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Exploring The Columbia River Gorge

I’ve drove through this amazing gorge in the past and gazed upon it’s beauty but never really stopped and explored the area, so that’s exactly what we did last weekend and it’s one of my favorite locations in both Washington and Oregon, as it is located on both sides.

We made our way to the Columbia River Gorge from the Oregon side, which has more of the popular views and waterfalls. I recommend taking the Historic Highway, just the drive is gorgeous and you will find many waterfalls along the way that I cannot find the names to, as they are a little smaller, but it is a must do. If you have an R. V, it may not be quiet safe for you to drive it though.

The first official stop we made was Latourell Falls, one of my favorite Oregon waterfalls, you can get right up to where the water meets. It’s so powerful you can feel the spray without being too close, this thing is massive!

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We saw a trail that led further down that I definitely recommend taking, the entire area is gorgeous.

There are many other stops along the Historic Highway, Multnomah Falls, the tallest waterfall in Oregon, was unfortunately blocked off during the season, so we couldn’t get any good shots, but it is still quiet the view. When on the Washington side of the Gorge, you can still see this massive waterfall on the other side of the Columbia River.

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We didn’t get photos of Bridal Veil Falls or Horsetail Falls because that part of the Historic Highway was closed when we were there, but we will be sure to be back to these natural wonders.

When driving along the Gorge, make sure to look onto the Washington side of the river to see an enormous waterfall going down into the river, I’m not sure of the name of this but it is absolutely breathtaking.

As I said before, you will run into waterfalls along this highway every few minutes and each one is worth stopping to see, some even without names. For a full list of the popular waterfalls in the Columbia River Gorge, click here.

We crossed over the Bridge Of The Gods, which links the Oregon portion of the Gorge to Washington and is a two dollar toll bridge that is pretty awesome.

Once we got onto the Washington side, we found a local secret waterfall that took us on a National Forest Development road all the way up a mountain where it began to snow! By the time we left this area, we had about two feet of snow!

The waterfall we saw was Panther Creek Falls and it was amazing, it was a short hike downhill with an overlook, it also has a little rock climb down to the lower level. It has a rope to help you down and I definitely recommend it.

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Afterwards, we started heading towards our Airbnb towards Washougal and stopped at Cape Horn, right off the highway and it is STUNNING! You can see the entire Gorge and even spot the waterfalls on the Oregon side.

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In Washougal, we stayed at a Treehouse we found on Airbnb, and it was perfect for our lifestyle! I definitely recommend Airbnb for travelers, it allows you to meet new people and discover new creative homes and places.

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Washougal Treehouse. Click here to sign up for Airbnb and get $40 off your first stay.

We are going to be heading back to this area soon, the summer would be more ideal for this area so we wont run into snow again. But after doing some research, we realized that there is an incredible amount of hidden waterfalls on the Washington side of the Gorge that we must see! We already have a wish list.

We used the book, Curious Gorge, to help us find all these waterfalls and it was extremely helpful and will be our guide for our next adventure here.

If you’d like to check this book out, click here.

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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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Cape Kiwanda – Pacific City, Oregon

Cape Kiwanda is my favorite cape on the Oregon coast, and that says a lot because Oregon is full of beautiful coastal lines.

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The best thing about the Oregon coast is it’s Oregon Beach Bill, which allows you to wander anywhere your heart desires on the beaches, as the beaches belong to the people and are protected from being owned or industrialized. So many signs can say to not go beyond this point or something, but it’s more of a warning.

Cape Kiwanda is located in Pacific City, a small, simple and beautiful town that I love so much! The beach is a very public beach and not hard to find, it also has Pelican Brewing (which has great beer) right on the beach, which is a perfect place with outdoor seating to enjoy the view of haystack rock and the sunset.

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There’s also a good amount of waves to surf, which many people do here. If your entering the beach, you’ll see a huge sandhill to the right, climb this and you will be on top of Cape Kiwanda.

