With our guys headed off to the coast for the CCF Winema Retreat, Mikayla and I opted to spend Saturday having a "date" day. I'll be honest, as much as I love college-age folks, I am much more of a "one-on-one" person, and sometimes showing up at those retreats, especially on the big "play day" time of Saturday leaves feeling all sorts of awkward. And, with Mikayla constantly in tow, it would be hard to really spend time connecting if someone was wanting to do that. Alright, "guilt explanation" over. =)
I suggested to Mikayla that we consider taking a hike and she was all over the idea. Which made my heart SOAR. While John has grown a lot in the whole "nature wonder" aspect, he's still not to the point of making that a chosen Saturday activity.
We were on the road before 9am, just Mikayla, myself, and Sydney (and oh, how happy was she to get to go too!). It wouldn't be a road trip without stopping by Dutch Bros for a Wild Berry Smoothie for Mikayla...
I had originally proposed a coast range hike at Kentucky Falls, but the lure of the Cascades was too much to resist - ah closer to Central Oregon....yes please! So, we went to my fall-back Oregon favorite - the Sahalie/Koosah Falls Loop. You just can't go wrong with this one. It's less than a three mile loop with lots to see every step of the way, two waterfalls, crystal blue pools, and the raging McKenzie. Two-thirds of the way marks a perfect picnic spot at Carmen Reservoir as well.
It's about 70 minutes east of Eugene. When we woke up, our home was socked in low clouds, so we were hopeful once we rose in elevation a bit, we'd hit blue skies. We weren't disappointed (however, we were glad we dressed warm, as the temps were in the 40's).
This first pic shows the water right before cascading over in to Sahalie Falls.
Did I mention that Sydney was ecstatic? Mikayla kindly took our backpack while I managed our nearly 100 pound very-eager dog.... =)
The first quarter of the hike keeps you on the right side of the river, then you cross a narrow wooden bridge to get to the other side. Soon after that precarious bridge (Mikayla had to overcome a little fear....), Sydney found one of her favorite spots on the hike.
Most of these pictures were taken by Mikayla. I can't even express how thankful and grateful I was to hear her say, "Oh how old on, Mommy, I HAVE to get a picture of this!" It was like a taste of Heaven for me to be in this place with my daughter to share this love of mine so completely.
Not to mention her artistic eye when noticing and capturing shots...
Sahalie Falls as viewed from the other side of the river.
No matter how great of a photographer Mikayla as, a picture just can't capture the color and glory of this water and view...
I had forgotten just how clear the water was at Carmen Reservoir. I don't know how deep it is, but you could practically see the bottom from every where.
We weren't alone upon arriving either. There was a pair of ducks and a pair of geese who were a little bothered at the prospect of Sydney interrupting their swim. One of the geese felt the need to serenade our picnic with honking as a result.
And, not to be left out, Sydney enjoyed the peanut butter too.
You cross over a drive-able bridge again to return to the right side of the river and head back to the starting point.
But, not before checking out some amazing views of Koosah Falls.
And, then, back up to the path leading to the pull off of Sahalie Falls. Perfect!
We were back in town by 1pm, not bad considering we'd driven such a distance and it felt like we'd already had such a great experience. But, the day wasn't over. I gave both of us a quick pedicure before changing into classier attire.
Then, on to our "Date Day" restaurant choice, P.F. Chang's - made even better with the blue skies that finally made their way to Eugene, allowing for dining al fresco.
I TREASURE this girl...
Following our "linner" - we hit T.J. Maxx, and, after purchasing some attire that would be put to use on our trip to Arizona in June, we headed home - arriving just about an hour before the guys got home. We ended our 24 hour time-slot together in much the same way as it began, snuggled in bed with popcorn (John was asleep on the couch at that point, and Energizer-Bunny-Brayden was at the "Mr. Marist" program) and a Reese Witherspoon movie ("Legally Blond" on Friday and "Sweet Home Alabama" on Saturday). Honestly, I can't think of a thing I'd change about the whole date with my daughter (well, maybe how I looked in the swimsuit I tried on while shopping, but that has nothing to do with the company!). What a sweet day with such a sweet girl!