Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Creative Highways: Video Recap

The following is a selection of the many videos we took along our 7414 miles during our Creative Highways project. They can't possible capture everything we saw, but they do show how many different things we experienced along the way:

This first video is a montage of many video clips combined into one video of highlights, showcasing the great variety of geography we crossed. I think it demonstrates the vast and diverse beauty of our country (song credit: "Scare Easy" by Mudcrutch. This song became the soundtrack to our trip). Can anyone identify where some of these places are?:



Underwater in Warm Spring Creek, near Bonneville hot springs, Idaho:

Sadie braves the gnar on Gedney Creek in central Idaho:

Soaking in Glenwood Springs Pool, a commercial hot springs pool, Glenwood Springs, CO. It was a gorgeous evening, and we noticed how mellow the crowd at a public hot springs pool is compared to those typical at public chlorine pools - ah, the magic of geothermal - so relaxing after a day of driving!:


At 8000 ft. in elevation in central Idaho, along the Seven Devils Mountain Range, Sadie (our dog) and I (Larissa) stopped after hiking and running the Narrows trail to take this video:

Sadie hikes at around 8,500 ft. along the Titus Lake trail near the Sawtooth Mountain Range in central Idaho:


Salsa Celtica performs in Hailey, Sun Valley, Idaho. An interesting mix of salsa and traditional Celtic music. We had lots of fun hanging out with the people of Sun Valley and our friends, Hallie and Julia. Check out the crazy dancers in this video:

And live reggae at the Draft House in Boulder, Colorado. This was recommended to us by our sushi chef at the great Sushi Zanmai. Just one night in a fun town and you never know what you'll get into:

Coming up next: the last photos from our trip, and some closing remarks.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Creative Highways: Our Own Private Idaho

In the entire state of Idaho, there are only 1,523,816 people. That's an average of 18 people per square mile. It's hard to want to share this "gem" of a state with others who think it's only potato fields, but here's a sneak peek at our 8 days of camping and seeing old friends in Central and Southern Idaho. How sensational to be able to turn our cell phones and computers off for 8 straight days - definitely no cell service where we were headed:

Our journey from Moscow, Idaho on Sunday, July 11 began with a night camping on Gedney Creek just off the remote and beautiful Selway River. I had camped and hiked the trail before and wanted to find the spot again. We hiked, Ryan fished, and we swam in the chilly, roaring mountain creek.

Selway River, Idaho

Selway Falls, Selway River, Idaho

The next day was spent camping along the nearby Lochsa River and soaking at Weir Creek hot springs along Highway 12. We were pleased to find a lively and hospitable group of young people already soaking, with which we swapped wine, beer, and stories of our travels (we represented Pennsylvania, Montana, and Minnesota). Idaho hot springs have their own subculture, attracting bucolic bon vivants of all backgrounds seeking one thing only: that geothermal wonder pouring out of the earth, bubbling over rocks, filling up pools, and warming the senses in a way no domestic bath can (see the photo below from Bonneville hot springs).

Ryan fishing on the Lochsa River

The next stop was three nights on our favorite river in the world, the Salmon River. We had our own private beach on which to camp, and spent a good part of the day swimming, reading in hammocks, and playing frisbee with Sadie.

Our camp spot on the Salmon

The Salmon River canyon is the second deepest in North America next to the Snake River, which also traverses Idaho. You can't tell from the bottom, but the canyon extends up and out for miles and miles.

Sadie loved our time on the Salmon, leash and worry free!

An abstract of Sadie from underwater

On one of the days along the Salmon, we met up with our friend Mark and drove up to the Seven Devils Mountain range just West of Riggins, ID. Sadie and I drove up as high as we could drive to revisit a trail called the Narrows, which extends along a ridge overlooking Hells and Salmon canyons on either side. We ran, hiked, spooked a bull elk, and enjoyed the beautiful wild flowers scattered about the slopes and meadows. The Seven Devils range is always a sight to behold.

The Seven Devils

Meanwhile, Mark and Ryan climbed at a nearby crag. I eventually joined them and had fun watching Ryan jug up the rope with his camera so he could get some shots of Mark in action.

Ryan loves this stuff

One of Ryan's shots of Mark climbing. Mark is an excellent climber, so it was easy for Ryan to get the shots he wanted.

