A Trip To: The Pacific Northwest
By: Hunter Folsom
If I lived in a dream world, a world of my own selfish desires and childlike imagination, I would probably be constantly traveling. I'd travel somewhere I already love or somewhere I want to get to know better. There are far too many cities and places that I admire from afar. Places I’m infatuated with; places I long to spend time with; places I want to take out on a first date. But they’re out of my league. I’m intimidated.
I take the plunge anyway - I buy that plane ticket. And I go.
The real world I live in is one of many blessings – dear friends, loving family, the opportunity to learn, the opportunity to create, the opportunity to do work that I love – but sometimes I get to bust into my dream world of endless travel. My dream world manifested itself last spring break on a trip to the Pacific Northwest with a large handful of friends.
After a week spent there, I’d like to report that the PNW is the place to be. (One of my roommates is from the PNW and she, too, reports that the PNW is the place to be.) Here is what my week looked like – maybe you can plan a trip and use some of our adventures as a starting point for your own trip:
This first day of the trip, we arrived in Portland. My wonderful roommate Joy gave us a place to stay - she is originally from Vancouver, Washington, a town very close to Portland. We stayed with her parents (who made us amazing food and gave us comfy beds to sleep in). As soon as we arrived at Joy's home, she decided we need to see Multnomah Falls and the surrounding area. She was right. The area around Multnomah is absolutely perfect for experiencing the quintessential PNW character. Crisp weather, so many trees, rolling hills, moss everywhere, and high quality people watching.
The next day, we met up with a group of friends to explore Portland. One of our first stops was Stumptown Coffee and Voodoo Doughnut.
After that, we explored Powell's Books. Which is perhaps the largest bookstore I have ever visited. I was overwhelmed with excitement as soon as we stepped inside - so much to explore! We also shopped around at other outdoorsy, Portland-y stores like Poler.
As the sun began to set, we walked around the city to see the famous Portland, Oregon sign. Following that, we drove up to the Pittock Mansion for a breathtaking view of the city lights. Sidenote: the Pittock Mansion is pretty creepy at night. Which made for some hilarious moments of scaring each other.
The next day was Seattle! All of these pictures are in the same area: the "public market center." You actually could spend an entire day in this area bouncing between coffee shops - the original Starbucks is nearby and of course, many local coffee shops - perusing all the booths in the market, smelling the flowers, watching men throw fish (that is actually a thing), being grossed out by the gum wall, and just basking in that crisp PNW weather. Personally, I was in heaven.
After that, we went to the Gas Works Park which offers an incredible view of the city. We drove back into the city after some time in the park to explore the Seattle Public Library's beautiful architecture then part ways for dinner and sleep, preparing ourselves for another busy day.
The next day, we went to Vancouver, BC - Canada! This was my first time in Canada. And we also all forgot that we wouldn't have cell service in Canada, so traveling in two cars with no mode of communication was interesting. We lost each other once in the afternoon which made for a hilarious goose chase of wondering where our friends could be. By some miracle though, in the middle of a huge city, we ended up finding each other!
The rest of our trip was a process of winding down. We spent a half day in Seattle on our way back down to Portland. With this day, we took the ferry over to Bainbridge Island which was so beautiful and quaint. Local boutiques and delicious restaurants lined the main street and a marina surrounded the base of the town. I felt almost like I had stepped into a coastal town in New England. The stores we wandered in and out of were held up by white-washed walls, maritime decor adorning them. I had a nearly perfect sandwich from a place called "Hitchcock." We headed back down to Joy's hometown later that day.
Our last day, we went on a long hike on a trail outside of Portland. The natural landscape of Oregon and Washington is unlike any other landscape I had experienced before - it is fresh and vibrant and constantly being made new by each rainfall. Lush places like the PNW are a beacon of hope to me. It is a tangible reminder that our world hasn't completely dried up; our world has not dried up into desert; our world's people have not dried up into apathy.