Goodbye to our Little Princess -Hazelnut (2003-07/25/2021)

We said goodbye to our second cat in as many years yesterday losing Hazelnut to intestinal cancer (among other ailments).

Hazel as a kitten in 2003
Hazel in 2018 – possibly on the same chair.

Hazelnut, aka Hazel, Nut, Nut-nut, Little Princess, or Little Girl came to us after being rescued from a field fire. She earned her name due to her coloration and the fact that she was a bit “nutty”. As a kitten if one of us bent over she would immediately jump onto your back and try and lay down.


While she wasn’t the lap cat that Buddy (post) was in her early years she would snuggle with him and they both liked to watch football with me. She would lay between my legs often resting her head on my foot or shin.
004 (3)

002 (6)



She was, at heart though, a momma’s girl. At night she was often found sleeping on Heather’s pillow.

Hazel didn’t want anything to do with anyone outside of Heather, Dominique or myself. At least not until these last couple of years when age (and thyroid medication) made her calmer. A nervous cat she would spend a lot of time inspecting the house and everything in it. She would constantly be changing her sleeping spots, always somewhere where she could keep an eye on the whole family, and often we only realized where she was after hearing her little sighing sound she often made while asleep (she had some asthma).
IMG_0006She loved sleeping on pillows.

20161221_205608And in the occasional bag/box.

After being diagnosed with a hyperthyroid condition she was put on medication which really seemed to settle her nerves down. Then after losing Buddy she became quite a bit more cuddlier. The only lap she would sit on was Heather’s (and she loved to give Heather “kisses”) but she would lay on my chest anytime I got onto the floor. When I worked from home for a couple of months at the start of the COVID pandemic it was Hazel that made sure I took my breaks and lunch by demanding I stop working and lay down for a few minutes so she could sit on me and nuzzle my chin whiskers. She also started sleeping on top of Heather’s side (or at times on my lower legs again) until the cancer caused some changes. A few months of steroid treatment seemed to help but it came back with a vengeance over the last couple of weeks but she can rest now and hopefully Buddy was there to greet her again.

Hazelnut will be sorely missed but we have nearly 18 years of memories to look fondly back on. Goodbye Little Princess.06020161221_201917

Hiking Uncategorized

Central Oregon Cascades

Several years ago we set a goal for ourselves to hike all 500 featured hikes in William L. Sullivan’s “100 Hikes…” series of guidebooks (post). In 2020 we finished the first of his five guidebooks covering the Central Oregon Cascades. The achievement became bittersweet just 10 days after finishing the final featured hike at Erma Bell Lakes (post) when a freak windstorm caused the Lionshead and Beachie fires to explode burning a number of the trails that we had hiked on our journey to complete this goal. On the one hand we were fortunate enough to see these areas before they burned but it also means being more aware of what was lost, at least for the time being. The 2020 fires were not the first to burn trails that we’d hiked in the area, sometimes after and sometimes before. Fire is part of a forest’s cycle but their time frames take much longer than ours.

For this post we want to recap our journey to complete the 100 featured hikes while sharing a little of what the area looked like as we experienced it but first a little context. The area that Sullivan covers in the Central Cascades book, as well as his books for the other four areas, isn’t exactly easy to define. The vast majority of hikes could be fit into a rectangle starting with the upper left hand corner in Salem and extending east to Highway 97 then south to the junction of highways 97 & 58, then west until intersecting with a line due south from Salem. (The imaginary line follows I5 south until Cottage Grove where the freeway jogs SW.) That is over simplification though as that description overlaps at times with hikes described in the NW & Eastern books and excludes two featured hikes west of I5 and two east of Highway 97. The first snip below generally shows the described rectangle with the hiker symbols representing trailheads where we have started hikes (not limited to the featured hikes being discussed here). The second snip excludes any hikes that are included in one of the other areas that Sullivan covers.

The area is home to a variety of landscapes and ecosystems and contains at least parts of nine designated Wilderness Areas: Opal Creek, Bull of the Woods, Mt. Jefferson, Mt. Washington, Three Sisters, Menagerie, Middle Santiam, Waldo Lake, and Diamond Peak.

The area has been hit by a number of large fires since 2000. The map below covers the same approximate area as the second map above. The colored areas represent fires with yellow being 2000-2005, light orange 2006-10, dark orange 2011-14, and red 15-19.

Not included in the map above are the Green Ridge, Beachie or Lionshead Fires from 2020. The Green Ridge fire did not burn over any of the featured hikes (it did burn part of the Green Ridge Trail) but the Beachie and Lionshead Fires impacted a number of hikes in the Mt. Jefferson, Bull of the Woods and Opal Creek Wilderness and surrounding areas.

The map below includes the Riverside Fire (large fire to the north), Beachie and Lionshead (center left and right which combined after Labor Day) and the Green Ridge Fire (SE).

We were lucky enough to complete many of the hikes prior to them being burned but we also hiked a number post fire and have seen the recovery in process. I’ve done my best to note below if a featured hike has experienced fire since 2000 with the year and name of the fire.

After all of that here are the 100 featured hikes from the 2012 4th edition of “100 Hikes in the Central Oregon Cascades”:

#1 – Ankeny Wildlife Refuge-Hiked 4/6/2014
Ankeny Wildlife Refuge

#2 – Silver Fall-Hiked 2006, 7/30/2010 & 3/29/2018
Middle North FallsMiddle North Falls

#3 – Shellburg Falls-Hiked 5/23/2011
Burned-2020 Beachie Fire
Shellburg FallsShellburg Falls

#4 – Little North Santiam-Hiked 4/5/2012
Burned-2020 Beachie Fire
Snow on the Little North Santaim River

#5 – Henline Falls & Henline Mountain 7/27/2009 & 6/14/2020
Burned-2020 Beachie Fire
Henline FallsHenline Falls

#6 – Opal Creek 7/4/2010, 7/4/2012, 6/21/2014 & 7/24/2019
Burned-2020 Beachie Fire
Jawbone FlatsJawbone Flats

#7 – Dome Rock and Tumble Lake 7/18/2010
Burned-2020 Beachie Fire
Tumble LakeTumble Lake from Dome Rock