On Friday, July 17, we said goodbye to the Salmon (that was tough) and made our way down through McCall, Idaho, and along the South Fork of the Payette River. We camped at Bonneville hot springs and enjoyed a wonderful evening soak.

Larissa enjoys the kind of serenity only found in the wilds of Idaho

The next day we headed further East along the Sawtooth Mountain range. We stopped in Stanley, Idaho for breakfast, where they were having their busiest weekend of the year, what with their archery and craft shows going on at the same time!

Our car, which has now traveled close to 5,000 miles on this trip, with the Sawtooths looming beyond

We continued on toward Sun Valley to stay with our friend, Hallie (in Hailey, Idaho, to be specific). On the way, we stopped for some trail running and hiking along the Titus Lake trail, near Galena summit. Sadie enjoyed chasing rocks and swimming in the mountain lake.

Titus Lake is nestled in the mountains along a beautiful trail

Larissa and Hallie in Hailey, Idaho, reunited after 6 years! We stayed at her house overnight and enjoyed catching up and going to the park to see a live salsa/scottish band called Salsa Celtica (I was skeptical at first of this combo of genres, but they were quite good...video updates from this concert to come).

All photos © Chace + Smith Photography

After a wonderful stay in one of our favorite former home states, we said goodbye to Idaho and moved South to Utah, where our adventures continued. Stay tuned for more video and photo updates!

Creative Highways: Morels and Old Friends in Moscow, Idaho

On Thursday, July 9, Ryan, Sadie and I crossed the Washington/Idaho border and drove up the Lewiston, Idaho grade to our old town of Moscow. For me it had been since 2004 that I had visited this place; for Ryan, since 2003, when he graduated from the University of Idaho. We both were very quiet, except for the occasional sigh of, "Wow," from one of us, as we drove into town and past familiar locales and scenery. Over the course of the next 3 days, we observed how many memories from Moscow were locked away and could only surface by being back there. It was fun to reminisce about the early years of our relationship, having moved out to Idaho without ever seeing it before, taking a big leap together, and accepting the place for all its foibles and charms.

We were able to appreciate the area with new eyes this time around, and we left knowing that we will return to this place again and again.

Sadie was born and adopted in Moscow. Here she is surveying her old stomping grounds at Philips Farm just outside of town.

I worked at the U. of Idaho Early Childcare Center during our two years in Moscow. Here I am pictured with a family I was close to. The eight-year-old to my far left was 3 when I left. The strangest part of it all was how she didn't remember me, but also how quickly we all became friends again.

We were able to make a quick stop to see my old colleague Stacey, her husband, Jeff, and puppy Gracie.

We stayed with friends Leanne and Mark during our visit, and were greeted with hand picked and battered morel mushrooms, freshly caught fish, and plenty of wine and beer!

On Saturday morning, we made sure to make a stop at one of our favorite haunts from our Moscow days: the expansive farmers market.

Moscow is situated on the Palouse Prairie, a very unique landscape, and just on the edge of the Bitterroot Mountains. We had a picnic on Moscow Mountain on Saturday evening and caught the Palouse in all its glory just as the sun was going down.

Ryan aims to get the perfect shot.

That's the one.

All photos © Chace + Smith Photography

Soon to come: updates about camping for 5 nights in the wilds of Idaho, and meeting up with old friends in Central and Southern Idaho before moving on to Utah!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Creative Highways: Climbing at Smith Rock and Walla Walla Wineries

With heavy hearts we said goodbye to friends Kendra and Adam (and their dog, Jake) on Wednesday, July 8, and turned our backs toward the West coast and headed East. It's always hard to know that you have already reached your furthest point West, but thankfully we have much left to explore out here. Our first stop on the other side of the Cascades was Smith Rock, one of our country's rock climbing meccas, where we spent the afternoon climbing and hiking through the beautiful Crooked River canyon. We found a great camp spot for the night, and enjoyed cooking and socializing with the long-term campers and climbing bums at the bivouac camp ground at Smith.

Smith Rock with Mount Jefferson of the Cascade Range in the background

Sagebrush feathers the landscape along the Crooked River canyon

Smith Rock and the aptly-named Crooked River

Our camp spot overlooking Smith Rock and the desert sky

The following day, on the way to Moscow, ID, our old Idaho hometown, we stopped through Walla Walla, WA to visit two wineries, L'Ecole Nº 41 and Three Rivers Winery. It was fun to explore, albeit briefly, an area we have never spent much time in, nor associated with good wines.

