Smith Rock State Park, OR

   Oregon is such a diverse region of the country and I am still bewildered by pictures and places I discover that are all a part of this beautiful state. Smith Rock State Park is one of those places. Nestled deep in the valley and forests of Portland, it was hard for me to believe that this place existed only a few hours away! 

   Smith Rock is a mecca for rock climbing, hiking, and wildlife. Climbers travel from all over the region to scale these monsters, and every surface of each rock was littered with people climbing and propelling and conquering these beasts. Miles of trails will take you all around this park with spectacular views of the boulders themselves but also so far beyond if you hike up to the top. It was a warm, sunny day, growing warmer and sunnier by the hour. We took every opportunity for Buffy to splash and play on the bank of the river and at each spot, took in a different view of waterfalls, rock climbers, soaring bald eagles (we saw two golden eagles!), and were just baffled by the monstrosity and majesty of our surroundings. The whole scene felt pre-historic, carved and crafted by the hands of time...

   Just like that, a T-Rex came stomping around the corner, raging and roaring destructively through the river, smashing the trees like tooth picks and followed by a few Pterodactyl friends.......orrrrrr maybe I just imagined that. It seemed like it could have happened at any moment!

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   Brad & I started our journey along the River Trail and planned on scaling Misery Ridge for the full experience. We are always asking ourselves which is better - the view from above or the view from below - and can never decide so we try to experience both wherever we go. The drama of the view from below is intense, reminding you how small you are and how powerful Mother Nature is, and the view from above gives you that birds eye view along with a feeling of lightness, and airiness, and accomplishment for getting yourself up to the top. The way was filled with steep switchbacks and dusty gravel trails, but so worth it - we stopped at every twist and turn to enjoy the beauty that was before us. From atop the ridge you could see Mt. Bachelor, Mt. Adams, the Three Sisters, miles and miles of farms and fields, and even Mt. Hood in the far distance. It was the CLEAREST DAY I've seen in a long time and I'm so thankful. It truly made the experience.

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   And that's a wrap! Another spectacular destination to check off the list and another special place to hold in my heart. The photos really speak for themselves, encapsulating all the magic and splendor so much better than I can even describe. 

In this wild, beautiful country, I wonder what we'll see next.

xoxo, Tent Girl