Happy Thursday. Hope everyone is having a great week so far.
Abby and Colin’s money blog post was SO warmly received and well read. Thanks again to those two for sharing their take on financial health. I’ll definitely keep that topic on the list since ya’ll seem to really enjoy them.
Today I wanted to share more about Kiefer Babymoon #2. If you have been following along for a while now, you know we went to Kauai (read the post here) before Maxwell and LOVED that trip!
This trip was magic for Drew and I. We thoroughly enjoyed our California and Oregon adventure filled road trip.
I’m not sure I’ve ever been more in love with Drew.
Becoming parents has made us thoroughly enjoy the little time that we get just the two of us. He made me laugh non-stop, reached for my hand often, excitedly talked about our second baby, and of course we often found ourselves telling funny Max stories or talking about how much we loved him.
Drew and I love going places for the first time together, so we can experience them at the same time. We were both in awe of many of the things we saw.
Places You Need To Go
San Francisco: If you’ve vacationed to San Francisco before, you are probably shaking your head at us that we only had ONE day here. We flew in and started our vacation by checking out Lombard Street, next we ate a cozy and delicious late lunch at a place in Fisherman’s Wharf, and then stopped to gaze at the Golden Gate Bridge. It was the perfect start to our trip! We then got in the car and headed all the way up to Northern California so we could start our hike early in the morning the next day.
A Redwood State Park: Before planning the trip, I hadn’t known there were SO many to choose from. After spending time on countless blogs and websites we decided to go to Jedediah Smith Redwood State Park to do the Boy Scout Tree Trail. Talk about being in awe. We LOVED it here. One of the best parts? Drew and I were the ONLY ones on the trail for the first half of the out and back hike. This is why we love EARLY and weekday hiking! It was just us amongst these enormously tall and awesome trees. This is one of those places that pictures truly don’t do justice.
Callahan’s Mountain Lodge: After our Redwood Day, we were able to stay in this beautiful lodge. It is right on the Pacific Crest Trail! This was by far the best and most beautiful place we stayed! Our other hotels we saw as just a place to rest between adventures and wanted to keep them very budget friendly. If you are road tripping through this area and this stop makes sense on your route…STOP! We ate a delicious dinner, relaxed, and just loved every bit of it!
Crater Lake: The very next day it was time to explore and hike at Crater Lake National Park. This was our very favorite part of the trip. It was mind blowingly beautiful. It was also fun because the hike up to the top of Mount Scott was SO different from the tree filled hike the day before. This one is considered strenuous and your gaining elevation pretty fast. We truly lucked out because we had great views of Crater Lake the whole time we were hiking. In the days before and after the smoke from the wild fires caused limited visibility. It just worked out that on our planned day, the wind was blowing the right way and we could see the lake in all its glory.
There was only 1 other car in the lot when we started our hike. This meant that when we sumitted we were all alone in the world up there. I’ll never forget being up there with Drew, we just sat up there trying to memorize every sight.
Afterward, we decided we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to swim in the lake. There is only one spot that it is legal to swim, so we headed there.
Drew was able to jump into the lake, and it was awesome to see him enjoy it. I was jealous…but, I knew it wouldn’t be safe for the baby and I would have to wait until next time. 😉 Afterward, we swam together and the sweetest couple asked if they could take some pictures of us. We would say: GO to Crater Lake!
We headed away from Crater Lake SO happy that we had been able to experience it.
Multnomah Falls: This was our 3rd day hiking in a row and it was quite the view! We talked again about how different each of our hikes were. This one is very touristy and the parking lot was already almost full at 9am. We were still really glad we did it because the waterfall is quite the sight. It is really short to get to the top of the fall (only 2 miles round trip) so it does make for a nice stop if you are in the Portland area and there is a longer hike available.
