Pacific Northwest 2016

Happy Saturday! I hope you’re enjoying a cozy morning with some nice people. I thought today would be a good time to do a little wrap up of our Pacific Northwest adventure from last weekend.

It all started because we found a killer deal for plane fare on Cyber Monday. We bought them, told our friends out there that we were coming and headed out last Friday. There wasn’t much more planning than that on our part.

When we landed, Dave’s college friend, Ben, was there to pick us up and we assumed our seats in his Tahoe that we would keep for the whole weekend. Every time we drove anywhere Ben gave us the rundown of the area: history, industry, and so many random facts. It was great to have our very own tour guide.

Saturday was our first day exploring and we headed into Seattle. My favorite part by far was our stop in to a little coffee shop. It was the best coffee I’d had since leaving Austria over a year ago. The little foam bunny didn’t hurt either. We spent the rest of the day wandering around Pike’s Place and some other places. I think my expectations were a bit high for downtown Seattle and while it was a fun experience, I think the real value is not in the city, but outside it.

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On Sunday we drove out to Mount Rainer National Park after a super early church service. It was such a clear blue sky day. Once we hit the mountain with our snowshoes, we could tell we were overdressed. One of the guys ran back to the car with a load of jackets and shed layers.

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Considering we were prepared not even to see the Mountain due to the PNW’s infamous mistiness, we couldn’t believe how fortunate we were. As we ascended, the entire Cascades Range stretched around us. We saw Mount St. Helens with her top blown off, a small avalanche in the distance and 360 degree breathtaking views. We were truly in the middle of it all. My brain couldn’t register that what I was looking at was real. Every time we turned around we all exclaimed in wonder all over again.Our final day out there started super early as we had a 3 hour drive down to the Oregon coast. But even the long drive was interesting to us as we passed by the Columbia River and many other sights we’d never seen before.

We stopped in Seaside for lunch and totally splurged on some seafood. It was so fun to try oysters for the first time and get some fresh fish and chips.

After lunch we headed out to the Ecola State Park and hiked north toward Indian Beach. Not only was it sunny but it was 75 degrees. As I sit in Michigan with temperatures nearing zero, I can’t believe we were hiking through summer-like weather less than a week ago. While the temperatures were heavenly, the views were unreal. As a Michigan girl, I had always assumed the Pacific Ocean was a slightly more impressive Great Lake. Boy, was I wrong. While the mist, foam and general size of everything blew my mind, it was the wildness of it all that struck me the most. Everything out there is just so much more wild. So big and Wild.

When we reached Indian Beach, I ran into the Pacific for the first time in my life. It was a good first impression. I just wanted to soak up every moment, every view.

We finished the day with a walk on Cannon Beach, which proved itself every bit worth the clichés. It’s an otherworldly place. We hit it at low tide and in the perfect lighting. Dave and Ben introduced me to a pair of seastars and lots of other tide pool friends. It was a day of firsts.

Sadly we only had 3 days out there, but it was long enough that we’re both semi-seriously thinking about packing up and moving out there. If only the weather were always that beautiful and friends that available for adventures.

Pacific Northwest, you far exceeded our expectations and captured our heart. We’ll be back.