Three Days in Kitsap County

Bright and early the day after 4th of July, I was up and about getting ready to head up to Northwestern Washington state to Kitsap county near Seattle…. but before I headed out of Hood River, I stopped at my new favorite local coffee joint, Kickstand Coffee, for a coconut milk latte.

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Latte from Kickstand Coffee

I stopped a few times along the Colombia River to take some shots along the always beautiful drive west from Hood River to Portland.

I arrived in Poulsbo, Washington in Central Kitsap county about 4.5 hours later, just in time to meet Echo, my friend’s daughter who had visited them from California.

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Echo and I

Echo and I have been Facebook friends for a while and have several things in common so it was great to finally meet her in person!

We all decided to quickly head to Port Gamble to check out the town’s festival, Old Mill Days, before she had to leave for the airport.

Port Gamble is on the Northwestern shore of Kitsap county, the town is tiny, consisting of less than 1000 people but the historic district is an US National Historic Landmark.

That night I ran some last-minute errands and then went to dinner with my friends and hosts, Hans and Jimi who make this area of Washington state their home.

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Boats in historic Poulsbo

Beyond visiting Hans and Jimi, the other reason I came up to Kitsap county was for something really exciting… drumroll please… I was here to get my Washington state motorcycle endorsement through the Pacific Northwest Motorcycle Safety course.

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Motorcycle Safety Motorcycles

After two days of learning the rules of the road for a motorcyclist and many hours spent getting familiar, riding the bikes and learning motorcycle skills, I passed both the practical and written portions allowing me to visit the department of licensing to get my official endorsement.  Watch out world.  Or more like, drivers watch out for me!

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Boats in historic Poulsbo

Hans, Jimi and I of course celebrated my passing the course with a few good bottles of wine and dinner and more great conversation.

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Hans, Jimi and myself at Tapas Bar in Poulsbo

I stopped in Poulsbo the next morning at the department of licensing to do the paperwork for my updated license and of course a stop at the world-famous Sluys bakery for a snack for my drive back to Hood River.

It was a great few days up in Kitsap county, mixing business with pleasure and I hope some day soon to return to see more of it but for now….

kitsap county//The I.A.

Back in the Hood, Surrounded by Friends

Hood River, Oregon is in the Columbia River Gorge about an hour east of Portland.  I first came here in 2006 on an interview and shortly afterwards sold my house in Georgia, moved across the country and have never really looked back… and while I’m still full vagabond mode, it is still the place that I consider home to me.

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Multnomah Falls lower falls en route to Hood River from Portland, Oregon

So I’ve been back here in this special place a week now and each day I have been fortunate to be surrounded by people who have followed me virtually the last eight months of my adventures, have listened when I pour my heart out on Facebook messenger and now that I’m home they are here with me daily, both laughing and crying as I talk about the last eight months and my thoughts on life and as I sit and listen to get up to speed on theirs and everything that I have missed.

One of the biggest things that has changed this travel period is that my friend gave birth, and I’m now Auntie to the handsome Hiko-san.

Some days are full from Breakfast to lunch to dinner, and its these moments that I hold on to when I’m gone because truly the best gift we can give to each other is time.

It never hurts that we all live in a place I still consider one of the most beautiful in all the world and an outdoor mecca.

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Mt Hood over Hood River Airport

Which has allowed me accessibility to mark items off my bucketlist, like my climb of Mt St Helens….

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Mt Helens Sunrise Summit

Enjoying mosquito free evenings outside drinking wine and talking about future life and future babies…

Adam and Vanessa

As well as a plethora of other adventurous activities like my day spent rafting the White Salmon River with Robin and Dani from our Kilimanjaro hike as well as more old friends :)

And of course, this week we also got to celebrate 4th of July together… which is my favorite holiday and a day that generally incites memories that I never want to forget.

How lucky we are to call this place home and how blessed I am to have these fabulous people here to enjoy it with.

//The I.A.

White Salmon River Rafting with Zoller’s Outdoor Odysseys

A few days ago my friends Robin and Dani, my infamous partners in crime from climbing Mount Kilimanjaro messaged me wondering what my plans were for Friday because they were headed out to my old stomping grounds in White Salmon, Washington with the intent to head down the White Salmon River, rafting with Zoller’s Outdoor Odysseys.

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Mt Hood from WA-141

I of course said I was in… as I am always up for practically any adventure and was excited to catch up with them as well as I haven’t seen them for 8 months.  However as I had just annihilated Mount Saint Helens the day before my body wasn’t feeling amazing but I was pretty sure some cold water therapy might just do me some good.

Also in for the ride was my friends Greg and Shari as well as some of Dani’s relatives who flew in from Pennsylvania giving us two full boats of fun.

Robin had organized for us to raft the Upper White Salmon, which although slightly more expensive, it offers the furthest upstream commercial launch site on the White Salmon river therefore giving us a few more class III and IV rapids.

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Zoller’s guide giving us the rafting brief

One thing that was different about this experience White Salmon River rafting compared to my adventures rafting elsewhere was that we were using mini 4 person rafts.

In the middle of our rafting trip, everyone got the chance to cliff jump into the river.  Let’s just say the White Salmon is fed almost purely by glacial melt off nearby Mount Adams, so brisk was an understatement.

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Cliff Jumping on the White Salmon River

The other highlight of almost any White Salmon river rafting trip is the grand finale, pushing the boat into the Class V Husum falls…

After kicking out of Husum falls, we made our way to the bank and it marked the end of our 2.5 hour rafting adventure.  We all decided we hadn’t spent enough time together so decided to rendezvous across the river at Solstice Pizza where I ordered up a country girl cherry and chorizo pizza, a pizza named one of the best 50 in the country and rounding out our meal with some wood-fired s’mores.

By the time all was said and done it was late afternoon and everyone but lucky me had to make their way back to Portland, but I was very thankful to be able to spend yet another adventure with Dani, Robin… and even more friends and even better this time in our own backyard

//The I.A.

Living life, collecting moments not things.

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