Union Creek cabins

Rogue River Hike

The second day of our trip was a big one! I am breaking it up into two posts. Here is the first. After breakfast at the cabin we went for a hike at a nearby campground called the Natural Bridge. It was less than a 5 minute drive from where we were staying in Union Creek and the hike was along the gorgeous Rogue River.

Upper Rogue River Hike

The Natural Bridge was a lava tube that had formed underneath the water.

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The lava tubes were really cool. The water was rapid and you could see lots of little caves that were part of the tubes. When we were on our honeymoon in Maui we did a snorkeling tour and got to see the lava tubes that had formed in the ocean.

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The hike was really quiet and scenic. We were the only ones on the trail once you left the viewpoint of the lava tubes/natural bridge. The trail went through the forest and the ground was super soft. It was an easy hike until we go to some hills. Then it was probably “moderate.”

We climbed up the trail and it then it flattened out and looped around. Suddenly we were on the other side of the river.

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The trees were starting to change color and it was a gorgeous area. This was probably my favorite hike that we did on our trip. We hiked around the other side of the river, along the campground.

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We crossed a bridge (Bella thankfully crossed the bridge even though she was freaked out) and we were back to the parking lot. We hiked around 4 miles.

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After this we went back to the cabin, cleaned up, packed lunches and then made the drive to Crater Lake. Our cabins were right by the junction to Crater Lake and it was only about 20 miles or so of a drive.

I will be doing a post just about Crater Lake because it really needs its own post.

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So fast forward to dinner after the adventure at 8,000 feet!

After Crater Lake we hung out outside our cabin and had dinner on the picnic bench. The weather was really nice and it was relaxing to just chill. The resort had a giant BBQ! Look at it:

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Michael was pretty impressed. He’s been wanting to get a BBQ/smoker like this for some time so he was excited to give it a try. I guess the guy does BBQ every weekend. Michael picked up some brisket and sides for both of us.

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The dinner was great! I was impressed. The brisket was soft and melted in your mouth. The homemade BBQ sauce was outstanding. The sides were just ok. We shared the coleslaw, potato salad and baked beans.

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We spent the evening relaxing, playing card games and doing crossword puzzles together. Stay tuned for the Crater Lake post!

 

Anniversary Road Trip

For our first wedding anniversary Michael and I decided to take a road trip to Crater Lake. It’s a must-see destination in Oregon and yet neither of us have ever been! Or if I’ve been, I was a kid and don’t remember. I booked a cute cabin at the Union Creek Resort; it was built in 1922 in the Rogue River National Forest and about a half hour drive from Crater Lake. They boasted having a lodge, rustic cabins, an old-fashioned country store, a cafe and an ice cream shop. You can see the map here: groundsmap.

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We packed up the car, and Bella, and hit the road! We stopped in Eugene for lunch. We went to The Cannery, a cool and hip-looking gastropub in the cute little downtown area. I don’t know Eugene at all, I think I’ve just driven through it a few times, but it seemed like a cute town! And of course a popular place if you’re a football fan…

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They had a fantastic tap list –and of course they had my beloved Boneyard beer on tap–which was a slight bummer since I couldn’t enjoy it. But I did get the next best thing– fish n’ chips! I hadn’t had them in ages and these were really, really good. They were small and the size and shape of chicken strips, which I kind of liked. The fries were pretty good too. Michael got the kale salad with chicken and avocado caesar dressing. His salad was fantastic! This place was great! I’d definitely go back if I was in Eugene.

After lunch we were back on the road and the drive was super pretty. We left the freeway and were on a highway right along the Rogue River. The roaring river, the trees starting to change colors, it was picturesque. The drive was a long one, nearly 5 hours total from Portland. We stopped a few times at rest stops for us (and Bella) and arrived at Union Creek around 4:30pm. It felt like we were in the middle of nowhere and we kind of were.

Here is our cabin:

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Our cabin was tucked away from the rest, which was kind of nice. And while it was by the highway you couldn’t really hear noise. The cabin itself was small and very rustic but it was all we really needed. A bed, a mini kitchen, a bathroom, electricity and heat. It beats camping!

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I’d packed a bunch of stuff for meals and that first night there we made taco salads for dinner and relaxed with some card games after the long drive.

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Bella seemed super excited to explore! 🙂

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Our cabin was right by the Rogue River. Here is the Rogue viewpoint:

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Not too shabby, huh??

One of the downsides: There was NO internet, no cell service at all. Which really isn’t that big of a deal because you’re kind of there to enjoy nature, etc etc…but it was slightly inconvenient for practical things like weather. The temperature swing was kind of crazy–in the 30’s and low 40’s at night and early in the morning but getting up to the 70’s in the day time. It made it difficult to figure out how to dress for the day or for activities.

Our first full day there we went for an easy hike on the Union Trail which was right by our cabin.

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It was COLD. It was probably around 9am. We’d already eaten breakfast and got dressed in layers and I wore a wool hat, gloves and my big winter jacket. We hiked out through the woods, didn’t see a single person on the trail, and ended up doing around 3.5 miles.

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Back at the cabin we cleaned up and I packed picnic lunches. We had plans in Medford for the day (about an hour drive south) so we took lunch with us and stopped at Stewart Park along the way. We had our picnic lunches on the bench overlooking the lake.

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And here is evidence of just how bad the drought has been:

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Yikes! That’s really low. After that we drove into Medford, made a quick stop for provisions at Fred Meyer, and then met up with Michael’s childhood friend Chris and his wife Jenna. I hadn’t seen them since our wedding last year (they got married a month after us and I wasn’t able to go to that). It was so nice to see them and catch up! He works for the fish and wildlife and does fire-fighting during the fire season. She’s a fire ecologist (which sounded really fascinating).

We went to a winery called Kriselle Cellars at their recommendation. It had stunning views of the valley, hillsides, farms, vineyards and mountains off in the distance. We all sat outside on the deck while they did a wine tasting flight and I enjoyed my sparkling water. This was kind of the first time I was disappointed I couldn’t partake because of being pregnant. Leading up to this I hadn’t missed wine (or beer) at ALL during my pregnancy. Oh well. Only 6 more months to go and then I can taste this wine:

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Haha! Michael bought a bottle of the Malbec just for me to have after the baby comes. 🙂 It smelled amazing so I’m looking forward to that glass. It was such a nice afternoon. The sun was out, it was hot and Bella could hang out with us as they tasted wine.

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After that Michael and I went and got dinner. It was the FIRST In-n-Out opening in Oregon!!! We’d read about it a few weeks ago (and the 4+ hour long lines) and we had to at least try. I mean, when are we EVER going to be in Medford again, right??

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We got to the In-n-Out and there were people directing traffic. The lines looked crazy. They directed us into the adjacent mall parking lot where there were like 8 or 9 lines of cars (which one article said could hold 200-300 cars!!!). You couldn’t tell what was going on until you were stuck in the line and committed to it.

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It kind of reminded me of the long lines to take the ferry in Washington! But, to be fair, the wait wasn’t TOO bad. From start to finish it was 50 minutes. That could have been a lot worse and they were super organized and the line moved pretty quickly. They took your order before you even got in the line to In-n-Out.

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Finally! DINNER! I love me some In-n-Out! I’m not really a fast food fan and don’t eat it very often but this is one splurge I’m willing to make! Their burgers are so good!

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We ate our dinner, happy, and then made the long drive back to the cabins! It was a good day. 🙂