#8 – Battle Ax and Twin Lakes 9/20/2014
Olallie Butte and Mt. Jefferson with Elk Lake belowMt. Jefferson from Battle Ax

#9 – Stahlman Point 5/6/2013
Burned 2020 Beachie Fire
View from Stahlman PointView from Stahlman Point

#10 – Coffin Mountain Lookout 8/2/2013 & 7/4/2016
Coffin Mountain Lookout with the Three Sisters and The Husband beyond

#11 – Three Pyramids 7/18/2020
Meadow along the Pyramids TrailMeadow below the Three Pyramids

#12 – Crescent Mt. 7/6/2014
Beargrass meadow along the Crescent Mountain TrailBeargrass on Crescent Mountain

#13 – Browder Ridge 9/9/2012 & 7/4/2018
Mt. JeffersonMt. Jefferson from Browder Ridge

#14 – Echo Basin and Fish Lake 6/19/2020
Echo Basin TrailBoardwalk in Echo Basin

#15 – Iron Mt. 7/25/2010 & 7/4/2014
Iron Mountain from the Cone Peak MeadowIron Mountain from the trail.

#16 – House Rock 11/8/2014
House Rock

#17 – Rooster Rock 6/12/2016
Rooster Rock from a viewpoint in the Menagerie Wilderness

#18 – Cascadia State Park 6/12/2016
Soda Creek FallsSoda Creek Falls

#19 – Crabtree Lake 9/7/2019
Crabtree Lake

#20 – McDowell Creek Park 2/16/2014
Majestic FallsMajestic Falls

#21 – South Breitenbush Gorge 5/11/2013
Burned 2020 Lionshead Fire
Roaring CreekRoaring Creek

#22 – Jefferson Park 9/23/2011, 10/13/2014, & 8/8/2015
Burned partly in 2017 Whitewater and rest in 2020 Lionshead Fire
Mt. Jefferson from Jefferson ParkMt. Jefferson

#23 – Pamelia Lake 9/19/2013 & 9/8/2018
Pamelia Lake

#24 – Marion Lake 10/3/2014 & 9/10/2016
Burned 2002 Mt. Marion, 2003 B&B Complex, 2006 Puzzle, 2015 208SRZ Marion
Three Fingered Jack from Marion LakeThree Fingered Jack from Marion Lake

#25 – Duffy Lake 7/28/2010
Burned 2002 Mt. Marion, 2003 B&B Complex
Mowich Lake and Duffy ButteMowich Lake and Duffy Butte from Red Butte

#26 – Three Fingered Jack 10/13/2012
Burned 2003 B&B Complex
Three Fingered Jack

#27 – Canyon Creek Meadows 7/28/2013
Burned 2003 B&B Complex
The trail aheadThree Fingered Jack

#28 – Carl Lake 9/1/2018
Burned 2003, B&B Complex, 2006 Puzzle
Carl Lake

#29 – Metolius River 7/23/2012
Wizard FallsWizard Falls

#30 – Black Butte 10/13/2013 & 5/28/2018
Burned 2009 Black Butte II
Cupola style lookout on Black Butte

#31 – Alder Springs 8/3/2011
Deschutes RiverDeschutes River

#32 – Scout Camp Trail 5/1/2016
Balsamroot hillside

#33 – Steelhead Falls 5/1/2016
Steelhead Falls

#34 – Smith Rock 7/14/2006, 7/13/2011 & 6/5/2015
Monkey FaceMonkey Face

#35 – Shevlin Park 8/5/2011
Hixson Crossing Covered BridgeHixson Crossing Covered Bridge

#36 – Tumalo Falls 9/27/2014
Tumalo Falls

#37 – Dillon & Benham Falls 8/1/2013
Benham FallsBenham Falls

#38 – Lava Cast Forest and Lava River Cave 5/28/2017
Newberry Crater from the Lava Cast Forest

#39 – Fall River 9/16/2015
Fall River

#40 – LaPine State Park 9/16/2015
Deschutes RiverDeschutes River

#41 – Poxy Falls and Linton Lake 5/3/2014(Proxy Falls) & 6/25/2017(Linton Lake)
Burned (Linton Falls) 2017 Separation Fire
Proxy FallsProxy Falls

#42 – Obsidian Trail 10/14/2012
Burned (tiny portion of trail) 2017 Separation Fire
Obsidian FallsObsidian Falls

#43 – Four-in-one-Cone 10/14/2012 & 8/14/2019
View from Four-in-one ConeView from Four-in-One-Cone

#44 – Benson Lake 10/14/2012 & 8/30/2014
Burned (small section of longer loop trail) 2010 Scott Mt. Fire
Benson Lake

#45 – Hand Lake Shelter 8/30/2014
Hand Lake Shelter

#46 – Little Belknap Crater 9/14/2015
Mt. Washington, Three Fingered Jack, and Mt. Jefferson from Little Belknap CraterMt. Washington, Three Fingered Jack, and Mt. Jefferson from Little Belknap Crater

#47 – Matthieu Lakes 7/29/2013
Burned 2017 Milli Fire
South Matthieu LakeNorth Sister from South Matthieu Lake

#48 – Black Crater 10/1/2016
Burned 2017 Milli Fire
Remanants of the lookout tower on Black CraterFormer lookout site on Black Crater.

#49 – Chambers Lakes 8/26/2014
Burned 2012 Pole Creek Fire
South Sister from Camp LakeSouth Sister from Camp Lake

#50 – Park Meadow 8/27/2014
Burned 2012 Pole Creek Fire
Middle and North Sister beyond Golden LakeMiddle and North Sister from Golden Lake

#51 – Tam McArthur Rim 8/31/2013
Broken Top and Broken HandBroken Top and Broken Hand from Tam McArthur Ridge

#52 – Tumalo Mt. 9/27/2014
Trees near the summit of Tumalo MountainTrees near the summit of Tumalo Mountain.

#53 – Todd Lake and Broken Top 8/23/2014
Broken Top from No Name LakeBroken Top from No Name Lake

#54 – Sparks Lake 10/1/2014
South Sister from Sparks LakeSouth Sister from Sparks Lake

#55 – Green Lakes via Fall Creek 9/15/2015
The third Green LakeThe third Green Lake

#56 – Moraine Lake and South Sister 9/1/2013
View from the South SisterLooking north from the South Sister.

