Oregon Coast

Our two longest driving days for this trip were spent on back-to-back days. Not ideal for the middle of a long vacation… But, a bit of coffee (tea for me!) and an intriguing podcast got us off to a good start as we left Olympia around 8 AM and headed back toward the coast.

The day we were to drive the Oregon Coast was probably one that my sister was most looking forward to. When we were initially planning out options for what to do on this trip, she had sent me tons of great options for stops all along the Oregon coastline. I found a few others myself when I researched the area, but I think we ended up going with with a lot of my sister’s suggestions… and they did not disappoint.

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Olympic Peninsula

One of the areas that I was most excited to visit on this great Pacific Northwest Adventure was the Olympic Peninsula. Planning a whole day to do this loop was a challenging feat. When I was looking at all our options for stops along the way, I was overwhelmed with everything that was available. It would take multiple days to really do all the things that I wanted to do. In the end, we made five stops on this almost 9 hour loop around the peninsula.

As you can imagine, we started our day early — around 7:30 AM — and our schedule was pretty tight. Now, I’m not usually the kind of vacation planner that maps out every activity for every hour, but this section of the trip almost brought my Type A organization and planning skills to their max. There were so many factors to consider: beating traffic out of Seattle (since it was a Wednesday morning), taking ferries or driving around the bay to the bridge, traffic on the back highways, finding places to eat and stop for bathroom breaks, and most of all, hitting all our stops before running out of daylight. I give a great sigh of relief when I tell you that, despite a few hiccups, we made our last scenic stop as the sun was setting over the ocean. A perfect ending to one of my favorite parts of this trip. 

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Mount Rainier

It would be a safe to bet that almost anyone who has visited Seattle is familiar with the looming mountain that towers in the distance edges of the city skyline. Even though Mount Rainier is a two hour drive from Seattle, its magnificent peak stretches so high that it offers a clear view of the mountain from the city itself.

We decided to visit Mount Rainier the morning of our fourth day on our PNW Adventure. We got so lucky with the weather while we were in Washington. That morning there was not a cloud in the sky as we embarked on our drive to Mount Rainier National Park.

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Seattle, Washington

Seattle is one of those cities that I kind of expected to fall in love with. It’s a big city, offering all the things that one might hope to have access to — fun restaurants, tourist destinations, shopping that doesn’t require a long drive, and tons of downtown living. It is surrounded by the most beautiful scenery, including tons and tons of green, which is definitely a color I miss seeing. Plus, let’s not forget the Seattle skyline, which has a beauty that is amplified by the big looming presence of Mount Rainier in the distance.

I honestly cannot describe to you how breathtaking the view of this mountain is — if you are curious, just Google it. The online images will give you a fairly good idea. of what to expect. I have heard that you cannot always see it because of the fog and overcast days that often plague the city, but we must have gotten lucky with the weather. I remember the evening that we drove into the city and got our first glimpse of the mountain in the distance. The breath-taking view ahead of us only made us that much more excited to hike there the following day.

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British Columbia to Washington

On the third day of our PNW trip, we journeyed South of Vancouver to our next stop: Seattle. While this should only be a 3 hour drive from one city to the next, we decided to fill this day with hours of hiking. This area along the border of Canada and Washington is filled with some pretty amazing scenery if you are willing to drive away from the main interstate.

We did two hikes in total this day, both in different areas of Washington in between Seattle and Vancouver. We would have loved to do another one, but the driving time between the trailheads was fairly extensive. If you just want to drive from one city to the next, the drive is only about 3 hours (give or take 30-60 minutes to cross the US border), but our trip through the parks took us a good portion of the day, even after leaving Vancouver around 7 AM.

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Vancouver, BC

The first stop on our great Pacific Northwest Adventure was to Vancouver, British Columbia. Logan and I have a goal to leave the country at least once a year, and so for 2018, Canada was the extra country that we got to visit. Neither one of us has ever been to Canada before, so this was an exciting new country for the both of us. Although we only got to see a small part of it, we liked what we saw enough that we would love to venture back. It seems like the perfect place for a nature-lover. Plenty of hiking and great views!

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Pacific Northwest Adventure

It’s been awhile since I have written anything here. That’s what a Masters’ program will do to all your spare time, I suppose. Lots of reading, writing and researching. And let’s not forget to add in a full time job and a husband and a dog… But it’s fine. I’m here now.

Just a month ago, my husband and I traveled to the Pacific Northwest with my sister and her husband for a nine day adventure. This is a place we have been wanting to visit for quite a long time. I’m positive that my initial interest in the PNW began when I was a young teenage girl, obsessed with the Twilight saga and the great town of Forks, WA that Bella Swan and the Cullens called home. As I’ve grown up, my interest in past years has stemmed more from a desire to see the raw beauty in this area of the country.

As Logan and I discovered our newfound love for hiking, we could feel the great PNW calling us.

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Zion National Park

The day after our trip to the Grand Canyon, my husband and I traveled up to Zion National Park in Utah. We have a few friends who are from Utah, and we have heard so many great things about this park. When we realized we would only be 2 hours away while staying in Las Vegas, we knew we had to go. 

When we were originally planning our trip, a friend recommended a hike called Angel’s Landing. This hike is considered to be one of the more difficult ones in the park and, based on the information on their hiking guide, it could take a much as six hours to complete. Unfortunately, due to a large thunderstorm in early July, Angel’s Landing trailhead — along with a few others — was closed. This left us with the opportunity to search for some other good hiking options.

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