Tuesday, July 29, 2014

A magical week in the Pacific Northwest

Last week in celebration of Ryan's new job as the University Photographer for the University of Nebraska at Omaha and the move here we took a trip to the Pacific northwest. We started in Seattle where we spent the morning exploring and doing touristy things (Pike's Place Market, coffee, gum wall, etc.) and then headed straight for Mount Baker Snoqualmie National Forest. We camped at Baker Lake, aka the most beautiful place I've ever been. 

Mount Baker Snoqualmie National Forest

Every day was an adventure and the locals helped us find the hidden gems including a natural hot springs, suspension bridge and some beautiful drives. Both days it rained but we were in such awe of the beauty around us that we barely noticed. Even when our camping stove set on fire and potentially could have exploded we barely blinked before we foraged for dry wood to build a fire. The morning before we left we took a plunge into the icy glacier lake.

Mount Baker Snoqualmie National Forest

Mount Baker Snoqualmie National Forest

Ryan in Mount Baker Snoqualmie National Forest

Mount Baker Snoqualmie National Forest

Ryan tending to the fire at our campsite on Baker Lake.

Our morning view from our campground on Baker Lake.

Our morning view from our campground on Baker Lake. Most of the boats left before sunrise fishing for Sockeye.

Suspension Bridge along the Baker River Trail.

Mount Baker Snoqualmie National Forest

We hit the road again towards Vancouver. Despite living a few hours from the Canadian border most of my life, I had never been. We smelled like campfire and all of our clothes were damp so we welcomed a hotel bed and shower. I had no idea what to expect in Vancouver and everything exceeded my expectations. Vancouver was larger and more bustling than I had imagined. It had a unique cylindrical skyline nestled in the mountains. We explored downtown and Stanley Park on foot before we headed back towards Seattle.

Vancouver, BC.

Gum wall, Seattle.

Downtown Vancouver, BC.

Downtown Vancouver, BC.

Downtown Vancouver, BC.

On our way back we followed advice to take an alternate route to the highway called the Chuckanut Drive. It was a scenic drive that looks out over Chuckanut Bay and the San Juan Islands. We stopped at a few lookouts on the map (including a place that only sells espresso and hot dogs) and took our time at a Zen Garden, and a hike at Teddy Bear Cove. We were met with a surprise at the end of our drive where we stopped at a berry farm/bakery that made homemade Strawberry Shortcake! It was by far the best I've tried.

The best strawberry shortcake.

Ryan in the Zen Garden.
Ryan looking out at Chuckanut Bay.

By the time we were on our way back to Seattle we were floating. We ended our trip with pizza and beer with friends in Georgetown (I think we forgot to take any photos...oops!) and a late night coffee to keep us awake until our red eye flight.

Here is a map of our route:

Washington stole our hearts...we may have to make this an annual trip.

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