Ello Washington! We made it back to the US of A! and it felt good!
We only spent a few days in Canada, but uff-da to the continuous math (converting hotel room prices, speed limits, figuring out gas prices or the change if an establishment accepted the US dollar, etc.). Blegh. Regarding the gas prices: not only did we have to convert Canadian to USD, but also liters to gallons, because, you know, we wanted to know how much we were paying. Highest prices so far on the trip! The drive along Trans-Canada Hwy 1 was gorgeous. We traveled through three B.C. national parks and they were all stunning. Beautiful trees with so many bodies of water. If Sicamous, BC, Canada and Shuswap Lake were closer to Texas, a move would have been on the horizon. Unfortunately, 2,409 miles is too far from the nephews!
First stop in Washington: North Cascades National Park. We drove to the only open Visitor Center and asked the rangers what we should see, where to hike, and which campgrounds were open. Initially, we wanted to tent camp, but as the ranger was telling us about the only two open campgrounds, I felt weird vibes from a group of men who were paying too much attention. When we hopped back into the car, the first words out of mom’s mouth were that she didn’t feel comfortable with the men knowing we were staying at one of two areas. You have to follow your instincts, right? And for both of us to feel that way…So, after traveling across Route 20/North Cascades Scenic Highway, hiking a few short trails to waterfalls and seeing the salmon swimming upstream, we found a cheap hotel to crash in for the night.
Family is amazing. A cousin in Seattle told us we could stay at her place Friday and Saturday night, even though she was leaving town Friday afternoon. Love. Love. Love. It felt great to stay in one place for two nights, wash our clothes, walk to restaurants, watch the Aggies play, go to a movie (Kingsman: The Golden Circle), and just relax (ish) for the weekend.
Of course we ventured downtown to Pike Place Market and walked around for a few hours. Then on Saturday, we took the ferry from Edmonton to Kingston and drove to Olympic National Park. Our timing was off for this park. The weather was cloudy and Hurricane Ridge had low visibility so the ranger told us not to attempt that hike. So, we drove around the surrounding area for a few hours, then steered the truck back towards Seattle.
Everyone we’ve encountered since has told us to go back, that this park is phenomenal and we should give it another chance. I think I was feeling crabby and felt so negative towards the park because (1) the weather was crappy (2) I was mentally and physically exhausted after weeks of go-go-go and (3) the ferry took so long. We should have been relaxing that day and instead we drove 8+ hours. It would have been quicker for us to drive south and around to return to Seattle then wait for the ferry (we arrived at the terminal at 3:50pm and boarded the 5:30pm ferry). Not sure how locals utilize the ferry on a regular basis. #stressful
My favorite Washington park was Mount Rainier. Fav. Fav. Fav. We drove into this park and my brain ignited with creativity. It was the perfect setting for the book I’m writing and my fingers itched to pull out my laptop and start typing. Unfortunately, I was driving (those darn windy roads!). Mom and I each took a ton of photos so I’ll be able to refer back and hopefully recreate the thoughts/feelings.
At 14,410 feet, Mount Rainier is the tallest peak in the North Cascades. But don’t worry, we didn’t climb to the top! We drove into Sunrise, located at 6,400 feet, which was the highest point for cars. Then we took a few trails and hiked up and down and around in the snow for a few hours. So. Much. Fun. Loved it here! The first trail we took to the falls was crowded, but once we veered off on an extended trail, we rarely passed anyone. Green tress. Snow. No people. Heaven. We saw a few animal tracks (most likely bunnies or similar hopping animals), but alas, no bears!
After grabbing a quick bite to eat, we drove towards West Richland to stay with more cousins. Wahoo. So nice to be spoiled for a few days with home cooking, delicious tea, and beautiful company. My great aunt is 94 years old and so full of spirit and life. She moves around better than I do! It was fabulous to see her after so many years and re-meet her children (we’re thinking it had been ’97 since I last saw her children).
Heading south towards Bend, Oregon to meet up with an old friend!
Hopefully, I have access to Wi-Fi and can post in a few days.
Bye for now.
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