Pacific North West
Our favorite place outside of Alaska. The region stretches from Oregon all the way up to the southern part of Canada, littered with beautiful cascading trees and soft beaches. Highway 101 stretches along this route and is voted to be one of the most scenic highway in the world. If you ever get the chance to visit any part of the PNW, make sure to check out some of it's hidden treasure.
Umpqua National Forest
Glen and I used to think we’d had seen it all when it came to the hot springs. Thankfully, we were wrong. Umpqua Hot Springs is outta this world! It blows our former favorite, Northern Canadian hot springs, out of the water! Surrounded by soaring pines and featuring rustic timber-structures over a few of the blue pools, it’s like a fairytale. We made our way up the hill to the springs in the dreamy pre-dawn light of the blue hour. We stayed in the water for two hours and had the entire place to ourselves. Despite being inside a national forest, it’s a surprisingly intimate location. The therapeutic soak left us feeling whole and happy. Tucker was also pleased, getting his doggy tan on and staying warm with the steam coming from the pools beside us. After the hot spring, we did a quick hike nearby that opened up to the incredible Toketee Waterfall.
Filled with sea stacks, brilliantly-blue water, and powerful tides, Samuel H Boardman scenic corridor is definitely one of the coolest places we’ve stumbled into on our travels. We explored a portion of the scenic corridor for a few hours and left feeling inspired but also a little shaky. The natural bridge requires a small hike and opens onto a "bridge" that is surrounded on all sides jaw-dropping cliffs that plunge into churning water. Standing on the edge, it felt like starring into the abyss. Tucker pranced along side of us, totally oblivious. As we didn’t want to end up tragically dogless, so we made sure to keep him on a tight leash. That night, we camped nearby on a magical beach. The sounds of the waves crashing and the smell of our soup boiling left us more than satisfied as we bedded town in our tent for the night.
Salt and sand, sea and sky, Cape Kiwanda in Pacific City, Oregon is officially on our best beaches list. We were super nervous about actually driving on the beach, but once we got the hang of the viscosity of the sand, we were ready to rock and roll! We set up camp and went into a picture taking frenzy. Chairs, check; fire, check; tequila, double check; we had everything a beachgoer could dream of! Except warm water…oh well. We spent the latter part of the day digging in the sand with Tucker, talking to local surfers, and taking Instagram worthy shots of the 4Runner. Not a bad day, no rain either!
Good weather, great food, and incredibly company; Seattle marked the second half of our trip. We are meeting up with our friends, Jennifer and Arthur, who will be joining us on our journey towards the last frontier. We caught up on sleep and laundry, did some editing at a local coffee shop, and even managed to squeeze in a night out at the movies!
Olympic National Park
We decided to do an impromptu beach day with the whole squad and completely lucked out with the weather! Sunny skies and mild temperatures meant sunbathing for the humans and an exciting dip in the water for Tucker. We spent most of our time at Ruby Beach, practicing acrobatics and snacking on a hearty loaf of bread accompanied by tasty brie and berries.
Vance Creek Trestle
Every time we pass through the Northwest, we seek out this well-hidden, dilapidated rail trestle. Located just outside of Tacoma, WA, Vance Creek Bridge is a decommissioned logging bridge. The structure looms in uncomfortable silence a daunting 500 feet above the creek. Rushing water far below, creaky wood slabs underfoot, and heavy breathing as it seems like one wrong step will lead to death. We spent a few hours with Jennifer and Arthur, exploring the area and enjoying the panoramic views. However, Glen and I decided that we won’t be back in the future, given the rapid structural deterioration of the bridge.