by, but it’s super convenient and fun and I like the little island that is about 2/3 of the way across the river there. It’s not a really pretentious place to be and it’s a little whiskey tango, but I guess that’s kind of where I’m most comfortable. We had a good time. The bear had such a blast playing in the river and he and Eric made me go out to the little island with them. Personally I was happy to soak up the sun on the shore and not get in the freezing water but freezing my lady bits was worth it because Indie was extremely stoked to show me the little island. DSC00095Eric and I spent most of the day talking about pad thai after we had our spring rolls so that was a must for dinner and turned out to be extra advantageous because we found a thai place close to us that delivers. We don’t really do delivery food often at all and in fact before that, it had been probably since we lived in Wisconsin that I’ve had any delivery food, but now I have a fix for lazy days when I just really want some pad thai.

DSC00105Sunday we had big plans for the Belmont Goats! It was an urban goat meet up so we got to see the Belmont goats and a couple of other herds of goats. Super fun. I did discover that I have a little leftover fear of goats from childhood. Thanks to my parents thinking it was hilarious that our goat, Diamond Lil, would butt me and my sister with her horns! As an “adult” I realize that this is ridiculous and I’d like to pretend that I’m not still like ah goats! But I am. It’s no worries though. I just consider going to visit the Belmont goats to be good immersion therapy. By the end I was only mildly concerned that one of those sweet cutie goats was going to turn on me!
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Memorial Day Weekending

20150524_201601We did some serious car camping over Memorial Day weekend. It was a blast.  At first we were planning to do Crater Lake and some really rustic camping and then we were like, you know, perhaps we start out the season with some really easy camping? And so we did. We bought a giant tent for the three of us (we will soon be upgrading to camping cots as well). And we lived in relative luxury considering it was either raining or moist mist all weekend. But that did not deter us! In true Lindsay fashion, I brought my nice camera, but failed to charge it appropriately, so you get cell phone pictures.

A couple of weeks ago we met up with some folks to go to Abiqua Falls and we met them at Camp Dakota, which we then determined would be the perfect place to do some Memorial Day camping. They not only offer camping but also many activities, such as disc golf, zip lining, obstacle courses, rock walls, paintball, etc. So, it’s kind of like summer camp and you can buy pizza there, which they’ll deliver to your tent along with your fire wood. Easy peasy camping times. Also, it’s kind of not in the consciousness of Portlanders since it’s not in the Gorge and not on Mount Hood and not on the coast by Cannon Beach or Seaside or Astoria so that meant a nice nice break from the Portlanders (which sometimes, you just need a break from, I like a  more basic type of folk sometimes and I wasn’t in the mood to spend the weekend with tiny cut off shorts and tank tops).

Geared up for zip lining

The bear really wanted to zip line so he and I did. Eric isn’t a fan of heights so he stayed on the ground as the designated photographer. Indie was SOOOO stoked about the zip line, until he got to the top of the first ladder of the first platform and the reality of the situation sunk in. We did tandem so he was always with me and he had such a good time on the zipping part, but he was not at all into being on the tree platforms. We played a game and thought of an animal that lives in the forest and climbs up trees and glides from tree to tree. So, then we were just little northern flying squirrels going from tree to tree and it was all pretty smooth sailing from there on out. We were with another group of kids who were just the sweetest kids in the world and kept cheering Indie on and telling him how brave he was and when they saw him later in the day they gave him so many cheers again. Super awesome kids


Overall, I think Indie’s favorite thing was the little pond with the fake alligator heads and more importantly many, many little newts who I have never seen just swimming around in ponds like this before (but we saw again while fishing at Horning’s Hideout on Monday).  And we saw many tadpoles.


We were also close to Silver Falls State Park so we hopped over there for an afternoon. We only saw the South Falls and Lower South Falls so we’ll definitely be going back to do the whole hike with the ten waterfalls


South Falls
Lower South Falls
Indie in a tree!

summertime summertime


I’m declaring that it’s summertime. At the very least it’s summertime in my mind. I’m ready to be warm and feel the sun beating down on my skin. I’m ready to jump into cold mountain streams, build camp fires, fight off mosquitos, stay up too late, watch sunrises and sunsets from a tent, spend most of my time away from the house, laze about in hammocks, listen to bluegrass out at hornings hideout, and the other many glorious things that come with summer.

Our summer is basically already booked out. I don’t mind it. There’s the occasional weekend that doesn’t have anything penciled in on the calendar, but we can just go ahead and assume those weekends will be spent camping. I don’t mind a busy life, in fact I prefer it.

So, here I stand on the cusp of summer awaiting the many great adventures, itching for the many days running around, trying to fit in all the many things I want to experience this summer. The anticipation is always the hardest, I’m ready to just jump!