#57 – Sisters Mirror Lake 9/19/2015
South Sister from Sisters Mirror LakeSouth Sister from Sisters Mirror Lake

#58 – Horse Lake 8/4/2011
Horse LakeHorse Lake

#59 – Doris & Cliff Lakes 9/29/2014
Doris LakeDoris Lake

#60 – Clear Lake 6/15/2014
Clear Lake

#61 – Sahalie & Koosah Falls 9/9/2012
Sahalie FallsSahalie Falls

#62 – Tamolitch Pool 5/27/2013
Tamolitch Pool

#63 – Rainbow Falls and Separation Lake 5/3/2014
Separation LakeSeparation Lake

#64 – Horsepasture Mt. 7/7/2018
South Sister and Mt. Bachelor from the Horsepasture Mountain TrailSouth Sister and Mt. Bachelor form Horsepasture Mountain.

#65 – Olallie Mt. 9/1/2019
Burned 2017 Olallie Lookout Fire (Lookout burned down winter 2019/20).
Olallie Mountain lookout

#66 – Lowder Mt. 9/1/2019
View from Lowder MountainView from Lowder Mountain.

#67 – Tidbits Mt. 6/29/2019
View from Tidbits MountainView from Tidbits Mountain.

#68 – Castle Rock 6/3/2017
Monkeyflower and pletritisMonkeyflower and plectritis on Castle Rock.

#69 – French Pete Creek 5/16/2015
Burned 2017 Rebel and 2018 Terwilliger Fires
French Pete Creek

#70 – Erma Bell Lakes 8/29/2020
Middle Erma Bell LakeMiddle Erma Bell Lake

#71 – Spencer Butte 2/9/2020
View from Spencer ButteFog over Eugene.

#72 – Mt. Pisgah 10/5/2019
Summit of Mt. PisgahSummit marker on Mt. Pisgah.

#73 – Shotgun Creek 2/9/2020
Shotgun Creek

#74 – Fall Creek 3/31/2013
Burned 2003 Clark and 2017 Jones Fires
Fall Creek

#75 – Mt. June 6/2/2013
Sawtooth TrailSawtooth Trail

#76 – Goodman Creek 11/10/2013
Small Falls on a branch of Goodman Creek

#77 – Patterson Mt. 5/5/2018
Lone Wolf MeadowLone Wolf Meadow

#78 – Tire Mt. 6/8/2014
Wildflowers along the Tire Mountain TrailWildflowers along the Tire Mt. Trail.

#79 – North Fork and Buffalo Rock 5/10/2020
Buaffalo Rock from the North Fork Willamette RiverBuffalo Rock from the North Fork Willamette River

#80 – Grasshopper Meadow 7/8/2017
Grasshopper Meadow

#81 – Blair Lake and Wall Creek 6/11/2015
Beargrass MeadowBeargrass meadow along the Blair Lake Trail.

#82 – Chuckle Springs 5/24/2020
Burned 2009 Tumblebug Complex
Indigo SpringsIndigo Springs (These springs have not burned.)

#83 – Spirt, Moon, and Pinard Falls 6/17/2020
Moon FallsMoon Falls

#84 – Brice Creek 5/5/2014
Upper Trestle Creek FallsUpper Trestle Creek Falls

#85 – Bohemia Mt. 8/15/2020
Bohemia Mountain

#86 – Eddeeleo Lakes 8/25/2018
Lower Eddeeleo LakeLower Eddeeleo Lake

#87 – Waldo Mt. 9/7/2013
Mt. Hood, Mt. Jefferson, Three Fingered Jack, Mt. Washington, The Three Sisters and Broken Top from Waldo MountainView from the Waldo Mountain Lookout.

#88 – Lillian Falls 8/30/2019
Lillian Falls

#89 – Fuji Mt. 10/6/2013
View from Fuji Mountain

#90 – South Waldo Lake 8/22/2015
Waldo Lake

#91 – The Twins 9/14/2019
View north from the south summit of The Twins

#92 – Rosary Lakes and Maiden Peak 9/3/2016
Pulpit Rock from Middle Rosary LakePulpit Rock from Middle Rosary Lake

#93 – Salt Creek Falls 7/4/2013
Salt Creek Falls

#94 – Midnight & Yoran Lakes 10/18/2014
Yoran LakeYoran Lake

#95 – Diamond View Lake 8/22/2020
Diamond Peak from Diamond View LakeDiamond Peak from Diamond View Lake

#96 – Fawn Lake 9/22/2018
Huckleberry BushesHuckleberry Bushes along Saddle Lake.

#97 – Divide Lake 8/24/2020
Notch LakeNotch Lake

#98 – Blue and Corrigan Lakes 8/23/2020
Diamond Peak from Corrigan LakeDiamond Peak from Corrigan Lake

#99 – Marie Lake and Diamond Peak 8/23/2020
Climbers trail to Diamond PeakDiamond Peak

#100 – Timpanogas Lake 9/17/2016
Sawtooth Mountain from Timpanogas LakeSawtooth Mountain from Timpanogas Lake

In addition to the 100 featured hikes we’ve manged to add other hikes from Sullivan’s additional hikes located in the back of his book. In doing so we have also completed all 100 featured hikes in the 3rd edition and are just 2 hikes short of completing the 5th edition as well. There were 14 hikes from the 3rd edition that were not featured hikes in the 4th edition while the 5th edition contains 12 new featured hikes from the 4th edition (Three of these had been featured hikes in the 3rd edition.) Even with all of the hikes we’ve done, and the areas lost to fire in 2020 there are a number of trails in the Central Cascades we have yet to explore. We will continue to work those into our plans as we strive to explore as many different places as possible while we can.


Happy Trails!

Scout Lake and Mt. Jefferson


Progress Report – Oregon Wilderness Areas – January, 2021 Update

Heading into 2020 we had plans to visit 5 of the 6 remaining wilderness areas in which he haven’t hiked (post), but 2020 had other plans. Plans to visit three of the areas were moved to another year and a fourth was pushed back from May to September. Flooding in February wiped out our plans to visit the North Fork Umatilla Wilderness which was the same trip that we had planned on visiting the Black Canyon Wilderness. Rearranging hikes due to COVID-19 pushed a visit to the Devils Staircase Wilderness back a year.

