Category Archives: Washington State

Posts that relate to travel in Washington state

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.

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.

Bucketlist Item #2123423, Climbing Mt St Helens

For the past four years, I’ve tried unsuccessfully to gain the required permit to climb Mt St Helens and my luck finally changed this week when I was fortunate enough to buy one off of purmit.com after another couple decided to cancel their hike.

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Permit and Parking Pass for St. Helens

After I paid for the permit, the man I bought it from happened to mention it was going to be a full moon and that I could technically begin hiking at midnight…. hmmmm…. I began to think this was the best idea as it has been 100+ degrees in the Gorge and climbing a mountain in direct sunlight and that level of heat didn’t sound glorious.  So I followed his recommendation and after a two-hour drive there from Hood River, Oregon (the place I still somewhat consider “home”) I began my hike at 01:25 in the morning.

It was just me, my headlamp and camelback setting off into the wilderness…. a completely still night, the heavenly smell of the wild pacific northwest and the full moon to guide my way above the treeline.

I ended up summiting at 5:27 just as the sun was peaking over the horizon.

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Mt Helens Sunrise Summit

It was an amazing sight to behold as I contemplated the eruption that occurred here only 35 years ago cutting the former 9,677 ft (2,950 m) mountain to 8,363 ft (2,549 m) and replacing its summit with a mile wide crater.

The Mt St Helens eruption was the deadliest and most economically destructive volcanic event in the history of the United States. Fifty-seven people were killed; 250 homes, 47 bridges, 15 miles (24 km) of railways, and 185 miles (298 km) of highway were destroyed.

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Seismic activity station on St. Helens

The downhill hike was much easier and I descended in about 2.5 hours, and was very happy to have begun my hike and ascend in the cooler night air as I passed the day hikers already beat red and sweating in the hot morning sun.

My feet were happy to finally reach my car and head off back towards Hood River, but as I drove away, my heart was happy too and I felt accomplished to mark another item off my bucketlist and time spent in the wilderness, to me are moments never wasted.

//The I.A.