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.

6 Replies to “The Travelers Return”

  1. Wow, thanks for sharing! I’m headed to Portland next weekend for a conference but am staying an extra few days to do some sightseeing, I can’t wait 😉

  2. How wonderful.
    I am glad you were able to have some restorative time away together.

  3. Beautiful, Dan. Thanks for sharing that with us.

  4. Thanks for sharing your beautiful pictures from your well deserved vacation. Glad you guys had some fun!

  5. What a beautiful post! OMG, that tree… Unbelievable.

    All your photos are gorgeous, but you sure picked the right one for the closing of the post. I gasped at its beauty. Thank you for sharing.

  6. I had just tweeted that I’m pretty content to live here in MN (okay Vermont and New Zealand would do too, and now I’m gong to have to add Oregon to the list. especially the high country. Honestly, anywhere it makes sense to wear wool. Glad you had a good trip. looking forward to more photos…

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