Even now that I’m an adult and I have to work full time year round, summer is still a magical time. A time of vacations, BBQs, fireworks, ice cream, sunburns, flip flops, patriotism, wildfires, bikinis, bug bites, minor league baseball, and most of all, lots of time spent playing outside. As usual, it is hot as all balls in the valley, but as long as you’re not trying to go running (which I’m not, for the first time ever!) there are tons of fun things to do outdoors. Biking! Hiking! Swimming! Rafting! Stand up paddling! There are as many possibilities as there are flavors of ice cream at Gunther’s, which you will have earned after a day spent burning calories while getting fresh air and having fun.
I’ve spent the past few weekends going on long, amazing bike rides out on the river trail, and last weekend my husband and I went stand up paddling on Lake Natoma. The weather was gorgeous, the lake was beautiful and it was nice and cool on the water. I was even cooler because (more than once) I lost my balance, fell in and had to scramble back up onto my board. There was quite a strong wind that pushed us waaaaay out into the middle of the lake and made it something of a challenge to paddle back in, but we made it and it was a really, really good workout.
It seems like any time Colin and I go away in the summer, instead of lying on the beach relaxing with a cocktail like we’re supposed to, we spend the whole time running around getting scraped, sunburned and dirty outdoors. It’s not what most people consider a vacation, but it’s what we do. Our honeymoon featured an all-day, partially-off-trail-because-we-got-lost hike through Waimea canyon and an incredible but exhausting and sunburn-inducing 16 mile sea kayaking adventure. Our usual formula for an anniversary celebration is long hike + shower + good food, and it always turns out to be a good time. The shower part is key, though; while I enjoy the outdoors, I equally enjoy washing off the dirt, eating a hot meal and sleeping in a real bed safe from rattlesnakes and bears at the end of the day.
The big vacation we planned for this summer was a trip to Oregon, including two days in Portland, a day in Columbia Gorge and Mt. Hood, and two days in Eugene. Because the weather in Oregon is so nice in the summer, the plan was to spend almost all of our time outdoors, biking and walking around the cities, visiting beautiful parks, and hiking. We going to drive up this week and we couldn’t wait to leave. Yesterday, I called and confirmed my hotel reservations and was getting ready to pack when I checked the weather so I could decide what to bring.
I opened my weather app and typed in “Portland, OR.” When it showed me temperatures over 100 degrees every day of our trip, I assumed it hadn’t registered and was still showing me the Sacramento forecast. I tried “Eugene, OR” with similar results. Then I saw the article about the horrendous, horrific, historic heat wave hitting the Pacific northwest and the “extreme heat warning” in effect for Oregon and Washington. They were urging people to stay indoors out of the sun. Our much-anticipated outdoor vacation was going to be a sweaty, miserable disaster.
So we made a last minute executive decision, and three hours and lots of phone calls later, we had cancelled all of our reservations and rescheduled everything at the last minute to the first week of August. We couldn’t get any decent hotel reservations, so we booked everything on Airbnb and it will be an adventure. We also decided to screw it and take a whole week off of work this time so we can also spend two nights hiking, biking and drinking beer in Bend. It’s also our wedding anniversary that week, which will make it all the more fun. Let’s just hope the weather cooperates the second time around, because summer vacations are for playing outside, and playing outside is what we’ll do.