June 17-19: Scenic Hot Springs. While we were in Oregon, we found a serious love for hot springs. We went to a hot spring in Colorado, but, Oregon was the state that really sold it to us. Umpqua Hot Springs in Oregon. I will never forget that magical multi-tiered springs. We were determined to find and do at least one hot springs while we were in Washington. Scenic Hot Springs really caught our eyes while we were doing some research. This enchanted spring is on private property and requires a reservation to get to it. Alec and I don’t really seem to plan ahead. We really like to wing things, but, this is a place where you really should plan ahead for. The owners only allow 10 people per day and those spaces fill up very quickly. We did our reservations a month in advance and there were only two days in the month of June that was still available. It’s the place to be and people are planning for it. The fee is $10/person. Once you are approved, the owner will give you a thorough yet slightly confusing description of the location of the springs. The roads and paths aren’t marked on a map, so you really have to rely on the instructions to get there. It was quite confusing, but, we will have to revisit that story in a minute. First I want to tell you about the hike we did right before we visited the Scenic Hot Springs. Alec and I really wanted to get one good hike in before soaking. Alec wanted to show me this beautiful hike called the Bridal Veil Falls Trail. It was on the way to the springs anyways, so it worked out. This was a beautiful 3.7 mile out and back trail with a 1,000 foot elevation increase. Your legs feel that elevation gain. What I loved about this trail is that is was challenging and had different pathways throughout the trail. At first you are on flat gravel which then turns into climbing over boulder rocks which then turns to stairs. Like I said, your legs will be feeling this hike. If you wanting a free snack throughout that elevation gain, this trail has a ton of salmon berries lining the trails. Thank you trail!
At first I was hesitant to try these berries. In Florida, I just assumed that every wild berry wasn’t edible. These salmon berries are just delicious. I made it into a hunt for the most delicious berry throughout this hike. This hike was worth it. The end of the trail leads you to the stunning Bridal Veils waterfall. Holy moly. There was a wonderful breeze as the cold water bounced back towards you.
It felt so refreshing especially after the amount of sweat we produced trying to get there. Worth it. We were ready after that hike to go soak. We now had to closely follow the instructions on how to get to the Scenic Hot Springs. Turn down this dirt road, walk a little, go through shortcut. The hike to the springs was no joke.
There were times where Alec and I thought that we were lost. It wasn’t easy to get to by any means. We both felt like this hike was more strenuous than the Bridal Veils Trail. It was roughly 1.8 miles of straight elevation gain. It was a beautiful hike (even though strenuous).
We were in an open valley that overlooked Stevens Pass. If you are going to this hot spring, don’t do a big hike beforehand. We were feeling the burn the entire way up. Finally after many twists and turns, we made it to the spring. It was beautiful. There were three plastic tubs with the hot springs water running into it. The springs overlooked the mountains. Alec and I were so hot from the hike that we decided to cool off before even stepping foot into it. You can get overheated and dehydrated so quickly in a hot spring. Once we were ready, the soaking began. It was just gorgeous. The water was nice and relaxing on our aching muscles. All of the hiking/climbing didn’t matter the moment my foot went into that water. Ahhhhhh. Such relief.
I really loved that hot spring. It was nice that the owner only allowed 10 people per day. It wasn’t overcrowded at all. There were people there, but, we could all enjoy a corner of the tubs and truly relax. We met some amazing people while being there. A girl who does traveling nursing and has an assignment in WA, two Australians, and a guy who cliff jumps. I love hanging out, relaxing, and having genuine conversations with complete strangers. It was just lovely.
June 19-21: Family in town. I was soo excited because my aunt and uncle came into town from California. I love them so much. My uncle Ron is one of my favorites. I call him UBM: uncle by marriage. He calls me NBM: niece by marriage. We have this long joke that he isn’t blood and that we don’t want to directly associate with each other. So I will be calling uncle Ron UBM throughout this blog post. UBM and I have been close for many years. We chat throughout the year of the phone. He is always very interested in what I have been up to. He was so incredibly jealous of our trip and really wanted to get apart of it. “ I promise I will meet you somewhere.” I was so pumped that I could spend some time with him. We haven’t seen each other since Alec and I got married. It is just a big treat for me.
