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Traveling Washington 101 North (Temperate Rainforests, Ruby Beach and Cape Flattery)

Though I’ve lived at the bottom of the Washington coast all my life, last weekend was the first time I drove all the way up 101 North. We’ve just about traveled all of the 101 highway now, and Washington’s coast is not much short of Oregon’s.

We took advantage of good winter weather and traveled from South Bend, WA, up 101 all the way to the most northwestern tip of the United States, Cape Flattery. Of course we stopped at some destinations along the way, and all of them were amazing, where the temperate rainforests of Washington meet with the coastal waves.

Our first stop was Quinault, a beautiful area full of nature trails from a quarter mile long, to full backpacking trips. The largest Sitka Spruce tree in the world lives in this lush forest, as well as many other large trees and some coastal redwoods. There are plenty of waterfalls, some you can hike to and some right off of the road.

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We stayed in the Quinault lodge, though in the summer there are so many beautiful camping spots next to the Lake Quinault. This lodge is gorgeous and relaxing though, with access to trails and the lake right outside. It has a nice restaurant, pool, game room and an overall nice environment.

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The next morning we woke up and started heading further north, our next stop being Kalaloch and Ruby Beach, some of the coastal gems of Washington.

Kalaloch Beach has a famous tree called the Tree of Life or Big Tree Cave. You can see the entire root system from the beach, it grows in the air and the ends connect to the ground, above the beach.

Ruby Beach has lots of giant coastal rocks, easily accessible from the sand. One has a natural arch, others have holes through them, it is quite the site. You can spot some star fish, sea urchins and other marine life as well.

This beach is called Ruby Beach because you can find ruby clusters within the rocks if you look hard enough!

 

After this pit stop, we headed up North towards Port Angeles, I recommend stopping at Lake Crescent along the way, as it is beautiful and has a hike to a waterfall that is lovely. We stayed in Port Angeles for the night and headed west to the northwestern tip of the U. S, Cape Flattery. This is about two hours from Port Angeles and well worth it.

Located on an Indian Reservation, it is a well-kept trail with handmade walking sticks for anyone in need. The trail is wooden and an absolute gorgeous two-mile hike, round-trip. There are several viewpoints along this trail, and every one is worth seeing. You can see coastal rock caves where the ocean meets, many coastal rocks and an island not too far from the edge of the cape with a lighthouse.

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The northwestern tip is nothing short of magical, and every step to get there makes the adventure even more beautiful.

 

 

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There Is No Such Thing As Trouble

I view the world much different than most, and for some it may not make sense, but a different view upon the world has made me the happiest I’ve ever been.

One of my favorite quotes by Buddha is, “stress is an illusion of the mind.” I’ve always loved this quote, but it’s taken me a while to truly interpret it’s meaning and I live my life by it ever since.

What are your worries? Money, bills, work? Drama, perceptions? All of which has been built in the world around you, all of which doesn’t need to mean anything to you.

I’ve stressed over all the things I mentioned above, until I realized that my mind deserved something better to pay attention to, and I realized that it wasn’t at all what I had been taught was important.

We all hear so much about the importance of getting a good job to make good money so you can have a nice house, nice car and nice things; so you can have good credit… so you can be successful.

But I’ve realized that I would never be successful if I was unhappy and that happiness is indeed life’s success. That’s all life should ever be, that’s all we should ever want.

We don’t all need a career at 23 and buy our own home at 30 so we can work and live there the rest of our lives. For some, this may make them happy and that’s great! But some are the happiest they’ve ever been being a freelancer, traveling around with no money in their car.

There should be no judgement upon individuality. No one’s life is meant to be the same and no one can tell you what matters and what doesn’t. This is exactly why we stress without real reason.

We create a life revolved around what we’re told is important even though it truly is not what is important to ourselves.

If there’s anything I’ve learned along my recent experiences, it’s that I am happiest with the least amount of money, without knowing what’s coming next or how I’ll make money next. In the beginning, I stressed a little when we ran low on money, but it began to mean less and less to me, and I began to stress less as well… and things always seemed to just work out.

“Stress is an illusion of the mind,” it doesn’t do nothing good for your mentality. This beautiful life means much more than your next pay check and the universe will play out the same. Do not let the modern world tell you what is worth your trouble, and then there will be no more of it.

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Blessed To Live In The Pacific Northwest

Every state we’ve explored has been so different from the last, and each one is beautiful in it’s own unique way. But traveling further south through the hot, empty and beautiful roads of Nevada and to Idaho, I can proudly say that I am happy to live in the Pacific Northwest.

Once we entered southern California, towards Nevada, it was like a fight against the heat. The water really didn’t taste the same and the water crisis was even more severe.

We begged for a river, a beach, lake, anything to cool ourselves down, but all around us were dried up creeks and salt flats.

I am grateful to have experienced these areas, especially to drive all the way up Nevada on 93N with absolutely nothing but rocks, wildlife and mountains around us. It was our most peaceful drive yet.

The central Nevada area is hot during the day, but rains and storms with rapid lighting and thunder all night, it’s really quiet beautiful.

The heat may have caused us to flee from entering Arizona, but we shall be back in the future.

If there’s anything I’ve learned from these travels, it’s that nothing goes as planned no matter how much you plan it. But that’s what makes it exciting, that’s what allows you learn.

It’s not about reaching a destination, because there will never be one. It’s about realizing the beauty of the moment with you now. We could have turned off the road every five miles and explored something amazing because this Earth is truly magic wherever you turn.

But for once, I’m grateful for the rain. I’m thankful to lay on cold, green grass and be surrounded by evergreen trees and mountains. I now know for myself that I am so blessed to live in the Pacific Northwest.

We are coming back to you Washington. We can’t wait to swim in your lakes, be in your mountains and cool breezes.

Yet there is no end to our travels, they’ve only just begun. I cannot wait to plan our next adventure and to continue to explore the beauty around me every single day. I’ve realized that I thrive off of it, the journey and the beauty, to discover something wondrous. And letting go of one single destination has allowed me to appreciate every beautiful moment.