To The Beach!

After the disappointing lack of snow in Bend, we came back to Portland where it was a mixture of sunny and decent (but cold) and then alternating rainy days. I saw in the forecast SUNSHINE and 60 degree weather! I am so ready for spring! When I saw how nice the weather was going to be I suggested we plan a hike/day trip to the beach. Oddly enough, the weather was going to be a little warmer at the beach over the weekend (which is usually the opposite–Portland is usually warmer).

Sunday morning we woke up early and packed the car for the day and set out towards Cannon Beach to do some hiking. We parked at Oswald West State Park and were lucky to get a parking spot. Seemed everyone else on the planet had the same plan as we did and lots of the hiking trailheads were filling up.


We followed the “Short Sand Beach Trail” from the parking lot and it walked alongside a roaring river where we came to several forks in the road. Michael looked at me and I just shrugged. We randomly picked a direction to walk and went up the trail where we came to a suspension bridge! Thankfully it wasn’t super high up (I’m afraid of heights) but it was still scary. And Bella was completely freaked out. She was refusing to cross the bridge and was walking backwards. I went first to see if she’d follow. The bridge was kinda scary and there were some loose boards (um, that seems safe right?) and it bounced up and down when two people were walking across it.



Somehow Bella conquered her fear and made it across the bridge. 😉 We walked down a fork in the trail to the beach where we had our picnic lunches. Even though we’d just started our hike, we had to eat or it would throw off dinner. It was around noon at this time I think. I got to practice with my new telephoto lens that Michael got me for my birthday!




Pretty nice, huh? I need to practice with it. We were really far away when I took these pictures. The zoom is incredible! The day was warming up but there was still some mist at the beach. This little beach was a really popular one. I don’t think I’ve ever been to it but there TONS of people and a lot of surfers, too. Everyone seemed to be carrying a surfboard on the trail to the beach.


After lunch we walked back up to the main trail and took the Old Growth Forest Loop trail that turned into Elk Flat Trail. The book I have is pretty old and doesn’t have great detail about a lot of the hikes we’ve found just going out on our own. Like this one, the Neahkahnie Mountain hike is the one we picked and got at the Oswald West trailhead except there seemed to be about half a dozen or more other trails all connecting. We just randomly picked Elk Flat and that’s what we did.

It was a pretty steep climb almost immediately. The trail was narrow and wound through the trees.



We tromped through old growth forest, surrounded by giant sitka trees, pine trees, evergreens and so much green everywhere! There were also a bunch of giant trees that had grown out of the sides of hills like this one:


It kind of reminded me of when I went to the Redwood Forest as a kid.

The ground was soft with some bounce–almost trampoline-like, covered in pinecones, pine needles, leaves and centuries of compost from the damp forest. It’s nice walking on soft ground like that. Also, the mud wasn’t too bad because there were so many tree roots that had formed stairs through the forest as we climbed up.


The trail leveled off at the top and we were both sweating buckets. We stopped to rest and have some water, give Bella some water, and take off some of our layers. We were both really warm! It turned out to be a gorgeous day, despite the dense fog and cool air in the morning. We continued on the trail and it started to wind through an area of the forest that was less dense with trees and bushes. It was kind of spooky how slender and sparse the trees were after so much old growth.


We got to what seemed like the end of the trail. It just kind of stopped–and I wasn’t willing to explore without a trail. Besides, we’d been hiking for over an hour and a half by this time. We turned around and came across a couple with two dogs off leash–who thankfully put them both on a leash while they passed us (I thanked them for that). It was so nice! The trail was uphill for a bit and then it was mostly downhill in mud and those root-stairs.


I was glad my knees did ok on that really steep downgrade. We got back down to the main trail, crossed the suspension bridge again (Bella did ok but was still scared). We got back to the car, covered in mud, but feeling pretty good! We ended up hiking 3.14 miles in just under 2 hours. I burned 658 calories on the hike.


Michael pulled over at a viewpoint so I could take some more pictures with my new lens. Then we headed to Cannon Beach to do some beach walking. I love the beach and it’s even better in the sunshine. There’s just something restorative about old forests, the ocean and sunshine for me. I really do need this time to reconnect with nature after spending so much of my time in a cubicle, or a gym, or at home. I need that disconnect time.



Cannon Beach is a tourist trap. It’s a sleepy little beach town with typical beach-tourist shops and restaurants. Cannon Beach itself is actually pretty short and it’s always really crowded in the summertime so it’s not one I generally go to often. I much prefer going to Rockaway where you could walk for miles and miles and it’s never that crowded. That’s where we always went for summer vacations when I was a kid. But yesterday it was just perfect.




Cannon Beach was packed! Everyone else in Portland had the same idea we did. Bella was SUPER STOKED to be at the beach! There was so much going on and so many other dogs. She met lots of dogs and made friends, was scared by one that barked at her (a giant husky fluff-ball thing) and then met a 2 month old German Shephard puppy:



Bella did her usual: rolling around in the sand, exfoliating. (I did post some videos on Instagram if you want to see.) She was one filthy puppy between the muddy hike and the sandy beach. She made sure she got sand in every inch of her body. I love this picture of her:


To me it says: “MOM, I LOVE THE BEACH! And the sunshine! Let’s stay here forever!” I’m not sure how many miles we walked the beach but it was for about an hour or so. It was so warm I took of my long-sleeved shirt. It’s shocking how warm it was at the beach in Oregon in January. That’s just nuts.


