Out of all the places I’ve seen so far, the pacific northwest is the first one I could see myself living the rest of my life in, or at least a season of my life in. Several times I found myself gawking, head out of the window, giddy at the sight of moss, prehistoric trees, and more shades of green than one could imagine.
After San Francisco we drove up to portland, which was cool but probably a little too hipster for me. Also, too days in the city was enough to start wearing me out. Luckily, the next day was the day we headed for the olympic peninsula.
If you are ever taking highway 101 up the west coast, I would suggest doing what we did in Washington. Everything we did was beautiful enough to blow my mind. First we went and explored Ruby beach, a stunning, and mildly touristy area that features a great rock island. That night we slept right next to the pacific south of Ruby beach. I think it was called Kalaloch (clay-lock) beach. It was one of the only areas where beach bonfires were permitted.
But it was the next day that really stole my heart. The Hoh Rainforest will forever stick out in my mind as the most playful, inspiring place I have visited so far. The only forest of its kind in America, the Hoh boasts mossy floors, towering trees, and stunning rivers. The whole environment beckoned me to run barefoot through the trails, scale trees, and plunge into icy waters. It showed me how to be young, and kept a smile on my face. If only I could be lost there forever.
We had arranged two nights with family friends around Seattle, one in Port Townsend and one just south of the City. In Port Townsend we stayed with a couple my grandparents age and stayed up late listening to their many stories of wisdom, in turn exciting them with our own tales of adventure. I slept in their hammock beneath the stars. PT was the furthest north we could go on our trip, and from the beach we could see Canada.
Speaking as a one who can’t stand big cities, Seattle was pretty great. Spending an entire day there was easy, and everything from the ferry to the space needle offered a good view. After exploring the city, we crashed at another incredibly hospitable house and eaded east in the morning.