We had a lot we wanted to go do and not a whole lot of time. They were only here in WA for a full day. We decided to go do Vancouver, BC. Alec and I went there last year while visiting, but, it poured the entire time. We were both ready for a redo. I’m so glad that we decided to go there because the weather was just perfect. The sun was shining, the mountains were out, and the sky was blue. It was just lovely. To start the day off in Vancouver, we had to go to the Public Market downtown.
This market puts Pikes Place to shame. Row after row after row of fresh produce, walk-up restaurants, pop-up shops, and flowers.
It’s honestly difficult to decide on what you want to buy for lunch. The market has a lot of seating areas right next to the water. It was nice enjoying our food in the breeze overlooking the water. Be sure to check it out. Next up for the day was exploring Stanley Park. We all didn’t realize how big Stanley Park was. It was huge. There are so many sections of it: rose garden, kids playground, beach walks, the Lions Gate bridge views. It seemed endless.
The weather was just lovely as we walked along the beach. It was a beautiful park. If you are going to Vancouver, BC and want to do a suspension bridge, be sure to check out Lynn Canyon Park. This free park included many trails and a nice sized suspension bridge. I know if you google search Vancouver suspension bridge, the Capilano Suspension Bridge pops up. I have never been to that bridge before only because it is about $43 per person to get on it. The great thing about the Lynn Canyon Park is that is it free. Not only do you get some amazing trails, but, you can walk over a suspension bridge. Win, win.
The day was getting to an end and all we wanted to do was have a beer. We went to the Gastown in the eastern downtown area to see what we could find. If you ever go to Vancouver, be sure to check out Gastown.
It is FULL of trendy bars, restaurants, and shops. The Lamplighter Public House was our pub for the night. It had a delicious selection of beers, cocktails, and simple foods.
We ended our night in a fancy hotel. UBM has points for hotels because of traveling for business. They blessed us with our own fancy room that included a king-sized mattress, great view, big shower, and even robes.
Fancy stuff. It was a nice break from sleeping in Callie. Very refreshing. Alec and I thoroughly enjoyed watching the sunset over Vancouver. It was just gorgeous with the vibrant oranges and pinks. Alec and I just melted into the bed that night. Let’s just say that we slept extremely well under the fluffy covers.
The next day we were ready for another adventure. UBM and Claudia were leaving back for Cali that day and we had a lot to do. Our adventure on the way to the airport was through Whidbey Island. They have a family friend who lives over there and they wanted to see the island. We went over Deceptions Pass, walked Ebbey’s Landing, and went to Langley for lunch with their friend.
It was very bittersweet dropping them off at the airport. It was so good to have that side of my family back. Whenever my aunt laughs, I hear my mom. It made me really homesick. It definitely was a lovely visit with my crazy UBM and Aunt Claudia.
June 10-13: North Cascades National Park. Where do I even begin? I decided that I was going to recently take a little break. We have been nonstop with our family in Washington State and just wanted to thoroughly enjoy that time. I am very proud to say that I never missed or skipped a blog post since we started this trip. It was time. We did a lot this week. The first adventure was driving through the North Cascade Loop for my father-in-laws birthday.
It was going to be a 3 day, 2 overnight camping experience with Alec’s family (Chuck, Parilee, and Cale). First stop, breakfast. These Brenchley’s “know their bakeries”. They love their breakfast. “It’s the best and most important meal of the day.” They are not wrong. It really does set the mood for the day, in my professional breakfast-eating opinion. “Give me all the bacon and eggs you have”- Ron Swanson. I really did marry a super nice version of Ron Swanson. Alec is simple. He loves breakfast food and brunettes. He loves to woodwork, drink whiskey, smoke cigars, and being outdoors. Parilee always knows the best breakfast places. We went to a place called Sultan Bakery in Sultan, WA.
The bakery was tiny, but, provided people with some fresh foods. We really needed that fuel for the day. We were off to hike and could use all the calories to help us along our way. The hike that Alec’s dad choose was the Heybrook Lookout Trail Hike. This was a 1.9 mile hike moderately strenuous hike. The majority of this hike was very a steep incline, gaining 866 feet of elevation.
