Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Heading To Argentina and Antarctica Today - Want To See My Carry-On Items?

Thanks to Tips of Travelling for the image!
Holy. Cow.


The trip that I have planned for for the past several years is finally happening.

Much like I did with my trip for three weeks in Peru and Easter Island, I thought I would share what I am bringing with me for the next month. Let's recap: I get to DFW tonight and fly all night to Buenos Aires, spending all day Thursday there, and then heading to the airport in the wee hours to take a 4:45am trip to Ushuaia, Argentina, aka "The Southernmost City in the World." I officially leave on Saturday at 4pm on the M/S Expedition for three weeks with the goal of getting to Antarctica! After returning to Ushuaia on January 30 I will stay at a B&B until I leave on February 4 to return to Portland. Whew!

Like my last trip to South America, I will be carrying everything in my Patagonia MLC Bag and REI Purse. Surprisingly, my bag feels a lot lighter than it did when I went to Peru. I would be surprised if my bag was even ten pounds, seriously. So what *am* I bringing?

Clothes and Layers
iPhone & charger
Moto X & charger
MacBook Air & charger
Kobo Touch & charger
Camera & phone waterproof cases

Water bottle
Personal toiletries
Cash for M/S Expedition personnel tips and Argentina spending money
Tickets/travel insurance documents/trip details info
Passport (duh)
Rite in the Rain notebook & pens

If you want to follow along online, check out my Instagram here, or check out the M/S Expedition's Instagram! Or if you would like to see this adventure from Frank the Travel Cat's point of view, here is her Instagram! Here are some pictures of other adventures we've been on. I can't wait to update her map!

Seriously, though, a HUGE THANK YOU to anyone who donated money to my trip fund, hired me, paid for something, or what-EVER to help make this trip happen! I have been saving for this trip since 2011 and to actually be leaving on it today, fulfilling a freaking HUGE LIFE GOAL, is kind of nutty. So thank you!! :o)

Monday, December 30, 2013

Pro-Soup Propaganda's 2013 Year in Review

Oh, 2013, what a funny, weird, great, horrible year you were.

I did some pretty awesome stuff this year.

*I got laid-off from my "main" job and all of my side-hustles soon became my job! Luckily I am making a bunch of money and am able to put a ton of it into savings.

*We adopted the weirdest member of our family, hands down. Welcome, FunCat, we are glad to have you, even though you may be a small evil orange wizard, but we are glad you live in the Fortress of Joy with us!

*Jonathan and I only snowshoed once this year. We tried to go again last week, but Mt. Hood doesn't have enough snow on it. Boo!

While there were more many happy memories this year than not, this was a really painful year in parts. I had some personal life issues that took several months to deal with. I'm still dealing with them, really. I'm doing my best to focus on the now and look forward to healing and feeling better, but sometimes it sucks. I feel kind of lost and floundery sometimes (like I'm floundering, not like this guy, cute as he is). I know things will get better and I'm doing the best I can, but I am really excited to go to Antarctica and focus on me for a bit. I have been working my butt off the past two months and am looking forward to reaping the benefits.

This was my list of 2013 Resolutions. While I actually did pretty good on that stuff (yay reading lots of books and saving money!), there is stuff that didn't really happen (going to the Japanese Garden and yoga).

This new year is going to be called "Year of the Radical." (2013 was "Year of the Waffle." It was a delicious year.) There are going to be some radical changes. Things are going to be shaken up. Amy is going to be moving in with us quite soon, which will help both her and us with our respective money situations. I will be going on my big adventures. Jonathan and I will both be getting mountain bikes. We want to go on more bigger adventures together. I no longer need to totally kill myself with trying to earn money to pay for my trips. I will still be hustling but I would like to think that now I don't have to drive myself crazy with Making All The Money, but, who am I kidding myself, it IS nice to have it. ;o)

Brendan Leonard's post "Do Things And Make Things Next Year" really resonated with me. His goals for next year? "Do Things" and "Make Things." After being SO busy this year and having it jam-packed with everything, I am looking forward to a little bit of downtime. I want time to do stuff and time to make stuff. What will those things be? I don't know, but I look forward to finding out.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

A Love Letter To My Long Underwear

Image from Patagonia.

