Moving to Hawaii, Jess and Charlie Edition • Newberry National Volcanic Monument, Smith Rock State Park, and Mt. Hood National Forest • September 23-25, 2017
I had finally made it halfway through my week alone — it seemed to be dragging by even though I was filling each day with exciting things. I was running on minimal sleep and doing my best to stay occupied all day long, and was now feeling tired and ready for a break. I decided to take it easy, make my way North up to Bend, and find a hotel for the night.
On my way, I decided to make one stop at Newberry National Volcanic Monument. As is the norm for national park sites out West, there wasn’t much I could do with Charlotte. After contemplating hiking up snowy Paulina Peak, the highest peak in the park, I decided to take it easy and just hike to Paulina Falls for today. I know someday I’ll return with Curtis and we’ll do the peak together! There was another short hike I wanted to do to see the volcanic rock, but a sign warned that due to the rocks, the path had small sharp slivers that were harmful to dog’s paws, so we went as far as we could on the pavement then turned around. It was an uneventful morning, but we managed to stay busy until we could check into a hotel in Bend. Not going to lie, that last hour of “staying busy” consisted of going to Sonic and getting Charlotte a hotdog. 🙂
Once checked in, I talked to Curtis and both of our families. I learned that our families were a little worried about me… Each night, I had been sending everyone a text saying exactly where I was camping that night, but I guess Curtis was the only one who had been receiving them. Whoops! I think they were all relieved that I was safe and warm in the hotel that night. I knew I was — I definitely hadn’t been getting enough sleep while camping. It felt so good to lock the door and be able to really shut my mind “off.”
The next day, Sunday, September 24, I drove further North to visit Smith Rock State Park. I loved driving up highway 97, with tall snow-capped peaks on my left and the dry, desert, rocky cliffs on my right. Seeing the tall rock walls in Smith Rock was the closest scenery I had seen to that in the Southwest, and it almost felt like home. It was extremely busy that Sunday morning with hikers and climbers, but all I wanted was to take it easy with a nice walk along the river. It would have been fun to hike up Misery Ridge, but I just wasn’t feeling up to it that morning. Throughout this whole vacation, Charlotte had started to become aggressive towards other dogs, and her behavior reached its peak that morning. She would start growling whenever she even saw other leashed dogs coming toward her, and there were so many there that she was so hard to control. I believe this was more out of the stress of always moving around, missing Curtis, and maybe being protective of me — thankfully she’s improved a lot since then and this hasn’t been an issue!
Since it was so busy and still technically the weekend, I decided to waste no time in finding a campsite for the night early that afternoon, especially because of my proximity to Portland. I drove up to Mt. Hood National Forest and found a spot in Clear Lake Campground. It turns out that this was the last week that it was open for the season. I found a quiet spot for the night, then took it easy — I savored my last evening out in nature, trying to clear my mind and not worry about all I had to do in the next few days. Charlotte and I went and watched the sunset over the lake before calling it a night.
For our last stop on our road trip, we drove to Trillium Lake in Mt. Hood National Forest just so that I could get my first view of Mt. Hood. Every other day it had been covered by clouds or lost in the haze, but early that morning we were able to see the entire peak, which was reflected perfectly in the lake. It was a great way to end our vacation around Oregon. We then drove into Portland to our hotel for our last nights on the mainland.