Tag Archives: Hiking

Don’t Worry Be Healthy: Five Ways to Make Working Out More Fun

-Marissa Tomko

Running on a treadmill reminds me of hamsters, running and running on their little hamster wheels, going no where, getting no closer to a destination. Talk about boring.

I don’t know about you, but my attention span on one of those mechanisms is about five minutes. I start getting antsy about my music, eyeing the clock, and redoing my ponytail fifty times in a row. I just can’t take the repetition!

Unlike a hamster though, I am able to break out of my cage and make a more exciting workout routine for myself. And with that in mind, I present to you my top five favorite ways to work out without being bored to tears!

Zumba

Call me crazy, but this Latin-inspired workout is probably the best I’ve ever partaken in. Zumba is basically just a big dance party, and at the end of it, you’re sweating your face off and you can kiss the gym goodbye for the day! My personal favorite thing about Zumba is how it can turn even the most uncoordinated person into a superstar. All you have to do is check your inhibitions at the door, and I promise you’ll have the best, most fun workout of your life.

Hiking

If you live in Eugene, you probably have some sort of affinity for the outdoors. Instead of a repetitive hour on the elliptical where you just awkwardly stare out the same window, why not take your talents outside so you can enjoy some ever-changing scenery and become one with nature?

Workout videos

Hear me out: I realize you would probably feel silly in your house or apartment taking orders from some random person on your television. However, it can actually be the best time of your life. Grab a few friends and pop in an amusing workout DVD. My personal favorite is Brazil Butt Lift. The guy on the video cracks me up, and even if I end up not working out for the whole time, I get some nice abs from laughing so hard.

Water fights

Pardon my theatrics, but these days it is so hot, I feel like I am super-glued to the sun and I can’t escape the heat. That makes going on a run pretty difficult because heat stroke is not something I am trying to get out of my workout. So I enjoy the occasional impromptu water fight complete with Super Soakers and water balloons! It entails a lot of running around, and you can finally cool down from the Eugene summer weather.

Rollerblading

My roommate and I have big plans for the summer that involve buying overalls and rollerblading all over Eugene. This activity is a surprisingly good calorie burner, as well as a nice blast from the past! So strap on those wheels and get going!

The Best of Oregon Camping

lake

-Rache’ll Brown

In the past two decades I’ve had my fair share of bug bites, sun burns, Big Foot sightings, and campfire stories. I’ve caught fish, made s’mores, polar-beared, and had my tent tipped. Some of my best childhood memories were spent in the great outdoors, and as an Oregonian born and raised, I have spent most of my time in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. Students and locals alike should experience a night or two in Oregon’s natural beauty, and these are a few places that I think are worth a visit.

Moonshine Park

Growing up on the Central Oregon Coast, an appearance of the sun meant a trip to Moonshine, not the beach. A mere fifteen dollars grants campers an overnight stay at Lincoln County’s most popular park. Plus: the people-watching is prime on a nice day.

Paulina Lake

Central Oregon is so beautiful, and although the weather can get excruciatingly hot for this coastal girl, Bend and La Pine are some of my favorite spots in Oregon. For fourteen dollars, campers can be right next to the lake, which means fishing and rock skipping.

Coldwater Cove

I am terrified of lakes and deep bodies of water, mainly because I have no idea what lies beneath the surface. At Coldwater Cove, this isn’t an issue.  For eighteen dollars per night, campers can hang out in my favorite body of water, Clear Lake.

Yukwah Campground

Twenty dollars per night for a camping plot, but the timeless memories come free. This camping ground located outside of Sweet Home, OR is one of my favorite. It’s right across from the South Santiam River and is encased by beautiful Douglas Firs. This spot is the epitome of the Pacific Northwest.

Link Creek Campground

For sixteen dollars a night campers can experience one of my favorite places in Oregon: Suttle Lake. The first time I drove through the Santiam Pass and saw this lake I was blown away, and getting up close and personal with it was breathtaking. It truly is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been.

The Cove Palisades State Park

Growing up, lake stories didn’t count unless they took place on Billy Chinook. At twenty dollars per night campers get to experience the lake and the beautiful red cliffs surrounding it. The best part is the diverse range of outdoor activities: hiking, swimming, fishing, and sunbathing are some options that can please all.