Hello, my friend!

Despite us not knowing each other for long, I just wanted to say a hearty "thank you" for being you. We have known each other for only a month and already I know that you are the one I want to spend more time with. You keep me cozy on the frigidly cold days and snug on the coldest nights we've been having here in Portland. You effortlessly slide beneath even my skinniest jeans to keep me warm with your checkered fleeciness. I especially love pairing you with my Piton Pants and a hip warmer for a little bit of toasty cuteness when I'm working outdoors at the Portland Saturday Market. Thanks for also coming along when I went hiking last month in Oregon's central desert and when planting trees in gusty 30* weather.

Cap 4 pants, I'm glad I met you and I hope you'll stick around awhile.

With warm love,

*There are affiliate links in this post that help support my outdoor adventures, so if you use them, thanks!

Friday, December 6, 2013

A Little Bit of Catchup

That's pretty much how I feel about Portland's snow today. Woo wo, indeed!

I'm writing this post from the house I started house-sitting today. I'll pretty much be house-sitting from today through the next month at various places, so my schedule is pretty darn full. November was INSANE. I earned three times in that month working for myself and STILL having more free time than I ever did having my full-time desk job. Awesome. This month is looking like I'll maybe be making a little less, but not by much! Hopefully this trend keeps up because I really like being able to adventure more often!

Speaking of adventures... I leave for my Antarctica trip IN A MONTH!!!! I really can't believe that this adventure that I have been saving for for what feels like forever is finally happening. I started to follow the ship that I'll be on, the M/V Expedition on both Twitter and Instagram, and have been enthralled with what I've been seeing. I truly can't believe that I'll soon be on that very boat seeing those very things. I've been mentally preparing myself over the past month trying to think of any last items I may need. I'm kind of thinking of getting Patagonia's Triolet pants to go with my jacket, but that's really the last thing I'm thinking. Having windproof and waterproof outerwear is a good idea in those cold , variable climates so I'm leaning toward yes. That will also help me for my Patagonia trip with all the windiness there! (Finding that post makes me think that I should probably write a post expanding about the fact that I'm going to volunteer at Torres del Paine National Park in freaking Patagonia in March, 2014!!)

I celebrated my 31st birthday on Sunday, which is kinda crazy. I feel like I should either feel older or something, but I don't. I still love that I get carded and people are like, "You're a decade older than the carding age?!" Ha!

And that's about what I've been up to! Just trying to keep my nose to the grindstone and make some money to pay for my Patagonia trip!

What's new with you?

Monday, November 25, 2013

Hiking Multnomah Falls in the Columbia River Gorge

Back in August, Sofia and I decided to do a hike that neither of us had done before, even though it is so close to Portland - Multnomah Falls! Only about half an hour from Portland, Multnomah Falls is definitely a sight to see. It's the tallest waterfall in Oregon and the second tallest year-round waterfall in the U.S. I love driving through the Gorge and seeing Multnomah Falls on the way by. I've hiked around the area quite a bit, but never have I hiked to the top of the waterfall.

The hike itself is fairly easy overall and is only 1.1 miles long with 700 feet of elevation gain, but get ready for lots of switchbacks - 11 of them! Be sure and wear good footwear because we saw people in both flip flops and heels. Ouch!

I'm glad Sofia went with me! The weather was beautiful and we had a great time!

This picture was taken from the top of the first section, looking out over the bottom. We still had many switchbacks to go to get to the top!

The view from the top!

Are there any other Gorge hikes you'd recommend? I've done quite a few, but it seems like there are always more to do!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Three Easy Hikes in Portland, Oregon

Here in Portland we're really lucky to have such great access to the outdoors. There are many trails right here in the city and I've been able to hike a few of them lately, so I thought I'd share some photos. I've been to Powell Butte, Forest Park, and Mt Tabor recently. They're some of the more popular hikes, as they're located directly in the city, not too far from anything.

