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Writing from the Columbia River Basin

Western Washington Winter Roadtrip

Western Washington Winter Roadtrip

Between guiding, my work and Casey's school schedule, two weeks off in a row together is a rare thing. I've always been sort of against travel during the holidays but I realize now that was a luxury of an "every October off" life pattern. Already heading West to go home for Christmas, we decided to keep our momentum going out to Western Washington.

Casey and I have known each other since I was 19 and we've seen a lot of highway miles together. But this was the first trip I felt like we traveled like adults. I mean, we still slept on paco pads in a friend's woodshed so we wouldn't miss a 12-inch day of Cascade powder... but we also stayed in a hotel. We rented AirBnBs with friends. We made a goal of eating one solid, protein and vitamin rich meal a day. We took a day off when we needed a day off. We left Hank with my mom to keep things simple. If I had to choose one word for the trip it would be, "rest", something both of us needed. We even came home a few days early so we'd have time to settle back in before work started again. Is this growing up?! I think this is growing up.

Memories & Places of Note

Missoula: Dinner at the Old Post with old friends. Waking up and being too tired to even make it up to Snowbowl.

Moscow: Rest. Watching two Christmas movies in a row. Watching Casey and my mom giggle themselves all the way down the sledding hill and all the way back up. Try: The Palouse Caboose

Schweitzer/Sandpoint: Tromping through the dark and the snow into the wind off the lake into a warm brewery after a day of skiing. Try: MickDuff's Brewing Company

Leavenworth: Following Rachel and Peter around their home mountain, stopping to catch snowflakes on our tongues. Try: Yodelin Broth Co

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Redmond: Laughing harder than I've laughed all year in a hotel pool in a suburb of Seattle.

Point Defiance: Finding the oldest, biggest trees. This is Casey's favorite thing and he turns into a little kid when he sees a big tree on a map or interp sign. Try: the blue square loop

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Case Inlet: Time with best friends, paddling in the sound. Setting new years resolutions on the bulkhead above high tide. Note: In winter, get your seafood in Gig Harbor, the local grocery store on the peninsula didn't have any.

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Port Townsend: The best pourover coffee I've had in a long time and sunshine on the sound. Try: Better Living Through Coffee

Sequim: Casey's grandparents and their new kitten. Understanding what a generational thing a fishing obsession can be.

Bogachiel River: Casey's Grandpa, even more excited than we are, showing us the run where he's caught steelhead for 20 years.

Rialto and Ruby Beach: Anenomes and starfish by flashlight, with the roar of the ocean on the rocks just behind us. Me, sure we're going to get swept out to sea and die. Casey not worried. Try: camping with an ocean view at Kalaloch Campground.

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Othello: Pulling over among the cows and ice and sitting down in Morris' tiny house. A corona and smoked venison and a cornmeal pancake and meeting Morris' family.

The Route

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