Friday, April 25, 2014

Oregon - day2

Let's see... where did I leave off? BREAKFAST! That was yummy. 
It was hard to leave my awesome room at the Bronze Antler. So so so hard. Could have stayed there over and over again. But, the adventure continues. 
Joe & Vicki came over for breakfast. Mike who owns the tram showed up. I packed my things into my new duffle bag courtesy of Polar Stuff (the bag is called Dufflaluffagus, I got it in Olive its ridiculously cool) and shoved my things into my car - because Joe and I were heading out to see the lake, the mountains and anything else he could come up with.

We went to Chief Josephs grave site. Joe is so knowledgable. It's truly amazing how much information he has stored in that mind of his. I hope one day I can retain everything the way he does. Like, right now - I'm having trouble recalling the story of Chief Joseph. This is my fault because I waited to write my blogs. Thats what being busy and having ADHD does.. ops. I will read up, once I consult Joe. But what I can remember: Chief Joseph wasn't originally buried here. He was moved here. I can't remember why. He lays beneath his mountains and next to his lake. There are gifts strewn about his gravesite. At first I thought it was garbage, but its little items that people made to decorate his grave. It was interesting to be at his grave. I can't tell you why exactly, because I suppose I just don't know. 

We moved on. 

Joe explained to me many things about the formation and geological history of the Wallowas. I still am completely fascinated with it. These mountains are so important. They are so overlooked and unknown, and it baffles me. I'm sure everyone surrounding these mountains are maybe glad - but dang. I can't even explain how magical they are. You just have to see it for yourself. 

Joe told me we were to hike to the top of a moraine. I had no idea what this word was. Now I know. It is the pieces of rock and dirt sheered off the mountains themselves long long ago by glaciers... they piled high and stayed stacked that way for years upon years. These moraines here in Oregon, in this exact place, are some of the most perfect examples of moraines in the world. & I got to hike to the top of one! It was steep. I had my Danner boots tho, so I made it to the top no problem... well... it could be considered a problem if you count me running out of breath a few times before making it to the top... but I still made it. haha! The view on the way up kept getting better, if you can believe it. I kept stopping and turing around and just gazing at those wondrous mountains. If you claim to be a mountain person - you know, a person who prefers the mountains over any other terrain - I can't urge you enough: visit the Wallowas. The peace you find here is unparalleled. 

Joe pretty much made me "work out" the entire time I spent with him. Haha. We hiked up, hiked down. He decided to take me to where the wolves live. It is off-season so no one is around. The scenes are just incredible. What more can I say. We walked through the snow, following snowmobile tracks. We found animal prints through the snow. He shared SO much knowledge with me. I wish I could remember all of it. After trekking through the snow, we headed back and down the mountain to get lunch. 

After that, we went to my car to get warm clothes for me because we were headed up the mountain via tram. We met up with Mike, the owner of the Wallowa Lake Tramway he rode up to the top with us. Joe & I then headed out on our own on snowshoes. We were at the summit of Mt. Howard, covered in feet of snow. We walked to "the edge" and looked out at the Wallowas from a whole different angle. It was... I'm still trying to find words. The snow covered peaks of an enormous mountain range, the deep canyons beneath them. It was truly majestic. It was quiet and serene at the top. I could have stayed there all day, looking out at the bright snow and wondering what it would be like to live right there, on that peak overlooking the fantastic mountain range before me. 

But, we had to head back. It was nearing my departure time to my next city. We made one quick stop by Arrowhead Chocolates & I picked up a few chocolates that sounded divine (and they were. oh my gosh I adore their chocolate). We got back to my car, I loaded my things, gave Joe a hug and thanked him. My thanks still wont be enough for all he showed me and shared with me. 

I went onward, toward Baker City. The drive was beautiful. Long and filled with open fields, small towns and mountains in the distance. I made it in good time to The Geiser Grand Hotel, was escorted to my incredible room, the Cupola Suite. It was beautiful. Relaxing and enormous. I couldn't wait to take a bath when I was done for the day. haha! I went downstairs and met with Timothy Bishop & the owner of the Geiser Grand Barbara. They were so excited to have me! Tim took me down the street to Barley Browns for dinner where he had two friends waiting there to meet up with us. 

We ate delicious food there, and afterward headed next door to the Barley Browns Brewery. It opened June 1st of 2013 and it is amazing inside. I love the design. The brewmaster Eli Dickinson was there to show me around the brewery, I got to try their BABF Gold winning IPA the Pallet Jack straight from the enormous metal ... thing... I forget what its called. It was awesome tho. SO yummy as well. Then we headed out to relax and have drinks at the bar. It was fantastic. 

After Barley Browns I walked down to Petersons Gallery & Chocolatier with the owners Davey & Alyssa Peterson. Its a lovely space with artwork from local artists with a sweet little chocolate bar at the back. They are doing updates and making it more exciting - I can't wait to go back and see the new additions. They also gave me a little box of sample chocolates! So yummy. I loved their sweets! 

I headed back to the Geiser Grand and took a nice warm bath to wind down after the long busy day. Yummmm I love baths. Then I hit the hay and awaited day light to start day 3...