Five Ways to Celebrate YOU on Valentine’s Day

-Rache’ll Brown

Valentine’s Day is here, and for those of us without a significant other, it can be a bit of a bummer. Everywhere you turn, couples are looking longingly into each others’ eyes and being adorable. The affection overload may remind you of how alone you are, but this year, instead of feeling sorry for yourself, do something just for you! Celebrate your awesomeness by relaxing and having a good time doing things you enjoy. Here are some ideas to get you started.

#5 Hike

Grab your North Face and head out for a solo hike. The fresh air and exercise will make you feel great, and a beautiful trek will help you clear your head. I love Spencer’s Butte (shown above)—the hike isn’t too grueling and the view is unbelievable.

#4 Shop

The endorphins you feel while shopping will help you forget about everything else in the world. If you really can’t afford to buy anything, head to Gateway and amuse yourself at one of the tacky dress shops. You won’t regret it.

#3 Spa Day

Break out all of your best beauty tools and spend some time just pampering yourself. Paint your nails, exfoliate your skin, light some candles, and blast some Lana Del Rey and Frank Ocean.

#2 Bake

Cookies, cupcakes, brownies, whatever; get your Laura Vitale on, and dirty up your kitchen. Baking is a fun way to relax, and there’s no more enjoyable way to celebrate yourself than with a giant cake in honor of YOU.

#1 Movie Marathon in Bed

Cuddle up in your comfiest clothes and enter a committed relationship with your bed. Break out all of your favorite movies, turn off your phone, and spend the day in total relaxation.

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Bohemia Mountain: An Island Rock Garden in the Sky

 

A view through the trees of Diamond Peak from Bohemia Mountain Trail, one of many breathtaking views along the way.

-David Moody

It was the Fourth of July and I was flying solo. My girlfriend’s in Italy for the summer, so our tradition of fireworks in the park was a no-go. Friends from work had invited me to join them for bombs and BBQ, but I felt antsy for a new adventure, so I decided I’d figure out something on my own. 

I brewed coffee, made eggs and toast, and grabbed William L. Sullivan’s 100 Hikes in the Central Oregon Cascades from the bookshelf. On page 204, I found Bohemia Mountain, an easy 1.6-mile round-trip hike that lands you atop an impressive summit 5,990 feet high. This trek involves a bit of a drive, but the summit of Bohemia Mountain is worth every mile and dollar. Besides, the drive is beautiful, and your friends can chip in for gas.

Winding along Brice Creek with the windows down, I knew I was entering some beautiful country. Almost every side canyon had a gurgling tributary flowing down into Brice Creek and the smell of the trees and rushing water filled my nose with sweetness.

53-foot-high Fairview Peak Fire Lookout Tower is staffed in July and August and can be rented in the spring and fall.

About thirty-five miles from Cottage Grove, I turned off the pavement onto gravel Road 2212 and my heartbeat quickened with both excitement and nervousness. I was by myself and was well aware of it. Before leaving my apartment, I sent my girlfriend’s mother a detailed email of my itinerary, including every forest service road on which I’d be driving, my time of departure, and my expected time of return. I said I’d call her around seven in the evening and that she shouldn’t contact the authorities unless I failed to call by ten. This of course scared the hell out of her.

The buddy system is always advisable, but I like doing things by myself too. I just try to cover my ass by limiting risk as much as possible. Sullivan recommends these ten essentials and I’ve put together a small pack that includes all of them: A warm, water-repellent coat, knife, first-aid kit, matches in a waterproof container, butane lighter or candle (to help start your fire), extra food, extra water, compass, flashlight, and a good map (topographic preferred) that includes forest service roads.

Bohemia Mountain is a mining area complete with a ghost town of Bohemia City. One of the town’s original buildings is still standing in the valley. There’s no trail, but you can walk to it by heading due east from the parking lot, but don’t wander onto private land and don’t crawl into any old mine shafts. Bad idea.

To get to the summit trail, walk down the road to the left about seventy yards watching the right side for a weathered, hard-to-see Bohemia Mountain trailhead sign in the trees. The trail has a 700-foot elevation gain through beautiful forest and jagged rock outcroppings with many photo-worthy vistas along the way. As I was getting near the top, I passed three hikers heading down. I said hello and the one in front told me I’d have to bushwhack around snow-fields to reach the summit. Cool.

