Turn and Face the Strange

Getting too comfortable with the life we live is all too easy. We fall into routines and time passes quicker than we are used to. We start to realize life is completely up to us, how to use our time, what thoughts fill our brains, how we treat others, who we decide to surround ourselves with, the list goes on. This all seems obvious but up until recently, I feel like I was just floating through, taking what came my way and was easy to reach.

This past year has come and gone. Sure, I’ve done a lot, (mostly climbed a bunch of mountains and frolicked in the wilderness) but with all these highs I was bound to hit some lows. These lows are now what are waking me up, making me realize I can live a more intentional life.

This next year I want to make some changes. I want to put myself in situations where I am uncomfortable so I can really grow. I want to stop worrying if I’m on the right path and start creating it instead. No matter the twists and turns and detours, getting lost is half the fun right?

Also, I need to remember there is no “right” way to live, although society sure does a good job convincing me otherwise. Everyone has the right to create their ideal world. For me, that means screw all expectations, use my morals as a compass and run with it.

I need a little bit of guidelines though. So, in this next year, I want to expand my photography business. I want to buy a house and make it a comfortable, welcoming home. I want to be around those who inspire me and I also want to make time to be alone. I want to stay healthy and motivated. I want to keep exploring and seeing new places. I want to maintain this chaotic and sometimes kooky brain of mine. I want to maximize the highs and embrace the lows. I want to trust what is, instead of filling my head with worries and doubts. I want to push aside the questionable thoughts, the “what am I doings”, the curveballs and tell myself it is what it is and I am going to make the most of it ALL!

This life is meant to be enjoyed as fully as possible and I intend on doing just so.

New Year & New Resolutions

New Year resolutions have never meant much to me, but this year I took them seriously and made a list of things I want to accomplish before the end of 2018. I've learned lately that nothing ever comes out of thoughts alone. You have to write about them, talk about them and act on them so your idea actually has a chance at coming to fruition. So, to start this year off right, we tackled one of my goals-to visit every backcountry shelter in Oregon. 

My boyfriend-Greg, my dog-Iggy, and I went on a three day snow-backpacking trip. We left at sunrise Wednesday morning and drove a little over an hour to Salt Creek Sno Park. From here we did a 4.5 mile ice hike through the Douglas Firs to find Diamond Falls. One of the sketchiest hikes but hands down my new favorite waterfall!

Back at the truck, we packed up our backpacks and headed up Fuji Mountain to find our three-walled shelter for the evening. Being a trip planned by me, of course I forgot something, this time "it" being-the map. We had no cell service so we followed the vague directions I had written down from a blog. Since the snow was pretty minimal for this time of year this hike too rather than being snowshoed was an ice slide to say the least. After following ski tracks for a few miles we realized we had no idea where we were, so we backtracked and tried the other road we debated taking at the beginning. This turned out to be the right one and after a 4 mile icy uphill climb we found our little shelter. It was nestled perfectly in the trees with a breathtaking view of Diamond Peak. We shared the little cabin with a Eugene dude and his dog-eating snacks, drinking whiskey, exchanging stories by the fire as the sun set. 

The next morning we woke up at the perfect time to see the alpenglow casting pink colors across the face of Diamond Peak. We heated up some breakfast burritos, drank some coffee and headed back to the car to start our next leg of the trip. 

We drove six miles down the road to Gold Lake Sno Park and did a quick repack, this time remembering the map. Crossed the highway and began our even icier hike to Maiden Peak Shelter. After what seemed like 20 miles (actually 5)  sliding and trying not to crash, we crossed the PCT to find our new night destination. This shelter comfortably sleeps 15, has a massive loft and is fully stocked with firewood, cooking pans, sleds, you name it. It is badass to say the least!

After getting settled in, the three of us set out on a sunset hike only to watch the storm clouds roll in. We bundled up and spent the rest of the night drinking wine and playing cards by the fire with our two new friends from Bend also staying at the cabin. Nights are called early when you've been hiking all day and it gets dark at 4:30. So, we were in our down sleeping bags before 10. Another great day!

Morning came quickly and this time we were greeted with a pounding rainstorm, so we packed up and began the descent back to the car. Learning quickly it's not the best idea to try to eat a breakfast burrito while hiking on ice. Ha! The 5 miles back in the rain seemed to last longer than it should, but we made good time. All three of us sopping wet, hopped into the truck and cruised back to Bend. 

Currently, at home sitting by the fire reliving these past days, feeling satisfied, sore and thankful for Oregon's Forest Service setting up cabins for people to make memories in! Seriously, so grateful for this life! 2018 you're looking pretty great and we're only five days in!!