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Posts Tagged ‘travel’

Montana

Over the course of my lifetime, I’ve been privileged enough to visit quite a few places. Oh, not nearly as many as some people, I know. I’ve only been out of the country once, and that was to Canada. (Though both Vancouver and Victoria were lovely places to see, especially Victoria. Gorgeous gardens there.) But I’ve now seen a handful of states, especially here on the west coast. There’s always been something special and unique about each place, something I’ve enjoyed. I loved the tropical climates of Florida and Hawaii, the warm winters of Sacramento, the lush forests of Washington, even the strange desert beauty of Nevada. But no matter how wondrous the location, Oregon always felt like home.

I’ve been all over Oregon, from corner to corner, and while I like some places better than others, for the most part I enjoy the state as a whole. We have the beauty of the coast, lush forests and farmland, high desert, mountains, plains…pretty much something for everyone. I was always very particular to my home state, and I never thought that I would really want to leave it.

And then in May I visited western Montana.

Holy. Moly. Granted, we have some pretty beautiful mountains in Oregon. The Cascades run down the western side of the state, not too far from the coastal range. There are some pretty decent peaks, the highest of my region being Mt. Hood. Lots of skiing, hiking, and rock climbing for those who like that sort of thing. In fact, it was my favorite range that I’d yet seen…until the Rockies.

Husband and I covered quite a bit of ground on western Montana. We originally came through Coeur d’Alene, ID, which is nestled right at the base of the mountains. After staying the night there, we continued on into the heart of the amazing Rockies. I originally wrote on FB that what was so impressive about the Rocky Mountains wasn’t so much their elevation as how MANY of them there were. I mean, we had been driving for nearly three hours and were still surrounded by mountains.

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Well, I quickly had to backtrack when we finally crossed through them and ended up approaching from the other side. After seeing the icy tops of Glacier National Park, I realized that perhaps their elevation WAS rather impressive.

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We traveled through Missoula a couple of times, stayed one night in Butte, and saw a fairly good amount of the mountains as we headed south to Yellowstone National Park.

Thus I have a confession. For the first time in my life, I saw another state as home. (Don’t hate me, dear Oregon!) Those snow-capped peaks and seemingly endless rows of forest absolutely captured my heart. They are simply stunning, and I found myself reluctant to leave, even after only a week. Yes, it rained several days while we were there, and no, I would not like driving in the snow.

But I fell in love with those mountains, and I truly hope someday to go back there, perhaps even permanently.

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While I love to travel, I don’t always get a chance to do so as often as I’d like. (You know, that whole “not-having-money-unless-I-go-to-work” thing.) But every once in a blue moon, we get to go on a fun road trip and see something new. We went to a leadership conference put on by the Calvary Chapel in Boise, Idaho last year and it was really good. So when we were offered a chance to go again this year (for free, no less!) we said “Heck, yeah!”

Honestly, it was the first time that I’d ever been to Idaho. I’d never driven that far east before. I’ve traveled all over Oregon, my home state. I’m probably a bit biased since I was born and raised here, but I do happen to think we have one of the most beautiful states out there. (I mention that I’m biased because I’ve only ever visited 5 states here in the U.S. in my entire 27 years of existence. Sad, I know.) Other states have beautiful attributes, but Oregon has something special. It goes from the dry, high desert to the fertile, lush valley. It has a coastline that’s almost always worthy of photographing. There are plains, mountains, valleys, beaches and even large(ish) cities, for those who don’t care for nature. Of course, to see all of this you have to drive several hours, but the views are worth it.

Everything’s so green right now! Fields and grass aplenty! I actually hadn’t traveled through Eastern Oregon hardly at all. North, south, central, west…those I know pretty darn well. But east? Not so much.

We spent two nights there. The hotel was pretty nice, though I have decided that hotels in general don’t regard short people who have to put on makeup in the morning. They are notorious for installing large, obnoxious counters that helpless 5’2″ shorties like myself have a most difficult time reaching across. I can’t see what I’m doing from five feet away, so I have lean over, using all of the muscles in my lower back to hold myself upright whilst I line my eyes, lengthen my lashes, etc. Not to mention the lighting always sucketh. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve put on my makeup in a bathroom not my own and thought that I was looking okay, only to step out into the harsh sunlight and realize the error of my judgment. What was hidden by bad lighting is now horribly exposed in the unforgiving sun.

But I digress. Apart from a slight pain in my lower back from too much counter leaning, the trip was most pleasant and quite fun.

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It’s a love-hate relationship between humidity and my hair. On the one hand, my hair feels so amazingly soft that I love it. On the other hand, the added moisture apparently gives it license to do whatever the heck it wants. I give it an inch and it takes a mile.

We traveled to Vancouver, WA this weekend for a family wedding (pictures to follow) and I tried to curl my hair for the event, only to have it end up a rather half-hearted attempt in the end. Most of the time my hair is really easy to maintain. If I curl it in the morning, it stays curly all day long. If I straighten it, same thing. However, when there’s any moisture in the air, my hair becomes this half-wavy, half-straight hot mess. I guess I just haven’t been in that kind of environment long enough to know how to handle it. I’ve only ever visited places like that. Our climate is extremely dry.

Sometimes I wish I lived someplace nice and humid. It’s always so green and beautiful. But I think the rain would eventually drive me crazy. Having grown up in the high desert, where the sun shines the majority of the time, I don’t know what I would do if I couldn’t see it on a regular basis. It makes me happy. I like to be happy.

I think I need to look into nature photography. Then I could travel to all of the beautiful, humid places I want to visit and have a legitimate excuse. I love to take pictures, but most of all I love to manipulate pictures. Photoshop is seriously like crack to me. I could sit there for hours (and have, actually) working on just one picture.

I need more hours in the day. I’m not able to do the things that I love to do because the persistent problem of money, darn it. Hence why I’m looking at publishing my book. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to quit my day job, but part-time would be nice. Very, very nice.

*sigh*

What would life be like without dreams, I wonder? 😉

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