Clumps of violet wildflowers dot Bohemia Mountain's jagged lava summit.

Sure enough, near the top, the trail disappeared into an impressive snowfield, but to the left I could see a snow-free route up to the lava cliffs and the summit. With only one leg scrape (lava is sharp) and two minor dings on the body of my Nikon, I made it up about twenty feet of steep rock to what felt like an island rock-garden in the sky. Patches of violet wildflowers and thick, low plants clung to pockets and cracks in the lava. Diamond Peak crowned the eastern horizon and Fairview Peak Fire Lookout Tower punctuated the skyline to the north.

There are cliffs on three sides of the summit–real cliffs–with dizzying elevation drops down into the surrounding valleys. And there’s a great view to the north, looking almost straight down, at the one remaining building of Bohemia City. I had the summit to myself for about forty minutes. I took some photos, ate lunch in the sun, and had a little catnap until another group of hikers arrived.

Tough, thick, ground-hugging plants are anchored in the lava creating a private rock-garden in the sky.

Bohemia Mountain can be a one-hour round-trip hike, but considering the drive, plan to make a day of it. There’s plenty in the area to explore.

Getting there (from Sullivan’s 100 Hikes in the Central Oregon Cascades):

***Do not rely solely on these directions. Take a map that includes forest service roads and stop at every intersection to make sure you know exactly where you are. If you use GPS, make sure it includes forest service roads and bring a paper map as backup.***

–Take I-5 south to exit 174 in Cottage Grove and follow signs to Dorena Lake

–Continue on the main paved road through Culp Creek and Disston

–Continue straight on the main road along Brice Creek

–Around 30 miles from the freeway, the road name changes from 2470 to Forest Service Road 22 (you will cross a one-lane bridge to the left at this point)

–At a pointer for Fairview Peak, turn right onto gravel Road 2212 and follow it 8.4 miles to Champion Saddle

–There, turn left onto Road 2460 at another sign for Fairview Peak (road becomes narrow and rough)

–Continue 1.1 miles to a parking lot and four-way junction called Bohemia Saddle

–Park and enjoy!

Mt. Pisgah: Because Everyone Smiles Up Here

-David Moody

 

 

A view of the city from the top of Mt. Pisgah

 

Today is Saturday. I worked from seven to four in a bustling summer box store. It’s flower-planting season, deck-building season, and need-a-new-grill season. A very wet spring in Eugene, Oregon has finally surrendered to June’s vertical sun and the people have come out to get their due. I helped one after another with a sincere smile, but glanced frequently at the searing white light that poured through the front vestibules like the pigmented waters of some shattered baptismal font; it flowed across the floor and lapped at our ankles.

It’s now around 5:00 and I’m wiping sweat from my forehead on top of Mt. Pisgah. The suspicions I had during work were correct; it was a beautiful day for an afternoon hike. It’s one of the clearest I’ve seen in Eugene with sharp views of Diamond Peak and the Sisters from farther down the ridge. And even at this hour, the sun is still high in the sky.   

The photons come like yellow freight trains with a cargo of heat, of light, of life. They explode on my skin and illuminate wildflowers; charge into my eyes and down optic nerve tunnels. They power each piece of grass with potent frequencies so the length of each blade displays a hundred shades of green.

On the way up, I was startled by a deer on the trail. The encounter was quick. She paused, glanced briefly, then glided into the tall grass toward a stand of oaks with incredible grace and silence.

I rest near the summit’s bronze topographic sculpture and take in the 360-view to the sound of wind fluttering through the tail of a kite. Two boys steer it through a variety of maneuvers– dives and sweeps and corkscrews. They laugh and cheer each other on.

There’s a girl sitting on the rocks below me. She’s looking east at picturesque agricultural land with snow-capped Diamond Peak as a distant backdrop. She watches the kite and smiles, then closes her eyes and turns her face to the sun. 

Mt. Pisgah is located within the Howard Budford Recreation Area, a jewel of open space easily accessible from both Eugene and Springfield. The park includes 2,300 close-to-town acres and more than seventeen miles of trails for hikers, trail runners and equestrians. Located between, and near the confluence of the Coast and Middle Forks of the Willamette River, the park is also home to Mt. Pisgah Arboretum riparian forests, dense fir forests, and endangered oak savannas and prairies. 


