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Hello 2024

The New Year Begins

Trillium Lake

A person in a snowy forest

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Hiking on snowshoes around Trillium Lake has become an annual adventure for Julia and me.

We bundled up and headed to Trillium Lake near Government Camp, Oregon. We knew it was a winter wonderland this time of year, and we were excited to explore it again.

The Trillium Lake Winter Loop was on our agenda, a 4.7-mile trail that was supposed to be moderately challenging. Perfect! We geared up for some hiking on snowshoes, hoping to soak in the snowy scenery.

The trail itself was beautiful. As we cleared the dense forest, I gasped. There it was, Mount Hood in all its glory, standing right across the lake. It was even more dramatic than the last time we’d seen it!

This trail was definitely a great choice. It wasn't too difficult, and the views were incredible. We saw a few other skiers and hikers enjoying the winter wonderland, but it wasn't too crowded.

Speaking of things to be aware of, I almost forgot! I read somewhere that dogs aren't allowed on this trail. Apparently, their paws can mess up the snow for the cross-country skiers. Luckily, we don’t have a dog.

Before we set out, I made sure to check the weather and trail conditions. Safety first, right? Everything looked good, so we knew we were in for a fun day.

Trillium Lake did not disappoint. The scenery was stunning, the trail was challenging but manageable, and it was the perfect winter escape. I can't wait to go back again!

Cherry Blossoms

A person standing under a tree with white flowers

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Spring in Portland is magical. Every year, between mid-March and early April, the city explodes with the delicate beauty of cherry blossoms. It's a sight I never get tired of!

The most iconic spot to witness this floral extravaganza is the Japanese American Historical Plaza in Tom McCall Waterfront Park. Picture this: 100 perfectly aligned cherry blossom trees lining the path right next to the Steel Bridge, a scene straight out of a postcard. It's breathtaking.

Another favorite spot is the Portland Japanese Garden in Washington Park. They also have stunning cherry blossoms, offering a serene atmosphere to soak in the beauty.

There's a bit of history behind these blossoms too. The trees at the Japanese American Historical Plaza were a gift from Japan in 1990. They were planted to celebrate America's diverse cultures, and the whole plaza itself was designed by a third-generation Japanese American artist named Robert Murase. Pretty cool, right?

While you're admiring the blooms, remember to be respectful. These trees are delicate, and it can damage them to pull on the branches or pick the flowers. Let's keep them healthy so we can all enjoy them for years to come.

A person standing on a boat next to a body of water

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The blooming season is fleeting, so timing your visit is key. Aim for mid-March to early April to catch the peak bloom. These blossoms are a major tourist draw, so be prepared for crowds, especially if you want photos without people in the background.

But trust me, it's worth it. Those delicate pink and white flowers are a sight to behold. Happy blossom chasing!


Oceanside was fantastic. Just like I had imagined, the charming small-town feel and those dramatic ocean views were perfect for a getaway. We spent hours relaxing and walking on the beach, listening to the waves crash and soaking up the sunshine.

And speaking of the beach, that's where the real treasure hunt came in! Julia actually found a few agates while we were combing the sand. Nothing huge, but the thrill of finding those colorful gemstones was amazing. Julia has become quite a rockhound.

Symons State Park was beautiful too. We saw a few families having a blast pulling up their pots filled with local crabs. Not my cup of tea, but it looked like fun.

The highlight of the trip, though, had to be the Three Arch Rocks National Wildlife Refuge. Those sea stacks were even more impressive in person. We got some incredible photos - they're truly photogenic.

Oceanside is the perfect beach escape, and I can't wait to go back and explore more.


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