Eugene: It worked out that the Oregon Ducks had a home football game while we were out there. Drew was excited because this is his second favorite football team (far behind our Wisconsin Badgers). On vacation, I think it is REALLY important to make sure that everyone is getting to tick things off their bucket list…so I happily agreed to go to the game. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to head to Hayward Field (aka Track Town USA) to see the very place that Steve Prefontaine ran some of his epic races. Anyone that ran cross country probably knows a lot about this man. We had a ton of fun a the game 🙂
Portland: We were able to spend a day in the city before we left for home. We sampled donuts (we honestly might give the slight edge to Blue Star over Voodoo….), had other great food, went to Pittock Mansion, the Test Rose Garden. We loved Portland and it was really special that we could spend the day with one of Drew’s very best friends Neal. He lives out in Tacoma and is finishing his last year of his Emergency residency. Drew and I were SO thankful to have been able to see him 🙂
Our trip was incredible and we’d highly recommend getting out to this part of the country. A road trip/hiking babymoon might not be for everyone, but at 30 weeks I’m still very comfortable 🙂
A note on the wild fires: Drew and I have sadly been watching the coverage of the growing California and Oregon wildfires. These beautiful places we were able to enjoy are being threatened right now. We were VERY lucky because it seemed like we would enjoy a place (Crater Lake, Eugene, Multnomah Falls, Portland) and then the next day it had terrible air quality, an evacuation, etc. We were able to stay just ahead of them, although one of the fires did change our plans one night. We had planned to stay in a little mountain town after hiking Crater Lake. We did actually check into the hotel. We showered and started to figure out where we could watch the Badger game. Drew went to ask the front desk and noticed the air was pretty terrible to breathe. We checked our phones and the city had been rated at an unhealthy level. Pregnant women, small children, and anyone with lung issues were advised not to stay. We asked the front desk if we could be refunded because I’m pregnant and couldn’t stay. Unfortunately, they said since we had checked in and been in the room that they could offer no refund. Essentially meaning we spend $132 for two showers. In the end, we are very happy with our decisions to err on the side of safety and head to Portland that night. We knew keeping ourselves and our baby safe was the most important thing. The next day the very area was evacuated, so we were extremely relieved we left.
We are praying for the people in the area, the people fighting the fires, and the gorgeous places that are being threatened. It is incredibly hard to believe this was all preventable as one of the enormous fires was caused by fireworks.
What we learned was to be more diligent in checking the weather/air quality if you are somewhere where you know it could be in question. With a little more forward planning, we could’ve decided to skip that hotel earlier and continued on our path to safety.
A note on leaving Maxwell for 5 days:
As I always strive to be, I want to be honest in this section.
We missed Maxwell a bunch. For me, I always kept in mind that vacations go entirely too fast as is. I didn’t want to wish any time away. I knew that Max was in really great and loving hands and that he was doing just fine without us. Drew’s parents sent us a bunch of pictures and videos, and it really helped to ease our minds to see him laughing and playing so joyfully. Drew often checked in to see how I was doing. When we talked about Max it was really positive and upbeat. Like, “Okay Max would literally be trying to go swim in that waterfall right now.” or “Wouldn’t Max love this?!”
Drew said he had a really hard time and missed Max really bad when we weren’t as busy or if we were on a long stretch of road where there wasn’t much to see.
Oddly the hardest part was also the most amazing part: coming home to him. He really had a tough time understanding what was going on and he seemed really worried that we would leave again. He wouldn’t let us out of his sight or even let himself out of my arms.
I felt sad that we caused him to have anxiety and stress. To make matters worse, we both had to work on Tuesday. I asked Drew if he could drop him off at daycare because I wasn’t sure I could handle it. It was a very good thing that I did because Max had a really hard time with drop off.
BUT, his day at daycare was really well and then Tuesday night we had awesome family time. By Wednesday, he had turned the corner and was much happier/didn’t seem worried about us leaving anymore.
I tried to be really rational about the whole thing and stayed positive. It DID make me feel really bad that we had worried our little love because it is our job to make him feel safe and loved.
Drew and I are immensely grateful that we had the time away just the two of us and certainly don’t regret it. We’re endlessly thankful to Drew’s parents for watching him and taking such good care of him while we were away. I just wanted to add this to let you know that there might be a bump of two in the road when your leaving your children behind for a vacation, but everyone will settle back in before you know it!
Hope ya’ll have a great weekend! I brainstormed blog ideas on our flight to San Francisco, so I have some exciting things coming up 🙂