L'Ecole Nº 41, our first winery stop, features beautiful architecture and decor

All photos © Chace + Smith Photography

Coming soon: photos and updates about our three days in Moscow, ID, as well as from the Lochsa, Selway and Salmon River Regions of mountainous central Idaho, where we will be camping and hotspringing for the next week. We will be off the map now for about 8 days, but we will post updates as soon as we can - maybe we'll find some random free wifi somewhere. You never know these days!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Creative Highways: Newts, Dunes, and Sasquatch Sightings on the Oregon Coast

Since this past Friday, July 3, we have been spending marvelous, long days with our dear friends, Kendra, Adam, and their dog, Jake. We arrived in Corvallis, Oregon on Friday afternoon, where Kendra and Adam currently live. Both are originally from West Virginia, but are now spending a few years in Corvallis while Kendra gets her Masters. Since they don't live in the next state over from ours anymore, it was quite a pleasure to reunite once again.

We spent the Fourth of July weekend camping along the Oregon Coast, sampling local beers (mostly Rogue brewery), eating seafood, hiking along the dunes and coastal forests, and having long coffee and chatting sessions every morning. It was a wonderful time with old, great friends.

Here is a sampling of the fun times we had:

Sadie loves digging along the sea shore. She chases rocks we throw to her, then digs them into holes and finds them again.

Sadie waits with bated breath as Adam prepares to launch a rock down the shore.

Fishery doorway in the bay of Newport, Oregon

Local beers and fresh seafood at Local Ocean Seafoods in Newport, OR after two days of camping.

Adam, Kendra, Larissa, and Ryan in Newport, OR

Sasquatch sighting in Newport!
Warning: this video may contain images that will shock and awe.

Our hike near the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area south of Florence, OR. The trail started at our campground and wound through dunes, forests, the beach, and a freshwater lake.

Rough skinned newt along our hiking path

Ryan's self portrait in the Oregon coastal woods

Big Trees, Little People

Kendra, Larissa, and Sadie fly and skip down a dune leading to Three Mile Lake, just off the beach - so many diverse ecosystems on this hike.

Larissa, Ryan, and Sadie on the Oregon Coast

Kendra hiking on the trail leading to the beach

Larissa and Kendra in the dunes

The dunes encroaching upon the forest

Adam and the tidal pools along the coast

Cliffs and coves along the beautiful Pacific coast

Kendra, Adam and Jake relax at our camp spot.

A tough decision at Rogue Brewery in Newport, OR

Tomorrow's adventure: say goodbye to Kendra, Adam, and Jake, and on to Smith Rock near Redmond, OR for some climbing and camping. Then, on to Moscow, Idaho, our old hometown for a few days!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Video Update

Here is just a quick video update of our recent travels. The first is of Sadie crossing the border into Idaho, her home state. The second is of us driving along the Columbia River Gorge approaching Mount Hood yesterday on our way to Corvallis.

Today we're on our way to the Oregon Coast for a few days of camping with friends. Happy Independence Day!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Creative Highways: Storms, Windy Tents, and Mountain Peaks

After two days "off the map", we are shacked up in a motel in Baker City, Oregon - a bit off course from our original plan (which was to go through Bend on our way to Corvallis, OR), but we got a little behind so we are taking the fast track to Corvallis.

Here is a sampling of all the amazing things we've seen during the past 3 days. We've covered so much ground, it's become a bit of a blur, so let's review:

The Badlands of South Dakota:

Bighorn Sheep

Picnicking in the Badlands

Ryan's self portrait near our picnic site
(tilt shift lens extravaganza)

Big Horn National Forest, Wyoming:

Our campsite by Crazy Woman Creek

Don't let this serene scene fool you;
we slept through extremely high winds and rain that night.

Yellowstone National Park:

West Thumb Geyser Pools in Yellowstone

Geothermal activity flowing straight into Yellowstone Lake

Teton National Park:

This was taken from our camp ground - a beautiful sunset over Jackson Lake;
once again, we awoke to a thunderstorm and rain at 5 a.m.

A stop in Pocatello, ID to see our friend, Christina, her cute house, and cute dogs:

Marley and Obe keep cool in the yard

Another terrific Western storm on our way across Southern Idaho

All photos © Chace + Smith Photography

Tomorrow's adventure: Corvallis, Oregon and July 4th weekend on the Oregon Coast!