Beauty above and along the Columbia River Gorge

In last week’s post, I took you on a tour of Portland’s International Rose Test Garden. This week, I’m inviting you along for a trip to Mt. Hood and the Columbia River Gorge, a short drive outside of Portland.

As I write this, California’s Central Valley is facing yet another day of brutal, record-breaking heat. I can hardly believe that just two weekends ago, I was standing at the foot of snow-covered Mt. Hood.

Staring up at Mt. Hood

If I could teleport myself there now, I would lie in the snow and make snow angels.  Continue reading

Of runners and fisherpeople

I did a double-take as I read the first line of the email:

We hope you are holding up well and still getting in your runs during this rainy winter!

I still get emails from race organizers in the southeast, and, at first glance, I expected to read about the weekend’s snow and ice making it hard for runners to get out the door. Winter running can be frustrating where I’m from, especially when ice transforms roads into skating rinks.

But this particular email came from someone here in California, and instead of fretting over icy roads, the concern was all the wonderful rain we’ve gotten. The email’s author organizes hard-core races: races that climb mountains in relentless sun, races where it’s not uncommon to spot tarantulas, races involving trails at a place named for the devil. And he’s worried us being able to train in the rain?

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Playing in a winter wonderland

It may not feel like winter where you are (or where I am, of that matter), but I’m enjoying some time off and playing in this wonderland—snow-covered or not.

I hope you won’t mind me taking a break to enjoy time with family and friends this week. I’ll be back next week to greet the new year with you.

In the meantime, to encourage you to head outside, here’s a photo of someone who loves to play outside, no matter the weather:

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My pup with her favorite tennis ball in her favorite kind of weather (from 2014)

Blessings to you at the close of 2015. I’d love to hear how you’re wrapping up the year and ringing in a new one!

O, Yosemite!

We are now in the mountains and they are in us, kindling enthusiasm, making every nerve quiver, filling every pore and cell of us. (John Muir, My First Summer in the Sierra)

Let the mountains bring peace to the people. – Psalm 72:3

Have you ever been somewhere and not wanted to leave? Somewhere that filled you with boundless energy and measureless peace at the same time? Yosemite is such a place for me.

My husband and I made a trip there last week, our second time ever visiting Yosemite and our first since moving here. Our goal is to visit Yosemite in all four seasons. The weather was kind to us, and we didn’t have to put chains on our tires. We spent time hiking and running and strolling. Sometimes, we stood still, awed by the splendor rising up to surround us.

If you long for nature’s grandeur, come to Yosemite. If you need a reminder of your smallness, come to Yosemite. If you need to be rejuvenated in body and mind, come to Yosemite.

You may not be able to drop everything right this minute and make your way there, and so I’m sharing some favorite photographs with you. Will you carve out a little space at the end of this busy day and sit with these views? I hope they fill you with peace and renewed energy in equal portion.

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This bobcat was the very definition of nonchalance, paying us no mind as it went about its business. (Apologies for not being able to get a front-end picture)

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On the way to Mirror Lake

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Half Dome on an overcast morning

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A thin winter coat of snow

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Mirror Lake

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Half Dome with the skies clearing

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Words fail me: Yosemite falls with rainbow and snow

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Fog through the trees

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Another quiet moment

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Ubiquitous (and well-versed in the music of a snack bag opening)

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Saying goodbye in the valley

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Sun and snow at play

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Impossible not to stop and look back

Have you ever been to Yosemite? What was your favorite part of your visit? If you’ve never been, did any of the photographs inspire you to start planning a trip?