Plans for a Memorial Day weekend trip to Roseburg involving a hike in the Boulder Creek Wilderness were a COVID cancellation but we managed to fit the Boulder Creek hike into our Labor Day weekend plans (post).
Boulder Creek Wilderness sign

Boulder Creek TrailPonderosa Pines in the Boulder Creek Wilderness

Looking up the Boulder Creek ValleyBoulder Creek Wilderness

Boulder CreekBoulder Creek

A July vacation to Lakeview and a visit to the Gearhart Mountain Wilderness (post) was the only visit that happened as planned.
Gearhart Mountain Wilderness sign

The Palisades in the Gearhart Mountain WildernessThe Palisades

Gearhart MountainGearhart Mountain

View from Gearhart MountainLooking down from Gearhart Mountain

Meadow below Gearhart MountainMeadow below Gearhart Mountain

Gearhat MountainLooking up at Gearhart Mountain

Visiting these two wildernesses puts us at 42 out of the 46 accessible wilderness. The three areas mentioned above are again in our plans for this year as well as the Monument Rock Wilderness in eastern Oregon. With any luck 2021 will be a better year and we will be able to reach our goal, but if not there’s always next year. Happy Trails!

Hiking Uncategorized

Progress Report – 500 “Featured Hikes” – January, 2021 Update

In 2019 we posted about our goal to complete 500 “featured” hikes from William L. Sullivan’s “100 hikes” guidebook series. In 2020 we managed to complete the first of the books when we visited the Erma Bells Lakes (post) at the end of August. Ironically COVID-19, which caused so many issues for everyone this past year, was a big reason we were able to complete the Central Oregon Cascades book. Our original June vacation had already needed to be changed due to February flooding in the Blue Mountains but COVID kept us from taking a trip somewhere further away so we stayed home to do hikes closer by. In the end we wound up completing the 13 featured hikes that we had left from that book.

In all we were able to check off 37 featured hikes which included the 13 from the Central Cascades, 8 from NW Oregon, 7 from Eastern Oregon, and 9 from Southern Oregon. The one book that we didn’t make any headway with was the Oregon Coast. We did however visit Spruce Run and Lost Lake (post) which were two of the three hike options for the Lakes of the Coast Range (hike #12 4th edition).

Here is where we now stand at the end of 2020, having been on 401 of the 500 featured hikes:

100/100 – “100 Hikes in the Central Oregon Cascades” 4th Edition 2012

95/100 – “100 Hikes/Travel Guide Oregon Coast & Coast Range” 4th Edition 2016

94/100 – “100 Hikes/Travel Guide Northwest Oregon & Southwest Washington” 4th Edition 2018

60/100 – “100 Hikes/Travel Guide Eastern Oregon” 3rd Edition 2015

52/100 – “100 Hikes/Travel Guide Southern Oregon & Northern California” 4th Edition 2017

The Salmonberry Railroad Trail in the Coast Range continues to be closed which has caused us to rethink using Sullivan’s 4th edition of the coastal book and reverting to the 3rd edition. In that case we would only have completed 91 of the featured hikes but at least all 9 of those hikes are open and we actually have them all scheduled for the upcoming year.

In addition to possibly finishing one of the Oregon Coast books in 2021 the remaining hikes in the NW book are on the schedule for 2021 as well. We did push completion of the Southern book back a year to 2024 due to cancelling a September backpacking trip in the Sky Lakes Wilderness due to the massive wildfires in Oregon and California that month. The Eastern Oregon book is still on track to be completed by the end of 2025.

When I wrote in last year’s post “I’m sure there will be some twists and turns along the way, but eventually we hope to reach our goal.” I had no idea what 2020 had in store. We will continue to be flexible with our plans and make the most of the opportunities as they present themselves. Happy Trails!


Goodbye to our Friend – Buddy (8/1/02- 1/27/20

This is a rare non-hiking related post for us but we wanted to share the story of the wonderful gift that Buddy was to our lives. For the last 17 years he brightened our lives and while that seems like a long time in years it felt way too short.

Shortly after we moved into our first house in 2002 we decided to add a cat to our family. In December we visited the Humane Society where Buddy made it clear that we would be taking him home with us. (He never did stop telling us what to do and when to do it.) When we had made our choice (given in to his demands) the folks at the Humane Society gave us a note that had come to the shelter with Buddy, a note that we’ve kept to this day.

Dominque was 7 so we had the little boy covered.

Grace also mentioned that Buddy liked having his belly rubbed, something cats often do not care for. He loved a good belly rub though and would curl up around your hand.

Things got off to a rocky start for us, Buddy was so excited to have a home that he wasn’t bothering to eat. We took him to the vet and tried several things eventually having to leave him there overnight so that they could feed him intravenously and get his stomach used to food again. They explained to us that if cats don’t eat for a while they will stop feeling the need to, some sort of defense mechanism to ease the pain of starving. The stay at the vet worked and after he came back home eating was a favorite of his.
SCAN0072Buddy shortly after coming home with us.

A year after Buddy joined us we brought Hazelnut home. Buddy did his best to welcome her and we would often find them curled up together in the early days.




002 (5)

Buddy loved to jump up on things to get as high in the house as he could and getting into any drawer or cupboard that he could.





His jumping days were cut short by arthritis in his hip which required medication but his love of opening drawers and cupboards never faded. Often we would come home from a trip to find half the cupboards and drawers wide open.

He also loved to curl in the sink when he could still get up on the bathroom counter (and fit) and he never met a sack or box (he especially loved boxes) that he didn’t need to get into.




Buddy’s one vice was that he loved to chew on things. We had a no plant rule in the house (other than grass that he could eat) because he would make a b-line straight for anything green, including the fake Christmas tree which he gnawed ends off. Toys that were attached to strings were largely ignored so that he could simply chew on the string. There was also a strange obsession with pipe cleaners. Dominique had used them at one time for a school project and for years after that Buddy would (if he got into Dominique’s room) somehow manage to find one and drag it out to chew on. None of us, including Dominique, could figure out where he was getting them but he had a stash hidden somewhere. The only time string didn’t temp him was when it was the yarn Heather was using for her crochet. Somehow he knew that was off-limits.
SCAN0103Partners in crime in the Christmas tree.

