Our nomadic life is constantly changing along with our address. As a traveling nurse, we would choose three month travel contracts based on the areas we wanted to spend time. My first was contract in Connecticut. We would take the train to NYC or drive to Cape Cod on my 4 days
off, returning in time for my 3 days at the hospital which can get pretty tiring. But what an opportunity to see the country. As we reached San Francisco, we slowed down, learning to explore closer to home and enjoy the immediate area, finding ourselves dancing to the music in the park near our apartment or riding our bikes along the bay.
The past 4 years, we would travel 6 months, returning to Arizona for 6 months to work and refuel after the excitement of new places and constant moving. After several years of returning to the same place, it was time to mix it up once again. This time the opportunity of staying a month in these wonderful state parks and feeling like we are contributing is a real treat. Also, not having to find a place to stay over holiday weekends is a bonus.
Relief Camp Host is something we would do again in the future.
Tualatin Valley Trails
Along the Wine and Quilt Trail, 60 quilt panels have been installed at local area farms and agriculture related businesses. Each quilt tells the story of the property owners and their relation to quilting.
One draw for us was the 51 mile Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway that includes the 21 mile Banks-Vernonia Bikeway, which passes through quiet rolling hills and
farm country roads with little traffic. Many people from Portland ride the 30 miles along the bikeway to camp at Stubb Stewart's hike/bike camp, one of our favorite places in the park.
|Mt St Helen in the background|
|Mt Hood in the back|
The county has put a lot of effort and money into its smooth roads for cyclists.
|Trail from Banks|
Saddle Mountain Recreation Area
Saddle Mountain Trail, halfway between Fort Stevens State Park and LL Stubb Stewart, had been on our radar for a while. Our window to hike it was closing as our time to leave and head back to the ocean was fast arriving.
Even though it was raining on our last days off, we put on our rain gear and headed up the trail.
If the trail’s natural beauty and wildflowers weren’t enough to entice us to the top, the panoramic view from the summit did. We hear on a clear day you can see the sweep of the Columbia River as it enters the sea, miles of Pacific shoreline and on the eastern horizon, the Cascade Mountains in Oregon and Washington. We plan to return on a clear day to check it out.
I was thankful for the hiking poles on the slick wire holding the trail together.
The trail is steep and difficult in spots, with a 1,640 foot rise in elevation over 2.5 miles.
The first and last half miles were the steepest. We felt each step in our thighs on the way up. On the way down our knees were thankful for the poles to hold us from sliding.
|We hear there is a view.|
We didn't get to see the views on our hike or enjoy the harvest from the farms we rode our bikes by this month. We plan to return in August to be interpretive hosts at Stubb Stewart so we can remedy that. But that is a whole other story.
The berry Mike brought to me as a gift wasn't quite ripe. It wasn't so much a gift but more of a chance to find out how ripe it was without testing it himself. Needless to say, this did not get him any cudos.
I occasionally wonder why we can't be content living in the same place with occasional trips. But realize that we could and are appreciative of the opportunity we have to travel, meet new people and
see new place as we attempt to find balance in our lives while we still can.