But hands down, the best thing about Pisgah is its accessibility. Get off work at four, take a sweaty, lung-busting hike, and be smiling on the summit by five. Fly a kite. Write a poem. Get your cardio. Do homework in the shade of a majestic oak or soak up some much-needed photons. Regardless of what you do, one thing is certain: Like everyone else up here, you’ll be smiling.

Visit www.budfordpark.org for more information and directions.

HOLYROOD PARK

When making my preparations to go to Edinburgh, I knew that, given the diet of fried foods that defined my trip, I would need to spend all the time that I was not eating being active enough to turn my body into a big, albeit slightly flabby, calorie furnace. Fortunately, Edinburgh is a city hilly enough to rival San Francisco, with the added benefit of a royal park full of giant hills smack dab in the middle of town.

Hiking is not exactly my deal. It’s actually pretty far from my deal.

God bless the hikers of the world, but I’ve seen trees and rocks before. I enjoy trees and rocks, and I like seeing them.

However, I don’t feel the need to spend several hours clambering over uneven terrain in order to see more trees and rocks. I know it’s a matter of personal preference, but whenever I hear my friends raving about how much they love hiking, I can’t help but think that maybe I’m not enjoying it because I’m doing something wrong. It’s like I’m playing Modern Warfare 2 without knowing that you’re allowed to shoot people.

However, after two days in which I consumed a haggis burrito, a deep fried cheeseburger, and a deep fried pizza, I knew that the only way I could make it out of Scotland without heart failure as a souvenir was to hike my nuts off, and the place to do that was at Edinburgh’s Holyrood Park, home to Arthur’s Seat and the Salisbury Crags. The fact that I did this on a day so hot that a runner in the Edinburgh Marathon died of heat exhaustion should also be noted.

Right away, I realized that this hike probably couldn’t be classified as a hike – not because it wasn’t difficult, because it definitely was, but because I was actually enjoying it. You see, while I don’t like hiking, I do enjoy panoramic views of major cities, and the advantage to these hills being in the center of a major city is… Well, really, do I need to explain?

The hike where I first learned that I was not a hiking enthusiast was a muddy slog through dense forests, affording no real views of the surrounding landscape and, more importantly, no way to look back at how far you’d come and think, “Well, I’m covered in mud and sweat and there isn’t a bathroom for miles, but look what I’ve done!

For all I knew, we could’ve been going in circles. Furthermore, there was no tangible goal to what we were doing, save for “Get to the end of the trail so we can hike the entire trail backwards and then go home.”

Climbing the steep, uneven path up to the top of Arthur’s Seat, 823 feet above the city, was an awe inspiring experience. No, like, literally.

I would stop and turn around and see the tiny brown path I’d taken snaking up the sheer edge of the hill with the entire city of Edinburgh laid out in the distance all the way to the North Sea, glimmering in the afternoon light, and awe was actually inspired within me. And along with that awe was ambition to keep climbing up to the top, which was also within sight, because the view only got better the higher I went. Refreshing cold winds off the North Sea also helped.

Maybe 50 feet from the summit, the hill leveled out into a wide, grassy plateau where several other hikers were sitting with books or lying on their backs for a high-altitude nap. From here, you could turn 360 degrees and see everything for miles in every direction.

I could see from the docks at one side of town all the way to where houses and deep fried pizza shops gave way to lush green fields and farmland. A city the size of Portland laid out underneath me, like I was some sort of sweaty alien riding on a floating grass disk.

Edinburgh is probably the second most beautiful city I’ve ever seen (after Portland, which, if it were a woman, would be Christina Hendricks). I don’t think I’d ever want to live outside the United States, for reasons I’ll elaborate on in a later update, but if I had to flee the country after pulling a massive casino heist, Edinburgh would be the place I’d go to start my new life.*

*Not that I’m planning a casino heist.

And what’s more, I’d use my newfound wealth to bribe city council members to let me build a modest house up on that grassy plateau, that little disk in the sky. Every morning, I’d be able to walk out my front door and see everything in the city I called my home, and at the same time, if the police tried to catch up with me, they’d be forced to run single file up a narrow path, which gives me a clear advantage, tactically speaking.

Truman Capps has all sorts of other interesting travel tidbits on his blog, Hair Guy.