Pacific Northbest

Here’s a quick recap of a racing+camping road trip Heidi and I took a couple weeks ago. We first went to Boise, ID and raced the Ironman 70.3 there. My folks live in Boise so after the race we spent a few days hanging out with them and my sister, who was in town from Alaska. (She and my mom were getting ready to travel to Europe for a couple weeks.) We spent some time exploring different areas of Boise. I was able to go on a short motorcycle ride with my dad while Heidi and the “girls” did some shopping and ran errands.

We then left Idaho and went over to Bend, OR for a couple days. Neither Heidi nor I had ever been to Bend so it was fun to check it out since we’ve heard so many great things about the city and the area in general. We camped in Tumalo State Park, which is north of Bend just a few miles. It was a really nice little campground. We had some full days in Bend, exploring the town, hiking a little, and, of course, doing a nice bike ride on the Twin Bridges Oregon scenic bikeway.

After Bend we headed north and camped in the Mt Hood area for a night. We stayed at a really nice (and wooded) campground called Frog Lake and did some hiking up at Timberline Lodge. We were able to hook up with the PCT at Timberline, which was pretty neat. I was really impressed with Mt Hood and would like to go back and spend some more time there.

After Mt hood we moved onto Mt Rainier in Washington. I had been there a couple times as a kid, but Heidi had never been there. So I was pretty excited to show her how amazing it is and I think she was won over. We spent a couple nights camping at Ohanapecosh, which was amazing. Tons of huge trees, right on the Ohanapecosh river. We did some great hiking right near our campground and up at Paradise Inn. The weather was really nice and we had grand views of the mountain all day. On the last morning we left the campground early and rode our bikes 23 miles up to Paradise Inn, which was a spectacular ride and a great way to end our time at Rainier.

After leaving Mt Rainier we headed over to Olympic National Park (Staircase) for a couple days. It was a lot more remote and laid back than I had expected, which was really nice. The campground at Staircase was really great — very wooded and quiet, right on Lincoln Creek, which flows into Lake Cushman. We hiked part of the Dry Creek trail and didn’t see a single person the entire time.

We left Staircase and drove up to Port Angeles and caught the Black Ball ferry to Victoria, BC. We met our friend Alison there and she took us on a nice bike ride around Victoria. We then went up to Duncan and spent a couple days with her and her husband, Jason. We swam, did some hiking, ate a lot at the Duncan Garage, and pretended we were Canadians for a couple days.

We ferried out of Sydney, BC and were back in Washington. We got bogged down in some Seattle traffic so we didn’t make it as far south as we would have liked, but found a camping spot at Seaquest State Park, which is right by Mt St Helens. We were only there for an evening, but were able to do a short hike around the campground, which was a nice way to relax after a long and tiresome drive through Seattle traffic.

The next day we made our way down the Oregon coast and camped in the California redwoods at the Del Norte Coast Redwood State Park (aka Mill Creek campground). Again, we had great weather and a really awesome camp spot. We were so lucky to have found so many amazing campgrounds, almost all of them filled with huge trees towering over our tent.

We left the Redwoods early the next morning and busted down the entire length of California in a marathon driving day. Our good friends Chris and Cathy let us borrow their Toyota 4Runner for the entire trip, which made it so much more enjoyable. We had so much racing and camping gear that even that rig was pretty full. I’m not sure how we would have been able to fit everything in our little Matrix!

We had both been so excited for the trip that I was afraid we were going to be disappointed because we had built it up so much. For weeks before the trip we were talking about how much we were looking forward to it and, really, just getting out of town and doing some camping, away from work and the hustle and bustle of every day life. But, my fear of disappointment ended up being silly because we had such an amazing time. We saw so much beautiful scenery, camped at so many great places, and hiked/biked so many awesome routes. I can’t wait to go back and spend weeks (and weeks!) camping and exploring in this part of the world. Mountains, trees, a tent, a couple bikes, and the best camping partner you could ask for. What else do you need to be happy?


One response to “Pacific Northbest”

  1. Pacific Northwest roadtrip – Victoria/Duncan, B.C. | veganxplorer on July 10th, 2015 4:34 am

    […] we had been to British Columbia and the first time for me for driving a vehicle onto a ferry!  Matt experienced this last summer going to Alaska with his motorcycle but he wasn’t sure how the […]