Weekend Adventures in the Gorge

Saturday the little bear and I set out on an adventure.  Eric was pretty exhausted and honestly after a week of me being gone and traveling, sometimes it’s good for the bear and I to have some time just to ourselves. Luckily I am blessed with a six year old who has an immense appreciate for nature and the outdoors and also has pretty good spirits when setting out on a longish hike (for him).  We did 5 miles at the Tom McCall Preserve.  2.5 miles up and 2.5 miles down and a little trail running along the way.

We could not have asked for a more beautiful day in the gorge.  The sun was out and warm and there was a bit of a breeze.  I have never been to the Tom McCall Preserve or in that general area so it was fun to see a new part of the Gorge.  The area of the Tom McCall Preserve is a super cool geological area since it serves as a transition zone between the valley and high desert.  Also, it’s wildflower season!

Post hike we grabbed some lunch and spent some time hanging on the river front in Hood River, which is quickly becoming one of my favorite towns in Oregon.  We watched sailboats and some folks kite surfing, which I think is now on my list of things to try!

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the theory of cold vs. the reality of cold

I have a really bad habit of thinking that as long as the forecast is above freezing (and by that I mean 33 degrees and above), that I should be just fine and not really cold.  Seriously.  I blame nearly a decade of living in Wisconsin for my seriously skewed viewpoint on what cold actually is.  And even more importantly to point out is that the reality of the situation is that if it is below 74, I am freezing.  So I bet you know how this story plays out.

IMG_6373I did a little camping in February.  No snow.  No chance of precipitation. This translates to me as “Oh it’s a nice weekend. I should definitely go camping and climbing.” This also translates to me as “nice weekend. it’ll be a little chilly at night, but it’ll be cool, I’ll just sleep in the jeep.”  Because apparently my jeep possesses magical warmness and is unaffected by the temperature outside.


Things I did right:

  • Brought my zero degree down sleeping bag
  • Brought theoretical layers
  • Brought my puffy, fleece, and wool jackets
  • Brought several hats
  • Wore a fleece unicorn onesie to bed on night one, because that’s how I like to roll. Plus extra warmth.
  • Let the Jeep heater run for like 10 minutes before bedtime making it all snuggly and cozy.  Well, this was good for falling asleep, not staying asleep.

Things I did wrong:

  • Did not bring my real winter layers that I own, that I bought specifically for winter camping.  Apparently those fleece lined running tights were going to be just warm enough as an under layer… they were not.  why didn’t I bring my real under layers?????
  • Did not zip up my mummy bag the second night and was like eh, this’ll work out just fine.  I feel a little trapped in the mummy bag sometimes so occasionally I don’t like to zip it up all the way.  I always regret this.
  • Waited until day 2 to take out my septum piercing.  A little piece of metal through the center of your nose can make your nose significantly more cold than you’d think.
  • Did not bring real gloves, just fingerless mittens…. WTF.
  • Have yet to purchase a really good pad that keeps out the cold.  I think I definitely need to invest in this, even if I’m sleeping in the back of the jeep.
  • Kept the window of the jeep cracked the first night because I was sure I would suffocate and die.  Nope, I assure you that Jeep is nice and drafty, this is an unnecessary and cold intervention.
  • Did not wear the unicorn onesie on night two.  Was significantly colder.

Things to do when you’re just cold and realize that sleep isn’t going to come soon:

  • Lie around and wait for it to be really close to dawn to justify to yourself that you gave sleep as many chances as you could and that you tried to get as warm as you could without waking up anyone else.  Dawn also seems justifiable in that if you happen to wake up your camping mates you can be like oh but look the sunrise and the mountains! and distract them away from hating you.
  • Once the sun has started to rise, find a beautiful spot to freeze your ass off as you watch it rise.  It’s better if mountains are involved.  So serene and you’ll be able to say things like “Oh, even if you are freezing, how can you really complain about the sun greeting the mountains good morning?”  You sound deep.  Meanwhile on the inside you know that you would have killed to have a tauntaun to gut and snuggle inside of all luke skywalker like.
  • Be very very grateful that you chose a super car camping RV friendly campground that has a heated bathroom!  And find no shame in hanging out there for a long while.
  • Reread the email that your dad sent on how not to die while winter camping and be like “oh yeah, definitely should have reread this before the camping”
  • And finally when you think it’s a reasonable time and safe enough that your camping mates won’t mind, build a fire.  They’ll at least be happy to wake up to the warmth.


