Wednesday, January 31, 2018

52 Hike Challenge ~ Hike 6: McDowell Creek Falls Loop

McDowell Creek Falls Loop Hike @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

After our hike on Saturday, Holly and I agreed to meet up again on Sunday after church. Levi was working but I had the rest of the kids. Holly brought Casey and Ivy. Christina met up with us there. And we discovered three other families who had planned to hike there for the afternoon. And everyone else in the area thought it was a perfect day because the parking lot was packed.

All together, we had about 5 families hiking together on a fairly busy trail. We have hiked McDowell Creek Falls often, but this was the first time we had hiked the full loop of 1.6 miles. The day was absolutely gorgeous, and we enjoyed the company. When we returned to the parking lot, I was in the mood to take the loop again a second time. I bribed the kids and we timed ourselves from start to finish. Under 35 minutes. And some serious stairs and uphill trail in parts (the steep 140 steps to the top of Royal Terrace Falls are killer). It felt fantastic. I’d love to run that loop by myself once a week.

3.2 miles (1.6 x 2)

Moderate terrain (fairly easy plus a few steep stair climbs)

60 degrees and sunny

Hiking buddies: Luke, Leif, Lola, Holly, Casey, Ivy, Christina, plus 3 more families (about 14 people)

McDowell Creek Falls Loop @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

Sunday, January 28, 2018

52 Hike Challenge ~ Hike 5: Lewisburg Saddle

Lewisburg Saddle 1 @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

It was rainy and cold all week. January in Oregon is pretty dreary. That’s why I’ve been so thankful for this challenge. There is no way I would be going on these hikes without the accountability!

Holly and I planned to meet up on Saturday, rain or shine, and our friend Christina joined us. Christina suggested starting at the Lewisburg Saddle Trailhead. We were following her lead, so I’m not sure which trails we followed, nor how far we hiked. It was a perfect day, though. Not too cold and no rain or wind. The moody fog added to the atmosphere, and the company was great.

The terrain was fairly easy. More uphill that we’ve done the past few hikes, but comfortable.

50 degrees

Light fog, no rain

Hiking buddies: Christina, Holly, Ivy, Levi, Leif, and Lola

I felt fantastic after this hike. If only the kids hadn’t disobeyed and the result hadn’t been the keys being locked in the car when we were dropping Luke off at a friend’s house before the hike. Frustrating and stressful, since we needed to meet up at a specific time. Argh!!

Lewisburg Saddle 2 @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

Lots of mud. Because Oregon. And January.

Lewisburg Saddle 4 @ Mt. Hope ChroniclesLewisburg Saddle 3 @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

Levi and Ivy in their cloaks.

Lewisburg Saddle 5 @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

Friday, January 26, 2018

52 Hike Challenge ~ Hike 4: Cheadle Lake

Cheadle Lake Hike @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

Last Saturday, between morning and afternoon activities, Lola and I snuck over to Cheadle Lake for hike #4. We were already in Lebanon for a swim meet, and Cheadle Lake Park is right in town. Easy peasy. Except for the child who screamed/cried almost the whole time because her legs were so weak she could hardly stand. Ahem. I have no idea how far I walked, because I walked circles around her and we had to cut the walk short. It’s not easy to walk with someone who won’t walk.

It was a rainy week, but blue sky peaked out for us just while we were walking. At least I appreciated it.

My camera wasn’t working, so I have nothing but a few poor photos from my phone.

This was my first time ever visiting Cheadle Lake. I’m thankful for this challenge because it makes me get outside during the wet and gray winter and see new things.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

52 Hike Challenge ~ Hike 3: Newport, Oregon

Newport Hike 2 @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

I had been watching the weather forecast for the coast, and today was supposed to be beautiful. I convinced my husband that we needed to take a family day and head over.

We started just south of Newport and explored a new trail for us. Our first stop was Old South Jetty Trail.

@2 miles (there and back)

Easy terrain

60 degrees

Sunny and clear

Hiking buddies: the whole family

Oregon Coast, buff sand, blue skies, lapping waves, arched bridge, historic lighthouse, narrow path, sea gulls, green shrubs, mud puddle, dry grasses.


