The open road and the Northwest Coast

My first trip to the Pacific Northwest was in 2008 to the Oregon Coast. My wife (girlfriend at the time) and I bought two Amtrak tickets from Cincinnati, Ohio to Cannon Beach, Oregon. I immediately fell in love with the Pacific Northwest. I had graduated from high school a few years before and my dream was to move out to the PNW, I've always been drawn to the natural beauty and vibes this area has to offer. After our first trip to Oregon in 2008, we were hooked and it was always in the back of our minds like, "Yeah, we're gonna make it out there sometime!"

Fast forward to now, May 2016, and we've been living out here in Seattle for about 3 years. For the longest time, my brother has been wanting to come out and visit. He's still in college so it's hard for him to get the time to come out with all of his classes and internships. This spring break though, he finally made it happen and came out for 10 days with his girlfriend, Anna. I knew I wanted to make this trip special so I told my job, "Yo, my bro is coming out so I gotta split for 10 days and show him EVERYTHING!". They were cool about it so I started planning a northwest tour of Washington, Oregon, and Northern California. I've learned, from many friends visiting me out here throughout the years, the coast is what captivates people; its raw wild beauty and the calling of the open ocean have the power to make people fall in love with the northwest.

The coast was my catalyst to move out here back in 2008 so I knew I wanted to show him the the coastal side of the northwest. We hit the road from Seattle and headed to the Olympic Peninsula with Hurricane Ridge being the first stop. My brother has never seen mountains before, needless to say, he was mind blown by the rugged snow capped peaks. After a quick dip in Crescent Lake, we made it to Second Beach at La Push for some coastal camping. The summer months can be crowded but we lucked out by getting there on a Sunday night during early spring. With only a few other groups camping, it was as if we had the whole beach to ourselves. The clear sky let the stars shine bright and the driftwood fire kept us warm. 

Morning broke and we enjoyed some campfire coffee before our hike back to the car. We headed to Oregon from there, making a stop at Ecola State Park and other viewpoints along the 101. A solid day of driving brought us to Crescent City, California where we snagged a camp spot in Jedediah State Park in the heart of the Redwoods. Being struck in awe by the scale of the ancient trees, we took it all in and let the trees speak with the wind as we listened.

After a hike through Stout Grove, we made our way back north through the I-5 corridor to Portland, Oregon where a friend let us crash at her place. We took it easy since the following day would be full of waterfalls along the Columbia River Gorge. We visited many but spent most of our time at Oneonta Falls and Wahclella Falls. Since we started early on a Thursday morning, there was no one else in sight, which can be very rare (especially on the weekends!). We hiked the slot canyon to lower Oneonta barely being able to feel our legs as we waded through the water, it was cold but so worth it! After drying off, we shot north back to Seattle where we would do a day hike up Mount Pilchuck in the Cascades. 

This was Alex's first big hike up a mountain, there's not really many mountains in Ohio... actually none. The snow got pretty deep and our boots started to soak through but the views were amazing and our spirits unbreakable. We got to the top and took it all in for a good hour. Although my brother was definitely worn out from the hike up, I looked at Alex's face and knew he was so pumped he got to summit a mountain.

 

From the rugged peaks, to mossy rain forests, to the Pacific Ocean; the Pacific Northwest is heaven on earth and I'm so happy I got to have my brother experience the place I love and live. I remember my brother saying the coast was his favorite part of the trip before he left for Cincinnati. Alex can be a quiet dude when it comes to his emotions but I know this trip will forever hold a special place in his heart and mind.

I know it will for me.

 
 
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