Celestial birthday, an introduction to our Pacific Northwest adventure.
on my 33rd birthday I woke up extra early at 3 in the morning. I joined the early morning with a fresh aroma of coffee and recharging every nerve in me as I enjoyably sip the last drop of it. It was still pitch black outside and the remote accomodation we were in continued to lullaby my family with a rhytmic rolling waves nearby echoing through the celestial heavens.
This has been a tradition for me. On many of our travels as a family, I will usually wake up early before day break well before the blue hour, when everyone else is deep into their sleep, and prepare to explore the nearby landscape. I grab for my camera gear, check the outside temperature the third time within the last 12 hours and set myself to brave the cold- to find solitude, to intimately connect with nature and celebrate its glory as the dark night turn blue and into the sunrise glow. Nothing more beautiful than to see this intricate dance as the curtain of night is replaced with magenta skies and magical serene state of being and- of beauty.
As I found my way down Canon beach in the last illuminated street light, I quickly turn on my small led light guiding me into the shores as the darkness surrounds me, hinting only the distance to shore break as it generate a louder but gentle pulsating waves as I get closer. I set up for my tripod, find a few test shots and I stand there waiting for the hint of the blue hour in meditation. A happy birthday to me. I talk to the God of my universe as the constellation of stars intensify, my soul being reborn. I recall back on my first embrace with my wife, my first meeting with my son, and my soon to come daughter in the very near future, to hold and kiss her. All this hope in me flooded my being as the tides gently caress the ground I was standing on and the galaxy in the heavens poured out its last few momments of splendor.
I snapped this photo that very second I reflected on the many joyful season of my life and not a few minutes passed, the hint of the blue hour and day break rolled up before my eyes and the swift change in color prepared for the sun’s arrival- a new day. A new hope. A new beauty to behold.
Canon beach at 04:00 | Haystack rock in the backdrop with the blue hour and intimate heavenly stars
Coming back to the hotel at 6:30 in the morning, I was greeted with a birthday surprise my wife crafted thoughtfully and put together in a very short span of time, transforming the place with festivity. My little boy of nearly two rushed towards me with a big hug. Life cannot be better.
The Multnomah falls
From Oregon we set out to see the first enchantment of this trip. A roaring beauty just off highway 84, the Multnomah falls pride itself as the second largest waterfall in the United States. It has its origin at the underground springs on Larch Mountain as well as from the generous rainwater. The benson footbridge, built in early 1900, put the element of beauty and its scale in perspective againts lush green forrest.
The waterfall has a few wonderful trails to enjoy an afternoon walk with and an easy access to different viewpoint make this an easy day trip.
Oregon to Washington road trip
Just a few days back we landed in Portland Oregon and grabbed our rental car and began our Oregon- Washington journey and family road trip. Drove along the coastline with a beautiful landscape view of the pacific coast, the tall ponderosa tree canopy over, the sweet embrace of the Pacific North.
We stayed in canon beach the next few days before our drive up north to Washington state. We stayed here for a couple of days realizing the deep part of the pacific coast before our journey north.
The scenic drive the next day brought us to the Astoria-Megler Bridge crossing the Columbia river into the State of Washington. This start of the journey to the Olympic national park inspired every idea in my head. This very bridge span across for miles created a portal to this journey. Enter the enchanting. Enter the Hoh rainforest.
Hoh rainforest; Olympic National Park
Entering the enchanting Hoh rainforest blanketed in green hue of moss and fern with tall giant trees that canopy over paint a sureal environement of another dimension. The Hoh river drains the glacier runoff trickling through the forrest and draining into the pacific ocean making this a one of a kind temperate rainforest in the world.
Although its lost translation “men quareling with wives” to time, it is ironically one of the most peaceful and quite rainforest with thriving wild from the deep earth roots, birds hovering over and mammals that coumoflage in the surrounding.