Once you get on top of this sand hill, there is so much to space to wander, and so many views to see, make sure not to miss a single one and to experience it as best you can, ignoring the warning signs!

Also, make sure to take the scenic view to get to Pacific City, which allows you to see two other capes before Cape Kiwanda, it’s called the three capes scenic drive. You’ll take a right about 20 miles before Pacific City to take this route, there will only be one sign, so much sure to keep a look out for it.

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Map location and directions here

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Crater Lake, Oregon

Crater Lake is an absolute must-see location in the Pacific Northwest and one of my favorites! When I first saw Crater Lake with my own eyes, I could only describe it as heaven on Earth. This could have very well been because of the timing of which I was there, which I recommend to anyone wanting to visit there. I was in Crater Lake in July, early in the morning, with a blue sky and clouds within it. The water was incredibly still and the water was a beautiful reflection of the snow of the crater and the sky above it, so perfectly that it was difficult to tell where the water began and the sky started.

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Crater Lake was once a volcano, called Mount Mazama. This volcano’s eruption was so enormous, that it caused the volcano to collapse into itself, leaving a giant crater, almost 2,000 feet deep. This crater filled with water through rainfall and melted snow, making it insanely clean and therefore a gorgeous, bright blue.

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There are many different areas to view the crater and there is one area that you can actually get into the water, this place is called Cleetwood Cove and is about a 20 foot cliff. This jump is a must do! Seeing the snow-covered crater from the crystal clear water is like pure magic and the water isn’t as cold as you would expect. You have to hike about a mile downhill to reach this area, the hike down is wonderful and the hike up can be a little difficult, but well worth it.

The main area of Crater Lake has a lot of information to learn everything about the area, as well as buy souvenirs and some fancy food, which wasn’t as expensive as I expected, with the view that we had.

It is, till this day, the most beautiful place I have ever seen, if you are anywhere in the Pacific Northwest, this is a place that you must see, and I recommend it in the early morning in good weather, and to stay throughout the day.

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Cape Disappointment, WA

The Washington coast goes a bit unnoticed when put next to the beautiful Oregon and California coast. This coast is unique in so many ways and gives an entirely new moody feel of the ocean. The Washington coast contains lots of rain, wind and fog but it is also what makes it so different and a must-see experience.

Cape Disappointment State Park is located in Ilwaco, WA, very close to Astoria, OR and has many wonders to see within the area full of beautiful temperate rainforests.

When you first enter into the park, each side of the road are covered in greenery, there are a few lookout spots that tell the history of the area, like Beardman’s Hollow. There are many wooden bridges throughout the park as well that work well for photography!

This cape contains two lighthouses, the first you will see is the North Head Lighthouse, which is only a quarter mile, easy hike. Of course it tells you to not go close to edge of the cape, but many people had already crossed the fence so I found no harm in doing the same. The view is gorgeous and you can walk far out onto the grass-covered cape to see the Pacific Ocean.

The next lighthouse is the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse, this trail is a half mile and a bit more difficult. There are many hills, but it is a very pretty hike with access to beaches along the way.

Along the way you’ll run into Dead Man’s Cove, one of my favorite views of the coast, especially when the lighting is just right. You have to walk down to the beach if you want the best view, but no matter how you see Dead Man’s Cove, it is a spectacular view.

Once you get to the lighthouse, the view overlooks all of Ilwaco and Astoria, you can see the Astoria bridge and all the boats coming in from the ocean into the bay area. The view is perfect for some photographs.

Within the Cape Disappointment State Park you will also have the chance to see Fort Canby and many of it’s batteries as well as the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center.

 

Find the Location here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

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My Choice To Be Grateful

A long time ago, I had saw a documentary called, The Secret. This documentary spoke about the law of attraction and the power of the mind. The main thing to take away from this, is that you attract what karma brings to you with your thoughts and emotions.

When I had seen this, I may have changed my point of view for a day or two and then kind of forgot about it and moved on. But recently, I stumbled upon this again and decided to watch and see if I understood it differently now.