With that being said, be smart and hydrate. That’s a good amount of elevation gain for a small amount of hiking. The top of this hike brought you out to a tower that overlooks some of the cascade mountain range.
You can even rent out that tower for a camping spot for the night. Can you imagine the views of those mountains at sunrise?! Just stunning! The end destination for the day was a cute town called Chelan, WA. Chelan is on the eastern side of the Cascade Mountain Range. If you aren’t familiar with Washington, the locals divide the state by east and west of the cascades (never south and north). The eastern section of Washington is drier and more like a desert. They don’t get the excessive rain like Seattle does. The terrain had more browns and oranges to it. It was just beautiful though. Unfortunately, I didn’t take any pictures of Chelan. It’s beautiful so be sure to Google Image it! Chelan is Washingtons Wine Country. Vineyard after vineyard clang to the rolling hills surrounding Chelan Lake. This beautiful and extremely clear lake is the biggest in the state of Washington. It is a perfect central point for this beautiful wine country. We wanted to taste some wine, but, we needed to park Callie first. Alec’s parents and brother brought their tents to sleep in. We did decide to take Callie with us instead of just tent camping. That gave us more storage place for foods and essentials. Plus, we would have a full kitchen for cooking. The campground that Alec found was Lake Antilon. It was a free campground, had no cell service, and was right by the lake. We parked Callie and we were off. For our wine tasting that evening, we went to a place called Chelan Winery. They had free wine tasting. Yes, FREE. I couldn’t believe it. I can’t remember one winery where we could taste test for free. We didn’t just stop there. We also went to the Chelan Brewery downtown. Poor Cale had to taxi us around for a few hours. Dinner time. We were super glad that we decided to tow along Callie because the bugs were out that night. The mosquitos almost became uncomfortable while we were trying to grill our burgers. We were right next to the lake and so the bugs were full force. We decided to have dinner inside of our RV while playing music through our speakers. Perfect ending to a perfect day. The next morning everyone was excited to go see the North Cascades National Park. This beautiful park is over 500,000 acres of land and features the North Cascades Mountain Range. This mountain range has the most extensive glacial systems in the lower 48 states. It is also the home to Ross Lake National Recreational Area and the famous, blue Diablo Lake. Windy roads take you through the mountains and pass by the lakes.
Let’s talk about Diablo Lake. Diablo Lake is just stunning. This vivid turquoise lake gets it’s beautiful color from something called glacier flour. The surrounding glaciers grind up rocks that make this water so beautiful. Not only was the color just breathtaking, but, the water was clear.
It was the best of both worlds. Alec’s dad, Chuck, loved it so much that he went for a quick dip in the water to cool off. For the Pacific Northwest, it was HOT that day. It was in the mid 90s. We have been thoroughly enjoying the beautiful 70s and 80s with no humidity. Let’s just say that we were sweating. We did hike while we were there. It was a hike called the Ross Lake Dam Trail. It was about 2 miles round trip, but, considered strenuous. It was a very steep trail. It declined on the way to the dam and inclined coming back. I like my trails the other way around. I like to put in all the work at the beginning and have it easy coming back. This wasn’t the case. It led out to the Ross Lake Dam. I thought that it was slightly odd that we could just walk onto this very large dam, but, I didn’t complain. The views alone from this Dam was worth all of the sweat getting there.
We were all exhausted by the end of the second day.
We had driven over 350 miles in two days. We decided that only Alec and I would drive especially since we were towing Callie. There is no sense in having other people learn how to tow our RV for that trip. For our campground that evening, we found a place called Grandy Lake Campground in Concrete, WA.
It wasn’t free unfortunately, but, still extremely affordable. It was $7 for Callie and $5 per tent. It was right off the lake which, again, brought the bugs. We did the same thing we did the night before. We grilled outside and ate inside. It was just too buggy. We really did have a lovely time with Alec’s family celebrating his dads birthday. I thought that the North Cascades were absolutely breathtaking. Diablo Lake was my favorite part of the two days with the Chelan Winery as a close second. I really think that Napa Valley, CA should take some tips from Chelan. Chelan’s scenery and vibe is much more beautiful, in my opinion. It was a great few day adventure.
