Author: Abby

Hobbit Trail, Oregon

Hobbit Trail, Oregon

Hobbit Trail, Oregon is a quick and easy-moderate 1/2 mile hike to Hobbit Beach. The trail is accessible from Hobbit Trailhead, located right along highway 101 – about 12.5 miles north of Florence, Oregon. There’s a small parking area on the east side of the highway, but the trail starts on the west side. Use extreme caution when crossing the road – folks like to drive fast! There are no restrooms or potable water. We also didn’t notice any fee requirement. Hobbit Trail, Oregon My husband, Nat, and I arrived at the trailhead around 11:15am on Saturday, December 1. We parked and then crossed the highway to meet up with Hobbit Trailhead. The weather was cloudy with occasional sun breaks and a slight chill to the air. There are two trails that branch off in opposite directions – Hobbit Trail to the right (north) and Heceta Head Trail to the left (south). For this post I will focus on our hike along Hobbit Trail to Hobbit Beach. However, stay tuned for an upcoming post about …

Rosary Lakes, Oregon

Rosary Lakes, Oregon

Rosary Lakes, Oregon is a set of 3 lakes located about 70 miles southeast of Eugene – about 69 miles southwest of Bend – in the Deschutes National Forest. It’s a popular hiking, fishing, and backpacking destination nestled in a dense, beautiful sub-alpine forest. The trailhead is off of highway 58 – after turning off the road, it’s just right of a large sand shed tucked behind the tree line. It’s actually part of the Pacific Crest Trail, which is another reason for its popularity. The parking lot is large with one pit toilet but no potable water. You can read more about the trailhead here. Rosary Lakes, Oregon My husband Nat (below middle), brother Oliver (below left), and I arrived at Rosary Lakes Trailhead around 10:30 am on Saturday, September 29. The weather was sunny with mostly blue skies and a few scattered clouds. It was forecasted to rain later in the evening / early Sunday morning, so we were prepared. Oliver accidentally locked his keys in his car – with his gear still …

Backpacking Kitchen Gear

Backpacking Kitchen Gear

Imagine hiking for miles carrying 25+ lbs of gear on your back. Maybe throw in some steep inclines and uneven terrain. When you finally decide on a campsite and start to unpack, most likely your first thought is going to be food. For me, I’m thinking of food while still on the trail! (Hip belt pockets = snack stash.) What all do you need to prep and cook your well-deserved meal? Or how about a steaming cup of coffee or tea? This list of backpacking kitchen gear will ensure hot food and beverages as well as a lightweight backpacking experience. The feature to look for in backpacking kitchen gear is collapsible. Can it fold down to a small, easy-to-pack size? That will create a manageable camp kitchen. It will also allow you to nest items into other items to achieve a compact packing system. Backpacking Kitchen Gear The Essentials Compact burner There are many different brands, shapes, and sizes. Really it’s up to personal preference. My husband, Nat, and I use the Snow Peak Giga …

Helinox Chair Zero

Helinox Chair Zero Review

The Helinox Chair Zero retails online and in stores for $119.95. My husband and I each received one as a wedding gift and are so grateful for such generosity and kindness! They were purchased from REI but can be found in other stores, too. This chair is great for backpacking as well as hikes, concerts, and many other outdoor excursions. The Helinox Chair Zero is available in two colors – black and grey melon. Our chairs are both in the color black (the metal frame is light blue). Quick note: this review is not sponsored – I’m not compensated in any way – and all opinions and recommendations are my own. Helinox Chair Zero Pros Very lightweight This chair weighs in at 1 pound. It’s effortless to carry around while set up – I can even balance it on one hand! When I strap it to the outside of my pack I barely notice a difference in weight. For me it’s worth the 1 pound to bring this chair along on backpacking trips. Strong and secure …

Fish Lake, Oregon

Fish Lake, Oregon

Fish Lake, Oregon is located about 77.5 miles east of Roseburg in the Umpqua National Forest. This Fish Lake isn’t to be confused with another Fish Lake that’s located south near Lake of the Woods. The roads leading up to Fish Lake can get a bit confusing. Just make sure to bring or study directions and pay attention to the signage. You can find directions to the trailhead here and find more information about Fish Lake Trail here. Fish Lake, Oregon There are two trails that lead to the lake. Fish Lake Trail is the longer route at about 4 miles one way. Beaver Swamp Trail is a quick 1/2 mile and perfect for day fishing trips. The two trails intersect at around 1 mile from the lake. You can find a comprehensive map here. (Click on the middle icon in the top right corner and select “Topographic” for a detailed view.) Nat and I decided to backpack in and out via Fish Lake Trail. The trailhead is on the right side of the road across from …

