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WHY DO WE WAIT FOR THE RIGHT CONDITIONS?

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STAYING AWAKE TO THE REMARKABLE IN THE ROUTINE

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Hi. I’m Maery, a writer in the Twin Cities. Although I no longer have the body for extreme adventures, I love to bicycle, go horse trail riding and take hikes with my dogs.  

One thing you should know before you join me on my quest -- I don’t have a map. And I’ve been known to wander off course and stop to listen to birds and look for agates. I also have a few issues with fear and anxiety. In other words, I’m not a good role model or adventure guide. But in this time of uncertainty and polarization, I'm not sure anyone has a reliable map. We'll just figure it out as we go.

Dee Wright Observatory

Dee Wright Observatory

At the end of September, Steve and I took an Amtrak train from St Cloud, Minnesota to Portland, Oregon for a destination wedding. The following posts are about our experiences on the train and in Oregon, which I wrote down in my travel journal. You can read previous posts here:

Monday, October 5, 2015

Dee Wright Observatory

Monday morning, we headed north from Bend towards the Dee Wright Observatory to see the lava fields. This ended up to be another visual beauty and marvel overload mystery tour. Beauty is perhaps a strange word when describing the lava fields as they mainly look like a bunch of black rocks piled up. And yet…

Lava Fields Mckenzie Pass Oregon

This would be our last real day of sightseeing before getting back on the train in Portland Tuesday afternoon. We drove through the town of Sisters, named for being near the Three Sisters Mountains, which in tour bus language are “a complex volcano of three volcanic peaks of the Cascade Volcanic Arc and the Cascade Range.”

Three Sisters Mountains

The Dee Wright Observatory is at the highest point of the Mckenzie Pass. This photo was taken looking out one of the observatory windows.

Dee Wright Observaotry

There was a path to walk over the hardened lava. Signs explained what happens after a volcano erupts — such things as how cracks form during the cooling, how the vegetation comes back, and what animals live there and how they survive.

Lava Fields sign

Okay, who doesn’t love the description of the “jagged clinkery surface” of the A A Lava?

Lava Fields sign

And I had to take a photo of this for the sign poetry on the right side…

Dee Wright Observatory sign

As we walked around the area, I admired the tenacity of nature to come back after such devastation. Small evergreens contrasting with black rock kept drawing my eyes. A sign informed me that the trees were much older than they looked but were so small because there isn’t much nourishment there for them.

trees growing in lava field

And yet they grow.

It made me wonder about the belief that God individually engineered all the diversity and crazy adaptation we see in the world. Maybe what God really did was instill one thing in everything he created — the will to survive. To me, that would be more interesting, to see what each living thing came up with. Interesting, and more of a risk.

McKenzie Pass Lava Fields

There was such a big quietness to the lava fields.

McKenzie Pass sign

We continued our journey towards Portland, taking the “Over the River and Through the Woods” scenic byway. We stopped in Sweet Home, Oregon at a pizza place called Spoleto’s. It didn’t look like much on the outside but the pizza was fantastic.

Spoleto's Pizzeria & Wine Shop

I had the Portland Pesto with fresh organic local basil pesto, local hazelnuts, mushrooms, parmesan and fresh tomato. The hazelnuts were an unexpected and excellent touch.

c

Crater Lake

Crater Lake

At the end of September, Steve and I took an Amtrak train from St Cloud, Minnesota to Portland, Oregon for a destination wedding. The following posts are about our experiences on the train and in Oregon, which I wrote down in my travel journal. You can read previous posts here:

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Crater Lake

The Sunday after the wedding, Steve and I headed to Crater Lake. I’d seen photos of the lake and read about it and wanted to see the enormity of it for myself. At the first place we stopped, the temperature on the car’s dashboard was showing 38 degrees (F). Oh, well, we’d already managed that the day before. No big deal…

Mountains around Crater Lake

Except I had never experienced a wind quite like the one that practically grabbed the car door out of my hand. I couldn’t take off my sunglasses or my eyes would fill with sand. I had rain pants over leggings and the loose nylon was flapping and slapping loudly, sounding like a flag whipping in the breeze.

Crater Lake

Both Steve and I stood and moved with our bodies slightly tilting forward, trying to maintain our balance. When we got back in the car, we looked at each other and said something like, “Shit! It’s nasty out there!”  (Or maybe that was just me…) Then we both made faces as we felt grit sliding around in our teeth.

Crater Lake

So, not great weather to walk around in. We kept driving, looking out the windows at the sparkling blueness of the lake, the ruggedness of the mountains, and the trees watching over it all. This tree looked like she was strutting with attitude.

tree that looks human

When we got to the other side of the lake, it was much warmer and there was less wind.

Crater Lake

At one point, we took a short walk and this crazy fox came up behind me to cross into the woods. He was so close, I swear I could have petted him. Only I was in shock and of course, didn’t have my camera out because a couple seconds before I had put it away thinking, “We’re just heading back to the car, there won’t be anything to photograph.” Stupid, stupid, stupid!

fox

Steve was better prepared.

fox

Anyway, I had that moment of just standing so close and looking directly into the fox’s face in amazement. Maybe the moment I experience was better than any photo I could have had.

And yes, Mr. Ground Squirrel, you’re cute too…

Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel

 

Deschutes River

Oregon beach

At the end of September, Steve and I took an Amtrak train from St Cloud, Minnesota to Portland, Oregon for a destination wedding. The following posts are about our experiences on the train and in Oregon, which I wrote down in my travel journal. You can read previous posts here:

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Deschutes River

The morning before the wedding, Steve and I had enough time to take a short walk along the Deschutes River. I got caught up in how the sunlight was reflecting off the grass and flowers along the water.

Deschutes River Deschutes River

Then we walked around downtown Bend. There was going to be an Art Fair and booths were being set up. But neither the art fair or stores were open yet so I just peeked in the shop windows. They had fun mannequins in one of the clothing shops.

Mannequins

Mannequin

Mannequins After our walk, we got ready to drive to the resort where the wedding was taking place, about 45 minutes outside Bend, up in the mountains. According to my phone, it was going to be about 38 degrees F outside and it was an outdoor wedding so I was dressed in heavy tights, skirt, sweater, wrap, and boots.

As we drove, it started raining. Then the rain turned to sleet. Then to wet snow. This wasn’t looking good for the bride.

driving through Oregon

But then there was one of those miracles that sometimes happen on wedding days. The sun came out about ten minutes before the ceremony. It was still cold and windy, but it wasn’t precipitating on us and the view was gorgeous, as was the bride.

outdoor wedding

The reception was taking place at Deschutes Brewery in Bend in their Mountain Room. On the drive there, we stopped for more photos. Everywhere we went, there was just so much beauty. I loved the blue glow of this water.

Oregon

And this…

Oregon

The wedding reception was one of the most unique and enjoyable receptions I’ve been to. Since the couple brews beer and are interested in microbrews, I thought that it was a fun to have the beer theme carried out for their reception. They really planned it out well. Each course came with a different sampling of beer — a lighter beer with the salad all the way on to a darker, sweeter beer with the wedding cake. Sorry I don’t have any photos but sometimes a girl just has to put down her camera and enjoy.

 

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