a secret spot in washington.

It’s been four years since we met and in true ‘Michael’ fashion, he found us the most secluded, magical camping spot in southern Washington to celebrate each other. I’ve never met someone that loves looking at maps like he does. To be fair, some of the spots he finds have definitely led us to some not-so-great places haha.

Anyway, the view from this spot was unbelievable. You could see five mountains when it was clear!! Mount Hood, Mount Adams, Mount St. Helens, Mount Rainier, and Mount Jefferson. I have to admit, this might have been my favorite campsite ever. We are already planning to take a few of our close friends up here again. The road to the top was pretty sketchy with steep cliff sides, but the drive up was absolutely worth it.

Here are a few of my favorite snapshots from our weekend.

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It seemed like the fog was softly rolling down into the other valley like a waterfall.
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When the sun finally peaks over the horizon.
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Mount St. Helens
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Love that smile. Hahah his hair got caught up in the wind and it looks like a mohawk.

This story may be a little TMI, but I just really appreciate him for this. It was about one in the morning on Saturday, when I woke up from really terrible cramps. Being a girl is not so fun sometimes. I tried to not wake him up, but he did anyway. He ended up finding me some ibuprofen and knew I needed to be distracted. So he got our jackets and pulled me out of the car and oh my gosh… the stars!!!! We could see the milky way with our own eyes!!! We don’t get to stargaze often living in the city and wow. It was soo beautiful.

We ended up going back to bed about an hour later and then waking up again for sunrise. Life really is all about the adventures, no matter how big or small.

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This whole spot to ourselves.

Some snippets: We got cherries from Hood River, Oregon (which are the best!!). I was recommended the Tokyo Cult cookbook, so I brought it to read. We had baseball going through the radio and just kicked back and listened to our favorite team.

This cute deer wandered around our campsite!

Sunrise & sunset of Mount Hood.

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Scott and Seanne actually joined us for one night!

 

It’s amazing where life has taken us in the past four years and I wouldn’t want to change a thing. We have a few big goals for the next couple of years, so I am excited to see where life takes us from here.

What is more remarkable, beautiful, invaluable, and against the odds, than finding someone in this blizzard of billions that you want to commit to celebrating the rest of your life with?
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alpine lake adventures.

Colchuck Lake, The Enchantments
Wenatchee National Forest

The mountain has left me feeling renewed, more content and positive than I’ve been for weeks, as if something has been given back after a long absence, as if my eyes have opened once again. For this time at least, I’ve let myself be rooted in the unshakable sanity of the senses, spared my mind the burden of too much thinking, turned myself outward to experience the world and inward to savor the pleasures it has given me.
Richard Nelson

The Bitzers

We are six months into 2020, and I think we can all agree it’s been quite the year. Not only are we all fighting a global viral pandemic, there’s a fight against racial injustices, gender inequality, and police brutality happening all at the same time.

With everything going on, I couldn’t find a way to shut up off my mind. My phone was alerting me that I’ve been on it for far more hours than usual. Our conversations at home seemed to revolve solely around what was happening in the world. I’m pretty sure I’ve cried more in the last couple months than I have in my life. I’ve definitely experienced hate and racism, but learning about the violent injustices towards our black community has been devastating and heartbreaking.

On top of this, Michael lost his dad, my father-in-law, from his fight against kidney cancer. There’s nothing that can really prepare you for this type of situation. Nick is truly one of the good ones and to lose him like this, makes life seem so unfair. I wish we could have had him be Pappy to our kids one day, but I know he will be there with them in spirit. Several months ago, Michael wrote something that we never posted. So I want to share it here.

My dad is the epitome of the protector of our family. He showed me what it meant to be strong and that family always comes first. When he started dating my mom (who already had two kids: me and my sister), he wasn’t that much older than I am now. I have so much respect and appreciation for him taking on that responsibility and stepping in as our father figure without any hesitation. If my life continued with my biological dad in it, it would be completely different in the worst way possible.

I wish I didn’t struggle with knowing how or when to express my feelings of gratitude and love for him as a son because I do. Without a doubt, he has helped me become the man that I am today.

It’s hard to grasp how life is going to be without him. There’s such a fear of the unknown for me. 

Miss you and love you, Nick.

 

We realized we both deeply needed some self care. We don’t know a better way other than going outdoors and having no phone service.