From day one Buddy was a lap cat.






20200104_104959_HDRJanuary 4, 2020


He spent all of his 17 years with us by our sides when we were home. On weekends, before work, and in the evenings he was either on one of our laps or laying right next to us. Until his arthritis got bad he had a routine of getting on the bed when I got home and waiting for me to come over so he could stand on his hind paws with his front paws on my chest and nuzzle under my chin. I called it our hugs. When he was a kitten he would sit in one of our laps and bat popcorn out of our hands as we tried to eat it. After growing out of that phase he just tried to lick the olive oil as he loved olive oil and green olive juice.

In addition to the arthritis in his back hip Buddy lost a couple of teeth along the way which earned him the nickname snarls.

He did have one tooth though that would often stab into us when he fell asleep with his head on our hand/arm as he was wont to do.

He also lost his hearing, but that didn’t stop him from telling us when it was time to get up, time to feed him, or time to go to bed and it didn’t stop us from talking to him.

He let me know every night when it was time for bed. He would wait for me near the bed and as soon as I got in he would come up to snuggle in.


He enjoyed being carried around the house so he could get a close up view of everything that was out of his reach. He also liked to take a few minuts after dinner to play, his favorite game was chasing that crazy red dot that he could never quite catch. His other loves were trying to sneak out into the garage, sitting on the heating vents, and of course cat naps.

It seemed like no matter what we were doing he was there with us. He would wake us up, wait on the toilet seat or vent while we showered (sometimes he would pry open the door and get in only to remember that he didn’t care for water) and sit with us until it was time for work. In the evening he sat on the lap of whoever was sitting down and when it was time for bed he’d let me know. He usually split his time in bed snuggling with each of us during the night. In other words he was a constant companion and his absence is felt in everything we do now. Even in typing up this post he would have been on my lap forcing me to put my arms in awkward positions to try and type.

In June 2019 he started showing signs of difficulty breathing. He was diagnosed with congestive heart failure and a pound of fluid was removed from his lungs. He was placed on medication and responded fairly well. He was slowed down and began losing weight but otherwise seemed like himself for a few months. He took to wearing sweaters to help keep him warm but time finally caught up to him and the fluid returned, worse than before.




He started showing signs of increased difficulty breathing after Christmas and slowed down noticeably.
20200110_061118January 10, 2020

We moved up a follow up appointment at the vet fearing the worst but hoping for the best. That morning before work he laid his head on my forearm and purred while I petted him as that one tooth dug into my skin for the last time.

The vet confirmed our fears, the fluid was back and worse than before. Another procedure to remove the fluid would likely have been to much for him. It was the hardest goodbye either of us had ever experienced. Buddy brought us so much joy and happiness over those 17 years. We couldn’t have asked for a better furry friend. Heather’s friend gifted us with a wonderful framed picture of our Budder-ball which captured his personality perfectly.

He will always have a special place in our hearts, we miss you Buddy!

Hiking Uncategorized

Progress Report – Oregon Wilderness Areas – January, 2020 Update

At the start of 2019 we posted about our goal of visiting each or Oregon’s legally accessible designated wilderness areas. Since that post we added two areas to our list of visited wildernesses and had one added to the list to visit.

In May we took a trip to Joseph, OR for some hikes including one that briefly entered the Hells Canyon Wilderness. Our brief time in the wilderness consisted of low visibility and some rain/snow mix, but we could at least check it off the list for now and hopefully the weather will better on our next visit.
Summit Ridge Trail

The weather and amount of lingering snow at higher elevations on that hike convinced us change our plans for the next day opting to skip a planned hike at Hat Point with it’s 7000′ elevation. Instead we decided to check off another wilderness area by driving to Troy, OR (at an elevation of 1720′) to hike the Lower Wenaha Rive Trail into the Wenaha-Tucannon Wilderness .
Wenaha River Trail

A bit of good news in 2019 was the creation of the Devil’s Staircase Wilderness in the Oregon Coast Range east of Reedsport. There are no official trails in this wilderness so whenever we get to visit it should be quite the adventure.

The new wilderness gives Oregon 48 designated wilderness areas (only 46 can be visited). With Hells Canyon and Wenaha-Tucannon crossed off that list it leaves us with a half dozen that we haven’t made it to yet. We had hoped to have visited them all by the end of this year, but changes to our plans in 2019 have pushed completion back to at least 2021. As our plans currently stand we hope to visit 5 of the 6 this year: Boulder Creek, Black Canyon,North Fork Umatilla, Gearhart Mountain, and Devil’s Staircase.

That will leave just the Monument Rock Wilderness for 2021. Happy Trails!



Hiking Uncategorized

Progress Report – Oregon Wilderness Areas

In our last post we wrote about our ambitious (possibly overly so) goal of completing 500 “featured” hikes in William L. Sullivan’s guidebooks. The topic of this post is another one of our goals, visiting all 45 of Oregon’s accessible designated wilderness areas (Three Arch Rocks and Oregon Islands are off limits to all visitors). This goal should be quite a bit easier to accomplish given the much smaller number of needed hikes and the fact that the wilderness areas aren’t changing every few years. (There is legislation pending that would create the Devil’s Staircase Wilderness in the coast range between Reedsport and Eugene.)

The inspiration for this goal came from a fellow hiker and blogger over at Boots on the Trail. This smaller goal fit well into our 500 featured hikes goal too as thirty nine of the wilderness areas are destinations of at least one of the featured hikes. The remaining six: Copper-Salmon, Lower White River, Rock Creek, Cummins Creek, Bridge Creek, and Grassy Knob were still included in the books but as additional hikes in the back. Between the hike descriptions in the guidebooks and Boots on the Trail’s trip reports we’ve had plenty of information to work with.

