One of my best friends has an impressive bucket list (and I say “impressive” because frankly, I don’t have one and I am inspired beyond measure that she does). With that said I get to reap some of the benefits of tagging along with her on these bucket list adventures. One such recent adventure was a girls-only camping trip to Oregon.
The intention of this trip was to visit Multnomah Falls which is located on the Oregon side of the Columbia River Gorge, along the Historic Columbia River Highway. Part of this trip also included camping (for two nights) at Ainsworth State Park and hiking from our campsite to the falls. To make it even more exciting we were road tripping in a rented SUV from the Bay Area all the way up to Oregon! I love long car rides, and was appropriately tasked with putting together the playlists for the trip. (I found some really great (already made) road trip playlists on Spotify: “Road Trip Sing-Along Songs,” “Songs to Sing in the Car,” and for the evenings around the campfire “Mello Nights”).
The plan was to get as close to the Oregon/California border as possible and then stop and spend the night at a hotel. With that as the plan, the four of us headed out, excitedly chatting and catching up for the better part of 4 hours. Soon we became hungry and decided to stop in Red Bluff, California for some food. However, before we pulled off the road we decided to Yelp some local places to eat. Kelly and Stephanie Yelp away and find a place called E’s Locker Room. It had 4 ½ stars, a cool back patio and served pizza and beer. Sounded good to us! Looking back now, I think that might have been my greatest regret of the trip…anyway – we followed the GPS and it guided us into a residential area. It seemed impossible that there was a restaurant nestled within the neighborhood. And then, boom! There it was – it looked like a house, and I immediately felt like I didn’t want to go in there. It strangely felt like we’d be the obvious out of towners in a place that only locals were welcomed. We all agreed to turn around and find someplace closer to the highway. We made a quick u-turn AWAY from E’s Locker Room which had us all laughing hysterically (especially since they had nominated me to be the one to go in and check it out first). I mentioned that this was my biggest regret because I think we would have enjoyed the local experience once we got over the awkwardness associated with feeling out of place.
For the record, we settled on a different pizza place (there seemed to be a lot of those in Red Bluff) just right off the highway. With full bellies, we hopped back in the car and headed to the hotel to get a good night’s rest.
The next morning we were up bright and early to hit the road again. The funny thing about this was that we really had a hard time getting going that morning. Not necessarily the waking up, getting showered, and breakfast in our bellies, but once we were on the road we found ourselves stopping quite frequently. There was really no rhyme or reason to it actually – someone had to pee, someone needed something to drink etc. But a billboard kept catching our eyes for a Wildlife Safari which was also a drive-through safari. A what?! I had never heard of such a thing, so I was definitely intrigued. So in true form, I googled it, then Diana checked to see if there was a Groupon (and there was!). We all decided that we would detour into Winston, Oregon to check out the drive-through wildlife safari.
Best. Decision. Ever.
It was about an hour drive through the grounds, and was absolutely amazing! Not only was it nice to see so many of the animals un-caged, but since it was Springtime there were baby animals galore! I think this little adventure made us laugh the hardest the entire trip, and it was well worth the detour and the hour we lost in travel time. Some highlights are below, enjoy!
We drove the rest of our way into Portland, stopped to load up on groceries and then headed to check into our campsite at Ainsworth State Park. Stephanie, who is always prepared and has everything planned out was genius enough to practice putting up the tent before we went camping so when it was time to put it up at the campsite we had no problems!
We spent the rest of the evening making dinner, drinking beers and cider, making s’mores and listening to music. Pretty much a perfect night.
The next morning we were up and at ‘em early for our hike to Multnomah Falls. We checked in with the Campsite volunteer named Dory and she told us where to enter the trail and which way to go, and we were off!
11 miles later (yes, 11 MILES) this was the majestic beauty we got to witness:
“There’s no time to be bored, in a world as beautiful as this” – Author Unknown
Though we were exhausted that night, and decided that because it was going to start raining we would have dinner in a restaurant, the experience was full of firsts for all of us. None of us had ever been to Multnomah Falls, a couple of us had never been to Oregon, and most importantly NONE of us had been on a camping trip with just girls. It was an empowering weekend, and one I would never trade for anything else.
Thank you girls, for making me laugh until I cried, for being spontaneous, for working together to set up camp and take over in places where others were lacking, and for just being you! I’m lucky to have women of your caliber in my corner.