One of the major regions we had been looking forward to when we decided to travel was the Pacific Northwest. Neither of us had been previously, so everything was new. I think we experienced the true PNW…lots of rain, lots of grey, and lots of green.
I know I shouldn’t have been surprised, but I just couldn’t shake the fact that it was constantly raining. As soon as we got to the Redwoods, we just couldn’t get rid of the rain (literally until we made our way to Colorado). When it’s raining and you’re camping, things just don’t stay dry and it’s hard to keep dirt and grossness from entering your little house. Despite this challenge, the scenery did not disappoint and it was so different than anything we had done thus far.
To read other parts of our adventure thus far:
We spent one full day in Portland. Nora enjoyed herself immensely! She got to explore several parks, including the famous Portland Rose Garden, which was not in bloom with roses! No matter, the grounds were still very pretty. We also walked down to the waterfront and saw the cherry blossoms. Nora was not allowed in, but we did make a stop at Powell’s Books, the bookstore that is a whole city block. Josh and I took turns going inside. My guess is we could have stayed in there all day long!
The thing that struck both of us most about Portland was the amount of homeless people in the city. It was extremely sad to see these people on the streets with tarps over their belongings, as well as some living in tents. Portland is not a place I’d want to spend all day outside all the time — it was rainy! Upon further research, we discovered Oregon has one of the largest homelessness problems in our country. Part of the problem is the closing of mental institutions and part of the problem is the gentrification of the city. It felt like every city we visited was building, building, building, and the whole time we had to ask ourselves: where are the poor people going? It was the same in every single city we visited.
Nonetheless, we both really loved Portland. It was small enough, the homes were very cute, and we enjoyed their beer and thai. All in all, a winning combination for us!
Hood River, Oregon
Originally, we had planned to camp in the Hood River area of Oregon along the Columbia River Gorge. Some bad weather pending made us rethink our decision to camp and we decided to do a day trip instead since it was close enough to Portland to make that happen. So we headed up to see some waterfalls, walk a trail that was originally a highway, complete with a long tunnel, and explore the city of Hood River. It was a beautiful area!
Having just been on the California coast, the Oregon coast was so different! We saw more sand and some awesome rock formations. We visited Haystack Rock at sunset and got stuck in the pouring rain. It was pouring on the shore, but a rainbow appeared over the houses. It was crazy!
We also explored Lewis and Clark National Park and saw the area where they set up camp when they reached the coast. I had never learned much about their expedition, but found it really interesting to see where they went after traveling myself.
Lastly, we decided to take a hike with Nora on one of the coastal trails because it was dog friendly. It was also REALLY muddy, which Nora thought was super fun! But this resulted in her getting a bath at a local pet store. Not pleased!
Olympic National Park – Washington
Our first stop in Washington was Olympic National Park. We stayed on the coast and explored a driftwood beach, as well as a sandy beach near our campground. We got one beautiful sunset; the rest of the days were grey and rainy.
Our first full day, we explored the Hoh Rain Forest which was nearby our campsite. There wasn’t much you could do but hike there…the visitor center wasn’t even open. But seeing all the moss on the trees was really cool! Apparently Olympic is best seen through the backcountry.
Our second day we moved over near Sol Duc Falls and took a hike there. It was a similar rain forest setting. Then we decided to drive up to Hurricane Ridge. The road had just opened before we got there, but there was still snow everywhere! It was a beautiful view of the mountain range.
Our last stop in Washington was Seattle. We actually stayed on Bainbridge Island across the sound because there was no close place to the city to stay! But our campground was actually wonderful and was literally right on the water. We enjoyed Bainbridge and even tasted spirits, wine, and beer on the island! It was super cute.
We spent one day in Seattle and decided not to bring Nora due to the impending rain. We took the ferry boat over (a cool experience) and explored the market, went to Starbucks Reserve Roastery, had thai for restaurant week, and just explored the neighborhoods. It was a fun day!