Gordon Lakes, Oregon

Gordon Lakes, Oregon

Gordon Lakes, Oregon is located about 79 miles northeast of Eugene within the Willamette National Forest. As the name suggests, there are two adjacent lakes with a small creek that flows from the upper lake to the lower. There are two trailheads that lead to the lakes – Gordon Lakes Trailhead West and East. The west trailhead is about 7.5 miles while the east trailhead is about a 1/2 mile. So if you just want to explore or fish Gordon Lakes, I’d recommend the east trailhead. The west trailhead is perfect for a longer day hike or backpacking trip. Highway 20 along the South Santiam River provides access to both trailheads. You can read more about each trailhead and Gordon Lakes Trail #3386 here. Gordon Lakes, Oregon The road up to the west trailhead is gravel and a bit windy with some pot holes. The gravel appeared to be somewhat new, so there was a pile in the center of the road that caused my poor Honda to occasionally bottom out. Nat and I arrived …

William M. Tugman State Park

William M. Tugman State Park, Oregon

I remember camping numerous times at William M. Tugman State Park with my family growing up. Most of the time we rented a yurt, but sometimes we set up a tent or parked the trailer (when we had one). This state park quickly became one of my favorite campgrounds – and still is to this day. William M. Tugman State Park is located 17.3 miles north of Coos Bay, Oregon – 10.6 miles south of Reedsport. The entrance to the park is right off of highway 101 on the east side of the road. Eel Lake sits adjacent to the campground – great for kayaking, swimming, and fishing. There’s also a trail that hugs the perimeter of the lake but doesn’t go all the way around. You can read more about the park and reserve a campsite here. William M. Tugman State Park This state park boasts 93 campsites with electrical and water, 16 yurts – 8 that are pet friendly – as well as hot showers and flushing toilets. All of the roads, parking spots, …

Women's REI Rhyolite Rain Jacket Review

Women’s REI Rhyolite Rain Jacket Review

The women’s REI rhyolite rain jacket retails at $189 but sometimes goes on sale. You can find it online* and in stores – just make sure to check that it’s available at your preferred location. This rain jacket is available in 7 colors and in sizes XS to XL. I purchased the women’s REI rhyolite rain jacket on sale in February 2018 for $70.37 – score! I chose the color black so it blends in with the rest of my wardrobe. For size I went with medium, although I usually wear small in most tops. I wanted enough room to wear multiple layers underneath. Quick note: this review is not sponsored – I’m not compensated in any way – and all opinions and recommendations are my own. Women’s REI Rhyolite Rain Jacket Pros • Waterproof This was the driving factor for my next rain jacket. If it didn’t state that it was waterproof, then it was a no go. Water resistant wasn’t good enough – I wanted full protection from the rain. The women’s REI rhyolite rain …

North Fork Smith Trail, Oregon

North Fork Smith Trail, Oregon

North Fork Smith Trail, Oregon makes for a beautiful, varied hike through a temperate rainforest filled with large old-growth trees. The trailhead is located about 54 miles west of Eugene – about 31 miles northeast of Reedsport – within the Siuslaw National Forest. I recommend bringing directions or studying them beforehand. You can find directions from Eugene as well as Reedsport here. The popular Kentucky Falls Trail is connected to North Fork Smith Trail. So you can reach Kentucky Falls by starting at either trailhead. Though, it will take longer starting from North Fork Smith Trailhead. It’s about 8.5 miles total from one end to the other. Here’s a map of the trail system, although be warned – we noticed it was a bit inaccurate. Compared to other maps, though, it’s the most accurate in our opinion. North Fork Smith Trail My husband, Nat (below center), brother, Oliver (below left), and I arrived at the trailhead around 11 am on March 31. We originally planned for 10 am at Kentucky Falls Trailhead to then carpool down …