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Trip Report Washington/Oregon: A Different Type of Trip

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We called this our Coffee, Hiking, Wine Trip; aka Just Relax

We're from NJ, but this was our 7th trip to each of these states. So we'd already been to the oft suggested places: Seattle, San Juans, Olympic NP and peninsula, Mt Rainier, Mt Baker, Mt St Helen, Cascades NP, Steheken, Columbia Gorge, Mt Hood, Crater Lake, Bend area and the coasts of both states. This time we revisited some places and discovered new areas.

DAYS 1 and 2: WOODINVILLE, WA
Bothell Farmers Market: beautiful flower bouguets for $5. Much more at home
Chateau St Michelle Winery: large grounds
Columbia Winery: good baked flatbreads on patio
Except for the two we visited, the wineries are grouped together in converted buildings, which wasn't very appealing to us. Liked the more individual and separated wineries we've found other places better. This area was not what we had expected.

DAYS 3, 4, 5: HARMONY LODGE, ZEN CABIN GOLD BAR, WA
Rented house overlooking Skykomish River. Great views of eagles fishing as well as people doing the same. Very relaxing in hot tub and drinking wine under perfect blue skies with river and its soothing sounds right there. I did delightful hike at Wallace Falls SP, which unfortunately DH couldn't do due to recent back surgeries. Met and shared conversation with area people at a very small cafe, store, post office in Bering, "Der Bering Store." An important part of travel for us is to meet the local people and learn about their area and issues. Small spots on the map, like Bering, are excellent places to get the local perspective.

DAYS 6 and 7: YAKIMA, WA
Yup, that's correct, Yakima. Some had advised us "that's there's nothing to do there," or that "it's not very attractive" but we decided it was actually our favorite place on this trip. Remember, we're from NJ and this "sure wasn't home for us." We travel to see different things.

After crossing Stevens Pass (4,061') in the Cascades, we drove a distance along the fast flowing, scenic Wenachee River and found the best, unexpected, picnic spot. Walking along the dry, gravelly path there, I picked up a wonderful scent. The scent that meant "hiking in the dry country of the west" to me. I crushed the leaf of a white flowered shrub and that seemed to be the source of the scent, but I don't know what it was. Back in the car, we were heading lower and in the valley we had left the greeness behind and entered the world of high desert with sagebrush and towering rocks, but surprisingly lots of agriculture.

In this area, we:
visited the Washington Apple Commission and got a good perspective on that crop
hiked in Cowiche Canyon amongst many wildflowers
tasted wine in the Rattlesnake AVA, near Zillah. Bonair and Silver Lake.
stopped at Blue Barn Goat Dairy and bought cheese and visited with "the girls"
visited Yakima Arboretum with nice plantings of native plants
stopped in city of Toppenish, which is the capital of the Yakima Nation. At least 70 well painted, mostly
historical, murals, cover walls and sides of buildings.
had great dinner at Gasperetti's in Yakima
stayed at Oxford Suites with direct access to city greenway path

Yes, it can be amazing how some of the out of the way places with nothing to do, can be the highlight of a trip.

DAY 7: TIMBERLINE LODGE MT HOOD, OR
On way out of Washington, stopped at St John Monastery and enjoyed excellent Greek pastries and coffee prepared by the 22 Greek Orthodox sisters living there. It had been recommended to us and when I questioned a man coming out about it, he replied," I've passed it for years and always meant to stop. A few months ago I finally did, and now stop every time I pass." So much fun to discover those "unknown" places.

Had to do just one more Washington winery, so made it Maryhill along the Gorge. Interesting history of the whole Maryhill complex. Supposedly, the museum there is very good, but we headed directly for the tasting room instead. Many of the wineries have large venues where concerts are held with some notable performers.

Mt Hood loomed in the distance, but was clouded over on top. As we snaked our way through the clouds heading to Timberline, it began to rain, which turned to snow by the time we reached the lodge at 6,000'. From a previous visit in August, we knew they could ski there all year, but never stopped to think that our wonderful hiking trails would be snow covered in June. Well, only had one night there so couldn't have hiked much anyway. Had a great, albeit pricey, dinner at the lodge dining room.

Next morning was sunny, with bright blue sky. Mt Jefferson poked its summit through the clouds surrounding it as legions of skiers marched through the parking lot at 7 AM on their way to the slopes. After a good buffet breakfast, we again snaked down the mountain and did a short, 2 mile, hike around pretty, Zen-like Trillium Lake. Again lots of wildflowers and a perfect, but very brief, view of Mt Hood over the lake.

DAYS 8, 9 and 10: ZEN GARDEN B&B MANZANITA, OR
A very peaceful B&B to spend our last three nights of this trip. It's located on the very southern end of town and Nehalem SP borders this last quiet street. Secluded Japanese style garden/patio was just the place to enjoy breakfast and the end of the wine we purchased. (breakfast and wine were at two different times!)

Having never experienced an actual sandcastle competition, we headed to Cannon Beach on Saturday. Expected mobs of people, but from our perspective, it wasn't bad.

Other things we did in the area:
stopped at several beaches/parks for photos/views/walks
in Tillamook, went, once again, to the cheese factory and finally, for the first time, to Blue Heron Cheese for wonderful Brie to enjoy overlooking the coast
Cape Meares Lighthouse. Naturalists pointed out falcon chick being supplied with food from Mom and Pelagic Commorents nesting.
nice hard beach for walks and yoga practice

Love that the beaches in Oregon are free and open to all, but yet many (I suppose there are some that aren't) have plenty of open space to walk in silence and contemplate the surroundings.

As I said to start, this wasn't a trip to hit the better known places, but just our own exploratory travels through two states we always enjoy coming back to.

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