A lot of campsites and outdoor areas are still closed, but when we found out this hike was actually open, we had to do it. It’s been on our list ever since we moved here and oh my GOSH is was incredible. All-in-all, we hiked over eleven miles, and it really kicked our butts. Our legs were killing us towards the end of the hike. But this view… is therapeutic. Alpine lakes are magical and so worth the hike up to them.

We still cannot get over how stunningly beautiful this hike was!!

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The trail splits off here to Colchuck Lake and Stuart Lake.
All smiles here because… how can you not?!!? This view is incredible!
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Those turquoise-y blues are so dreamy. 💙 After a tough hike, we had to take off those hiking shoes to let our feet breathe. It felt so good to sit back against a big rock and relax.
The Bitzers
Our hiking snacks this time!
The Bitzers
Spotted a backpacker taking a snooze. He looks like a watermelon slice with those colors hahah

After enjoying the view from a higher spot, we wanted to continue along the trail to see if we could find a spot down closer to the water.

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We ran into a mountain goat along the way!! This goat was so chill and could not care less that we were there. We kept our distance though, just in case.

 

And we found a spot closer to the water!!

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Michael is pointing at a skiier coming down that pass between the mountains. It’s crazy!!
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Happy as can be.
One of these days, we plan to come back here to camp out a few days. (If we actually win permits in the lottery!)

 

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Our walking stats after the hike. 😅

 

After hiking, we found this lovely dispersed camping site near a lake. It rained all morning and night. I love our conversations together when it’s just the two of us like this. Life together has been a dream and I am just so excited for what’s to come.

The Bitzers

Sending a lot of love out to you all.

Times are extremely wild and sensitive right now, so I hope you can take some time to find some mental peace and joy.

 

horseshoe bend & antelope canyon.

There’s not a whole lot of adventuring going on these days, so here’s a few throwbacks from a summer road trip to Horseshoe Bend and Antelope Canyon in Arizona!

In a previous post, I wrote about our separate (and totally different) road trips that we took across the country when we moved from Texas to Oregon. These two stops were some of my favorites. So much so that I sometimes bring up to him how much I want to move to Arizona or Utah for a little bit. Maybe one day!

 

Horseshoe Bend, Arizona

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I walked around this place for hours. It was so beautiful.
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Stayed for a dreamy desert sunset. 💛
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Love seeing all the layers.
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I never ever imagined having the opportunity to do this trip by myself, and I am so freaking happy I was able to. 💛💛

 

 

Antelope Canyon, Arizona

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The trucks you ride in on to get to this place.
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There’s a lot more people than I expected!
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Compared to the outside temperatures of over 100 degrees, it was so cool and refreshing in these slot canyons.
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Do you see the bear?!?

On the tour to get to Antelope, I sat next to this beautiful family. They noticed I was alone and was so incredibly friendly by sticking by my side during this adventure. Very grateful my paths temporarily crossed with these folks. I think I even still have the daughter’s phone number somewhere. Anyway, thanks to these three for their kindness and the memories.

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They also took a few photos of me! Hahah

 

You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover is yourself. Alan Alda

under the stars.

On nights like this when the air is so clear, you end up saying things you ordinarily wouldn’t. Without even noticing what you’re doing, you open up your heart and just start talking to the person next to you—you talk as if you have no audience but the glittering stars, far overhead.
Banana Yoshimoto

With what’s going on these days, Michael and I are definitely distancing ourselves from everyone outside of work. He’s works for the government to monitor infectious disease, bioterrorism agents, and when needed, even COVID-19. I am treating immunocompromised cancer patients with radiation at a few different hospitals. Neither of us want to risk the chance of not doing what we love, and I definitely do not want to put my patients in any more risk than they already are.

With everything going on, I’ve been reflecting a lot about us and our lives and some of the things I really really appreciate.

