My brother, Ryan, and I, headed out for another sibling trip together! Neither one of us had been to the Pacific Northwest, so we were both pretty exited! As kids, we had a massive backyard in a valley that was super safe. There was very little need for any supervision, so we ran wild all summer long with the neighborhood kids building forts, tree houses and finding frogs in the creeks and streams. It was a pretty great childhood, and this trip kept on reminding me of all the things we use to do growing up in our small northern town. I feel super fortunate that I can travel here and there with my brother. Not a lot of siblings could do a 2 week road trip together, so I totally give us props for that. The long drives gave us time to talk and open up as well as time to soak in all the scenery.
We started our trip in San Francisco and took the 101 all the way to Seattle, then took the 5 on the way back down. We drove my Prius, which had it's perks in terms of gas milage. It was also just big enough to do some car camping when we didn't feel like tent camping. If you are taking a road trip, download the app Roadtrippers. This kept us really organized with mileage and distance, etc. You can find hotels, places to eat and other things to do around your area.
1. Fern Canyon: We camped at Gold Bluffs Beach campground, which is right next to Fern Canyon. You have to drive on a dirt road for 6 miles that has some pot holes, but my Prius made it! I would recommend a small SUV for the added clearance if possible. Make sure to bring water shoes for the Fern Canyon hike. You will be hiking through water the entire time. The water is also freezing cold, so if you have scuba boots to keep you feet extra warm, bring those! The redwoods and sequoia trees are right around that area too, so there's a lot to see!
2. Tour-Thru Tree: This is just up the road from Fern Canyon and for $5, you can drive your car though a giant sequoia! I figured since we were passing through, we might as well do it!
3. Out 'n' About Treehouse "Treesort": This place was a little bit of a detour for us, but well worth it! If you like tree houses and quirky places to stay, I highly recommend this place! There are so many of them built by the owner and each of them is unique. I loved it there! They offer a complimentary homemade breakfast and other activities such as horseback riding, etc. The tree houses themselves don't have bathrooms, but there are plenty of bathrooms/showers that are well maintained with hot water. This place was magical and my favorite place that we stayed on the whole trip!
4. Samuel H. Boardman State Park: We made various stops along the Oregon coast because the entire 101 is so gorgeous! I would recommend not adhering to a specific timeline for this part of the trip because you never know when you are going to see something and want to jump out of the car and explore for a few hours!
5. Secret Beach and Thunder Rock: This place looks like it's straight out of a fairytale. I love how trees grow on the rocks in Oregon. This was one of my favorite beaches.
6. Beverly Beach Sate Park Campground: I highly recommend this campground. All around it was a great experience. The staff is organized and the grounds are kept well. It's right off the beach and next to Devil's punchbowl. The nice thing about this campground is that there aren't any bears!
7. Drift Creek Falls: We headed toward Lincoln City and did this hike. It's a half day hike if you stop to take a picture every 20 feet, but otherwise, you can get it done in a couple of hours. This hike takes you all the way to the swing bridge and waterfall. It's beautiful!
8. Canon Beach: Hands down, this was my favorite beach that we went to and I totally lucked out with the weather! It was a gorgeous sunny blue sky and colorful sunset. We went back the next day, but it wasn't the same. It was grey, windy and the tide had come in, covering up all the mossy rocks. This beach is a MUST!
9. Ruby Beach: We made two attempts at this beach. the first time was very dark and rainy. The second time was perfect. There is a big log jam that was fun to climb around to get to the beach, but this beach is not accessible for anyone with physical disabilities. However, there are still great lookout points to enjoy the view.
10. Hoh Rainforest and the Hall of Mosses: One of the top things I wanted to do in Olympic National Forrest was this place. I took SO many pictures of these mossy trees. I was mesmerized by them! There is no doubt in my mind that this area was the source for Dr. Suses's inspiration. The trees, the plants, everything looks like something out of his books.
11. Forks, WA: We stayed the night in Forks, which is just as odd as the book says it is. The people there are a little hostile toward tourists, and there is absolutely nothing to do there. However, it's a convenient place to crash after visiting Hoh Rainforest.
12. Sol Duc Falls and Hot Springs: The original plan was to go to the natural hot springs, but the road was washed out, making it a 20 miles round trip hike to the hot springs. We almost rented bikes to get there, but it was too late in the day without camping overnight. So, we opted for Sol Duc Resort. This place is more commercialized, but the plus side of that is the water is always tested and safe. Right down the road is the beautiful hike to Sol Duc Falls.
13. Seattle: We spent a day and a half in Seattle and did all of the silly tourist things! One of the highlights was Pike's Place Market, which is totally not overrated, (unlike Fisherman's warf in San Francisco.) There are so many great places to eat there. Everything is local and the market area has good energy. Naturally, we had stick some gum to the gum wall :) We also went to Capital Hill, Ivar's Fish Bar, and the troll. We ended our stay at Gas Works Park.
14. Mt. Rainier: Little did I know that Mt. Rainier is a summer thing! The pass opened up on the day that we were leaving which made it convenient for the drive. We camped and did the Skookum Flats Hike. We saw bear tracks on the trail! There are only two places to eat in the nearby town of Greenwater. I highly recommend eating at the Deli. The first night, we were tired and made the mistake of eating at the Tavern. The next morning, we ate at the Deli across the street, and the food is comparable to the quality that you'd get in a bigger city.
15. Mt. Hood: We didn't explore too much in the city of Portland. Ryan took off to go back home and I met up with my video partner, Dan. I don's ski or snowboard anymore, so we hiked up Mt. Hood as far as we could go.
16. Multnomah Falls: This waterfall is extremely touristy, but definitely worth it! Don't let the crowds scare you off! This place is straight out of Lord of the Rings! Not to mention, this place has one of the cutest visitor centers I've ever seen. There were food stands, restaurant and the staff was super helpful. The Columbia River Gorge is a big area with LOTS of waterfalls and hikes. I was really impressed with Oregon's waterfalls. They are just as big if not bigger and more lush than in Hawaii. I got there around noon which allowed me to capture the sun's light rays on the mist. We did the five mile hike after visiting Multnomah.
17. Oneonta Gorge: This was even better than Fern Canyon! This hike is also not for wimps! The entire hike is in freezing cold water. For the most part, the water only comes up to your ankles, but in certain parts, it can get up to your neck! I decided to scale the wall to avoid going through neck deep freezing cold water. Most people wore their bathing suits. If you want to be really prepared so you can hang out there for a while, wear scuba boots and a wet suit. I went there twice. Once in the mid day sun to capture the sun ray's hitting the mist of the waterfall, and then again in the evening to capture the gorge with even lighting.
18. Last, but not least, is Yosemite! This was my first time to Yosemite, and since it was toward the end of the trip, we didn't do any major hikes. We did the two mile hike to Taft Point. Even though this hike was super short, it was a bit hectic coming back in the dark. The trail is not marked well in the snow. Thank god we brought our headlamps and compass! We camped the night and then headed back to LA!