A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: katie_rose

From the Redwood Forest

(to the Gulf Stream waters)

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I went for a rainy, foggy hike in the Redwood Forest. The trees were, as expected, MASSIVE. And many of them hollow. So my hike turned into a bit of a natural jungle gym play ground escapade. I'm glad I'm small enough to maneuver easily enough.

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Drove through a tree. (Didn't crash....fully.)
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Posted by katie_rose 20:20 Tagged trees california adventure usa redwood kflaherty katieroseusa Comments (0)

Portlandia

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(Look how Portland I am.)

Aside from large-framed glasses and apathetic attitudes, Portland has some really beautiful surrounding nature. I met up with my friend from college, Greg. We went to a vista house, because we'd heard it was gorgeous. But when we got there, you could literally see nothing the mist was so thick.
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Just as we gave up and began to drive away, we noticed that there was visibility spontaneously, so we went back.
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It was really incredible how the mist could just blow in one second, and out the next. It was so cool to watch happen.
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We were attempting to go to find Multnomah Falls, but got lost along the way. When the road ended, we were at a trailhead, so we took an impromptu hike in the rain. Naturally, we didn't stay on the trail very long and headed into the trees. The soggy, soft wood and streams ended up soaking us as we tried to maneuver around, but it was fun.
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The Historic Highway we took around there was gorgeous. It was full blown Fall in Oregon, and everything was covered in a slick blanket of yellow.
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We got around to seeing two different waterfalls. Even though it was a rather touristy place, it was beautiful. And we got to have cocoa!

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WaterFALL, get it? Get it?!

Portland is apparently known for strip clubs, food trucks, and the green man. The green man is a myth that I don't fully understand, but it's quirky and cool (obviously; it's Portland). They had lots of weird little art/statues/shops/restaurants that I wish I'd spent more time exploring.
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Portland goes from city-ish to suburbia-ish fairly quick. I was staying in a suburban area with Greg. And Greg lives with his roommate from his first college, his roommate's wife, and their two kids. Staying with them was fun. I got to play with the kids and watch the guys chop down a tree. Oh, Portland.

Greg had wanted to come to the Redwood Forest with me, camp out, then hike in the morning. His getting back to OR after became an issue, so we decided to just camp out near Mt. Hood, hike in the morning, and then I'd go to the Redwood by myself. Since I had "lost" my two person tent in my cellar back home, I went to go buy one. Finding a two person tent for someone Greg's height is ridiculously hard. (I, on the other hand, have no problems fitting into any size tent.) As I'm contemplating whether to buy it or not, some fairly attractive, very Portlandia-looking men that I had seen in the store were getting into the car in front of mine. I vaguely watched them begin to pull away from the curb, glanced down, and THUNK. They hit my car. (Very lightly.) He was obviously embarrassed, and there was no damage on my SUV from his dinky car, so I just took his name and number down. One of his friends joked he did it just to get my number, and I was offered to be taken out to a meal. I really hope that wasn't actually a pick-up tactic. It could have gone very wrong. Though we did try to make plans to hang out, since I thought it'd make a great story to go on a date with a guy who hit my car. Our schedules ended up too opposite.

Having only been platonic friends, Greg and I had an oddly romantic time. We went out for dinner before going camping, where we had some really great wine, so Greg bought a bottle of it. We'd basically planned to go trespass on a farm he used to work on and get drunk in the woods. So adult of us, no? The farm gate was padlocked, so we found a random little clearing and set up camp. Not having a lantern, I used a candle. The way the trees reached up to the sky perfectly framed the stars. And the stars themselves were like diamond dust that had been tossed into the air. We sat on pillows in our tent drinking wine and sky gazing, only the candlelight competing with the stars. It was cold cold cold that night and the next morning, so we had a pretty slow start to our planned hiking day. We had breakfast at Zigzag cafe, then hiked around Mirror Lake.
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After our crazy windy hike, we were freezing and headed to Timberline Lodge for some hot cocoa and a fire. Pretty ideal. Apart from the wind and ice that nearly knocked us over.
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With all the temperature changes, I ended up fevery for the next night and waited until it passed to head to California.

