This picture, in a small way, describes what I have been up to this summer. Well, for a big part of it anyway. This amazing trip, totaling more than 4000 miles, done with my best friend Sierra, which took about three and a half weeks, was immediately followed by another wonderful trip to South Dakota, totaling around 1000 miles and lasting another week.
I love to travel, what can I say? (And there's another trip coming up that I am very excited about!)
Honestly, it will take me some time to sort out all the fantastic memories, touching moments, serene and amazing in every sense of the word views, and daring adventures that we undertook. I had planned on writing throughout the trip, but that went out the window. We were traveling with five kids between the ages of three and seven - what can I say?
I wanted to write a little prelude of our trip, which we called 'The Great Washington Escape', so I'll leave you with some of the highlights in the form of a brief itinerary:
Bisti/De Na Zin Wilderness, NM
Four Corners National Monument (NM, CO, AZ, UT)
Arches National Park, Utah
Salt Lake City, Utah (really, we just drove around a bit and snuck into a state park to get a picture of Great Salt Lake)
Maryhill Stonehenge Memorial, WA
Central Washington University in Ellensburg - Sierra gave us the grand tour of her alma mata
Snoqualamie Falls, WA
Arrive in Bremerton, WA
Mike flew into to Seattle for the week (yay!) (Sierra's husband also flew up and joined us)
The Washington Ferries - oh the ferries!!
Seattle Space Needle, Pikes Place Market (the flying fish guys!), the Seattle Monorail
Fort Worden in Port Townsend, WA
Fort Casey on Whidbey Island, WA
Whidbey Island - including a luxurious stay in a historic, Victorian B&B, WA
A tour of the Future of Flight at the Boeing Plant in Everett, WA
Mount Rainier National Park, WA
Mount St. Helen's, WA
Peter Iredale Shipwreck, OR
Fort Stevens State Park, OR
Fort Clatsop (Lewis and Clark's fort on the Pacific), OR
Driving Highway 101 on the Oregon coast, from the tip at the north and into California (talk about views!!)
Cannon Beach and Haystack Rock, OR
A tour at the Tillamook Cheese Factory, OR
Yaquina Head Lighthouse (so many lighthouses!!), OR
National Redwood Forest, CA (we drove through a Redwood!)
Avenue of the Giants Scenic Drive, CA
A stop in Yuba City, CA for the 4th of July weekend (Sierra has family there)
Donner Pass, CA (what started as a rest stop on the highway turned into a delightful hike through the California woods - love that spontaneity!)
A night in Las Vegas followed by a drive down the strip in the morning
Hoover Dam & Lake Mead, NV
Just writing that brief itinerary makes me feel tired! Whew! (We actually cut out three national parks for time, financial and safety reasons.)
Sierra and I had a blast and it felt like I had a sister to embrace life and its' adventures with - teaching our kids as much as their little brains would absorb, reminiscing the past, talking of the unknown future, admiring the extravagant beauty of God's creation and wondering at the immense change in scenery as we traversed across one third of this great nation, and just relaxing and enjoying ourselves. I still have a hard time describing this brilliant experience and I long to relive it and be back in all those places again.
We planned, talked, researched and prepared for ten months. The time arrived to commence our incredible journey, we took it all in, enjoyed living in the moment, all the while keeping in the back of our minds that this journey would end, and we would return to normal, stationary life. The inertia of it all kept us joyful and in good spirits, despite childish quibbles from some of our young ones and domestic setbacks (I learned that I am quite forgetful - several times I forgot a major ingredient of our packed lunch coolers, to which Sierra always responded with kindness, charitable service and mercy). We sighed a bit in relief at the end, glad to be home, at least outwardly. For my part, I didn't want the adventure to end and longed to continue to go into the horizon as long as it would have me . Alas, that is not to be, and I mourn a little inside that the trip is over and our next big trip is years away.
Months ago, Sierra wrote that she suffers from wanderlust. I reflect those feelings, having always felt I am a restless vagabond, and suffer much malcontent from staying in the same place for more than two or three years. My soul yearns to travel, to explore, and most of all to imbibe the knowledge that such travels bring. The beauty, the people, the sights, the history, the change of scenery, the sensory experiences of sight, sound, smell, taste and touch draw me like some doomed moth to the proverbial flame.
For now though, I sit in "my office" (one end of the dining table), and here I will stay until the next grand adventure begins, dreaming, planning, scheming and wishing.
|Our adventurers about to embark on the first of many hikes|
|South Jetty, where the Columbia River flows into the Pacific Ocean|