Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Weekend Hike - Paradise Found! Cedar Flats, Oregon

Yes, we found least one version...and it's at Cedar Flats, Oregon!
River along the Cedar Flats Trail. #nofilter

The Adventure

After numerous hikes and planned backpacking trips we found the right trail - I left at least one trip out of my posts because it was getting a bit embarrassing. (I like to look at the attempts as lessons rather than fails...even if it's just to make myself feel better! Fail/lesson one, fail/lesson two.)

I'm not sure if it is on purpose (now that I know how to get to Cedar Flats, I'm not sure I want to give this jewel away, too), but all of the instructions and maps that we used to find Cedar Flats are either misinformation or out-of-date.

Finally, with a day pack, flashlights and our water filter (in case it took us all day), bear spray (after three years of camping and hiking around Mt. Hood, my wife and a friend recently saw our first bear in the area!), and a mentality of we were going to make it this time or quit (and we hate to quit - obviously, since we tried five times to find this place) we set off last Saturday on our final attempt.

We knew where the Cedar Flats trail started - according to the maps - because we found it the prior weekend (the untold story of 8.5 miles with full backpacks and full intentions of sleeping at Cedar Flats).  And covering the Kopetski Trail portion was becoming routine... But it's still shocking to me that the trail is covered up with tree logs and brush, hidden from us during the previous trips!  (We walked by it dozens of times in our prior searches.)

Making our way past the blockage (the trail opens up again after awhile), we headed straight for the river crossing.  Here is where we stopped the last trip.

Oh, we forded the river the last time, no problem there.  We were prepared for the crossing, as this is mentioned in the directions we had (though we were not prepared for a dropped shoe, making the trip back a little unpleasant and sloshy), and we easily crossed again this time. But...right after the river, the trail disappears!

Tree logs, branches, brush - covered so much that you have to go off-trail and dig your way through the underbrush.  I forgot to mention that this is also on the side of a hill, with one side going straight down to the river!

This time, we were going around, regardless of the cuts, falls, and bugs...

Turns out...we didn't have to go far!

We made our plan and took the dog off of her leash and collar, to make sure she didn't get caught in the brush. To our surprise, she ran straight up the left side of the hill!  (We were surprised by the next sentence...not the fact that she went running off - bad dog!) About 40 feet up, she stopped and turned around, looking at us like "here's the trail, what's next?"

There was another trail! She had found another trail!

Another trail that eventually met up with the trail we were on (we studied this afterwards). This wasn't even on the right side of the river! According to the maps we had...

Obviously maintained, this had to be the new trail to Cedar Flats - we had taken the hard way!  (This point was discussed on our hike out - we took the 'new' trail to the entrance to explore, yes, we like to try new paths!  Turns out our original side is probably easier and shorter, but definitely rougher then the 'new' trail.)

I recommend either path (or both!), there is one on both sides of the Opal Pool bridge. (P.S. At the time of our find, a bridge to Jawbone Flats was out and it was recommended to use the Kopetski Trail - an easier hike would be to use the Jawbone Flats trail to Opal Pool.)

Regardless of how (or what we should have done), we made it to Cedar Flats!

Cedar Flats!

Huge trees!  Beautiful, crystal clear water!  Waterfalls and pools to swim in! And even a couple of nudists soaking up the sunshine!

After some exploring, we found what looked like a great waterfall to wade under and off-trailed it down the side of a hill. (I wouldn't recommend this to everyone.)

The perfect location for a lazy afternoon!

Our waterfall! #nofilter
Turns out there was a pretty deep pool directly under the waterfall.  After some talking-up (the water was freezing!) we both (plus dog) plunged into the pool and scrambled out several times.

With the blue skies and sunshine, we warmed up immediately...all while savoring Mother Earth!

This was definitely worth the multiple attempts and was forever captured by our gorgeous camera-woman...even with covering over 11 miles in one day.

With every adventure we came closer and closer to our goal, but no success! We were tempted to give up, but we prevailed!

Hopefully we can apply this thought to other areas of our lives too!

Yours in exploiting life!

Friday, July 18, 2014

World Domination Summit 2014 - You're Missing Out!

I feel inspired! Again!

This past weekend we attended the World Domination Summit (for the second year) and walked away with a refreshed drive at life!

If you haven't heard of the World Domination Summit (#WDS2014), then you're missing out.

No, we're not a secret society trying to take over the world (okay, maybe in some small part), but it's great to hear a passerby say something to that affect.

Then, when a participant does try to explain what we're about, it seems to be even more confusing.

It doesn't help that the attendees are from all walks of life and all have a unique reason why they're here (in Portland!) - each only sees it from their own point of understanding.

The bloggers state that it's a conference for bloggers (go figure).

The solopreneurs state that it's a way to location independence.

The cubicle dwellers state that it's a means of inspiration and travel (I still fit in this bucket...for now).

The summit attracts authors, non-profits, CPAs, architects, CFPs, and artists!

The common thread? Something different - creativity in any field - the search for remarkable!

So, what is it?

The theme of WDS is Community, Adventure, and Service.

The question asked to the audience (to the world) is "How to live a remarkable life in a conventional world?"

The host (Chris Guillebeau from The Art of Non-Conformity) and the amazing speakers are all examples of individuals who are living remarkable lives.

Inspiration for those seeking the same.

The conference brings these like-minded individuals together. Sharing stories, techniques, and ideas.

Leading to remarkable lives.

Wait, how many people?!

Another benefit is the networking.

Here are 3,000 individuals who are all on the same wavelength...or close.

Where better to find people who understand your questioning of the status quo...the conventional!

Next steps.

With several notes from presenters and my #bravebot, I'm working on my own quest!

Now I only have to define it...

Pushing myself forward, one step at a time...

Understanding that imperfection is okay, the just starting...

Yours in exploiting life!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Unexploited Finances: Who Are You Blaming?

Where do you start your new financial and life journey? With yourself!

Truly, there is no secret. 

You and you alone are accountable for your actions – both your failures and your successes. Once you come to terms with this, you can begin the long process into exploiting life!

This is difficult. It requires a lot of extra effort.

Coasting through life is easy, living life is not! As you’ve probably heard numerous times – if it was easy, then everybody would be doing it!

BUT know this…

You CAN do it!

There is nothing holding you back that you can’t overcome!

If you need help, encouragement, an accountability partner, then find it!

But how does this fit your finances?

Because I’m sure you’ve used every excuse in the book as to why your finances are running your life and you’re not LIVING your ideal lifestyle! 

“My job doesn't pay me enough money.”
“I need the new phone to stay in contact with friends.”
“I need new clothes and a car for my job.”
“They’re just lucky they can afford a vacation, having kids doesn't allow me to do this.” 

Stop blaming others! Start blaming yourself!

Take the first step and take ownership of your life and of your financial decisions.

Once you recognize that YOU are the problem, then you can go about making changes.

Because you CAN change yourself!

Everything is a choice.

I have these words posted on both my work and personal computers. It's a reminder that I've made my current choices and I can make all of my future choices.  These choices include my work, my travel, my finances, and my life!

You too have the choice.  The choice to living your ideal lifestyle, the choice of controlling your finances!

Start now, make the choice!  Stop blaming others!

Yours in exploiting life!