Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park (Minnesota) 24-Aug-2022

For Day 3 of this state park quest, we went south from Rochester, almost to Iowa, to Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park. We anticipated doing the Hiking Club route at the main park and taking a guided tour (we made reservations) of Mystery Cave. Then, as bonus features, we unexpectedly found an historic village to wander through and, as we were leaving the park, an historic airplane in Cherry Grove. 😊

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Evening at Mono Lake (Eastern Sierra, CA) 06-Aug-2022

Mono Lake is probably one of the most iconic and easily recognized features on the eastern side of California’s Sierra Nevada. It’s a 65 square mile (168 sq km) lake with no natural outlet. So even though it collects water from Lee Vining, Rush, and Mill Creeks (among others), evaporation makes its waters very salty – about 2 times saltier than the Pacific Ocean.

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Minnesota! (May 2022)

When we were younger, we moved around quite a bit, mostly for school or work or because of changes in family circumstances.  Didn’t think too much about doing so – just went with the wanderlust and all that.  Even in Portland, Oregon, where we managed to settle for almost 20 years, we lived in two different houses.  So, when talk turned to moving yet again – primarily for family reasons – it didn’t seem like doing so would be all that hard.  Well, it was and it wasn’t.

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Driftin’ Along… (April 2022)

I’ve sung this song, but I’ll sing it again,
Of the people I’ve met and the places I’ve seen.
Of some of the troubles that bothered my mind
And a lot of good people that I’ve left behind, saying
So long, it’s been good to know you,
So long, it’s been good to know you,
So long, it’s been good to know you.
What a long time since I’ve been home,
And I’ve gotta be driftin’ along.
“Dusty Old Dust” | Woody Guthrie | 1935

I was born on the West Coast and, except for career-related postings elsewhere, have lived my entire life far west of the Mississippi. The LovedOne came out West in the mid-1980s and stayed. Living out here has given us the opportunity to – again and again – climb and hike and backpack and raft in many of the most iconic public lands in the United States – Rocky Mountain, Crater Lake, Rainier, Yosemite, Grand Canyon, and Zion, to name a few of so many. Our best and longest serving (or suffering) friends live out here. And, although our ethos of tough and stupid has taken us on a few adventures we probably should have avoided, it’s all been good – very, very good. We wouldn’t have missed any of it for the world. 😁

We can blame the Pandemic for many things (and rightfully so), but it did get us thinking about being closer to family – most of whom live in Texas or on the East Coast. Then the West’s increasingly burdensome heat and drought and wildfire smoke came into play. As did the helpless anguish of seeing more and more of our beloved forests and hiking trails reduced to ashes year after year. 😪 Eventually family, fire, and heartbreak gathered to push us over the edge and into the arms of U-Haul.

So, after almost 30 years in Oregon, and a lifetime in the West, we will soon be heading eastward to a new home somewhere in the Upper Midwest (details to follow, eventually). We’re making this move with a mixture of sadness 😥 for what we’re leaving and hopefulness 🤩 about where we’re going. It was a hard, hard decision to make as we’ve really (really!) enjoyed life here in Southwest Oregon.

So our adventures (and this blog) will pause for a bit as we devote our energies to packing boxes, loading containers, and driving a long distance with a shedding cat. There’s hiking (and canoeing) where we’re headed, so we hope to be back with new adventures sooner than later. Until then, please be content with surfing the 1,100+ posts we’ve put up over the years about our various Western and other adventures!

See you downstream…


Layton Ditch Headworks (Southwest Oregon) 08-Feb-2022

Between 1874 and 1877, Chinese laborers hand dug a 21-mile (34 km) long ditch to bring water from the Pipe Fork of the East Fork of Williams Creek to J.T. Layton’s hydraulic gold mines in Bamboo and Ferris Gulches. Although profitable (not something you can say for most mines around here), the gold-bearing alluvium feeding these mines eventually played-out. So, by the 1920s, this ditch (and others like it) had been abandoned and mostly forgotten. But its alignment and the ditch tender trail next to it remained. Then the restoration of the Sterling Mine Ditch Trail in the mid-2000s showed how these old ditches could become highly popular hiking and riding venues. For the Layton Ditch, the Williams Community Forest Project teamed with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to restore 13 miles of it as a hiking and riding trail. 😃

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2021 ~ Adventures with The LovedOne

Well, 2021 started out bleak, then got happier, then got sad again. This was thanks to the two V’s – variants and vaccinations. Too much of one, not enough of the other. But we survived (yet again), with The LovedOne remaining as elusively photogenic as ever. But, thanks to being vaccinated, we were able to have a few big adventures without expiring.

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Salt Creek (Death Valley National Park) 13-Nov-2021

After five days of ceaseless adventuring, we faced the long drive home on the morrow. So, for Adventure #6, we decided to visit close-by attractions – Salt Creek and Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes – that we’d previously by-passed in favor of more remote, less crowded destinations. We beat the crowds at Salt Creek but were engulfed by them at the dunes – but we still got to see some interesting stuff.

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