I feel sort of like a high-class vagabond sometimes, jumping from group to group of travelling family and friends. After making my way to Seattle to join Brianna for a road trip up and down the West Coast, I took a bus to Pasco, WA to hop in the car with some relatives driving north to Montana. This wagon train was headed for Glacier National Park. On the agenda was hiking, hiking and more hiking. I was a happy camper (pun intended).
A happy camper equipped with water, snacks and a guide to Montana wildflowers.
The beauty of Glacier is paradoxical. Fantastic views greet the eyes in all directions, and it’s hard to tell where one incredible landscape ends and another begins. The infinities between each scene made framing photos a struggle. However, I took a few shots in the dark. Or more appropriately, in the light.
Logan’s Pass, Hidden Lake Trail
Grinnell Glacier Hike at Many Glacier
I can’t wait to return for some longer hikes. For inspiring views and a healthy dose of fresh air and exercise (and huckleberry ice cream, pie, caramel, syrup, licorice, or whatever else suits your fancy), Glacier National Park is the place to be.
I studied the map the night before departure. I took note of routes and junctions and picked what I thought would be a simple trip down and around America’s (northern) West Coast. We took the 5 to the 101, detoured on 116 to 1, traveled hundreds of miles north on 395 and made excellent time the whole way. But it wasn’t as simple as it seemed on paper. The 2-dimensional map I studied failed to capture the steep grade and windiness along the coastal cliffs of Mendocino and the mountains marked “Eastern Sierras.” What was a terrifying drive for a newly licensed driver (me) was more than that: an exhilarating and fantastically beautiful trip for the senses. The views were incredible and the air smelled so fresh.
Two of my tripmates stretching their legs in scenic California
The other half of the party posing with the snow-capped mountains.
On our way south, we camped in some of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen.
A picnic spot at Jessie Honeyman SP in Florence, OR
Panther Flat Campground in Gasquet, CA
View of the reservoir from our tent at Paradise Shores RV Park in Bridgeport, CA
Our meals consisted mostly of peanut butter (and sometimes banana) sandwiches with the occasional takeout meal. Oh, and nightly s’mores.
One of many PB sandwiches on the best sliced bread I’ve ever tasted
Pizza from a food truck in Portland. Wow.
S’mores around the fire
The trip took two weeks. At times the heat was stifling and the mosquitoes maddening. Sleeping on the hard ground left us sore and chilly and long drives led to leg cramps and hunger. But I fell in love every day with this piece of America. The sights, the sounds, the smells… I mean it, I’m in love. The West is a place full of wilderness and adventure, and I want a piece of it. Someday soon, I will return. In the meantime, I’m thinking that being on the couch is sometimes just as good as being on the road.
Home sweet home
My West Coast road trip has begun! Well, kind of. My travel buddy finished up her exams today and we hung around her campus in Tacoma. Tacoma is kind of like Seattle’s younger brother – smaller and quieter but up-and-coming and just as charming. We wandered around and had (delicious) burgers at Shake Shake Shake. After coming from muggy Indiana, the cool cloudy weather was not unwelcome. I also enjoyed the hills, a feature we have few of in my home of “Lay-flat,” Indiana.
On Friday, we stock the car and study our maps. Saturday, we hit the open road.
Cinque Terre is a cluster of five colorful coastal towns and one of my all-time favorite destinations in Europe. In the summer, the air is hot and sticky and the water is cool and clear. There are plenty of shops around to grab some delicious focaccia or a scoop of gelato. And for thrill-seekers like my friends, there are lots of cliffs and bridges to jump off of. For me, the latter was a great opportunity to try out my Lomography Action Sampler. Here are the results:
Jumping at Cinque Terre
Jumping at Cinque Terre Again
Aaand More Jumping at Cinque Terre
Diving (!) at Cinque Terre
Not the greatest photos, but fun nonetheless. Traveling with these guys was a blast, I hope we get to do it again soon!
The Group at Cinque Terre