As a child, my Spring Breaks were filled with television – lots of television. Even though we lived in Florida, we never saw the beach on Spring Break. Throw into the mix Spring Break usually landed on Holy Week with a highly devout Catholic grandma who frowned upon pleasurable experiences during that time of year, and our Spring Breaks were as exciting as a plate of liver with onions – yuck!
As a parent, Spring Break has become a week that allows our family the opportunity to make wonderful memories together. My husband and I have made it a point to get out of the house during Spring Break in order to grant our daughters (11 and 2) experiences that will forever be forged in their memory banks. Fortunately, most Spring Breaks in Oregon are not usually held during Holy Week, so I don’t have to feel bad about my grandma looking down on me from heaven and frowning. This year, we decided to head to the Oregon Coast to visit my husband’s mother.
Here’s a breakdown of our week:
My sister-in-law visited us from Seal Rock, Oregon and we enjoyed the evening with wine and baked chicken drumsticks accompanied with a fresh green salad and steamed broccoli.
We had a stack of my favorite pancakes for breakfast (King Arthur Gluten Free Pancake Mix – not sensitive to gluten, just love the flavor) and we trekked to Wallowa Lake to enjoy some scenery and a walk around the park.
View of Mountains that are part of the Eagle Cap Wilderness
Wallowa Lake in its splendor
After almost ten years of wanting to run the Marine Corps Marathon, my husband and I are going to run it together this Fall! This year, the Marine Corps Marathon went into a lottery system, which meant you got in by luck. Figuring I had nothing to lose but the time I invested in registering for it, I went ahead and registered both my husband and me. When I woke up in the morning and saw an e-mail indicating both he and I made it, I jumped up and down and screamed due to all the excitement.
Immediately following my excitement, I did some strength training, a run, made breakfast for my guests, and helped them prepare for their journey back to the Coast. We pretty much spent most of the day packing for our trip that would take place on Thursday morning.
We were supposed to leave at 8, but due to my inability to complete my nine mile run prior to 8 am, we did not end up leaving until close to 11 am!
For our trip to the Coast, we decided to take the long round about way and stop at a place I’ve been wanting to see since we moved to Eastern Oregon two years ago: The Painted Hills.
We made a bathroom break (very clean bathrooms) at the Mascall Formation Overlook on our way to the Painted Hills.
I’ve seen pictures of the Painted Hills on the Internet and I’ve always wanted to see them with my own eyes. I wanted a picture of the Hills snapped by my own lens. The Painted Hills are in the Central Oregon area close to the city of Mitchell, Oregon. Traversing quaint small towns nestled at the foot of majestic hills is my favorite part of road trips!
This Painted Hill was one of the first Hills that greeted us as we first drove into the park.
Sand and surf weren’t the only elements of nature we failed to experience during Spring Break. Florida, known for its palm trees and sandy shorelines is also as flat as a can of soda left opened for three days straight. So whenever hills and mountains are involved, I’m always up for the experience regardless of whether it takes running, hiking, snowshoeing or driving to get to it.
Selfie with my wonderfully wonderful husband.
There are have been many times where I have been filled with so much anticipation about an event, that the day or moment it happens, the experience does not live up to the hype I’ve built up. This was definitely NOT the case when I saw the Painted Hills! It was how I imagined it, and its beauty lived up to the awe and fascination I had for them when I could only admire them in pictures. It was my only hope my 11 year-old would remember this landmark and this moment and would someday share this, if not a similar experience, with her children!
The AMAZING Painted Hills!
We arrived to Newport close to 11 pm and I did not get to bed until midnight. Spring Break meant a break from routine, but not from marathon training. It was only four miles of running on the schedule, but they were four green miles filled with beach, bridges, and homes with cedar sidings. My husband took me on a trail run that he himself had never run despite growing up in Oregon. It was filled with bridges, dirt and gravel paths!
Ocean to Bay Trail in Agate Beach
After negating the calories we burned on our run with a delicious and hearty breakfast, we all drove to Cape Perpetua. The weather was definitely tailored for individuals who enjoy wind and rain (not me). However, the views were still striking and the weather added an extra touch of excitement to our exploration.
View of the Pacific Ocean from West Shelter Observation Point
There was slight fog and relentless wind. The shelter gave us good cover from the elements.
Twenty miles along the Newport Marathon Course was the best way to start my Saturday. But the day only got better.
Long run along the Newport Marathon Course
My mother-in-law, in honor of my 38th birthday (March 31), made a delicious pulled pork and potato salad meal (yum) and homemade carrot cake – score!!!! I was overfilled with joy because the day turned out so much better than I expected. I got to put in a long run and celebrate with family savoring a wonderful meal! My heart was filled with gratitude! Thank you so much to my mother-in-law for a stupendous weekend.
My mother-in-law gave me my favorite chocolates and Huma Gel. She knows me pretty well. I also got spoiled with homemade carrot cake, carrot cupcakes, and triple chocolate cake! Best part, I felt zero guilt considering I had run 20 miles!
We headed back home on Sunday and our return called for another long road trip. We made various stops along the way, but my favorite by far was a trail we serendipitously discovered while making a potty break for our two-year-old. The trail was called Soap Stone Lake Trail. Since it was unplanned, we figured this was a perfect opportunity to explore this Oregon gem.
The trail was 1.5 miles long, and led to Soap Stone Lake. There were wooden bridges, tall green mossy trees, meadows, and wooden stairs. It was also a decent climb as the trail was not flat. I stopped and took as many pictures and soaked in the scenery. Perhaps the best part about our hike was the fact we were the only individuals hiking it!
One of the bridges and stairs along the Soap Stone Lake Trail
A picture of Soap Stone Lake. We got closer and walked on some of the logs that are fallen on the lake.
I don’t know what the little leaves on the top left corner are, but they are edible and they taste delicious! My husband introduced us to them and we kept stopping to pick them and eat them.
All I can say is, “Best Spring Break EVER.” I don’t believe I sat down to watch any television!
How was your Spring Break? Did you get out of the house and explore the world around you?