The Road: Oregon Edition

It's true. We've had a bit of traveling FOMO lately. 

The only solution to curing the insatiable Thornton travel fever is to go through photo archives. Its been a long while since we have posted any personal work/travels around here, so we are excited to share our Oregon adventures from exactly one year ago this week!

If you could sum this trip up into a single word, it would be “green”. Growing up in Southern California has trained my eye to hunt out the color green in nature. We may get a 3-week period where our hillsides are covered in lush green, but as for the other 11 months, tan and brown rule the landscape. So, we are subject to hit the road for greener pastures, and this trip delivered.

We started out with the 560 mile stretch to Mt. Shasta on the 5, the straightest freeway in CA, might I add. The miles flew by with one murder mystery podcast after the next streaming nonstop. After passing Redding, we were greeted with views of snow capped Mt. Shasta and pine trees lining the highway. Camp that night was along Lake Siskiyou, and in typical Northern California fashion, we were greeted with rain… rain that didn't leave for the next 5 days. From Shasta the road finally began to twist and turn through high desert and volcanic badlands where Mesquite trees ruled the landscape. 

We pointed Oatis in the direction of Crater Lake, a destination that we had been talking about visiting for years. However, we weren't prepared for the mid-May blizzard that lay waiting for us. The weather started turning rotten around Fort Klamath, and from then on, the road and view got more precarious. By the time we arrived to the loop that leads us to the lodge and only overlook of the lake, the snow wall along the road was 15 feet high and the snow was falling sideways. Oatis handled the snowy roads like a champ but unfortunately, the view from the top was a complete white-out. Dejected, but not defeated, we drove down the mountain to Bend for beers at Crux Fermentorium and a camp amongst the pine and mesquite. Breweries are great for planning road trips, everyone you meet has a “must-stop” to tell you about, and theres nothing like a few IPA’s to extract secrets from the otherwise tight lipped locals. Crux was fruitful in that we found a great breakfast nook and were told about a miniature Zion just north of Bend. The next day's adventure.

After a few days of A LOT of driving, we were due for trail-stomper. We headed to Smith Rock State Park, just north of Bend, for a day of rock-scrambling - a mix of hiking and climbing. This is a big climbing area and it was fun to watch the experts do there thing. 

Once Lynds gets into her mind that we are going to visit a National Park, there is nothing that will stop us. The next day we headed back to Crater Lake for a blue-bird sunset and some incredible views. We brought a few new lens’s to play around with during this trip (70-200mm and 16-35mm) and Crater Lake was the perfect spot to put them to good use and capture lots of different perspectives and angles. 

We’ve said it before, but we’ll say it again, visiting places in the winter/spring aka “off-season” is the absolute best. It felt like we had Crater Lake all to ourselves!

If there is one thing Oregon is known for, it’s the waterfalls. All that green doesn’t come from nothing! We wanted to see as many water falls as we could during this trip. SO, from Crater Lake, we headed West on Scenic Highway 138, which took us right through the Umpqua National Forest and a handful of some pretty incredible masses of water. We spent the whole day hiking around, getting soaked, and driving down the charming two-lane road that is Highway 138. Eventually the road begins to follow the Umpqua River back to civilization. 

Our next stop was the highlight of of our trip (and definitely top 5 favorite moments of life!). I surprised Lynds with a stay at a treehouse resort in Southwest Oregon. We both have loved the Swiss Family Robinson since forever and would live in a treehouse if we could. The inner-children in us were over-the-moon with excitement. We stayed in the “Peacock Palace” (Lynds's name for it!) where we had running water and a cozy little space to call home. Of course, Lynds spent most of the time exploring + lusting after every single treehouse on the property. The same family that built and started the treehouse resort back in the 70’s is still running it today. They were some of the sweetest and kindest people. We already can’t wait to go back!

The "Peacock Palace" ... because it had a beautiful hand-carved peacock on the door!

From Oregon, we headed south and straight for the coast, but not before passing through the Jedediah Smith Redwood State Park. No trip to NorCal is complete without seeing the redwoods in some form. Unfortunately, we didn’t take any photos until we got to the coast (trying to be better about just breathing-in + experiencing the moment). 

We spent the next few days exploring Prairie Creek and Humboldt State Parks. After setting up camp, we ate at a little burger joint (Lynds always wants at least one stop for burgers on our road trips!) and beers.

There are few things more humbling than spending time under some of natures giants. It was the perfect ending before the 12-hour stretch back home!  

Finally! A little sike out to a later trip... we realllyyyyyy wanted to make it Portland during our May trip but didn't end up having enough time. SO, we made a point to head down during a trip to Washington in August. We made stops at a few more UH-MAZING water falls. 

Want to head to Oregon now? Yeah, us to! Such an amazing corner of the country!

TravelLyndsi Thornton