I am SO excited for today’s post! As some of you already know, earlier this year my Dad decided to take a year long sabbatical from work to travel, give back to the community, and to experience a change of pace. During this time he’s traveled the world, worked with the Red Cross doing local and national disaster relief, and has planned intentional time with family and friends. (If you’re interested, you can read more about this on his blog!) So a couple of months ago, my dad posed the idea of a father-daughter trip for just the two of us while on his sabbatical and I couldn’t say “yes!” fast enough! His only requirements for our destination were: A. Somewhere domestic. (He’s doing his best to get to all 50 states!) B. Somewhere neither of us had been before and C. Somewhere we could seek adventure. After throwing around a handful of ideas our trip was set– exploring the Pacific Northwest, specifically, Washington and Oregon.
I feel very lucky that I’ve always had a close relationship with my Dad. I’ve always admired his commitment to our family (I may be biased, but he’s a pretty awesome dad + husband), super goofy personality, work ethic in his career, and desire to serve other’s in our community. We had talked about doing a father-daughter trip before, but it was finally planned and I couldn’t have been more excited!
I hope you enjoy the recap of our trip and some of my favorite pictures from our adventure together!
The first day of our trip was spent in Seattle. I had a couple of hours to kill before my dad landed (he was coming from Yellowstone + the Grand Tetons in Wyoming) so I checked into our hotel (Hotel Andra) and did a little solo exploring. I went to Pike Place, the original Starbucks, and watched the sunset with a glass of wine at the Sky View Observatory on the 73rd floor of the Columbia Tower– the view was incredible and I was one of the only people up there! When my Dad arrived that night we grabbed a pizza, caught up on his recent travels, and put the final touches on our plans for the trip.
Thanks to the time change, the next morning we woke up before the sun and went to explore Pike Place together. We even went back to the original Starbucks where we were the only people there (the day before when I went alone there was a line down the block!). We grabbed breakfast at Lowell’s and wandered around the near-empty market.
We also had two unique experiences at Pike Place- first, the famous gum wall was getting it’s yearly cleaning (who knew they scraped all the gum off each year to start over?) and secondly, we met the head of security of the market- Randy. Randy noticed my Dad and I taking in the sights when he approached us and asked if we wanted to see something special. He took us to an area of the market that was closed to the public and gave us a private tour of the original office of the two men who founded the market.
Then we stopped by an Amazon Go store (it really is shopping of the future!) + the Amazon headquarters!
We were itching to start exploring the beautiful PNW wilderness, so we hit the road to Mount Rainier National Park to hike Tolmie Peak. Getting to the trailhead involved driving 16 miles on a winding, gravel road which was quite the experience in a compact rental car. By the time we arrived, low clouds engulfed the trail so the views were limited, but I could not get over the foggy beauty.
We spent the night in the coziest cabin right outside the national park. The morning of day 3, we started up the Skyline Trail and the views were incredible– I had never seen anything like it!! It was such a clear day that you could see the peak of Mt. Rainier, Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Jefferson, AND Mt. Hood in Oregon!
When we got to the end of the Skyline Trail, we weren’t quite ready to turn around and made the decision to continue up the Camp Muir Trail– which involved 9 miles and 4,600 feet of elevation gain. Admittedly, we were a little unprepared. Fellow hikers were surprised to hear we were attempting this part of the trail without crampons, ice picks, and snow pants. This was the hardest, but most incredible hike of my life. It felt hardcore and adrenaline rushed through us the higher we climbed. We did end up turning around about 3/4 of the way up as our lack of equipment became a problem in the deep snow and ice, but we felt a huge sense of accomplishment for making it that far. We cannot wait to come back one day (more prepared) and make it to the top!
When we finally made it off the mountain, we drove to the Oregon coast and checked into our Airbnb for a much needed good night’s sleep.
We woke up in Oregon and walked straight to the beach. Our Airbnb was just a block from the water where the famous Haystack Rock is! I had never seen anything quite like this coast!
After our strenuous hike the day before, we decided to take it easy and do a couple of quick miles through Ecola State Park. This is such a unique part of the US- it’s technically a rainforest and is covered in so much moss/greenery and the rocky, coastal views were breathtaking.
After dinner and drinks at Pelican Brewing Co., we walked along the beach at sunset. This was one (of many) moments on this trip where I felt really, really lucky. These memories with my dad are ones I’ll treasure forever.
The next day was the first day we didn’t have any concrete plans. My Dad and I were talking over breakfast about how Roloff Farms (from TLC’s Little People Big World!) was pretty close to where we were in Oregon and how it would be cool to pay it a visit. My mom and I were big fans of the show growing up and my dad was subjected to many episodes over the years. To this day I still follow Jeremy and Audrey Roloff’s marriage ministry- Beating 50 Percent! So we sent the Roloff’s an email (honestly not expecting a response) asking to come by that afternoon for a private tour. To our surprise- they responded and were more than happy to welcome us for a tour. We pulled up to the farm and were greeted by Zach! He took us around the farm and we even had the opportunity to meet Matt, Amy, Jacob, and Zach’s son. My LPBW fan-girl self was loving it!!
Then we drove into Portland to try Voodoo Doughnuts! (After all the hiking, we deserved it!)
Then it was off to wine country!
Ah, the gorgeous Willamette Valley wine country. My Dad and I are big wine people and were really looking forward to some relaxation and wine tastings. We checked into the Inn at Red Hills and Dillon from Backcountry Wine Tours picked us up for a private day of wine tasting. The vineyards were amazing and we tasted some of the best Pinot Noirs (the Valley’s specialty!) in the world.
Side note: If you’re ever in the Willamette Valley you must eat at Red Hills Market– we loved it so much that we ended up eating here 3 times in 2 days!
We wanted to make the most of our last day in the PNW because I wasn’t flying out of Portland until 11pm for a red-eye. Since it had been 2 whole days since our last hike, we wanted to get out in nature one last time. So we set out on the Trail of Ten falls just outside of Portland- which included 7 miles of hiking and 10 waterfalls!
We wrapped up the trip with the famed west coast ice-cream at Salt and Straw. SO. GOOD.
I feel so blessed to have had this father-daughter experience and I know I will treasure these memories for the rest of my life. Throughout the trip we had some of the best conversations. My dad and I talked for hours on end about everything from family, to faith, to our goals/dreams and I honestly wouldn’t have traded this time with him for anything in the world.
Before I wrap up this blog, I had to include some of my favorite iPhone selfies we took along the way 🙂
Until our next adventure, Dad- I love you!