This was an appealing goal too. Wilderness areas are dear to our hearts and home to many of our favorite places. These areas are the least affected by humans and we feel best reflect God’s work as Creator. To me they are akin to a museum showcasing His finest artistry. Just as we would in a museum we admire and enjoy the wilderness but we do our best not to affect it meaning adhering whenever possible to Leave No Trace principles.

We have made pretty good progress on this goal so far and as of 12/31/18 we had visited 38 of the 45 accessible areas (and seen the other two from the beach). We’re currently on track to have visited them all by the end of 2020.

Below is a chronological list of the wilderness areas we’ve been to (or seen) as well as any subsequent year(s) we’ve visited with some links to selected trip reports.

Opal Creek – 2009, 10, 11, 12, 14, 18

Battle Ax CreekBattle Ax Creek – 2014

Mt. Jefferson – 2010, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 18

Mt. Jeffferson from Russell LakeMt. Jefferson from Russell Lake – 2016

Drift Creek – 2010

Drift CreekDrift Creek – 2010

Mt. Washington – 2011, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17

Mt. Washington and Mt. Jefferson from the Pacific Crest TrailMt. Washington from the Pacific Crest Trail – 2015

Three Sisters – 2011, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17

The Three Sisters from the edge of the plateauThe Three Sisters – 2014

Three Arch Rocks – 2011, 18

Three Arch Rocks WildernessThree Arch Rocks from Cape Meares – 2018

Mark O. Hatfield – 2012, 14, 15, 16

Triple FallsTriple Falls – 2012

Mt. Hood – 2012, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17

Mt. Hood from the Timberline TrailMt. Hood – 2015

Oregon Islands – 2012, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18

Bandon IslandsBandon Islands – 2018

Mill Creek – 2012

Twin PillarsTwin Pillars – 2011

Mt. Thielsen – 2012, 14

Howlock Mountain and Mt. ThielsenHowlock Mountain and Mt. Thielsen – 2014

Table Rock – 2012, 15

Table RockTable Rock – 2015

Salmon-Huckleberry – 2013, 14, 15, 17, 18

Frustration FallsFrustration Falls – 2018

Diamond Peak – 2013, 14, 18

Small waterfall on Trapper CreekTrapper Creek – 2014

Waldo Lake – 2013, 15, 18

Waldo LakeView from Fuji Mountain – 2013

Roaring River – 2013

Serene LakeSerene Lake – 2013

Badger Creek – 2014

Badger Creek WildernessBadger Creek Wilderness – 2014

Middle Santiam – 2014

Donaca LakeDonaca Lake – 2014

Bull of the Woods – 2014, 15, 18

Emerald Pool on Elk Lake CreekEmerald Pool – 2018

Soda Mountain – 2015, 17

Looking west from Boccard PointView from Boccard Point – 2015

Red Buttes – 2015

Red Buttes, Kangaroo Mountain and Rattlesnake MountainRed Buttes – 2015

Oregon Badlands – 2016

View from Flatiron RockOregon Badlands Wilderness – 2016

Kalmiopsis – 2016

Vulcan Lake below Vulcan PeakVulcan Lake – 2016

Menagerie – 2016

Rooster Rock from a viewpoint in the Menagerie WildernessRooster Rock – 2016

Eagle Cap – 2016

Glacier LakeGlacier Lake – 2016

Mountain Lakes – 2016

Mt. McLoughlin, Whiteface Peak, Pelican Butte, and Mount Harriman from Aspen ButteView from Aspen Butte – 2016

Sky Lakes – 2016

Mt. McLoughlin from Freye LakeMt. McLoughlin from Freye Lake – 2016

Lower White River – 2016

White RiverWhite River – 2016

Rock Creek – 2017

Rock CreekRock Creek – 2017

Spring Basin – 2017

Hedgehog cactusHedgehog Cactus – 2017

Bridge Creek – 2017

View to the north from the Bridge Creek WildernessBridge Creek Wilderness – 2017

Wild-Rogue – 2017

Hanging RockHanging Rock – 2017

Grassy Knob – 2017

View from Grassy KnobView from Grassy Knob – 2017

Clackamas – 2017

Big BottomBig Bottom – 2017

North Fork John Day – 2017, 18

Baldy LakeBaldy Lake – 2017

Cummins Creek – 2017

Cummins Ridge TrailCummins Ridge Trail – 2017

Rogue-Umpqua Divide – 2018

Hummingbird MeadowsHummingbird Meadows – 2018

Steens Mountain – 2018

View from the Pike Creek TrailView along the Pine Creek Trail – 2018

Strawberry Mountain – 2018

Slide LakeSlide Lake – 2018

Copper-Salmon – 2018

Barklow Mountain TrailBarklow Mountain Trail – 2018

The remaining areas and year of our planned visit looks like this:

2019 – Hells Canyon, North Fork Umatilla, Wenaha-Tucannon
2020 – Boulder Creek, Black Canyon, Monument Rock, Gearhart Mountain

If the Devil’s Staircase is added in the meantime we will do our best to work that in (it is currently on our list of hikes but not until 2023. For more information on Oregon’s wilderness areas visit here.

Happy Trails!

Hiking Uncategorized

Progress Report – 500 “Featured” Hikes

As we mentioned in our 2018 year end wrap-up post one of our long term hiking goals is to complete 500 “featured” hikes from William L. Sullivan’s “100 hikes” guidebook series. Sullivan has broken Oregon into five regions, the Coast & Coast range, Northwest Oregon, the Central Oregon Cascades, Southern Oregon, and Eastern Oregon. Each of the five books contains detailed information on 100 “featured” hikes in that area as well as 50 to over 100 listings of additional hikes. Although his focus is on Oregon there are hikes in Washington (coast and northwest), California (coast and southern), and one short hike in Idaho at Hells Canyon Dam in the eastern book.

When we first decided to give hiking a try we picked up a single book (not by Sullivan) containing 280 hikes covering the entire State. Each hike contained just enough detail to let you know what you needed to know to get to the trail and get going. What it lacked was detailed information about the hike itself and any type of visual reference to assist with understanding the intended route. Due to the fact that the entries encompassed the entire State the number of hikes near us was somewhat limited. We used it for a couple of hikes then began looking for other options and that’s when we discovered Sullivan’s books.