Newport Hike 1 @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

Yaquina Bay Bridge at the end of the trail:

Newport Hike 3 @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

Yaquina Bay Lighthouse across the way:

Newport Hike 4 @ Mt. Hope ChroniclesNewport Hike 6 @ Mt. Hope ChroniclesNewport Hike 5 @ Mt. Hope ChroniclesNewport Hike 7 @ Mt. Hope ChroniclesNewport Hike 8 @ Mt. Hope ChroniclesNewport Hike 9 @ Mt. Hope ChroniclesNewport Hike 10 @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

After leaving South Beach, we headed to the north side of Newport and visited Yaquina Head where Lola, Leif, and I hiked Salal Hill Trail.

Newport Hike 13 @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

Salal Hill is a short 0.7 mile hike with a moderate elevation gain of 130 feet. It felt great. The temperature had warmed slightly to about 65 degrees. The view from the top was lovely.

Newport Hike 11 @ Mt. Hope ChroniclesNewport Hike 12 @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

After the hill, we walked around the Yaquina Head Lighthouse and saw whales spouting in the distance.

Newport Hike 14 @ Mt. Hope ChroniclesNewport Hike 15 @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

Lola and I left Leif watching whales and we walked down to Cobble Beach to explore the tide pools. [Russ and Luke were on their way up and Levi was down on the rocky beach sketching the lighthouse.]

We saw sea anemones and urchins, a tiny crab, barnacles, and more. I ended up hiking down and up the stairs twice, so I felt like I got in a good workout in addition to the two short hikes.

Newport Hike 16 @ Mt. Hope ChroniclesNewport Hike 17 @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

We grabbed a late lunch and then headed just a bit further north to our favorite beach so the kids could play.

Newport Hike 18 @ Mt. Hope ChroniclesNewport Hike 19 @ Mt. Hope ChroniclesNewport Hike 20 @ Mt. Hope ChroniclesNewport Hike 21 @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

We are rarely on the beach for sunset, but I guess that’s the good thing about short winter days.

Newport Hike 23 @ Mt. Hope ChroniclesNewport Hike 24 @ Mt. Hope ChroniclesNewport Hike 25 @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

If we could ignore the bad attitudes and frustrations along the way, it was a perfect day.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

52 Hike Challenge ~ Hike 2: McDowell Creek Falls

McDowell Creek Falls Hike 2 @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

Another somewhat impromptu hike. This is one of our favorite local spots and this will likely be a monthly repeat all year long.

1.5-2 miles

Moderate terrain (with some steep stair climbs)

Roughly 1.5 hours (lots of slowing down to look and relax and chat with friends on the trail)

45 degrees

Sunny but mostly shaded on the forest paths

Hiking buddies: Lola and Luke

Rushing water, muddy trail, tangled roots, lush moss, green ferns, lost Lola, found Lola, cool forest, blue skies, white clouds, surprise friends, dead leaves, 3-leaf clovers, wooden bridges, stone steps, hiking buddies, reading break.




Reading Break @ Mt. Hope ChroniclesMoss @ Mt. Hope ChroniclesBridal Veil Falls @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

52 Hike Challenge ~ Hike 1: Along a Country Road

Hike 1 @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

I’m participating in the 52 Hike Challenge this year. At least a mile outdoors. Repeat hikes are acceptable (I’ll probably be doing two favorite locations almost monthly).

This week is crazy busy, and I wasn’t sure when or where I would fit in a hike. But I had a couple hours free this afternoon and noticed that the weather was gorgeous, so I drove down the road, parked, and set off with Lola on her bike.

5.5+ miles

Easy terrain

43 degrees


Blue skies, green fields, white clouds, muddy sheep, twiggy trees, red barns, vapor trails, bare vineyard, barking dogs, chirping birds, friendly waves, simple picnic, quaint bridges, mill creek, farm tractors, winter crops, brisk air, warm sunshine.