June 13-16: Mount Rainier National Park.
In between adventures, Alec and I have really concentrated on spending as much time with family as possible. We had a family night with the whole gang…aunts, uncles, cousins. We have also been spending a lot of time with Alec’s 99 year old grandpa, Jack. Jack is impressive to say the least. His mind is still extremely sharp and quick. It’s just his body that is now failing him. Family time has been the reasons for the lack of details or posts because who really cares about a blog. Family is always first. Always. We took a day or two to regroup before going back out for Mount Rainier. That is a great mountain. On a clear day, you can see Mt. Rainier from over 100 miles away. Impressive. The Seattle people have a saying here. “The mountain is out!” That’s when you know to go looking towards the direct of Rainier and there it will be. Big and in full glory. We have actually been on a mountain during this trip that was 4 feet higher than Rainier called Pikes Peak in Colorado. We drove up to the top of this 14,115 foot mountain. Pikes Peak was beautiful, but, not as striking.
The elevation surrounding Pikes Peak in Colorado Springs is already over 6,000 feet, so the mountain doesn’t look as glorious as Rainier. Rainier is just massive looking because the surrounding areas are close to sea level. It just towers over everything at 14,111 feet. They say that people have a spiritual experience when they go to Mount Rainier National Park. They weren’t lying. That place was amazing. I stood there just stunned looking at this towering mountain just trying to imagine how beautiful heaven must be.
If a mountain that God designed on this Earth is that breathtaking and puts you in such awe, I can’t even imagine what heaven will look like. I love Mount Rainer NP, just loved it. I would say that it is now in my top 5 favorites for National Parks. They way they designed this park with Rainier as the central point.
The way that they roads wind through tunnels and through vivid green forests.
It’s just amazing. I also loved the hiking options the park had. The first day we were there, we did a short 1 ish mile hike called the Grove of the Patriarchs. It took you over a suspension bridge and through the western redwood trees.
It reminded me a lot of the Redwoods National Park. The trees were thousands of years old and stood at about 200 feet high.
The textures on these trees really caught my eye. They almost twisted at the base of them and were covered in thick moss. Some of the branches were covered in so much moss that they resembled spider legs.
Fantastic hike. One thing about this park that you should know is that some people go to admire Mount Rainier and never see it. During the winter and rainy season, the mountain may never come out during your stay. I know last year when we visited for 8 days, I only saw the mountain one time. We got very lucky. The first day, Rainier was out with just a few clouds over it. You could see all of the glaciers on the side of the mountains and the baby blue color that they gave. The sunshine was out and the flowers were just starting to blossom. I was surprised to find out that some of the roads were still closed due to snow. It’s JUNE! Washington! It’s June! I was glad that we weren’t really effected by those road closures. I know when we visited Crater Lake NP in Oregon that we only got into one mile of the park (bummer). At least we could really see most of the park even with the road closures. The park is divided into a few sections: Sunrise (closed), Longmire, and Paradise. Paradise is the most visited area of the park, being right up against Rainier and has the best visitor center. It was interesting because the first day we drove up to Paradise and couldn’t see a dang thing. I mean nothing. The fog was so thick that I didn’t even realize that Rainier was literally right in front of my eyes. So we decided to travel back down the park to where Rainier was still visible and do a hike called the Bench and Snow Lake Trail. It was a moderate 2.7 mile hike that takes you through valleys towards the clear and reflective Snow Lake. Blooming flowers lined the trail.
Mount Rainier peaks itself in the background as you hike along the trail.
I was just in love. The trees with so green and vivid. The surrounding cliffs where still covered in snow.
The lake was calm. We did have to hike through a small part of snow. We did underestimate this hike though. There was a section that was just straight up for a good while. Totally worth it. It was so stunning.
The sun started to make its way down and so we decided to leave to set up camp. Alec found some free land within the Gifford Pinchot National Forest that is just outside of the National Park. You have to drive about a 3/4 of a mile through narrow, wooded roads and then it opens up to first-come, first-served camping land. I loved this camping location. There is enough land where you can really spread out from other people. I enjoyed knowing people were there (backup system), but, we still had our privacy. It was completely free land to camp on. There was no cell service, but, it didn’t matter because it was so peaceful and beautiful.