Maybe it’s my state-of-mind that has changed, but I soaked every bit of the information this teaching had to tell me and was still curious to know more afterward.

The next day, I found myself at Barnes and Noble searching through the self-transformation section. I kid you not, about half of this section was filled with books about positive thinking and its true power. I read a few, but the general idea is all the same.

I began learning more, I began meditating more and I started applying what I had learned to my everyday life; and more and more, I begin to see the world around me differently.

You see, we think too negatively upon anything at all possible we can think negatively upon. Whether it’s about ourselves, others or any situation thrown our way.

We seem to spend more time and more energy noticing and complaining about all the bad things that we forget about anything positive.

I don’t mean to sound too cliché, but it really is true… we have so many things to be happy grateful for. Whether it’s the cup of coffee in your hands, that you have clothes in your closet, food in your fridge, love in your life, the list is truly endless.

To someone that has none of these things, just a simple cup of coffee to them fills their heart and makes their day.

We don’t seem to think about these things often, we’d rather think about the fact that we woke up late, stubbed your toe or that your favorite shirt wasn’t washed.

I whole-heartedly believe that the universe has its way of eventually giving you what you wish, that may seem too easy, but really what many of us our portraying is negative energy, and that is exactly what you will receive if that’s the case, because that’s all you see.

Because someone is a very happy person, it doesn’t mean they don’t share the same struggles that you do, or even more. It’s simply because they choose to be. They woke up late and they are happy for the leftover pancakes in their fridge.

Every one of us have the powerful decision as to if we’re going to have a good day or not, we have the decision as to how we are going to respond to the things that get thrown upon us during the day.

Recently, I have found myself unhappy with the routine of my life and the need for something new. I blamed it on my lack of money, I blamed it on my job; I did everything besides take responsibility for it myself. By trying to radiate and attract positive energy, I figured that I had nothing to lose.

The first day was a struggle, I was doing everything that I thought I was supposed to do, I was writing down the things I was grateful for, saying them in my head and trying to keep a smile on my face all day at work.

But really, I was doing it all wrong, that day I felt as if so many things didn’t go my way, my computer wasn’t working, I got a sore on my foot, hit my head, dealt with rude customers at work, forgot my phone. I thought the universe was challenging my faith… but the universe is not out to get me. I didn’t realize that really my thoughts were negative, they were focused on what had already gone wrong.

That night, I meditated (I will link the meditation below) I reevaluated why I was choosing to do this and motivated myself to get up and do it all over again.

The next day, the everyday things that were routine at my work place seemed to change. I wanted to really speak to every person I dealt with, I wanted to make sure they were having a good day and ask them how their holidays are going. Of course, I had the intention of doing so, but I found real joy by talking to these people, because my mind-set had shifted on something other than my misery.

There was a lady I was speaking with, starting conversation about how my eyes were dry because I hadn’t bought new solution in a week or so. Ten minutes later, this woman comes up to the registers and hands me a brand-new bottle of contact solution.

I don’t think that she really understood the impact that had on me. Customers giving me anything had never happened in the 2 1\2 years I’ve worked there, I do not believe it is a coincidence, I believe I attracted that positive energy.

The rest of that week was a better week than I have had in months, all because of my mind-set and how I am choosing to think and react to life. I am still in the process of this, but I want this to be implemented throughout the rest of my life.

Every morning, I am weirdly excited for the challenges I will face and how I can respond to them. With every challenge, I grow a little bit more.

I have many challenges in my life right now, I do have things that inevitably are not going my way, but I choose to think of the things that are. I believe that if I am grateful for what I already have, that the things I need will come my way.

Before this, I used to have a blog of which I called, My Journey to Happiness, this blog never made sense to me, I never knew what I was going to write about next, never new exactly where it was going or what my motivation was. The truth is, I was lost, I was looking for happiness at an unhappy time in my life and I was frustrated with not finding it. Now that I have thought only about the things that I am happy about, it’s fascinating to know that it was in my own power all along.