Powell Butte

Powell Butte is an extinct volcano cinder cone, one of several in the surrounding area. It's fairly good-sized with over 600 acres to it. It's mostly meadow but has a good chunk of forested area, which is my favorite part! It's easy to get in the middle of "nowhere" and to not see people for awhile, which is pretty great, considering it's right in town. There is also a LOT of wildlife there and I've seen deer almost every time I've been there, including this day!

Andi and I went there with her dog, Chief, and Artoo last week and had a great time! The dogs got in lots of sniffing and stick-chasing and we had the park to ourselves. The weather was nice and cool in the morning, so we didn't overheat. It was a perfect day!

Ta da, we saw a deer!

Forest Park

Forest Park is GIANT! According to Portland Parks and Rec's website, "Forest Park now includes over 5,100 wooded acres making it the largest forested natural area within the city limits in the United States." Bam! That's so awesome that we have claim to that! Jonathan and I love to take Artoo there and beat around a little bit. We usually walk around on the Germantown Road access side. I'd love to go spend an entire day and really thoroughly explore it some day!

Mount Tabor

Totaling 1.6 square miles, Mt. Tabor is a fairly good-sized little oasis within the east side of the city. Like Powell Butte, it is a volcanic cinder cone. Before joining Portland proper in 1905, the area was a rural farming community dating all the way back to the 1850s. (I once bought some CraigsList items from a woman in a house in the neighbourhood and she said it was one of the original houses and it had been in her family since the 1800s! There are apparently pictures of the house surrounded by nothing but farmland, which I imagine would be so beautiful.)

Mt. Tabor's trails go alllllll around the park and there are a LOT of them.  It also features an off-leash dog park area, which is pretty nice. On Wednesdays they close and lock the main gates so no vehicles can enter the park. It's a perfect time for bikers, dog walkers, and joggers to get out and get on the road and not have to worry about competing with traffic. Andi and I have been doing this every Wednesday for quite a little while now and it's one of the highlights of my week!

What are some other great Portland walks or hikes that I should get out and try? I love exploring new areas!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Hiking and Camping in Central Oregon's High Desert

In the past month I've been lucky enough to camp and hike in Central Oregon's high desert a couple of times. Because Portland is a temperate oceanic climate and the woods around Portland often look like Southeastern Alaska's temperate rainforest I'm pretty much used to a damp climate, so it's always kind of weird and special for me to go to deserts. It doesn't happen often, so it's exciting when it does!

In October and November I've gone to Bend, camped in Tumalo State Park, and climbed Smith Rock twice each. I also got to stay at the Prineville Reservoir in October, which was gorgeous. These photos are all from the October trip. The weather was pretty warm still and I felt like dying of heat and exertion while climbing Smith Rock, but it was still worth it to see the view at the top!

The drive to Bend is about three hours from Portland. Plus, it's beautiful! Tumalo State Park is fifteen minutes or so outside downtown Bend. I've stayed in both my tent and a yurt there and, I gotta say, the yurts there are the fanciest I've stayed in! Fancy because the heaters are really good and when you are arriving at night in low-30s temps, having a blast of heat when you enter the yurt is kinda nice!

The drive from Bend to Prineville is a little less than an hour but driving to the reservoir adds some time, about half an hour. It's a slow and windy road, but worth it when you see the views of the reservoir. It's gorgeous! We had reserved a tent site back in the lot but were lucky enough to change to a spot looking right out over the water. Pretty spectacular!

Getting to Smith Rock was easy from both Bend and the reservoir, a little less than an hour from both places. Smith Rock's highest point is around 3000' in elevation. I've now gone on the Misery Ridge trail on both visits and it's pretty awesome. I've started both ways and I prefer going the way that starts to the right of the footbridge you have to cross over. It's steep all the way to the summit, but then you don't have to deal with all the switchbacks otherwise. But it's all beautiful so just go check it out for yourself!

Prineville Reservoir

Sunset over the reservoir was gorgeous, as you can see!

Early afternoon at Smith Rock was gorgeous!!

Monkey Face rock - do you see it?


I had a wonderful time and I definitely can't wait to go back and adventure more in Central Oregon!