There is a clear, blue creek down a hill right by the open land so there was background noise while you slept.
The campsites are surrounded by tall trees. It wasn’t buggy at all. We maybe got a moth or two, but, it was nothing like the campgrounds near the lakes. We decided for this adventure to just tent camp in our CVT rooftop tent. Fun fact that you may not know. We had originally planned to do this multiple month adventure in that rooftop tent. We both had worked on building out the back of the truck for a year which included the truck topper, the LED additions of the tent itself, a fridge, storage, etc. We ended up keeping most of the stuff we did to the truck. The plug in fridge has been so incredibly useful for us. We have used it during power outages back home and throughout this entire trip for lunchs during the day. A few months before we left for this adventure, Alec did a solo trip to the Georgia Traverse (off-roading trails) and it poured the entire time. Within those 4 days, Alec really just wanted a couch to sit on and walls to be inside of. That’s where Callie came into play. We prayed about it and decided that we really needed a tiny home to really enjoy this trip and to not put stress where stress didn’t need to be. Best decision ever. I really love Callie the Caravan. With that all being said, we really haven’t tent camped this entire trip. It was time. I really missed it. We couldn’t have picked a more perfect and beautiful night. It was just perfect. Absolutely perfect. There was a nice breeze that made it the perfect amount of cool. No bugs. We forgot our chairs and ended up with two perfectly size tree stumps to sit on. We were super organized (I HATE being unorganized while camping. It’s such a pain). Over the years, we have perfected a box just for camping. This box has the essentials for making a dinner, starting a fire, washing dishes, etc. It really helps. We opened a bottle of wine, made dinner, and enjoyed a great fire. I really love making a good fire. Last year, Alec taught me how to make a fire from nothing. No help of a fire log, no additional help like gasoline. Just a straight and solid fire out of wood. I love making them and I love watching Alec make it. The mountain man really comes out and I love it! I really enjoyed my time hanging out with just Alec without any cell phones. We just chatted for hours and drank that bottle of wine in front of the fire.
The simplicity of that is so attractive to me. I am obsessed with those types of nights. We both forgot how comfortable our rooftop tent actually was. We didn’t set an alarm and just counted on the sunlight to wake us up. Right now the sun has been rising around 5am. We have been waking up from that sunlight in Callie. We figured it would be the same within the tent. We were wrong. The tent was nicely shaded and with the running water, we slept in. Oh well. It was just a perfect night of camping. I loved it.
That morning we were ready to get going. Our tent is super easy to pack up again. While I worked on getting the tent ready to pack back onto the top of the truck, Alec made breakfast. We had everyone packed up, eaten, and ready to go within a hour. That’s great organization and teamwork at its absolute finest. It’s amazing to me the difference of one day when it comes to Rainier. The day before, Rainier had some clouds on it and it wasn’t visible at all in the Paradise section of the park. That morning, it was clear. Not a single cloud on the mountain or even in the sky. We drove up to Paradise and was just blown away by the views of Rainier. It’s just so amazing. I just couldn’t stop looking at it. We were excited because we could actually do the hike that we were wanting to get done while being there. It was called the Skyline Trail. It was a Saturday and the mountain was completely out, so we did battle some crowds while going up this hike. The conditions of the hike did start to weed some people out towards the top. Most of this hike was in very wet snow. You would think walking in snow that you would be cold. Wrong. We were both sweating like crazy. It takes a lot to go up the steep inclines in snow without hiking poles or studded shoes. I was determined. I wanted to hike up to see the surrounding areas near Rainier. While we were hiking, we saw a group of people in the distance summiting Rainier. Alec climbed up Rainier a few years ago and told me all about the experience. It really motivates me to train and do it myself. One day. Once we got to a good stopping point, we looked back and could see Mt. Adams and Mt. St. Helens. Just breathtaking.
I can’t really describe the beautiful of it all. It really hasn’t even hit me, to be honest. It was just so great. All of the sweat and struggle hiking through that snow didn’t matter at all while looking at that view. We sat on some rocks relaxing and admiring the mountains for a good while. One of the highlights of that hike was feeding a little chipmunk. I know you’re not supposed too…..but I did it anyways. This little guy jumped onto my lap and ate it on my lap.