Our first purchases were the coastal and central cascades books in 2010. Many of the hikes in these books were within an hour and half or less drive from Salem. We fell in love with the detailed descriptions that Sullivan provided and the hand drawn maps that went with each featured hike. Having the visual aid to refer to when reading the descriptions made things much easier for novice hikers like us to navigate the trails. In 2012 we added his books for the other three regions and soon after made it a goal to take at least one hike from each book every year.

We also had decided that we wanted to avoid doing the same trails over and over again and instead wanted to focus on visiting as many different places as possible. As time passed I began to toy with the idea of trying to finish all 100 featured hikes from the central cascades book. The hikes from that book were the closest to us and thus were nearly all within range for day-hikes. Thoughts then turned to the possibility of also completing the NW and maybe even the coast book, but with hikes as far away as the the redwoods in California that would require some extra time and planning.

After a couple of off-seasons of planning the next years hikes I started looking ahead to subsequent years. I had begun grouping the hikes that were too far way for day trips into possible long weekends or vacations. The thought of possibly doing all 500 featured hikes began to take hold and by the end of 2016 I had a preliminary outline that included them all. During our 2017-2018 off season I took the outline and completed a full 10 year schedule that incorporated all of the remaining featured hikes as well as some new ones from other sources and some of our favorites so far. With that initial schedule we would finally achieve our goal in 2027.

I have continued to rearrange the schedule and have since managed to bring the completion date up to September, 2025. Still a long ways off but closer. We are hoping to have the NW and Central Cascade books finished by the end of 2021 and the Coast by the end of 2022. With some luck the Southern book will follow in 2023 leaving the eastern book, and more specifically the numerous hikes in the Wallowa Mountains for last.

There are a couple of issues that we are dealing with. One is never knowing until the time comes if the hikes we are planning will be accessible or if weather, forest fires, or some other unforeseen obstacle will deny us a visit. Mount Ireland in the Blue Mountains near Sumpter is a great example. Snow kept us from this hike in 2017 when we spent a vacation in Sumpter (post) so we put it on the schedule again in conjunction with a backpacking trip in the Elkhorns in 2018. A lightning storm canceled that plan (post) and so now it has been add as stop on the way to Hells Canyon in 2022.

An even more complicated issue with this particular goal is that Sullivan regularly updated his books, releasing new editions every 5 or so years which inevitably contain a different 100 featured hikes. In between editions there are often reprints where there can also be changes to the featured hikes. This happens for numerous reasons such as forest fires burning over the area, landslides closing trails, access being cut off by private land owners, or he simply found what he felt was a more worthy featured hike. These changes have left us questioning exactly how to measure our goal. We know it is to do “500 featured hikes” but what 500?

The answer isn’t all that simple. For instance attempting to finish all 100 hikes from the 2011 third edition of “100 Hikes in Northwest Oregon & Southwest Washington” would mean hiking Mt. Mitchell (hike 21) but a private timber company closed access to the trail several years ago and the hike is no longer a featured hike in Sullivan’s books.

Looking to the most recent version of the books is also problematic, especially in regards to the southern and eastern books where the addition of a single hike in a remote area that we had already been to would require another long trip for that lone hike.

One possible way around this is to count any hike from an area that is/was a featured hike in any of the versions of the book. We are reluctant to do this though for two reasons. First there are a small number of hikes that have been featured hikes at one time in both the central and eastern books, so those could be double counted. If not then we’d have to decide which area to place them in. The biggest reason that we hesitate to go this route though is admittedly a bit shallow. It would most likely mean not having a single book that we could point to and say we had been on each of the featured hikes in it.

In the end I think we will wind up attempting to complete any single version of each area. It may be the most current or the oldest we own, or possibly something in between. Currently we are operating based on the most recent versions that we own save for the NW. The books we are currently using are:
“100 Hikes/Travel Guide Oregon Coast & Coast Range” Fourth Edition 2016
“100 Hikes in the Central Oregon Cascades” Fourth Edition 2012
“100 Hikes/Travel Guide Southern Oregon & Norther California” Fourth Edition 2017
“100 Hikes/Travel Guide Eastern Oregon” Third Edition 2015

For “100 Hikes in Northwest Oregon & Southwest Washington” we still only have the 2011 third edition but plan on picking up a new edition this April and are basing our progress off of the featured hikes to be contained in it.

With those books as the basis we currently stand at having done at least part of 335 of the 500 featured hikes. A caveat here is that for some of the hikes we have only completed a portion of the hike Sullivan describes either due to a trail being impassable (Lower Rogue River in 2017) or because we’ve combined more than one hike in a longer trip. In the case of the latter we are visiting most of the highlights but aren’t taking the same trail to them as described in the book.

A breakdown of the 335 hikes we’ve checked off is below.

Coast 89/100
Central 81/100
NW 72/100
Southern 42/100
Eastern 51/100

If we were to look at our earlier editions of the Central and NW books those numbers would jump to 84 & 78 respectively but as was mentioned before there are hikes in those that may no longer be possible.

Lastly applying the “featured hike in any version” criteria would put the total number at 365* with the coast and central regions at 93 apiece, NW at 81, southern at 45, and eastern at 53. *This includes a double counting of 5 featured hikes that moved between the eastern and central books so the number really should be 360.

No matter what criteria we apply we still have a couple of years to go before we finish anything so we have some time to mull it over. We’d be interested to hear from others which way they would go or if there is another idea out there we haven’t thought of yet so please comment below.

The one thing that we do know is that we can’t finish anything without visiting more trails. Our 2019 list includes 32 more featured hikes, 8 each from the NW and central books, 4 from the southern, and 12 from the eastern. We could fit a few more in, but finishing the 500 isn’t our only goal. Another goal is continuing to visit different areas in the Pacific Northwest so there are trips to places like the South Warner Wilderness in California, and North Cascades National Park in Washington sprinkled throughout the schedule. The possibilities seem just about endless.

Happy Trails!


A Brief Look Back

Well we survived the marathon, and even though it didn’t go as well as we’d hoped, we all finished. It was a beautiful day but that meant temperatures that were 15 to 20 degrees warmer than what we were used to and we all struggled to stay hydrated. While we recover from the race and prepare to put our hiking season into full swing I thought it might be a good time to look back at how we got started hiking.