We finally said goodbye to Cannon Beach and Haystack Rock and went in search of food.



Dinner time! Well, early dinner. I was FAMISHED. My lunch was NOT enough calories for the strenuous hike we did and then walking on the beach. So we ended up eating dinner around 4:30.  We actually ate dinner in Seaside, about a 15 minute drive north of Cannon Beach. We found a pub, U Street Pub, on the south side of town that wasn’t too crowded and had decent reviews online.

All I wanted was clam chowder. I’d been craving it for about a week and as usual, the line for Mo’s was way too long. I was glad we went here because the chowder was fantastic! Perfect consistency, creamy with tiny chunks of celery and potatoes (I hate it when the chunks are too large), and a generous amount of bacon in the chowder. It came with two small slices of toast. Michael got the pastrami sandwich and an order of mozzarella sticks. I had 2 mozzarella sticks and called that my limit. The bar had a decent beer list but I stuck with diet coke. We had a lovely dinner and then I stopped in a souvenir shop to get a postcard for my grandma and we headed home.

The drive home was slow going. There was a lot of traffic (all the other people who wanted to play in the sun like we did) heading back to Portland. The night grew dark and the dense fog returned but we made it home safely and Little Miss got a quick bath (she is so good at this routine now, every time we go for a hike she immediately runs into the bathroom and hops into the tub!) and then I sorted through photos before calling it an early night. I think all three of us were beyond exhausted after our day adventure!

Cats, Not the Musical


I spent part of my weekend playing with cats!

Friday I had another ortho massage (ouch) and I had a very, very beneficial physical therapy session with a new PT. He explained that the reason I’m having the issues I’m having is because my glutes are weak and as a result, my hamstrings are overcompensating (thus becoming too tight and pulling on my lower back) and my quads are also overcompensating so that puts strain on my knees. It was kind of a “duh” moment but it really explained things for me in a better way. He gave me a few new exercises to do to strengthen my glutes and told me to stop doing the hip exercises I’d been doing because my hips were strong enough.

After that, Michael and I went to my friend Star’s for dinner. It was her birthday (and mine, belated). She made meatloaf that was out of this world and fresh spaghetti with homemade sauce made from her vegetable garden.


Our friends Bob and Alazar were there with adorable little Sephira and my friend Sam and her boyfriend were there too. It was such a fun night hanging out with everyone!


Check out the dessert:


I took a bunch of pictures of Star’s kitties because they are just so photogenic.




Saturday I got up earlier than normal to work out because I had an appointment at Cat Adoption Team. It was the volunteer orientation. I used to volunteer at C.A.T. years ago and I went almost every weekend to help out. I was a caregiver — i.e. cleaning cages, feeding the cats, playing with the cats and doing laundry. Eventually I started doing some of the adoption work: helping people fill out paperwork, etc. I’ve wanted to start volunteering there again for awhile but I’m always “too busy.”

I’ve been feeling lately like my life is just full of scheduled stuff–work, gym, trying to fit in friends, errands and such. I end up feeling exhausted and burned out. I thought volunteering again might give me that happy feeling I used to have whenever I was spending time at CAT.

{Adopt Me!}

The orientation was about an hour and then I spent a little over an hour playing with the cats in the shelter. It’s a really, really good organization. It’s a no-kill shelter, so the cats stay there until they find a home. They get really good care at CAT and I’m excited about spending time there again.


If you’re looking for a cat and live in the Portland area, please check out CAT. It’s such a good place and they work really hard to find the perfect match for the cats. And please please please don’t adopt pets from a pet store. Go to a humane society or shelter and save a LIFE.

{Adopt Sweet Judy!}

This little girl was such a sweetheart. Her name is Judy. The sign on the door said she was shy but loveable so go slow. I went into the free-roam room where she was alone and sat down in a chair. She immediately jumped off her perch, meowed a bunch like “Don’t leave! Don’t leave! Play with me! I’m coming!” She ran over to me and jumped on my lap where she insisted I pet her. I stayed with her for a long time because she was just so sweet and very soft. Then it was time to go. Sadly, when I left she sat right in front of the door like she was waiting for me to come back.

I’m glad I’m volunteering again. I know it will be hard. I want to save them all. And if there is a cat that is missing an eye or leg, that’s the one I want to rescue (which I saw there). Michael told me three times before I left for my orientation “do not come home with any cats”. It’s gonna be hard to resist! But I’ll try. I laid in bed and watched a movie Saturday after volunteering and Fat Kitty perched himself right on my stomach for the whole thing. I think he could tell I was with other cats. Uh oh–cheating on my kitty!


On Sunday I made the yoga class (well 30 minutes of it at least) and then went swimming. I was a little sore from Saturday’s workout so I was pretty slow in the pool. After that I had a photography class at Stumptown Workshops. I chose “Studio Lighting” for my class.


It was really interesting and helped me with some of my lighting questions. I don’t know that it was the most appropriate class I should have picked because it was more about how to use different studio equipment.

It was a busy weekend, but a fun one. How was your weekend?