There are clear paths and accessible trails for all ages. Safety is key to exploring this national park as rain fall frequent during the winter months leaving moist and slippery trails. The thick blanket of Sitka Spruce, Western Red Cedar, Douglas Fir, and Western Hemlock (Washington’s official state tree) shade a very dreamy existence of this timeless place.
Joel looking down the little river hoping to find a sockeye salmon
We were pregnant with our second child on this trip. We hiked a few easy trails and enjoyed an intimate sentiments with the beautiful Olympic gestures. This might have been the last time I used a DSLR camera on a trip, with my closer focus on Joel as he’s becoming more independent in finding his way around, and with a baby on the way. It was time to travel lighter.
Sol Duc Falls
The Sol Duc falls is located just off highway 101, about 40 minutes off the highway to the trailhead, following the road around Olympic National Park.
The name is a Quileute translation for “sparkling waters” that can be seen as uninterupted flow down and across footbridge through giant logs and rocks cover in moss. It is a 0.8 miles hike from the trailhead to the falls across flat dirt trails, peaceful streams and backdrop of unending hue of greens.
The trail descend down a viewing platform into a grand view of the spring fed waterfall that fork effortlessly before it descend into a narrow abyss.
Following our desire to continue to explore the park brough us northwest from the Olympic park. The still turqouise waters in Lake Crescent define this elevated beauty and solitude as it teams with wildlife. Make time to drive up here for a days trip. Prepare for a picnic in the woods and enjoy a tranquil time with the family.
We pulled up on a nearby picnic ground and enjoyed a few wildlife crossing and different bird species. This one beautiful elk just happened to be a few feet away basking in the sun preparing for winters march to warmer grounds. A beautiful sight and an elegant reminder to nature’s grandeur.
Although our focuse on this trip was more of a nature’s retreat, we found the fall colors within the City hard to resist. A beautiful pigment of well saturated fall palete hinted at every street corner. Find the time to explore the city. Here are a few of our ideas to share.
Things to see in Seattle with a child
Pike Place Market
The market of flying fish, beautiful fresh flowers and produce with stalls of sweet dessert for the sweet tooth will bring out the very vibe and pulsating energy within the market. Expose the little ones to this scene and engage them in small conversation.
Buy your favorite bubble gum and head to the gooey gum wall for some entertaining thoughts, embrace it and leave your imprints on. This is 21st century arts and expression.
Do not miss Rachel the pig, a wonderful sculpture (your child will find entertaining) and an amazing fundraiser, that service many charitable causes from daycare, senior center, food bank and health clinics. Find her wear a tutu, tiara, and or a seahawk jersey.
Seatle is know for its wonderful blend of coffee. And for enthusiast, you will be rewarded with the very place where the original starbucks was started. Enjoy a vintage vibe as you enjoy a cup of freshly brewed at the storefront. You will need this cup to keep up with your toddler.
Enjoy the buskers as they lively bring this already zeastful vibe into a whole dimension of musical inspiration.
The Space needle
The futuristic design symbolize humanity’s aspirations for space age. The viewing deck on the top has a magnificent view of the City at a 360 degree. Interstingly the first manager of Space Needle, Hoge Sullivan had acrophobia. So the next time you think about fearing to go up, think about how Hoge had to endure his fear on the daily, so you can for a few minutes- and even enjoy the view. Deep breaths.
You truly will begin to express gratitude as the years of your exisitence intertwine with the vast wonders and enchantment of the very remote places you find in the many national parks. As I end this writing it is the very second I add another year to my existence.
The Pacific Northwest is an incredible place to visit. It brings the magic and spark the creative in your passion for travel. I love the idea that atleast once every year, I wake up early to the very beat of nature, waiting for the sun to illuminate whats before my sight and rejoice in the everglow as I bask its every ray in exisitence. A hope for another day. What a wonderful gift. Happy birthday self.
“In every walk with Nature one receives far more than he seeks.”
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