4 Days in High Desert Heaven

I love to travel, and have been traveling all of my life. It started with my Dad--the cowboy-turned-lawyer, who was always taking us on road trips, and flights to not-so-distant lands like Canada and Mexico. I cannot count the number of hours spent in the back seat of our Suburban, watching the land pass, or clouds float by. Whether we were on our way from Alaska to Oregon, or Oregon to South Tahoe, our journeys instilled a deep love of the landscape in my heart. I continued that love with my own version of a road trip down the California Coast at the ripe age of 18, followed by moving to Australia for 4 years and traveling within Australia as well as making a trip to Thailand.

Throughout my life, I have been able to recall points in time based on where we had traveled to that year. But, in the past few years, those dreams of adventuring abroad have been pushed aside while my husband and I found our footing in our life here in Portland. Wanderlust had been replaced by the need for roots, and so roots we have built. We've taken little trips to the Oregon Coast, and visited family in Hood River, or journeyed up to Seattle for business, but it wasn't the same.

Recently, I took stock of the various dreams and goals I have had in my life, and made a long list. Some of those dreams have been let go of voluntarily, like becoming a lawyer, but one of the themes that struck me was the desire to travel. Seeing it in writing really hit home, and after talking to DW, we made an agreement to make travel a priority. Whether it's to Eastern Oregon, or India, we want to explore the world and take in the beauty and chaos that makes this world so incredible. 

This year, we decided to take a road trip to celebrate my 30th birthday and head to Sun Valley, Idaho to visit my stepmom. It was an absolutely wonderful trip, full of crazy weather, open skies, countless cows and birds, and great company (including two silly Burmese cats!).

We started on Thursday night, and decided to drive as far as we could manage. We ended up just outside of Baker City, Oregon and fell "asleep" in the car at 1 am, at a rest stop. I discovered that our Subaru is MUCH smaller than the Suburban I grew up in or the Jeep that I adventured in before, and therefore, not as desirable to lay down in. 

On Friday Morning, DW took me to Haines, Oregon where he had spent time in his younger years collecting owl pellets. We found the "Chandler Cabin" and old relics of the town as it stood in the 1800's, including the entrance to an old mine. 

We also met a very friendly, somewhat demanding, miniature horse and his buddy the Rooster.

Outside of Haines is a gorgeous old barn with a bell tower. It's in fantastic shape, and apparently is the centerpiece of many postcards and paintings. We got to talk to a local rancher who leases the property, who was very kind and shared some stories with us.

When we got to Sun Valley, we were greeted by this wiley eyed critter, one of my stepmom's Burmese cats. He and his sister are little crowns and were fantastic for entertainment during our short stay! We had a fantastic time in Ketchum and Sun Valley with my stepmom. She showed us around parts of it that I had never seen before, especially since my experience with the area had always been ski-related. We ate at some amazing little restaurants, saw a fantastic movie called The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, and had some really great conversations. And, I even introduced her to some Gluten Free cooking, using Bob's Red Mill GF Flour!

On the trip back to Oregon, the skies had cleared for the most part (it actually snowed while we were in Idaho!), and we were graced with sunny skies. DW and I stopped off at multiple places to take photos, chat with horses, or collect sage.

After another night of "sleeping" in the car (this time I pushed the back seats down and did a little better, but must bring sleeping pads next time), we journeyed to look at the Hot Lakes near La Grande, and DW took me on a little tour of all the cool old barns around the town. 

During the journey, I couldn't help but think how much things might change if everyone was able to get out of the cities and see the country that they live in, or vice versa. To step into each others' worlds, we might better understand our rural or urban counterparts, and their needs. Of course, that is a very hopeful wish. We live in an incredible place, full of vast swaths of beauty and awe-striking landscapes. I find beauty both in and out of the cities. Do you?

Some things I learned on this journey:
Always be patient
Be open to taking little side-journeys that may not be in the original plan
Try to see the beauty in what the other person sees
Enjoy yourself!



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