The Travelers Return

After flying 2,852 miles and driving a surprising 1,740, we are back from our tour of the Pacific Northwest. This trip was both a celebration (from last year’s insanity) as well as a break from our current day-to-day activities – a true vacation.

We started out by flying to Portland, OR and jumping in a rental to drive the five hours to Port Angeles, WA. We had reservations for the ferry to take us to Victoria on Vancouver Island, BC early the next day (note coffee in the hand of one of the sleepy travelers).

Virginia Riding the MV Coho Ferry

Victoria Harbor

Victoria offered plenty to do, including lots of leisurely activities (sailing anyone?) and shopping. But, we had other plans and places to be, so we only stayed one night. Our destination on Vancouver Island was the small, remote town of Tofino. The winding drive was incredibly beautiful, scenic. We passed through the MacMillan Provincial Park and took a walk through Cathedral Grove.

Dan in Cathedral Grove

If I was a cathedral-going man, I’d certainly make this my place of worship. The trees were enormous, the space quiet, ancient. It was peaceful. Maybe I am a cathedral-going man.

Our destination in Tofino was a small cabin located on the eastern side of the peninsula, facing the wild forests and mountains across the inlet. Though cloudy and rainy most of the time, the surrounding landscape did not disappoint, and we found plenty to do both inside and out.

View from Cabin

Waves on Beach

Virginia on Beach in Tofino

We debated canceling our future plans and just staying at the cabin for the rest of our trip. The proprietor even offered us a discount, which was incredibly hard to pass up. But, we had more to see, and so we packed our bags after four nights and headed back to the continent.

Columbia Gorge at Sunset

Back in Oregon, we headed through the Columbia Gorge on our way to the small town of Powell Butte. Virginia led the way to the top of Multnomah Falls.

Multnomah Falls

In central Oregon we stayed with my uncle and aunt, who showed us some of the thousands of things to do in the area (not to mention the thousands of beers that are brewed, which we only sampled a fraction of – I did give it a good shot, though). We went hiking at Smith Rock, and had to stop myself from purposely tripping the trail runners that quickly passed us by (hardly breaking a sweat, smiles on their faces).

Smith Rock

As if that scenery wasn’t amazing enough, we still had Crater Lake on our itinerary. We met up with my sister and her super smart (and cute) 3-year old kid and spent the day walking about (most of the trails were still under a pile and a half of snowpack – apparently it snows, on average, 530 inches every year).

Crater Lake

Later in the day, Virginia found the perfect spot for writing.

Virginia Journaling with the Perfect View

And, even later in the day, I found the perfect spot for taking in the sunset.

Crater Lake at Sunset

We spent the rest of our trip in Portland, but I have no photos of that. City life, though interesting, can’t compete with the sense of restoration that happens when surrounded by such natural beauty. We were both fortunate to wake up right before the sunrise at Crater Lake (we splurged, and booked a room at the ol’ majestic Crater Lake Lodge). It seemed to me a good omen.

Crater Lake at Sunrise

Sunrises embody so much hope and the promise of renewal, it’s good to catch them when you can.

Northshore Escape

We both have a special place in our hearts for Lake Superior, and keep telling ourselves we need to make the trip to visit more often. We finally booked a cabin right on the lake and immediately started to figure out how we could rearrange our lives in order to move to said cabin permanently.

The view from our living/dining room was unbeatable.

North Shore

Of course, no trip up north would be complete without an outside trek. We made it to Split Rock Lighthouse (both because it was on the way to a yarn shop in Tofte, and because it’s connected to my job).

View from Split Rock

We also stopped at Gooseberry Falls, and were greeted by some extremely friendly deer (I could’ve reached out and petted them… they were happily munching on some seeds from one of the state park bird feeders).


The real reason, however, for our trip was this…

Cabinside Crafting

If you haven’t had the chance lately to get away, to disconnect from the day-to-day for awhile, and spend some quality time just absorbing and being absorbed by the beauty that is our natural world — do it.

North Shore