I took a trip to Oregon this weekend for a little play date while I am in the neighborhood, not knowing when I’ll be back here. My ‘living without a goal’ goals for the weekend: enjoy the moments as they occurred, playing without too much planning, limiting my plugged-in time and letting go.
A friend suggested the Oregon Caves and Cave Junction. We thought camping would be a good idea. But, I poked around and found a lovely chateau right at the cave site. Perfect. I have a fear of bears and mountain lions, but I love a good chateau.
The day started with an early morning Red Eye at my fave coffee spot followed by a stop at the local auto store where I proceeded to be instructed on the care and maintenance of my little Jetta the Jedi. I was actually quite thankful for that delay. If you haven’t spent the day with a mechanic, do so soon. I learned more in that one hour than in my entire car-owning life. We stopped for scenic detour through Howland Hill Road and the Mill Creek area of Redwood Park. This is a must see area when you visit. The roads are curvy and narrow, but the landscape is incredible.
Then we hit the road: 101 to 199 North with a Pearl Jam/Hank Williams soundtrack heading for the caves and the Oregon forest.
The caves, a cool 44 degrees, were a welcome relief from the 88-degree summer sun, which was baking me after months of a pretty constant 40-60. The half-mile hike through Douglas and Grand fir tree down to dinner and the Troon’s Druid Fluid Red Blend Wine were a perfect end to the day. The room windows opened to nice little water fall and pond. Lying in bed, listening the waterfall under the window, there was not a thought of archives, moving or coming back.
The next morning I was up with the sun mostly from the work habit, but partly in anticipation of another great Oregon day. I started with Sun Salutation and scribbled my dreams in my notebook. This is a habit I kept for years, but eventually lost it in busy work. I was happy to have it back. Without worries about the schedule for the day, I was thinking of my dreams and my breath.
A quick coffee and we were off on the Big Tree Trail to see what I called “the other Big Tree” because just a few days ago we visited the one right here in Redwood. The 3-mile uphill hike was worth it. The tree is pretty darn big and the view, well, words just don’t do it justice. After the downhill, seeking out the variety of mushrooms and plants, getting our hands sticky on Pacific madrones, we finished the morning with picnic lunch. It was mid afternoon and at least 85 degrees. So what else do you do on a day like this? We found a swimming hole in the Illinois, a tributary of the Rogue River.
Confession: I am not only afraid of bears and lions, I am afraid of water. Not, aquaphobia level, but just not quite comfortable. Strange for an ocean girl, right? Oceans don’t scare me. Lakes, rivers and swimming pools do. I don’t even think about it anymore, I just naturally steer clear of the activities that involve being immersed in these things. But heat is a great motivator and a long weekend in a strange land with a fairly new friend can do weird things to you. Good things. Like helping you let go of fear and jumping into a 68-degree river full of fish.
After caves, hiking, wine, and swimming it was time to head home. Time flew by as we recapped our days and sang along to Steve Miller, El Chicano and the White Stripes (it was a road trip after all). Then silence. Beautiful, unexpected, sunshine and wind silence. There was no need to talk, it was by this time a matter of soaking in the days and letting go of time.
We drove south as the sun set and the Redwood trees emerged to engulf the car in the fog hanging in their branches. We closed the sun roof, thanked Jedi for a good trip, and took the scenic route through the Newton B. Drury Parkway. Our trip was almost over, my time here almost done, so I was glad to take it slow through Prairie Creek State Park and past the lagoons. And just when I thought the trip had come to its adventurous end, I was treated to a view of what has been dubbed the ‘alien tree’.
Here are a few shots of the weekend. I didn’t take many photos, I just wanted to enjoy the experiences fully in the moment. To breathe. To let go. The truth is out there.