Monday, January 1, 2018

A Way in the Wilderness and Rivers in the Desert

Way and Rivers @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

[I discovered and/or shared all of the following verses, quotes, and links on Facebook. FB can be a wildnerness itself, but curated rightly, it is full of manna and water.]

I’m following Rebecca Reynolds as she explores The Bible Project this year. She is one of my favorite writers, and I’ve already loved her early thoughts on Genesis (here—a must-read—and here).

But her post today (link below) was meant for me. My friend Tinsa had shared the above verse just yesterday, and both the verse and the post very clearly weave in and out of another quote by Marilynne Robinson (from Gilead) that has been on my mind and in my heart (and which I shared three days ago).

"That is how life goes—we send our children into the wilderness. Some of them on the day they are born, it seems, for all the help we can give them. Some of them seem to be a kind of wilderness unto themselves. But there must be angels there, too, and springs of water. Even that wilderness, the very habitation of jackals, is the Lord's. I need to bear this in mind."

Maybe there is one person reading this post who needs to read Rebecca’s words. Go.

When Your New Year Begins with Old Chaos by Rebecca Reynolds

The wilderness. The desert. Here is the backdrop of Genesis 1:2, the context upon which God is brooding, growing soft and relaxed as a competent artist who knows he has the ability to bring a heavy, aching chaos to order. He has a plan. He is not frantic like I am. He is not weary.

…Immanuel. God is with us. And this time, instead of hovering over the waters, he has walked inside of them, absorbing the crashing waves of confusion, misery, destruction, death, ignorance, sorrow, and my own wickedness even into his own flesh—and rising like emanating daylight.

Right after I read the above post, my friend Briana shared this (on FB—click the link to read the whole post):

For those whose 2017 had no clear stop and 2018, no clear beginning.

Instead, midnight came and went, and the sorrow of last year clung tightly, even sunk its grip in deeper.

May you have the manna of grace sufficient for each day, and may it be as good as a feast.

For those of you who have struggled through Christmas, may the following beautiful words and posts be manna in the desert, a feast for your soul.

A Source of Hope, Even for the Grieving @ The Washington Post

The British author J.R.R. Tolkien — something of an expert on such things — argued that every great fairy story has a “turn” in which despair is suddenly and miraculously reversed and the heart’s desire is fulfilled. “It denies (in the face of much evidence if you will) universal final defeat . . . giving a fleeting glimpse of Joy, Joy beyond the walls of the world, poignant as grief.” For Tolkien, this moment “rends . . . the very web of story” and allows us to see something real about the universe itself.

The Awesome Power of the Christmas Story by Robert Barron @ Lost Angeles Times

“I believe that there is a logic that stands behind all things, and as a poet, I see the wonderful appropriateness that this awesome power would express itself as a baby born in straw poverty.” [Bono]

When Christmas Doesn’t Sparkle @ Oceans Never Fill

Christmas arrived in darkness and murder and failure and fear and sorrow, and that is precisely why it is filled with so much hope. Because Christmas arrived. Jesus came. In a town that was held in the grip of a tyrannical, cruel king, to a mother who was completely unknown and too young, announced to a group of outcast shepherds, in a world that was too dark in 400 years of God’s silence, he came.

The Wild Hope by Frederick Buechner

To look at the last great self-portraits of Rembrandt or to read Pascal or hear Bach's B-minor Mass is to know beyond the need for further evidence that if God is anywhere, he is with them, as he is also with the man behind the meat counter, the woman who scrubs floors at Roosevelt Memorial, the high-school math teacher who explains fractions to the bewildered child. And the step from "God with them" to Emmanuel, "God with us," may not be as great as it seems. What keeps the wild hope of Christmas alive year after year in a world notorious for dashing all hopes is the haunting dream that the child who was born that day may yet be born again even in us and our own snowbound, snowblind longing for him.

I pray that your new year is filled with rivers and manna—unspeakable, unfathomable, unmitigated hope and joy—even in the midst of any desert you may be walking through.

Emmanuel. God with us.