And as a bonus for you all, here’s my dad’s email on how not to die while cold weather camping that he sent me last year when I did my first winter “camping”.  However, that “camping” was in a lodge that didn’t have “heat” but it did have a massive fireplace in the lobby so not really the same thing as camping.  All good information, however, I think he should add unicorn or other animal onesies to his list.  This has an added bonus that in the very off chance someone thought they may be able to cause you harm, there’ s a chance they may back off based on their assumption that perhaps you are crazier than they are and maybe they don’t want to get involved in that.  It helps if you’re also wielding a knife while wearing the onesie.  Perhaps this is why I have few friends…

The email full of actual good information as compared to this blog post:

Heard you are going cold weather camping.  Here are some tips, which you can take or leave, from dad regarding equipment.   My priorities are to 1) Stay alive 2) Not be miserable.  The combination of cold and wet start to make #1 (staying alive) unlikely.   Being cold or wet makes #2 a sure thing.  So here’s my tips.

1)   Cotton is the enemy – if it gets wet from precipitation or from sweating – it will suck the heat right out of your body.

2)   Use multiple layers – if you start to sweat – shed a layer – (if you are hiking or snowshoeing it’s best to start a little cold because you will start generating hear in a hurry), but always have the next layer ready to put on – if you stop for more than just a few minutes you will begin to  cool quickly and need to be able to layer back up.  I use the following layers:

  1. A base layer – I prefer merino wool – it’s light, it wicks, and wool has the very neat property of still insulating when it gets wet (the insulating properties of poly and down drop off quickly – and as noted before – cotton kills)
  2. Second layer – I use a fleece
  3. Third layer – down jacket or sweater (personally I like the Patagonia Down Sweater – but there are others out there which are good) – What makes them good is this: 800 FILL DOWN IS YOUR FRIEND!!!! You can get less expensive down jackets but they will have 600 fill – and they are not even close at keeping you warm.
  4. Top layer – wind resistant/ water resistant shell – no matter what the advertisements tell you there is no waterproof material which is breathable – avoid waterproof if possible – guaranteed to make you sweat – nice if your shell has vent zippers – helps with the sweat situation.

3)   The temperature rating on sleeping bags is always at least 10 degrees lower than there comfort zone – they will keep you alive at their rated temperature, but you will not be comfortable – not meaning to be sexist in any way – but most people agree that it is probably more like 15 degrees lower than the comfort zone for females.

  1. Synthetic bags will maintain insulating properties better than down if wet.
  2. But,  nothing beats an 800 fill down bag – I keep mine in a waterproof compression sack to make sure it is dry .  Personally I have a Western Mountaineering 0 degree bag – I’m hardly ever out below the teens – if I was expecting to be out in single digits I would go with a -20 bag.  Again, there are other good bags out there. I like the Western Mountaineering – they will maintain, refresh the bags etc for you if needed.  Downside, like all 800+ fill stuff is $$$$.

4)   If you are going to be cooking, heating water, melting snow for water, etc. keep in mind that canister type stoves (iso-butane/iso-propane) get real inefficient under 30 degrees – you need to keep the canister warm if you use one, and even then the iso-butane probably won’t vaporize well.  I use a liquid fuel stove (white gas or alcohol) in cold weather.

  1. If you have the capability of heating water – the following is a very, very, very warm and fuzzy thing to do – heat up your water and pour it into a Nalgene or other container with a good waterproof seal. Put it in a sock and stick it in the bottom of your sleeping bag when you go to bed.
  2. I also keep the flask you sent me handy at night time – just don’t hit it so hard you forget to get in your sleeping bag.
  3. Also if you get cold at night – putting in some readily available  calories (candy bar, etc) can help your body produce more heat.

5)   Last personal opinion – you can skimp dollar wise on your summer equipment if you need to, but don’t skimp on winter equipment.

Keep warm, have fun .



On staying right within my comfort zone

Sometimes you go on an adventure to a place that you have several times in the past gone on similar adventures, but you just suck it up so bad.  This describes my day of attempted climbs at Smith Rock this past weekend.  Pretty early on in the day I said to the folks I was climbing with that they should do the climbs they wanted because I was sitting this one out.  Some days climbing is all about where you’re at mentally and I definitely wasn’t there.  I was struggling with some insecurity and trying not to hold back the people I was climbing with that were significantly more advanced than me.  I do not say this to say it had anything to do with their skill level, they were both willing to work on easier problems, but quite honestly I’m not sure what I would have been able to accomplish that day.

There’s always much talk about pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone, just going for it, take the leap of faith, and I’m often happy with at least attempting that leap of faith and dealing with the failure.  But sometimes, just sometimes, I choose to stay right in my comfort zone where I am happy and content that day.  You know why? Because somedays you’re just not in the right place to spend a day failing and you know that you’re not in the frame of mind to appreciate that you tried.  So I opted to be the best belayer I could because that, my friends, was right within my comfort zone for the day.  I will be attentive and keep you safe while you’re up there on the rocks.  I will try to anticipate your needs for when you’ll clip in so you can be protected as soon as possible.  I’ll keep my chatting to a minimum and keep my eye and attention on making sure you have a safe and happy climb.