I was so excited. If you know me, you understand my love for animals. I have to stop and pet every dog I can. I love feeding birds and squirrels. That chipmunk just really made that hike that much more sweet for me. You can call me Snow White now. Thank you. It was just a beautiful hike, beautiful camping night, perfect adventure. I loved Mount Rainier National Park.
I’m taking a break! We have been exploring the North Cascades National Park this week and we are exploring Mount. Rainier National Park this weekend. New posts coming soon so keep your eyes out. For now, I’m going to thoroughly enjoy Washington state.
June 7-9: short and simple. This blog post will be short and simple. I mean really short and simple. Tomorrow, we head out for a few days with my in-laws to do a big outdoor adventure. We had Jade and Rich come hang out with us for the weekend. Alec’s 29th birthday was last Friday. It’s been very busy. I almost didn’t do a blog post for Monday at all, but, decided to just fill a post with pictures and act like that’s good enough. I mean it’s my blog. I really can do whatever I want. So here are some sweet pictures of the last few days. Enjoy.
June 2-3: exploring Seattle, WA. Last year when we visited Washington, it rained the entire time. I’m not talking about little, misty rain when you think about the Pacific Northwest. I’m talking about pouring ice rain. We still went out and explored, but, it was miserable. Poor Alec had talked up this area for almost 8 years and I didn’t have the best experience. With that type of rain, we didn’t see a single mountain within the 8 days that we were there. Let’s just say that I was disappointed. I needed a redo. I wanted to explore this state with the beautiful weather that we have been blessed with and actually see what all the hype is about. It was time for downtown Seattle. I went last year with Alec and Cale to downtown. It was fun, but, again pouring. I was excited that we woke up with an absolutely beautiful day. The weather was in the mid-60s, the sun was out, and the sky was blue. You really can’t get any better than that. It was strange for me to think that it’s June and in the mid-60s. Back home, people have been roasting since March. It has just been lovely. For our Seattle downtown day, I just had Alec tell me where we were going. If you didn’t know, Alec lived in Seattle for about 3 years and has been coming here on and off for years. I wanted him to show off the areas that he really loves. It was a fill day. We started off the day with the Gas Works Park. It was a former factory and was later turned into a beautiful park for kids and families. The gas pipes were still up for people to go explore though.
They must have loved primary colors because the pipes were painted in vibrant yellow, red, and blue. Little kids ran through that area so excited to be able to roam around. Something that I absolutely loved about this park was the view. It gives a great view of downtown Seattle.
There is a lot of grass space so it would be a great area for a nice picnic with a great view. Beautiful park, beautiful area. Next stop on Alec’s mind was that Ballard Locks. This beautiful place was free to enter and very entertaining to watch. Think about a boat elevator because that’s exactly what this place is. It helps to transfer the boats from Washington Lake to the Salmon Bay.
Those two bodies of waters are at different levels so its a either brings the boat up or down to meet the water level. They close the boat off in a gated area and either drain and add water to the closed off area. I have never seen anything like that, so I was memorized watching the boats. It’s a beautiful area. There are a lot of things to do and see there. Theres an area where you can watch the salmon swim and jump up stream.
There is also a beautiful, vivid garden that you can walk through.
We saw a lot of people with their kids and dogs there. If you are visiting downtown Seattle, make sure to stop by the Ballard Locks.
Seattle has some amazing places. Great restaurants, bars, coffee shops. One of my favorite WA restaurants is El Camion. It’s a DELICIOUS Mexican restaurant. Oh my gosh. If you have gone to El Camion, you know. You know. We stopped there for lunch and I was so in love with my tacos that I forgot to snap a photo. All attention to a good taco! After lunch, we were driving towards downtown when we came across the Edith Masefield house. This house was the inspiration for the movie UP.
He refused to leave when construction started. It’s so cute. The house is literally surrounded by store walls. I was such an unexpected surprise!
Seattle Downtown, what a great place. I was glad that we did a redo of that beautiful city because I just fell in love with it. We did a lot while being downtown. I guess that I will just name off the places we went to.
