Saturday, October 1, 2016

Where Did Summer Go?

This summer flew by for us! We spent tons of time improving our yard, hanging with the pets and hanging with each other. It was nice to make a home and not travel, and I think our pets loved it too. 

An afternoon spent with my mini chicken, Notorious B.I.R.D.
Mike and I also celebrated 10 years together this September. It was a reminder of how old we are getting (haha). It feels like we just met the other day, but we're both getting gray hairs...

We decided to do something special but local, so we rented a decommissioned fire lookout here in Oregon. It's about 7 miles into the forest, on rutted out roads, and you definitely need 4 wheel drive to get there. Our 18 year old Subaru performed like a champ!

Mike spotted wild blueberries on our way there, so we stopped to pick some.

The fire lookout was located on top of a butte (that's pronounced with a long "u") and was used in WWII to spot enemy aircraft. We were at about 4600 feet elevation. Since we live at 3500 feet elevation in Bend, we didn't feel any difference.

The forest service road on the way there.

We did have to hike a bit at the end of the road, pretty much directly uphill! It was a thigh-burner, for sure, but only about 3/4 mile. As usual, you can't even see Mike in the pictures because he is so far ahead of me...he likes to get the tough parts out of the way fast, and I'm a sloooow but steady hiker. 

The single track trail to hike up to the fire lookout. Mike nowhere in sight!

Mike was waiting for me at the lookout.

The lookout had glass windows on all 4 sides, with a catwalk that wrapped all the way around. 360 degree mountain top views - for $60/night. You can't beat it! We could see Mt. Washington, Mt. Jefferson, and the Three Sisters.

It was the perfect place to spend a day, sitting, chatting, and reflecting. Clouds moved in and out, covering Mt Jefferson. We were treated to a gorgeous sunset and a gorgeous sunrise. Pictures (especially my pictures) just can't do it justice.

The lookout was immaculately clean and had a twin bed, a few cots, a two burner propane stove, and a little wood burning stove for heat, with a woodshed nearby. The outhouse was the cleanest outhouse we have ever seen - without one single scary spider or bug! 

The fire lookouts are maintained by volunteers and the guests that stay there. But not every guest sees the bigger picture, and in the journals/logs (they go back several years), some guests reported seeing vandalism, gunshots through the woodshed and outhouse, and trash. But hopefully those very few incidents will motivate future guests to try even harder to help, or to educate the ignorant. We did our part and cleaned the lookout, Mike cut a bucket of kindling, and we made a donation to the Sand Mountain Society when we got home.

The cute little woodstove! It was so tiny it went out twice throughout the night.

Mike enjoying the morning view.

In other summer news, we got our house repainted (special thanks to our friend Dylan) and gave it some personality. 

Circa May 2015 before we had the trees removed
Circa June 2015 - after getting rid of some dead trees

September 2016!

It's a light aqua color (tropical spray), with a coral colored door (coral reef). We removed the shutters and got new industrial looking lights to try and modernize the house a bit.

We are still working on the yard but I am more than a little excited to see what pops up next spring! I've got tons of perennials and wildflowers that I reseeded, and tulip bulbs in the ground. And don't even get me started on the backyard...I'm completely addicted to this new hobby!