Redefining daily routine. What does that mean? I guess to begin with I don't even know. Maybe it's bailing on a summer internship to wander around the western rockies. Maybe it's focusing on passion to find purpose or emerging yourself in the unknown. Whatever your daily routine is, I hope to inspire proactivity in the outdoors. And if you can't get outside, think outside.
After climbing Mount Rainier, I really had no further plans but to get to my sister's house in Portland to edit photos & video, update the website and regroup. And by no plans, I mean zero. "Going where the wind blows" has been a theme I have adopted from my grandfather and since lived by fairly consistently. I have learned over the years that the greatest memories we seem to recall are the experiences we never planned. The greatest part of adventure is not knowing and Oregon is where I believe my 40 day adventure had officially begun. I decided to stop in Astoria where the Columbia River feeds the Pacific Ocean and spend a day exploring as Lewis & Clark once did. I camped at Fort Stevens, a former military base guarding the mouth of the Columbia River and also the biggest campground west of the Mississippi. With so much history here I would have needed to spend a week to digest it all. The beaches were rugged with white sand and jagged, black rocks resisting the incoming tide. In the distance, large ships awaited entrance into the Columbia River to load and unload cargo. I found timber to be on the majority of ships; the scale at which logging must occur to keep up with 1 day of timber export I witnessed is unimaginable. Northern Oregon has beautiful thick forests in which I felt like I could never escape. After about three days in the area I began to feel claustrophobic. Cities emerged from highways woven into evergreen infrastructure. I had considered a Mt. Hood solo attempt but decided against it with a concern for safe mountaineering practices; I did not know my way well enough nor have internet access to study the route. Super! Now I have a great excuse to come back. The town of Government Camp, at the base of Mt. Hood, is full of skiers and snowboarders busy shredding the summer slush of Mt. Hood - the only year round ski resort.
Oregon is split by coniferous forest to the north and desert grassland to the south. Driving this transition was very fun and interesting. I pulled off the highway a few times to see Mt. Hood covered in snow in the background and horses grazing on flat prairie baking in the foreground. There is so much outdoor recreation in Bend from the many rivers to kayak and float to the endless biking and hiking trails and nearby climbing. I only spent a day here as I was in a rush to get to California to visit friends but I will definitely return. I would love to come back in both summer and winter to ski at Mt. Bachelor.
Oregon seemed to posses many of the same attributes as Montana yet with a quirky twist. The agriculture, active outdoor lifestyle and friendly people were all there. I cannot put my finger on the unique cultural difference; you will have to see for yourself although Portland and Bend felt like the Missoula and Bozeman of Montana. I can easily recognize the weirdest day of my entire western adventure in Crescent, Oregon. I had just about ran out of gas around midnight on my way to Crater Lake. The small town of about 300 did not service gas after 10pm (in Oregon you cannot pump your own gas) and I did not trust the stranger who insisted I could make it to the next town. I hung out at the local pub for about an hour striking up conversation with a trucker from Nevada, who knew where the countries best firework stands were, a local rancher, who has lived in his car for the last 20 years and a waitress who kept pouring free drinks against the owners will. I stuck out like a sore thumb. Maybe this is why the restaurant owner brought out an entree of tacos, free of charge, unexpectedly for me. As the night progressed a few patrons began arguing about what was being played on the jukebox. They were broken up and I was out of there.
I finished my Oregon adventures at Crater Lake by hiking around the volcano rim and gazing at the bluest water I have ever scene. The photos of the lake above are not edited- it really is that blue.