Saturday, April 12, 2014


Where the heck do I even start?
I suppose, from the beginning. 

Months ago I got an email asking if I wanted to go to Oregon. I thought it was a joke. Who ME? No one asks ME to go somewhere or do things. I don't have a million followers on Instagram... I'm not someone in the spotlight... my mind didn't know what to think. But I jumped on the opportunity. Who the heck wonders about HOW when its already been established?! So it begins... my journey toward Oregon. 
The Wallowas. 

Travel Oregon - they picked me to go to the Wallowas. I hadn't even heard of this place. I googled it, and saw the images and was astounded. They wanted me to go to this magnificent place? They wanted to send me there and adorn me with Oregons best? Sold. Out of the 7 Wonders of Oregon, they wanted to send me to the place that makes the most sense to me? That's called fate.

I began my adventure to Oregon. 
I woke up that day, April 1st. I was waiting for the "april fools sucker!" call or something. But it never came, so I ran to the airport & boarded first class onto Alaska Airlines and hopped on over to Joseph, Oregon.

Wait, it wasn't a hop. Let me be real here, it was a grand drive into the little town of Joseph - cozily nestled at the base of the Wallowas. I drove down Rattlesnake canyon, in my cute little Ford Escape. I zipped around corners and my eyes could barely keep up with the scenes. 
I stopped at Chief Joseph Canyon viewpoint  -

Saw the area where the Nez Perce spent their winters - at the bottom of a canyon by the river. It was pretty exciting to me, knowing this was an area where a group of people lived and survived - for thousands of years. Seeing it then, was mixed. They aren't there anymore. They were not down by that river, surviving the winter. I was sure to take a few photos while I had some moments to myself with the cold wind blowing & birds drifting on the wind above me. Wondering if the quiet moments like the one I was having, was something they experienced often during the winters there. 

I continued on toward Joseph.

I saw elk along the way. Some buffalo. I rolled into town just as the sun was fading into the west, I saw the cute town just before dark. I made it to my new bed for the night: The Bronze Antler. It's an incredible B&B with a view of the Wallowas. I was floored when I saw my room. I stayed in the Mirror Lake room. I felt like I had been living under a rock my entire life, the room was decked out with the best of the best. The bathtub. Oh me oh my. It was sensational. I speak highly of this place and I seriously recommend it to EVERYONE. GET THIS ROOM! Spoil yourself. No joke, its absolutely worth it. I could have spent my entire trip in that room. YUM.
There was a big ol' duffle bag waiting for me in the room as well. FOR MEEEE?!?! I opened it. Yeah, I jumped up and down and spun around in circles and muffled my own shrieks of joy. I ripped it all out and quickly scanned over it all. I didn't know what to touch first. So I grabbed the box. OH YEAH, the box of brand new Danner boots in my size, BRB OMG. I threw them on because I had to go get some dinner before places closed for the night. So comfy. Warm, cozy, squishy, badass. I looked at myself in the mirror and was like "yes". 
I waited to twirl around holding the other items in the bag until after I got back from dinner.

I went down to get some sustenance at Embers Brew House. Got some pizza & a local brew from Barley Browns Brewery, I think it was a Vanilla stout. T'was amazing. I could have cried when I took the first bite of my pizza. Like, food this good after seeing the most lavish room just for me? Someone pinch me. NO DON'T. 
Afterwards, I decided to go to the Stubborn Mule - my hosts at the Bronze Antler told me I should check it out, its a local pub they said. So I did, got another local brew. Sat on my own and watched the locals play pool & talk. I could tell I was an obvious outsider - even with out them looking at me like "a blonde girl in a leather jacket... what is this?" but I sat and sipped. Then a girl came over and sat right down across from me. Abbie! I made a new friend within minutes! Who knew? Clearly this girl was intimidated by me, which was great. Because from what people tell me, I am intimidating. *I do not agree with this, but what do I know I'm not sitting across from me* She was super nice, and knew I wasn't from the area. She asked about me, I asked about her. Soon her friends trickled over. A few guys in tight wrangler jeans and plaid button ups. Well hello there. It was fun being involved in their conversations. I am so glad I met them.

I went back to the Bronze Antler, I flipped on the water and let it fill up with warm inviting water. I am not much of a bath person - but how exactly are you gonna refuse to use a giant amazing bathtub that has lights that change color and jets & all that? Thats right, you can't refuse. I almost fell asleep in that tub. I slowly dragged myself out & over to my enormous bed. PLOP - SEE YA! 

I woke up and got my things together. & then cautiously entered the shower. It could have been a time machine for all I knew! But alas, it was not. Thank god. Because that shower was fantastic. Water came from all over the place you guys! I was giggling and getting all ridiculous turning the knobs over and over again. Oh and listening to the radio inside the shower & trying to decide which color light I liked best. Yeah, I KNOW. I finally made it out & pulled it together in time to meet my new friend Joe for breakfast upstairs. Heather (the owner of Bronze Antler) made us delicious food and woowwww she's good.

But hey, that means its a new day. You only get one day per blog post! See ya later for the next one ;) It gets better, trust me...