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  1. You all. We just reached over 100 followers on this blog, and I feel so grateful. Every single one of you who have chosen to click that follow button to join us in our adventures through our love and our life in the Pacific Northwest means a lot. Thank you for sticking along with us and sharing your stories as well.
  2. Photography. All through my teenage years, I was always painting. I loved art so much, but it became really hard to keep it up when college started. Just a couple of years ago, I picked up the camera to just capture a few moments. Since then, my love for outdoor and food photography has grown into a creative passion that I truly can’t imagine life without anymore. After working so much since graduating, I finally bought us a brand new camera and upgraded our old one this week. Goodbye T3i, helloooo EOS-R!
  3. Us goofing around. Michael and I are almost always messing around, wrestling with each other, having tickle fights, or even… grabbing each other’s butts. My personal favorite… his kiss attacks when I’m in a funky mood because it always somehow gets me out of it. 💙So grateful for him for always finding a way to make me smile, even when it’s really hard to.
  4.  Family. My parent’s always reaching out with concern for my health and safety and… sending me all the congress updates on how I can get student loan debt relief during this time hahah. They’re the best. Also- big s/o to my in-laws and my (basically) aunts for sewing masks for me and my coworkers in case we run out. Ya’ll are incredible!
  5. The selfless frontline or essential workers out there who are sacrificing their health and safety right now in order to help others, and I do not mean just in the hospital. For one small example, I know a few teachers who are using this time to make sure their students are getting fed each day and given resources for education beyond the school’s means. There are soooo many stories like this. I can’t say enough words to say how absolutely incredible and heroic they are. Sending so much healing love to people like this every single day.

I know it’s tough these days. When you can, take a few moments to just reflect on the good things, even if it’s small. If what you are thinking about brings a smile to your face or makes your heart happy, do that thing a little more every day. 💙

naturally painted hills, or.

The painted hills are truly a natural wonder. All of the layers of yellow, gold, reds, and blacks reveal millions of years of history. It’s incredible. Eastern Oregon is the other side of the state that gets a little bit overlooked sometimes. Yes, it’s a lot less green and a lot more desert-y, but it is still breathtaking in its own way.

Life has been pretty darn crazy since the year started! How is it already March!? Even though it’s been busy, it’s been an amazing start so far. When things get like this, it’s hard not to get nostalgic for some past trips we’ve had. Here’s a few photos from when we visited this place with our friends, Seanne and Scott Holmes. 💛

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Exploring life together is the best thing ever.
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Look at that cutie recording some videos with his drone.
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Seanne & I. 💜
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Seanne made these beanies and they’re so amazinggg.
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The Holmes & The Bitzers!

We are hoping to plan a few more camping / road trips with these two! These are the friends that have become a part of our family here and I’m so thankful to have them in our lives.

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“Painted Hills is named after the colorful layers of its hills corresponding to various geological eras, formed when the area was an ancient river floodplain.”

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Hahahah some candids because Michael has the remote and always takes shots when no one is ready. Gosh, we love these people!

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We are coming up on our one year wedding anniversary next month. I still can’t believe how fast time is flying! There is so much planned for this coming year, and we are definitely looking forward to all of the opportunities and adventures to come.

You can pack for every occasion, but a good friend will always be the best thing you could bring.

We couldn’t agree more. 💙

sunrise at crater lake.

Crater Lake is known for its vibrant blues… but when you’re there at sunrise or sunset, the colors you get to see are unbelievably stunning. Seriously… on a clear summer day, take that road trip out there. It’s 100% worth it.

We had already planned to wake up early, but did not expect to witness the most magnificent sunrise. Seeing all of the soft shades of blue, pink, and orange painted across the sky was truly a sight to see.

We felt like we had the whole place to ourselves because no one was around us. This place is also very special to us because it was the last road trip we were able to take Layla on before she passed away.

Experiences like this always remind us to appreciate and love the little things in life. ❤️

Look at those morning sunrise colors!! 😍
This viewpoint was perfect. It felt like the lake wrapped all around you.
Sometimes you gotta hide behind a bush to get those ~*angles*~ of Wizard Island. Photography can be a pretty funny hobby.
Mount Thielsen in all of its glory in the early morning.

We also got to witness a pretty darn amazing sunset here, too.

 

Sunset at Crater Lake

Our little family at sunset. Miss you, sweet Lay.
The girls and the moon.

This grand show is eternal. It is always sunrise somewhere; the dew is never all dried at once; a shower is forever falling; vapor is ever rising. Eternal sunrise, eternal sunset, eternal dawn and gloaming, on sea and continents and islands, each in its turn, as the round earth rolls. John Muir

guilty pleasures.