The troll bridge (didn’t take a picture).
Pikes Place Market.
That place is just amazing. Rows of beautiful produce and flowers.
Freshly caught fish on ice. Small shops after small shops.
It’s an iconic Seattle stop. Be sure to stop. Seattle Space Needle. This place was beautiful. It is $37/ person to get to the top for the downtown view. There is a Seattle CityPASS that includes the Chihuly Garden, Space Needle, Seattle Aquarium for about $90. We didn’t end up going to the top of the Needle. We just walked around it and enjoyed the grass in the park.
The grass up here is just amazing. Super soft and actually enjoyable to relax in! To end our very full day, we went to Kerry Park. Kerry Park gives a great view of the downtown Seattle area. We walked up to a bunch of people looking at the city to see that Mount Rainier was also out. What a treat.
That view was just stunning. We sat there for a long time just soaking in the view and the sunshine.
June 3-6: Whidbey Island, WA. Alec’s mom was so excited to go exploring through Whidbey Island. We had gone last year, but, there was a lot that we didn’t get to see. It’s a beautiful area. If you know Parilee, you know that everything was planned out and hyped up. She lovesss planning days to go out exploring and just treasures them. Something that I love about her is that she can find the joy in absolutely everything. I mean everything. She turned the wrong way and just talked all about the beautiful flowers on the edge of the road. I just watching her take in all of the shops, scenery, conversations, hikes, nature. She just loves live and loves sharing it with others. She has always been like that though. I remember being in high school, hanging out in the Brenchley house and her cooking for everyone while smiling. I was excited to see what she had planned for me, Alec, and Cale. First things first..coffee. Parilee took us to a cute little town called La Connor for coffee. The little cafe that we went to is Calico Cupboard Old Towne Cafe. Delicious looking pastries, great coffee selections, and a little sit down cafe area. The city of La Connor is right off the water and has a ton of little shops. We really enjoyed ourselves roaming through the shops while drinking our lattes.
If you ever go to the Whidbey Island, be sure to walk or drive over Deception Pass Bridge. It’s kind of scary walking over it because it is 180 feet up. The wind makes your hair blow like crazy as you cross it. It is just breathtaking. Sometimes you can see seals playing in the water below you.
Be sure to check it out! We walked over Deception Pass on the way to Ebey’s Landing State Park. There is a beautiful trail there right off the cliff of the water. One side of the trail you see flat farmland and the other side is just water.
The total distance of the trail is just under 6 miles and unfortunately we didn’t have the time to complete the entire thing. That was a bummer because it was just stunning. We did take a few minutes, lay out a blanket, and enjoy lunch while looking at the water.
We were running out of time because we told some family friends that we would stop by their house that day. A quick visit and some pie and we were off…this time to a farm. Bells Farm is a strawberry farm on Whidbey Island where Parilee and Chuck (in-laws) volunteer. Parilee was so excited to show us their farm donkey ,Gandalf, and to go pick some fresh strawberries. Those strawberries were so red and so delicious. I mean they tasted like candy they were so yummy.
I have actually never been strawberry picking before so that was super fun. The boys and I made it into a completion, as always. I’m not going to tell you who won because I believe Cale cheated (Parilee put some in his basket). Whidbey Island strawberries are the best strawberries I have ever tasted. I’m so glad that we went.
By the end of our adventure, we were very tired. We took a quick ferry ride back to the house and relaxed for the rest of the night. It had been so great hanging out with Alec’s family in Washington.
We have had a lot of family time, dinner times, good music listening with Grandpa Jack, and great hikes around the house. It’s been lovely.
May 30-31: Washington State. I mentioned this before in the last post, but, I’m guessing that the month of June will be full of short and sweet posts. We are with family and that is what is important right now.
