Tag Archives: Robin

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.

White Salmon River Rafting with Zoller’s Outdoor Odysseys

A few days ago my friends Robin and Dani, my infamous partners in crime from climbing Mount Kilimanjaro messaged me wondering what my plans were for Friday because they were headed out to my old stomping grounds in White Salmon, Washington with the intent to head down the White Salmon River, rafting with Zoller’s Outdoor Odysseys.

white salmon river rafting
Mt Hood from WA-141

I of course said I was in… as I am always up for practically any adventure and was excited to catch up with them as well as I haven’t seen them for 8 months.  However as I had just annihilated Mount Saint Helens the day before my body wasn’t feeling amazing but I was pretty sure some cold water therapy might just do me some good.

Also in for the ride was my friends Greg and Shari as well as some of Dani’s relatives who flew in from Pennsylvania giving us two full boats of fun.

Robin had organized for us to raft the Upper White Salmon, which although slightly more expensive, it offers the furthest upstream commercial launch site on the White Salmon river therefore giving us a few more class III and IV rapids.

white salmon river rafting
Zoller’s guide giving us the rafting brief

One thing that was different about this experience White Salmon River rafting compared to my adventures rafting elsewhere was that we were using mini 4 person rafts.

In the middle of our rafting trip, everyone got the chance to cliff jump into the river.  Let’s just say the White Salmon is fed almost purely by glacial melt off nearby Mount Adams, so brisk was an understatement.

white salmon river rafting
Cliff Jumping on the White Salmon River

The other highlight of almost any White Salmon river rafting trip is the grand finale, pushing the boat into the Class V Husum falls…

After kicking out of Husum falls, we made our way to the bank and it marked the end of our 2.5 hour rafting adventure.  We all decided we hadn’t spent enough time together so decided to rendezvous across the river at Solstice Pizza where I ordered up a country girl cherry and chorizo pizza, a pizza named one of the best 50 in the country and rounding out our meal with some wood-fired s’mores.

By the time all was said and done it was late afternoon and everyone but lucky me had to make their way back to Portland, but I was very thankful to be able to spend yet another adventure with Dani, Robin… and even more friends and even better this time in our own backyard

//The I.A.

A Classic Hood River Double Barrel Thanksgiving

I was pretty excited that my insane schedule worked out and I was able to spend Thanksgiving with my friend family in Hood River this year.  I feel like I miss practically every birthday, holiday and every other celebration… so it was pretty awesome that I got to do Thanksgiving, and not only once today, but twice today…. and both times it was surrounded by friends, delicious food, happiness and laughter.

Hood River Friend Fam

My first round was an early afternoon Thanksgiving hosted at my friends, Corinne and Bronson’s home.  Corinne is a beautiful glowing 8-months pregnant and she was still gracious enough to host for all of us… AND make the turkey which was really appreciated.  Bronson also got up at the wee hours of the morning to smoke a prime rib for us.  Meat meat meat, I love meat.  Food get in my mouth….

I had made a cake with essence of lemon, fresh mascarpone crème and summer berries macerated in sherry for dessert.  Not very Thanksgiving-ish but don’t judge me.  I had my reasons.


I also got a special phone call from Africa, from two of my friends who used to be part of the Hood River Clan, so it was awesome to be able to facetime with them.

Hello From Africa!

Once the evening football game started, I headed across town to Thanksgiving round two.  This was an evening soirée at my friends, Adam and Vanessa’s beautiful new home.

Adam and Vanessa

And look who else joined in the Thanksgiving round deuces merry-making festivities… Robin and Dani, who I did Kilimanjaro and most recently the Tran-Siberian Orchestra concert over the past weekend with.


We were also joined by Vanessa’s Dad, Brian who did the honors of carving a delicious chardonnay marinated turkey.  What did I just say? Turkey marinated in A LOT of wine?  That’s right.  I like your style Vanessa…

thanksgiving thanksgiving

As this was Robin, Dani and myself second go of Thanksgiving for the day, we tried to conquer all the great dishes with loads of flavor.  Can you say siracha string beans, shredded brussel hash with caramelized shallot,  cranberry salad, mashed potatoes, bread dressing, marinated beet salad, homemade cranberry sauce… and I had also marinated goat cheese Tuscan style and two pounds of Tiger shrimp all afternoon for Dani who is pescatarian.

Now here’s where the day gets ridiculous (aka ah-mazing).. after a lot of food and a lot of wine, most people want to veg out in food comas… but not us.

We played hours and hours of Cards Against Humanity… which is of course, “a card game for terrible people.”  Think Apples to Apples but lets just amp that to a rated R version.  I haven’t laughed this much in months, I highly recommend….but only if you too are a horrible person.

I bought Cards Against Humanity on Amazon…  $25 dollas will make you holla.

We practically played through the entire deck.   After my kidneys couldn’t take any more wine and hurt from all the laughing it was time to roll home.

Admittedly days like today make it hard to always be gone….but I am always more thank thankful for these people. <3