A Quick Trip Home

As we get ready to run from everything we're comfortable with, we're starting to gain an extra appreciation for the things we've taken for granted. Events and activities we perennially pass off to do "next year" are quickly moving up our priority list.

 

Driven by the knowledge we will soon be unable to do many of these things, we're beginning to explore more at home. We're already gaining a deeper understanding of the world and are months from crossing a border.

I've begun ticking off mountain bike rides that have been on my list for years, and have finally set a date for that first backpacking trip with my mom.

We've also gained a new appreciation for old favorites.

Taylor was really embarrassed I was taking pictures like a tourist..

Taylor was really embarrassed I was taking pictures like a tourist..

We spent a night out at the ranch, but the horses didn't seem impressed with our visit.

We spent a night out at the ranch, but the horses didn't seem impressed with our visit.

Every year Fossil Oregon, Taylor's tiny hometown, holds a bluegrass festival over Independence Day weekend. It's a big draw to a small town in the middle of nowhere. Talented bluegrass musicians from across the Pacific Northwest converge on the classic county courthouse built in 1901 and play sets on a temporary stage. Locals and those there for the show fill the courthouse lawn with folding chairs and old quilts to eat barbecue, drink lemonade, and listen to the performances.

Built 1901

Built 1901

A large group of musicians even made the trek across town several hundred yards to put on a sing-a-long at the local retirement home.

Taylor's grandma Neoma is the most beautiful 92 year old lady I've ever met.

Taylor's grandma Neoma is the most beautiful 92 year old lady I've ever met.

To round out the weekend the neighboring town, Condon, holds a fantastic 4th of July celebration. There's a parade, more barbecue, and they shut down the busiest road in two counties to hold soap-box derby races. 

Main street Condon. I don't think the parade will cause much traffic congestion.

Main street Condon. I don't think the parade will cause much traffic congestion.

This is typically the last weekend before the wheat harvest so the fields outside town are thick and golden, waving in the wind. If you've ever been to the "America" display at Epcot Center- this might actually be more American.

We completed our trip with a 10 mile hike into Oregon's newest State Park, Cottonwood Canyon. It was long, hot, and beautiful. The park is gleaming new and well appointed, but you can really make tracks into rugged John Day river territory fast.

Also rattlesnakes. Lots of them.

Also rattlesnakes. Lots of them.

Only five miles from the trailhead, but it seem like decades away.

Only five miles from the trailhead, but it seem like decades away.

If I had any advice to give (not that anyone's asking), it would be to not get too distracted by far-off locations and exotic cultures. Look close to home too, there is often a lot to be had right under your nose. Sometimes you've just got to take a step back and see it.