Heather and I have now set out with the intention of hiking just over 100 times. It has become one of our favorite pastimes and we have learned a lot along the way, but it took us a long time to get here. In fact you have to go back almost 20 years to find that first hike. Heather and I were only dating at the time and I was taking a backpacking class in college. One of the assignments was to go on a hike. I don’t recall much from that class, but that one assignment planted a seed that would eventually grow into our love of hiking.

For the assignment I decided on the Fall Creek trail to Green Lakes in the Three Sisters Wilderness and Heather agreed to join me. Our knowledge of the trail consisted of the location of the trail head when Heather and I set out one day in mid-spring. If we had done even a little research we would have discovered that even though the trail heads in that area might be snow free in May the trails themselves are usually still buried under snow. We didn’t get far before we were forced to turn around and abandon the hike, but in that short amount of time a seed was planted.

We had the trail to ourselves that day (apparently everyone else had done their research) and the solitude of the path through the forest and along the creek was wonderful. We were having a great time when we began running into the first patches of snow. We hiked on for a bit but the snow was too deep and we realized we would have to turn around. We had both done some camping growing up but had never been anywhere as beautiful and peaceful and yet as wild as this hike had taken us. We were disappointed at having to leave the hike incomplete and agreed that we would return someday and make it to the Green Lakes. The seed was planted.

Life had other plans and the memory of that hike was pushed aside and buried, and the seed lay dormant. We started jobs and a family and became sedentary in our lifestyles. Eventually we started getting ourselves back into shape though. One of the ways in which we did that was to take walks whenever we had the chance. We walked in our neighborhood, in town, and even at Dominique’s sporting events. We took opportunities at other times too. We walked along the Deschutes River while staying in Bend and we walked around Suttle Lake while staying in a cabin there on summer. We weren’t consciously thinking about going on hikes, but looking back I can see that those walks woke up that sleeping seed and it began to grow under the surface.

It finally broke through during a company picnic at Silver Falls State park. We had decided to take a walk down to some of the falls when the picnic began wrapping up. It was a very hot day and we didn’t think to take any water with us. We made the classic mistake of wandering without considering the return trip. When we started to get thirsty we realized there was no way we were going to make the full 7 mile loop and took a cutoff trail back to the visitor center. Between the heat and the climb out of the canyon we thought we might not make it back. There was something about that experience though, perhaps not being able to complete the entire trail, that reminded us of the Fall Creek hike so many years before. Once again we began thinking that hiking might be something that we would enjoy doing.

It took us several more years to develop a hiking “routine” and to begin to figure out what worked for us. A mere 6 hikes from 2006 to 2009 was all we managed. Despite the small number the experiences on those hikes were enough to allow the seed to continue to grow and eventually mature. Each time we made it out we fell in love with the trails a little more. There was something about the experience of every hike that was satisfying and at the same time left us longing for more.

There are a number of aspects of hiking that combine to create that experience. The trail is a classroom, an art gallery, a gym, and an escape all at once. We find it benefits our minds, bodies, and souls. Every trail offers some combination of these aspects to varying degrees. The end result is that after a day of hiking we have taken on a physical challenge, experienced new sights, made new observations, reduced our stress levels, and most importantly been reminded of our place in God’s creation.

We have learned things about the wildlife and vegetation we see. We’ve learned about the history of different areas and why they appear the way they do. We have also learned how to use a map and compass to navigate, and we continue to learn what we are physically and mentally capable of.

A few other important lessons we’ve learned:

Always make sure you have enough water and food
Mosquitoes will cause a person to lose all sense of fashion
Sometimes you need to sit still and let nature come to you
Ponchos have a mean streak
Never trust a weather forecast
Three Fingered Jack and the Log Cabin on Black Butte
Always have a map and compass (and know how to use them)
Sometimes it pays to take the side path
Sometimes it doesn’t
Yocum Ridge
The number one lesson though is that there is no such thing as a bad hike.

When we headed out for my assignment 20 years ago neither Heather nor I had any idea what we were getting ourselves into. Today we can look back at that assignment and see that the seed planted that day is what led to our hiking pastime. As for our return to Green Lakes, it hasn’t happened yet. Just as it was the previous three years it is on our schedule. We have been derailed by snow, fire and lightning, but one of these days we will finish the hike that started it all. Happy Trails.



As Heather mentioned at Christmas we have been considering setting up a web page or blog to share our many wanderings along the trails of Oregon and SW Washington.  Well we decided to attempt it.  We are blessed to live in an area that is packed full of trails exploring some really diverse environments.  As we have enjoyed these hikes we have been struck by the beauty of God’s creation and we’d like to be able to share these wonderful places with our friends and family members who are not able to experience them with us.  For those who are fortunate enough to have the opportunity to visit these places we hope this blog will provide some useful information for your own future wanderings.  We also hope that this will be a way to establish an ongoing connection with friends and family no matter how far away they are, or how often we have the pleasure of seeing them face to face.

One of the benefits of living in the Pacific NW is that the hiking season never officially ends (if you can handle a little rain) – your options simply shrink.  Still it’s been a couple of months since we’ve hit a trail and I for one have been chomping at the bit.  I’ve used the time to plan out several hikes for this year.  Okay 37 of them totaling a little over 405 miles, but who’s counting?  I enjoy the planning phase, maybe a little too much.  I find it enjoyable to try and figure out when trails will be open, what the best time of year to view wildflowers or eat berries (yum) is, and most importantly when to avoid to miss the mosquitoes.  We get most of our information from William L. Sullivan’s series of Oregon Hiking guides which have proven indispensable.

This year we have hikes planned for the Oregon Coast, the Mt. Hood, Mt. Jefferson, Three Sisters, Mt. Thielsen, and Diamond Peak wilderness areas, the Columbia Gorge, the Mt. St. Helens National Monument, Crater Lake, and the Ochoco & Fremont National Forests.  We hope to bring the beauty of this region to everyone who happens to check in on our wanderings in a way that is both enjoyable and informative.  First up is Gwynn Creek near Cape Perpetua on the Central Oregon Coast.  Happy Trails~