What’s my guilty pleasure? The thing is, I never feel guilty about pleasures.
Tom Hiddleston

We were talking about what some of ours were the other day, and we figured we would share them here. Here’s a few of them. 😊

 

a cozy campfire:

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Michael loves bringing life to a campsite by chopping up some wood and building us a cozy campfire. You bet there are s’mores when there’s a fire around! (That’s probably the most guilty part about it!) 

 

sweet treats:

Pecan Pie Bars
Vanilla bean ice cream on top of a warmed pecan pie bar??? Yes, please. It’s true… we are both guilty for having a major sweet tooth.

 

cuddling:

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This is from inside our home on a rainy day. We love love love being close to each other. Cuddling, wrestling, tickling, pranking, kissing, cooking, talking. Whatever it is, we just love being in each other’s company.

 

our backyard:

We got so incredibly lucky finding our current place. Our landlord is one of the most wonderful human beings ever. Favorite thing? Our bedroom opens directly into this upper level deck that has this view!! The guilty part? We prefer to stay home more than going out on most days.

 

building things:

Michael loves to build things! He removed the back seats out of our FJ cruiser and built a storage platform that has so much space AND can fit a full size mattress on top of it. There’s nothing like getting the bed set-up, opening the back window, and enjoying the view wherever we are. Also – check out the spice rack he made for me!! (I know, terrible photos. They’re from my Instagram stories haha.) It’s so nice that I can see them all now versus shuffling through them trying to find the right one.

 

pizza: 

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Need I say more?

 

cheese & charcuterie:

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Pretty much… adult lunchables. I am secretly a fan of The Bachelor series only because my classmates got me into it last year. Let’s be real, I think they easily had me at wine and meat and cheese. This spread above was just from last week when we had a girl’s night. My friend, Molly, had this all set-up when we got to her place after work!

 

Sometimes, you just gotta let yourself enjoy the little things in life. 💛

happy 100th, grand canyon.

In the summer of 2017, I did my first solo road trip from Dallas, TX to Portland, OR. It included the Grand Canyon National Park.

I drove over over 3000 miles in twelve days. I slept in a tent for four days, stayed in a hostel, booked three different Airbnbs (I needed to shower), and slept in my car all of the other days. I’ve never traveled alone, so the idea of doing so for almost two weeks was slightly terrifying. But… it was one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself and I had an absolute blast! I learned how to be resourceful, self-aware, flexible, and most importantly, I learned how to trust myself. I slept in super sketchy areas, but I’m happy I did. Sometimes traveling isn’t always so glamorous, but it still can be a great experience. I know I wouldn’t trade it for anything else. 💛

Michael also had to do his road trip alone because he left for Portland one month before I did, and his road trip was totally different from mine (our maps below!).

Here’s the route of most of the places I visited. ☺️

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My general route!

And this is Michael’s general road trip route below.

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Michael’s map. 💙

Continue reading “happy 100th, grand canyon.”

the ocean’s magic.

There is just something mysteriously magical about the ocean. Maybe it’s all of the brilliant shades of blues it can be, or maybe it’s the unpredictability of its storms, or even all of the life that is teeming underneath the surface. Whatever it is, whenever we visit the coast, there’s a sense of awe that just takes over us.

Continue reading “the ocean’s magic.”

an unexpected adventure.

This weekend we were planning to backpack up to a fire lookout in Mount Hood, Oregon. On the way there, we started noticing snow along the forest roads. I always get a little suspicious with road conditions once snow starts to appear, but Michael gets… a little ‘confident’ in his FJ when if comes to a lot road-wise. 😜

When we got to huge snow covering on the road, he pressed the gas and we plowed right through only to get us stuck in about 2-3 feet of snow. It took us an hour and a half to get out because all we had to use was a poop shovel, a skillet, and two hiking poles to plow all of the snow away from his truck. It was exhausting, but so hilarious after it was all done.

 

We obviously had to change our plans last minute, so we looked on google maps and found Timothy Lake was pretty close. There were also campsites you could backpack in!

It. Was. Beautiful.

We had absolutely no service with no one around us. After a stressful week of work and school, it was exactly what we needed to unwind. 20190511_143800

Once we set up everything, we hiked about five-six miles around the lake. We got back to camp right in time to set up the hammock and catch the sunset. 🧡41C51B51-3562-416A-8B8A-7505E545E9A1

Continue reading “an unexpected adventure.”

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