Oregon Part 2: Willamette Valley

SAMSUNG CSCAfter heading down the coast, we drove over to Corvallis, in the Willamette Valley, where my cousins live. This portion of the trip was definitely more relaxing and we spent the days hanging around Corvallis and going on some day trips. The most notable trip was driving an hour east to the Santiam River to go swimming in a canyon. After driving down more winding roads lined with pine trees, we pulled over to the side of the road and made our way (in my case, slid) down a very steep hill to the river. Seriously, if there hadn’t been a rope we could hold onto on the way down, I would have gone tumbling until I hit the water. It was well worth the effort down the hill though, because the canyon section of the river was stunning. Either side was lined with steep boulders and the water was moving very slow, so we could float along leisurely. There were several small waterfalls, and one swimming area that was kind of carved into the side of a rock like a small pool. When the light hit at certain angles, the water was so blue and clear, and it was crazyΒ seeing how deep it was. Better yet, my cousins, their friends, and I were the only people there so it was amazingly peaceful. This was definitely one of my favorite parts of the trip. After swimming in the canyon, we made a quick stop at Foster Lake, which feeds the Santiam River, and was also so aquamarine.

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The next couple of days, we explored around Corvallis, and had some delicious home cooked meals. We also went to a pizza shop where one of my cousins works. I had visited Corvallis about ten years ago, so it was wonderful revisiting all the places I remembered from my last trip. πŸ™‚ My cousins have a beautiful and huge garden at their house so all their vegetables and fruit is just about fresh – including hundreds of tomatoes, beans, lettuce, melons, zucchini, cucumber, herbs – basically anything you can think of. I love living in New York but one of the things I really wish I had was my own outdoor space. Seeing my cousins be able to do things like sun dry their own tomatoes, cut fresh watermelon from their own backyard, and go outside in the morning and fill up a bowl of yogurt with fresh blackberries made me wishing that I had somewhere to do this too! Maybe someday…

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On one of my last days in Corvallis, we drove about an hour to Mary’s Peak, a mountain that’s over 4,000 feet tall. Thankfully, we drove up the mountain instead of walking (it was very beautiful, as usual) and then hiked up further when we almost were at the peak. It was so hazy due to a lot of forest fires in the area, but I still thought the layers of mountains were very picturesque. After enjoying the views, we walkedΒ a trail that was about two miles long, winding through the interior forest that was full of Noble Fir trees. I couldn’t get over how tall and strong the trees looked. Now I know how ants feel! Plus, the light inside the forest was so beautiful coming through the trees. This hike with my cousins was a great way to end our time in Corvallis.

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