I started the “Travellers’ Tales” section in 2016. This post marks my 100th interview. One hundred travelers from around the world have shared their fascinating travels on my blog thus far. Wow – I’m overwhelmed!
Today, I would like to introduce you to Heather, a travel blogger based in Oregon, USA . She blogs at Oregon Outdoor Family.
I would love to hear about your travels too. Go to “Travellers’ Tales” , fill in the quick questionnaire and email it to me with your blog links.
Read about Heather’s travels here,
1. Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Heather and my husband and I have 3 biological children, and we also travel with up to 3 foster children. Our children range from 0 to 13 years. We’re a pretty typical family most of the time, but when we can, we like to take our kids on rustic adventures in Oregon. It is often difficult to research our trips because few people have written about them, especially from a family point of view, so we started our blog in 2015 to help other families plan similar trips.
2. What is your earliest travel memory?
I have vague memories of camping in a large green tent next to a blue lake. I was about 4 years old. My mom hated the trip and we never went again, but I think it ignited a love for the outdoors. Another favorite activity when I was a child was driving to “the lake”, the reservoir near our hometown. We often drove around the lake, sometimes stopping to throw rocks into the water or hike a little.
3. Where was the last place you travelled to?
Almost all of our travel is within our home state of Oregon, and our last adventure was staying in a historic Forest Service cabin deep in the Bohemia Mountains. I think we were the only people for at least 40 miles. We didn’t even see another car for 3 days, and not until we left the mountain.
4. What was the best thing you did there?
We hiked into 120-year-old gold mines and explored what was left. One mine had a few buildings still standing, like the old post office. Another still had a mine entrance that looked like something from a movie. We didn’t go inside, of course, but getting to see it and feel the cold air wafting from out of the mine was truly an unforgettable experience.
5. What was your best holiday ever? Why?
This answer is different if you ask me versus my kids! For me, my favorite was staying at Timber Butte cabin, a historic fire lookout in Oregon. We were on top of a ridge, surrounded by tall fir trees. The cabin was surrounded by windows and we left the shades open at night so we could watch the stars from our beds. The morning sunrise was absolutely incredible, full of pinks and oranges. I got up with our baby and sat outside under a blanket, sipping coffee, watching the sky change colors until the sun was peeking over the trees.
My kids would tell you their favorite was a trip to Glass Buttes to dig for obsidian. It was a disaster! But to them, that just made the adventure even better. It’s a long story, but the end result was having our van towed for 85 miles back to civilization. We had 4 kids with us, including a 4-month-old, so mama was stressed!
6. What is your favourite travel destination?
Oregon, of course! Actually, I’d love to travel almost anywhere. But we keep mostly to Oregon for time and money, and also because it’s an incredibly varied state. We have the ocean and coast, the mountains filled with forests and caves, and we have the desert with it’s long history that is well-preserved by the dry climate. There’s a lot to see here!
7. What must one do there?
For a casual traveller, or one just spending a day, you’ve got to see Multnomah Falls. It’s Oregon’s tallest waterfall (and second tallest in the US) with a 620-foot plunge. Visiting Crater Lake National Park is another obvious choice with it’s impossibly blue water and always-incredible photo opportunities.
But if you have a few more days, and a bit of adventurous spirit, I definitely recommend renting a historic Forest Service fire lookout. It’s truly a unique experience and very seldom available outside of Oregon. They’re remote, and located high on mountains, and offer the very best views. I can’t think of anything else I’d rather do for the ultimate Oregon experience.
8. Who is your favourite travel companion/s?
My family! My kids are crazy and willing to do whatever we think of. My husband isn’t just a willing partner, he’s also the one who comes up with the most insane ideas. I find myself thinking “You want to do WHAT? With 5 kids?! … Okay!”
9. Name one item you must have when travelling.
My phone, of course. It’s my #1 way to take photos and videos. We’re usually not in cell range, so it’s only good as a camera, but that’s also pretty convenient.
A couple of years ago, my mom bought each of us a Yeti Rambler water bottle. We had other water bottles, but I’ve come to appreciate and admire the Yeti quality. They really are designed beautifully. Ours are all stainless steel, but I’m looking to get a colorful one for myself. We have 18-oz bottles for carrying with us, and 64-oz gigantic bottles for leaving in the van wherever we’re parked. They’re too heavy for long hikes, but generally amazing for anything else.
10. Your best travel advice?
Be prepared. Especially when travelling with children. We try to pack as light as we can, but we’ve learned that no one benefits if we forget something necessary. Pretty much everything we carry has multiple uses. Our dish towels can double as a diaper in a pinch, or a size 5T jacket will do fine on a 2T child (but not the reverse). We plan carefully, with redundancies, so we have everything we need for the kids.
And always carry a first aid kit with tweezers and Benadryl.
11. The one place you want to visit before you die?
I’ve always wanted to visit Russia. I can’t even express why, except that the country holds a strong fascination for me. I’d love a tour that samples cities, the tundra and forests, even Chernobyl.
12. Worst travel experience?
Haha, our aforementioned disastrous trip to Glass Buttes in Oregon. We drove with 4 kids (ages 4 months to 11 years) about 7 hours into the deserts of Eastern Oregon. We were 85 miles from the nearest large town, 11 miles from the nearest people and 4 miles off the highway when our van’s radiator blew. We had smoke and steam billowing out from under our hood. It was hot and dry outside. My husband managed to jury rig the radiator enough to travel for a mile or so at a time. We were well-prepared and had planned on camping, so we went ahead and set up camp for the night. The next morning, we made it to the highway, and limped the 11 miles to the closest phone. Called a tow truck from the town 85 miles away, and then were towed into town. It took us all day to get back to civilization, and we still weren’t in our hometown. We found a hotel room and begged a dealership to fix our van overnight. My kids thought it was awesome.
13. How can people connect with you?
Blog: Oregon Outdoor Family
Thank you, Heather, for sharing your fascinating adventures with us!
I would love to hear about your travels too. Go to “Travellers’ Tales”, fill in the quick questionnaire and email it to me with your blog links.
Who will I feature next? I’ve got an exciting line-up ahead. Make sure you subscribe to the free newsletter so you don’t miss out on some exciting travel tales.