I apologize in advance for the vague details and the lack of writing. Washington State has provided us with some of the best weather! Oregon rained the entire week we were there except for one day, so this is just lovely. This weather is wonderful. This weather is needed. I felt like I was going crazy without the sunshine and blue skies. It really does affect your mood. This weekend was lovely. Our super good friends, Chuck and Jennifer Vincent, were in town. It’s always super interesting and such a treat to see them. Chuck is like an older brother to me…always trying to bother me. Not a worry. I get him back. We only had one good day with them, so we decided to take the Edmond-Kingston Ferry to Poulsbo, WA. It’s interesting driving around Washington because it takes forever and usually involves some type of ferry. The entire family (minus Grandpa Jack) and the Vincents thoroughly enjoyed the sunshine and breeze as we watched the water go by. I really do love a good ferry ride. It’s relaxing and splits up some of the travel time up.
I really enjoyed Poulsbo, WA. Poulsbo is called the Charming Little Norway. It had that Viking charm to it. We went to a cute little shop called Boehems Chocolate Shop. If you happen to go to Poulsbo, WA, make sure to check that chocolate shop out. They make a massive hand dipped ice cream bar.
The vanilla ice cream inside of it was to DIE FOR. So yummy. Unfortunately, Chuck and Parilee (my in-laws) had to leave the party early because they had to pick up people from the airport. Fortunately for me, Alec, Cale (brother in-law), Chuck, and Jennifer, we didn’t really need to be anywhere. The boys decided to take a walk around the pier downtown and enjoy a Cuban cigar.
I’m not the biggest fan of smoking cigars or really anything. I have tried to enjoy a cigar night with Alec and always failed short. More for them! Chuck and Alec always used to meet up back home and enjoy cigars together. It was nice to see them doing it again. Cale is very similar to me. He started off with a cigar and quickly put it out. At least he didn’t waste it. The weather was just so amazing at the pier. Rows and rows of boats lined up with people enjoying their dinner and wine. It was fun. They were all having a party in between all of their boats. I really wanted to join along. “Can I be your friend please?!” The water on this side of the country is so different from back home. It’s very chilly. You can see a constant flow of sea particles coming up to the surface from the bottom, showing the undertow of the water. There are also sea anemones, starfish, and muscles that line the dock. We had a great time walking about the pier in Poulsbo, WA. On the drive back home, Mount Rainier was out. It’s a really good day when you can see that mountain. We have been keeping an eye out for the mountain for 4 days and I finally got to see it. Most of the time, it seems to want to hide behind the clouds. It was a lovely night.
June 1: THREE MONTHS! AHHH! June 1 marks three full months traveling. Three months we have been seeing this beautiful country, meeting new people, and really growing ourselves. I have learned so much about myself and what I am capable of. My dad tells me all of the time how he could have never done this trip: saved up, quit our jobs, and traveled. Alec and I really stepped out in faith with God and faith in each other for this trip. So far we have had to replace the truck’s transmission. We have seen my brother, Alec’s sister, some great friends. We have traveling in 14 states (not including Florida): GA, NC, TN, AR, OK, TX, NM, CO, UT, AZ, NV, CA, OR, and WA. We have visited 17 national parks: Great Smokey NP, Hot Springs NP, Great Sand Dunes NP, Rocky Mountain NP, Arches NP, Canyonlands NP, Capital Reef NP, Bryce Canyon NP, Zion NP, Grand Canyon NP, Death Valley NP, Sequoia NP, Kings Canyon NP, Yosemite NP, Golden Gate National Parks, Redwood NP, Crater Lake NP. Holy crap. They have all been amazing. At the end of this trip, I will give you a top 5 national park favorites from both Alec and I. We have stayed at over 25 campgrounds/ locations during this trip. It has just been an absolute dream. Huge shout out to my wonderful husband, Alec. He really is the best traveling buddy, best friend, and husband.
He is just my love! We decided to go on a nice bike ride to celebrate our 3 month mark. We were told about a wonderful bike trail near the house called the Burt Gilman Trail. This trail was just gorgeous. It lines Washington Lake and goes through beautiful green trees.
The weather was in the mid 60s, the sunshine was out, and it just felt amazing. We really enjoyed the 9 mile bike ride.
Washington State has been just amazing. We parked Callie right in front of Alec’s parents house. We decided to continue sleeping in Callie, but, we have been using the house for cooking and showering. I can even describe the bliss that comes from having a full shower. The shower in Callie is nice, but, we have to turn off the water in-between washing to conserve water. It has been a great break from RV living and amazing resting time for this trip. We are blessed.