SO Portland
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Posted by katie_rose 16:26 Tagged mountains lakes road_trip travel oregon adventure usa portland kflaherty katieroseusa Comments (0)

Sleepless in Seattle

Plus a couple of 17 year olds, and minus the romance.

Making it to the West Coast was actually pretty astonishing. The realization of how far away I'd driven was pretty cool, and being on the opposite coast, pretty much exactly across, was surreal. I was meant to stay with one couchsurfing host in Seattle, but it actually worked out super well that he flaked because I ended up staying with some really amazing people, with some really amazing friends.

Though their not-so-amazing "friends" consisted of a couple very drunk 17 years olds who showed up at their door in the middle of the night, hellbent on getting one of the guys to hook up with them, when all he wanted to do was go to bed. I mostly observed, until one of the girls (who claimed to be "22, no 20, no I lied, 20") was violently trying to break into a room with a glass door, precariously placed in front of expensive gadgets. Years of being a resident adviser came in handy there. Interesting introduction to this house of 8 dudes, one of which who literally lives in the backyard.

The next day I spent my time with my host's (Joe) roommates, Ian, Luke, and Sam. They showed me Ravenna Park, Gas Works Park (where 10 Things I Hate About You was filmed! The not-on-purpose of going there made it so much better--SLC is mentioned in that movie), the Fredmont Troll, Olympia Statue Park, the Space Needle, and Pike Place Market.

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That night we went to their friend's birthday party, where I taught them Cheers Gov'na, and briefly fell asleep on Sam's leg. Life of the party right here. The 17 year old fiasco had kept me up all night, and I didn't sleep in the next morning. Somehow I managed to stay out with everyone when they went to a bar, and I guess my sleepy demeanor didn't dissuade a rando Physics PhD student from Scarsdale (that's near my old college) from hitting on me. He looked like a very confused puppy when I didn't come back from the bathroom.

I really loved the guys I stayed with. Their house was dirty as hell, as you would expect from 8 men, but they were really welcoming and fun. I wish I'd had more time to spend there, but we're still in touch so maybe some day!

Seattle was not for sleeping. At all.

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Posted by katie_rose 09:55 Tagged road_trip travel adventure usa seattle washington kflaherty katieroseusa sarahlawrence Comments (0)

Montana is on fire.

And I hope it burns.

But not really; that's mean.

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Hi.

The path from Utah to Seattle, WA was full of failures. As in, I failed a whole bunch. Also, they are failures. But only really Montana. Fuck Montana.

First I went into Wyoming, which was a bit out of the way, but yay Jackson Hole and Yellowstone, right? Wrong. Apparently the one month Yellowstone closes in this season just so happened to fall a couple days after I had gotten there. Fall into winter just isn't the season to travel to nature things, I guess. We live and we learn. I did get to see some lazy moose. That was exciting.

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Idaho Falls, ID really didn't have much going for it, either. Except that I got to make ho jokes on social media. I talked to some guy who worked at a jewelry store for a little while, and he confirmed that there's pretty much nothing in Idaho. He told me a good city to go to for potatoes.

Missoula, MT was pretty. The forests were really cool, mixed with the mountains and the blue sky.
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It smelled like woodsmoke, which I love. But then I realized it was actually the woods smoking, because they were on fire. Everywhere there were contained fires in the forests. I really don't know why.
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I spent most of my time at a coffee shop, figuring (freaking) out finances. I got to talk to my dad though, who was super encouraging. It was nice to talk to him after being so stressed. Then I got pulled over. For going 10 over, on a main highway, in the fast lane, in Montana (which didn't even have speed limits on their highways until a couple years ago!) I was pretty confused already, even more-so when they gave me a ticket instead of a warning. It was only $20, but it's the principle of the matter! Dumb. I guess a 12 week road trip is going to end up with some sort of driving mistakes.

