Ecola State Park, Oregon

Friday, July 27 (continued)

After our time relaxing at the beach, Al and I knew we had some hiking to do!

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Our walk to the state park wasn’t all flowers and sunshine though!  We had to walk up to the entrance of the park, which consisted of walking uphill for ~30 mins-1 hour and made us short of breath even before the “real” hiking began!

Once we arrived at the entrance, the guide helped us pick which trail we wanted to hike.  Since we craved high, ocean views, we chose to head west and felt the ocean air.

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Prior to heading back uphill to continue on our path, a huge bug landed in Al’s mouth as he was talking! I was laughing so hard that I couldn’t even walk back up on the trail!

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Even though I couldn’t get his bug incident on camera, I’m happy we took the above pictures 🙂

The views were incredible, the stories were endless, and the laughs were much-needed after a long day of hiking!

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Cannon Beach, Oregon

Friday, July 27

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Al and I took a bus from Portland to Cannon Beach early on Friday (that way, we could spend a full day at this gorgeous place)!

We ate a great lunch at the Pelican Brewery in town then went straight to the beach.  The air was fresh, the water was freezing, and there were dogs EVERYWHERE!  I was in heaven!

We had both been to California on separate occasions (Al in San Diego, myself in San Francisco), so being back on the West Coast meant a lot to us.

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I was worried that everyone was going to think that Al and I were a couple (especially because 1. I have an engagement ring on and 2. we were talking a long walk on the beach together…), but no one did!  We still wanted a picture together though!

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I prefer the photo that the kind stranger took as opposed to our poorly-attempted selfie!

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On our walk, we were remembering some of our favorite family trips from our childhood (Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Florida…).  Exchanging those memories and funny stories was something I’ll never forget.  We also found some interesting wildlife along the way…

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Full disclosure: I thought I was stepping on a plastic wrapper filled with water, when it was actually a piece of a washed up jellyfish!!!

 

Aside from the jellyfish scare, our time at the beach was perfect!

Las Vegas and Portland, Oregon

Long time, no talk!

In late June/early July, I visited Lima and Cusco Peru with my mom (as well as Machu Picchu)! I still need to upload a lot of those photos, so I’m skipping to my trip to Oregon with my brother, Al!

This was my graduation present for him.  Al and I are only one year apart in age, so we get along very well 🙂 Although we are very similar, we are different in a lot of ways!  One major difference: I have been out of Michigan every month since March, including two different continents!  Al hasn’t been on a plane since 2011, which made this trip even more special for him (AND for me)!

Thursday, July 26

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Al and I had a four-hour layover in Vegas!!! We tried to make the most of it 🙂 Our first stop was obviously the strip because if you didn’t visit the strip, did you even go to Vegas?

We are both OBSESSED with Gordon Ramsay!  We grew up watching, and still watch, all of his shows.  Even though it’s not one of his “upscale” restaurants, his burger joint wasn’t too shabby…

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Seeing the strip, eating a turkey/duck burger perfected by your idol, and watching people lose tons of money at the slot machines?  Priceless (but not for those who lost money)!!!

Once we FINALLY boarded the plane (which seemed like forever), my luck instantly changed.  I was in Spirit’s “Lucky Seat!”  I won 5,000 free miles!  I couldn’t believe it, and still can’t.  Sometimes it pays to be in the middle seat…maybe the Vegas luck rubbed off on me 🙂

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PS: I already claimed the code, so it can’t be copied from this pic.

The night kept getting better once we touched down in Portland.  We were both exhausted and wanted to keep things low-key, which led us to a pizza joint near our hotel.  Al had a slice as I devoured a whole gluten-free pizza to myself!

We were able to bring our food into a little cider brewery!  It felt like we were in a garage, but in a good way (if that makes sense)? This was actually heaven on earth for me, since I am celiac and LOVE dry cider more than anything…

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Above all, we had great conversations over dinner and drinks.  The trip meant so much to me and I hope it meant the same to Al as well.  We haven’t really hung out like this since college, so being close again meant the world to me.

On a lighter note, I am blessed that Oregon was a gluten-free mecca!  I was never able to go inside this place, but it reminded me of…me (I am a gluten-free gem after all)!

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So many “Foss’s”! Seljalandsfoss and Svartifoss Falls, Iceland

“Foss” in Icelandic is “waterfall” in English, so there are many long names with “foss” at the end in this country!

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Seljalandsfoss and Svartifoss were two of the last sites seen on our South Coast tour.  It was breezy, hailing and damp, but well worth it 🙂

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That’s a wrap for my Iceland posts!  Thank you for reading and following my story.  Now I need to start writing about Peru… 😉

Black Sand Beach, Iceland

My mom and I returned from Peru yesterday evening!  I really need to wrap up my Iceland posts to start my Peru ones…

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After Bethany and I left the glacier, we were able to visit a black sand beach!  It was great because the sun was out (at first) and the landscape reminded me of Ireland all over again!

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As you can see, the sun doesn’t stay out for long in Iceland…

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The sand was so pure and dark, that my boots blend in here!^

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My Michigan roots have always led me to water, and I’m happy to have seen this side of Iceland!

Sólheimajökull (South Coast Glacier)

I can’t pronounce, let alone SPELL, the name of this glacier.  What I CAN tell you is that this glacier is a must-see on Iceland’s southern coast!

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The walk to get here from the parking lot wasn’t short; however, with views like these, I would’ve walked an extra mile!

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I had Iceland layovers in 2014 AND 2016, so I had to make 2018 count 🙂 Going outside of the city is something I should’ve done four years ago…

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Being so close to the water made me want to swim in it (or at least go kayaking)!

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The walk back consisted of hail, rain, snow, and sunshine all in one!  But with the sunshine came a lot of green.

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Note: I chose not to lighten any of these photos because I want you to see the glacier (almost) as I did!

Downtown Reykjavik & Street Art

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Reykjavik is truly a melting pot, mainly due to increased tourism over the years!  Even though the city had more authenticity when I first visited in 2014, this May was the first time I truly experienced all Reykjavik had to offer…

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The “pops of color” and street art took over its downtown area, which is something I always feel the need to photograph!

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Reykjavik is unique in many ways, one being that you feel like you’re in Norway, Ireland, and the early 2000s (at times) all in one!

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Oh, and the gluten-free dessert AND savory crepes were beyond amazing!!!

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No matter where you turned, you saw something special; you definitely weren’t in the States anymore!

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My message to you: always go off the beaten path!

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