Pacific Nothwest Landscape

As you probably gathered from my previous posts, I took a road trip around the Pacific Northwest last month. It was awesome to get into an area of the country I absolutely love.


I landed at 12:40am in Seattle. I didn’t want to pay for a hotel and the first shuttle to Whidbey Island wasn’t till 6:50am, so I found a “quiet” corner, blew up my Klymit Ozone sleeping pad, donned my sleeping mask, and tried to get a few hours of sleep between the security announcements over the speakers. My uncle graciously let me borrow his Ford Taurus to drive for my two-week trip – not exactly the adventure mobile, but it worked. I crossed from Whidbey to Port Townsend and drove US101 to Forks, WA, stopping at Lake Crescent along the way.

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From Forks, I drove to the coast, to La Push, home to the Quileute Tribe and beautiful beaches. I walked around Beach 1 for a bit before searching for a place to camp.

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I was told by a young girl working at the RV park that I could car camp at Beach 2, where I found a relatively flat spot, made dinner, then walked the 3/4 mile to the beach through the rainforest just after sunset. The colors were going off when I got there.

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In the morning, I kept driving down US101 towards Astoria, Oregon, and got sidetracked by a sign that simply said, “Big Tree”. It was a short easy hike through the rainforest, then there it was, a really big tree.

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There really wasn’t anything else there.

I drove through Astoria and searched for waterfalls nearby. Youngs Creek Falls came up, near the Lewis and Clark Historical Fort Clatsop. Another short, easy hike down to the river revealed this falls.

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I planned my road trip completely separately from the knowledge that my family was going to be in Portland for a conference. I met up with my mom, dad, sister and two nephews for dinner, then my sister and I went climbing the next day at Broughton Bluff, near the mouth of the Columbia River Gorge. We first stopped at the Wahkeena Falls and Multnomah Falls. Definitely a beautiful place, even with the hundreds of tourists. The climbing at Broughton was short, but fun and stout (I only climbed trad, but I took a pretty awkward fall on 5.9, watched a strong climber struggle on 5.8, and took a knee shaking fall on two lobes of a .2 on a 5.10a I’d watched an old timer climber aid up).  


After a few days in Portland, I made my way to Bend, a city many compare to Boulder, CO. The access to adventure is great, but I wasn’t swept off my feet by the city. Boulder still is the only place I’ve ever felt at home.

I met up with my longtime friend, Allison Osantowske, and she took her visiting mother and me up to the Cascade Lakes, past Mount Bachelor. This is Sparks Lake, a beautiful spot.

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I drove to Pacific City with Allison and crew to try surfing for the first time, incredibly hard. I made my way back to Bend to try and find someone to climb with in Smith Rock. I got to Smith just at sunset as it was pouring down rain. I waited it out and the rain cleared. The almost full moon came out, and I took this 12-minute exposure well after dark.


I woke up in the morning to more rain, so I skipped Smith and went back into Bend to shoot some acro yoga with Dani Whitehead. I met Michelle and Sylvan who invited me to shoot Highlining in Smith the next day. I had planned on driving roughly half way to Index, WA that night to find climbing partners in the morning. But I elected to stay and shoot highlining, then drive 7 hours straight to Everette, WA. Thankfully, Mark came with us and I was able to climb one, very hard, 11d route at Easy’s Playhouse.

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I ran back to my car from the top of the Red Wall in (I think) an impressive 15 minutes, trying not to push gaping tourists off the trail. I had started climbing past my planned leaving time, so I was getting on the road later than I wanted. I drove up US 97 through northern Oregon to Yakima. I was stopped twice for extended periods because of construction, but only stopped and got out of the car once in the 7 hrs to take photos of this derelict gas station.

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The landscape of eastern Washington was so far different than what everyone thinks of the PNW.

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I wish I could have spent more time in Eastern Washington, but my trip was winding to a close. Leavenworth seemed like a really interesting place surrounded by extremely beautiful mountains, lakes, and awesome climbing. Stevens Pass definitely made me want to come back and ski.

I spent a couple days in Seattle then headed back to Whidbey Island to spend time with two sets of aunts and uncles and return the car. I always love traveling, and I haven’t done a trip like this around the US before. Would love to do more.



Surfing on the Oregon Coast

Allison put the idea in my head to try surfing on the Oregon coast during my trip, but with the weather it wasn’t worth it for them to make the four-hour drive the first weekend I was out. I’d never surfed despite traveling through amazing surfing locations in South East Asia, so I was pretty disappointed. When I got to Bend the next weekend, though, I was pretty set on trying downhill mountain biking at Mount Bachelor, but Allison decided to make the trip out to the coast at about 2pm Friday. So flipping my psych from mountain biking to surfing, I made the four-hour drive through west central Oregon to Pacific City.

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My first time surfing, I stood up and rode a wave all the way in for the first time after an hour. I think I spent a total of six hours in the water the first day, not coming in for a stretch of 3 hours before I realized how exhausted I was. Holy hell, surfing (and the waves) beats you up. Every part of my body hurt, my climbing injury in my shoulder sprang back to life, and the board torpedoed my hip which made me hobble for a week. But I kept going. I was determined to be proficient. I tried again on Sunday and had to relearn how to stand up, tried a short board (easier to maneuver in the waves, fun to ride on your knees, but seemingly impossible to stand up on), and figured out bigger waves. I enjoyed myself, tried hard, and was exhausted. I didn’t catch the “Oh my God! I need to do this every day!” bug, which I’m fine with. I don’t live next to any surfing. I didn’t really take the time to shoot anyone surfing, but I shot the crew I was with getting ready, Max, Jonny, and Allison, on a beautifully foggy morning.

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After the first day of surfing, Jonny was determined to get on his skateboard in the impressive Lincoln City Skateboard Park at Kirtsis Park. Definitely the coolest skateboard park I’ve seen.


This only shows a small section of the complex

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Jonny Sischo riding the wave


I don’t know who this kid was, but damn he could rip. One of the most impressive riders I’ve seen in person.

Highlining in Smith Rock

I was set on leaving Bend Monday night for Washington, but some friends convinced me to stay and go explore Smith Rock with them Tuesday morning. We hiked to the top and Sylvan and Michelle got to work setting up the slackline on established bolts.

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Sylvan set up the line on the far side and trollied back to our side, taping the main line and the backup together every few feet. He then took his first steps out into space.

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Slacklining 3 feet off of the ground is hard enough. Throw in the mindf$%k of walking on a one-inch piece of webbing 400 feet above the ground, and inconsistencies like wind causing the line act in unpredictable ways, and I don’t know how they do it. It takes an incredible amount of skill, concentration, and core strength. I’ve had several opportunities to get out on highlines, but I’ve always politely declined the invitations. When Sylvan and Michelle said I couldn’t leave till I got out on the line, I finally gave in. I felt surprisingly comfortable just sitting on the line, but when I got set to stand up, I couldn’t make my body do it. One barrier at a time, I guess.

This was my first time to Smith Rock, and I was leaving disappointed that I hadn’t gotten to climb any routes because of weather and timing. But right as I was about to leave to start my 7 hour drive to Everett, WA, two other highliners top out from climbing the Red Wall and said they’d give me a catch on this fun looking 5.11d on Easy’s Playhouse. I knew it was going to be hard because 40 foot 11d’s are usually harder than a lot of 5.12a’s.  I was not wrong; stout but very fun overhanging climbing. I’d love to get back to Smith and get some solid climbing in.