In general, driving around makes it difficult to see certain nature sites in this season. If I have a 5 hour drive, often it'll be almost dark by the time I get there. Not conducive to hiking trails or wading through water to get to places. I missed seeing Palouse Falls in WA for that reason, along with a few other places. At least, driving around without staying in a hotel or motel makes it difficult. I don't particularly want to stay in a place doing nothing and try and find somewhere to sleep just to see a waterfall in the morning for a few minutes. But that's also a bit of the beauty of how I'm doing this trip. I'm not allowing myself to cling to these "failures." (Which they're really not, and they just keep happening.) Just accept it, let it go, and move on.

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Hahaha. Butt.

Posted by katie_rose 15:54 Tagged road_trip travel adventure butte usa yellowstone montana wyoming idaho missoula jackson jackson_hole idaho_falls kflaherty katieroseusa Comments (0)

Uncomfortable in Utah; Religion makes me queasy

Mormons have 'soaking' like Catholics have 'anal non-sex,' 'we're still pure, we promise.'

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I was nervous that getting into Utah was going to bring back the flat farmland of the Midwest, but it didn't! All I knew about Utah was that Mormons exist. Colorado reminded me of a cartoon, generically. Utah reminded me of the Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner cartoon. The red, red rock cliffs and such made me think of when they're running around, falling off cliffs.

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Thankfully I did not fall off. I took some detours around Moab, exploring the rocks. It was fun climbing them (and not falling off.) I didn't happen upon Arches National Park, with that famous vaginal-looking arch. It really doesn't look like a vagina, but it did when I tried to draw it in my journal. There were also pretty mountains, similar to ones I'd seen in CO. I'm really glad to have detoured around, because the actual drive to Salt Lake City was pretty boring. My second SLC! But I wasn't as excited about this one.
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This was my first couchsurfing of the trip. For those who don't know, couchsurfing.org is a travelling community website where you can find free places to crash with like-minded people or offer to host people travelling. I'd requested a couple people, but wasn't really planning on staying so I didn't make much of an effort. However, I had two people reach out to offer me a place to stay, which is always nice, albeit weary-making when you're a small female travelling alone. My minor worries were for naught. Both guys turned out to be really nice. The first person I met up with, we'll call him Neil because that's his name on couchsurfing and I can't pronounce or spell his Indian name, showed me around a bit. He'd lived there on and off for upwards of 10 years. There wasn't much to see, honestly. I got there after dark, so he showed me the capitol building all lit up and then took me up to this neighborhood on a hill where you could see all of SLC. That was really pretty. The house next to it had really reflective windows, so I got a double view of the city. He showed me a stance trick for stability with my camera. That was nice.
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Then we went to Temple Square; aka Mormonland. As a non-Mormon you're not allowed inside the temple, which makes sense. It's meant to be the place of God, further than just a church, and even Mormons have to go through rituals before entering. Talking to the missionaries was actually pretty interesting, and they were really nice. (And really, obscenely pretty. As was the temple.) As many jokes as Neil and I made about Mormons, they painted their religion well. Apparently he has a few friends who grew up Mormon then turned Rastafarian. A little different, I guess.

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But I mean, still kind of weird.
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Across from Temple Square was a mall-type area. It had a dancing, flaming fountain! It was so cool. It moved to the music, occasionally spouting flames too.
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Then we met up with the person that I stayed with, Ken. We all grabbed dinner then headed to his place for a beer. Ken was such a sweetheart. Staying with him kind of felt like staying at a hotel. He gave me fresh, folded blankets, pillows, and towels. He even made me a smoothie in the morning! He had a really nice place, too. He was from Texas, but had been living in a few places on and off. He just moved to SLC a month or so ago.

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Aaaaaaaaand. . .
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Posted by katie_rose 16:20 Tagged road_trip travel adventure utah usa moab salt_lake_city kflaherty katieroseusa Comments (0)

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