Tag Archives: 4th of July

Back in the Hood, Surrounded by Friends

Hood River, Oregon is in the Columbia River Gorge about an hour east of Portland.  I first came here in 2006 on an interview and shortly afterwards sold my house in Georgia, moved across the country and have never really looked back… and while I’m still full vagabond mode, it is still the place that I consider home to me.

Multnomah Falls
Multnomah Falls lower falls en route to Hood River from Portland, Oregon

So I’ve been back here in this special place a week now and each day I have been fortunate to be surrounded by people who have followed me virtually the last eight months of my adventures, have listened when I pour my heart out on Facebook messenger and now that I’m home they are here with me daily, both laughing and crying as I talk about the last eight months and my thoughts on life and as I sit and listen to get up to speed on theirs and everything that I have missed.

One of the biggest things that has changed this travel period is that my friend gave birth, and I’m now Auntie to the handsome Hiko-san.

Some days are full from Breakfast to lunch to dinner, and its these moments that I hold on to when I’m gone because truly the best gift we can give to each other is time.

It never hurts that we all live in a place I still consider one of the most beautiful in all the world and an outdoor mecca.

Hood River
Mt Hood over Hood River Airport

Which has allowed me accessibility to mark items off my bucketlist, like my climb of Mt St Helens….

mt st helens
Mt Helens Sunrise Summit

Enjoying mosquito free evenings outside drinking wine and talking about future life and future babies…

Adam and Vanessa

As well as a plethora of other adventurous activities like my day spent rafting the White Salmon River with Robin and Dani from our Kilimanjaro hike as well as more old friends :)

And of course, this week we also got to celebrate 4th of July together… which is my favorite holiday and a day that generally incites memories that I never want to forget.

How lucky we are to call this place home and how blessed I am to have these fabulous people here to enjoy it with.

//The I.A.

Mountain Biking Mount Saint Helens – 4th of July Adventure

My friend had told me about an awesome trail on Mount Saint Helens for mountain biking, so on 4th of July, I thought I’d check it out.  Who needs fireworks when you can have volcanoes?

The trail was the Ape Canyon Trail, it was a nice well maintained trail with big views practically the entire way.  Enjoyable for mountain biking but it would be great for hiking as well.

Shortly after the beginning, you get this great view of Mount Saint Helens and the Muddy River Laher…mount saint helens

Then you enter a forest of Douglas fir and start making your way up the side of Mount Saint Helens.  There are great views along the way of the other mountains in the area:

Once you come out of the wooded area, you get this big view of Mount Saint Helens.

mount saint helens

Up towards the top of Ape Canyon Trail, there was also this geological equipment to monitor tectonic plates and volcanic activity.  You could also see Mount Hood from here.

mount saint helens
Equipment to Monitor Tectonic Plates and Volcanic Activity.

This was my turnaround point as Ape Canyon Trail is an out and back, which meant the fun part was about to begin because it was all down hill from here…

mount saint helens

After I finished biking the Ape Canyon Trail, I decided to head to the Ape Cave Lava Tubes for a little caving action.  I ended up caving for 2 hours.

mount saint helens
Entrance to the Ape Cave
mount saint helens
Lantern in Ape Cave







Recommendations I should have listened to… bring a friend, have a second light source preferably a headlamp. My filaments burnt off so had a dim lantern and then had to low crawl, level 8 foot walls and climb huge pumice rocks while trying to balance a dim light.  Sometimes I am an idiot 😉

That night for 4th of July, we had a big BBQ on the Port in Bingen and shot off many fireworks.

mount saint helensmount saint helens






I love you 4th of July, you’re the BEST HOLIDAY EVER.