Loving Misery at Smith Rock State Park, Oregon

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This is THE SPOT to take a picture of Smith Rock State Park. There is a bench here and a ton of hikers vying for a spot to snap a photo. I am sure you can see why this the spot- PRETTY!

Last week, Kristen and I were in Oregon, playing shows and exploring some great outdoors. We played a show in Bend, OR on a Thursday night before Memorial Day weekend. What a great little town, with tons of unique shops, restaurants and parks around. The day after the show we drove a half hour north of Bend to the town of Terrebonne where Smith Rock State Park is located. This is a gem of a park.  Look at it!  We did a loop hike through the park that was about 5 miles long and took us around 3 hours to hike with lots of stops and picture breaks.

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Kristen on the bridge over the Crooked River.
The old timer shot! I actually got out my Lumix camera for this hike instead of using just my iPhone like I generally do day-to-day.
The old timer shot worked out! I actually got out my Lumix Panasonic camera for this hike instead of using just my iPhone like I generally do day-to-day. What do you know, it takes better pictures 🙂

We took the Misery Ridge loop trail through the park. You can pick up a handy dandy park map at the pay station which shows all the trails in the park. It costs $5 for a day pass to the park which is so worth it. Bargain price for a whole car full of hikers or picnickers or rock climbers. This park is known for rock clicking, which makes sense when you see all the amazing rock walls in the park. The Misery Ridge loop is anything but miserable. It is a 3.7 mile loop but we added on another mile section to the loop along the Crooked River. There are some steeps climbs and stairs involved in this hike but it’s moderate difficulty overall.

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A crazy rock formation. Can you see the little climber right where the color of the rock changes? Rock climbing is too intense for me!
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Acting really strong when I got up to Misery Ridge. It was a steep hike but not to0 long to the summit. I was proud of myself for not being overtaken by a group of 50 kids tramping up like a caterpillar behind us.
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Kristen winding along the Crooked River. There were lots of ducklings in the water!

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Your obligatory sexy shot of Lady Van taking us to amazing places for fun adventures!
Your obligatory sexy shot of Lady Van taking us to amazing places for fun adventures!

Thanks for the good times Smith Rock!  We are already looking forward to our return to Oregon!

 

Olympic National Forest- This TOO is America!

Kristen and I are constantly amazed by the diversity of the USA.  This week we went to the Olympic Peninsula in Washington state.  Most of the land area of the peninsula is now the Olympic National Park or National Forest, protected from development and open to tourism. There are also many Indian Reservations on the peninsula.  The rest is made of small towns and such, but we didn’t make it to any of them besides Aberdeeen.  Aberdeen has the last Walmart we could sleep, is the boyhood home of Kurt Cobain, and has a sign upon entry that readings “Come As You Are”.  What’s not to like about that?

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Here is the road driving into Olympic National Park. We had to drive about 30 minutes down this dirt road to reach our campground.  We entered the park at Quinault Lake, which is a beautiful little town.

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Can someone say "Most amazing campground ever??"
Can someone say “Most amazing campground ever??”  Also, it was technically winter still so we didn’t have to pay.
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We went on a hike along the East Fork of the Quinault River.  The trail crosses the park.
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There are lots of fun slugs in the Olympic Forest. I’m pretty sure this is a banana slug.
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The forest is really magical. I love how lots of saplings would sprout along the fallen trees, called nurse logs, soaking up all the nutrients of the dead tree. It makes you think about what is alive and what is dead.
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About 2.5 miles down the path from the trailhead, there is this bridge over the Quinault. But no ponies in sight…
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SO much moss! So many ferns! They are called epiphytes. The shades of green were just out of this world. Quinault Rainforest is one of only three temperate rainforests in the USA. All three are in the Olympic Forest of Washington.
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This is what I look like hiking before it starts to pour.

 

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Along the banks of the Quinault River. We stopped here for some snacks before the rain started. We could hear thunder rumbling in the distance all day, but here it became very loud and close!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Kristen and Deirdre crossing Fire Creek on a fallen log. Lots of fallen log crossings out there!
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I had to put my camera away when the sky opened up on us, but then the sun came back out, Glad we weren’t out backpacking because our shoes were soaked. Yay for raincoats!
Kristen with The World's Largest Spruce Tree!
Kristen with The World’s Largest Spruce Tree!  Who gets to go around measuring this stuff?
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Now that’s a big tree, super hard to capture how big with this camera.
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It was fun to watch the birds flit in and out of this tree. So many good spots for a nest!
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I’m obsessed with ferns!
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Bye bye Rainforest, it was magical!