Hello! Ciao! Nǐ hǎo! We’re hommme! Another successful roadtrip in the memory; 5 nights in Washington state with Sweeties family. We live ‘in-between’ … my children & gkids live southeast of us in Utah & Colorado, whereas Greg’s children live northwest in Oregon & Washington. For us to get together with any of them it’s a 1000 mile road trip, which takes a bit of scheduling to spend much time with any of them in their busy, busy lives. Last month was Utah (4 times) and this month, Packwood & Seattle WA.
Packwood is a typical small northwest mountain town, a couple of hours from Portland or Seattle; tourists, trees, and rivers. It is about 5 miles or so from Mount Rainer National Park and is tucked inside the Gifford Pinchot National Forest so hiking trails under the canopy of ancient and second/third growth forests abound. We became bewitched walking in the Grove of the Patriarchs in Mount Rainer National Park, we donned our rain gear and tramped along the rocky edged Cowlitz River at the end of National Forest Road 1270. The next day, the rain left and a full sunshine morning found us on the rather steep Three Peaks Trail to lunch later in a meadow with clear views of Mount Rainer and the Tatoosh Mountains. So many places to see, much to short of a weekend … so many things to look forward to seeing over the next few years.
Besides just seeing the kids, our main objective was a chainsaw wielding weekend clearing dead timber from around Tess & Ali’s new cabin in Packwood and help them begin the process of building a fire defensible space. After a morning stretch along the Cowlitz River Sweetie fired up the Stihl and began felling dead and dying trees while we hauled & piled the slash for burning. We piled dead as well as over grown green tree limbs and when the match lit that pile the green branches exploded and burned as hotly as the dead ones. One result from the drought … green does not mean it won’t burn. If you want to learn a bit more about Firewise Landscaping & Maintenance check this link out.
In the best sense our NW family are all foodies … every meal they prepared for us was 5 star, and I mean every meal: breakfast, lunch, and dinner (day after day) breakfast? not your typical scrambled eggs … sliders for lunch? yes, but with a twist … asparagus for dinner? yes, but cold with mint, roasted hazelnuts, and a vinaigrette. Yes, I’m remembering and smiling and I am going to try my hand at the breakfast dish this weekend.
After 3 days and 6 hikes we headed further west to Seattle to check out their new house on the Sound. Within walking distance in one evening we had a meal of small plate tastings at The Whale Wins on Stone Way North, strolled the Fremont area and enjoyed one of my favorite desserts, gelato, from a small shop named The Fainting Goat (all organic ingredients), before walking under the Fremont Bridge to oogle the houseboats docked near the rowing club, and heading up the hills for a welcome rest.
Our last morning, Tessa took us to Pike Street Market where we tasted smoked salmon (bought some), had warm, fresh from the oven almond croissants from Le Panier and where I went back and brought home 2 loaves of fresh bread. We stopped for real greek yogurt at Ellenos on the corner … it is The Best, Freshest yogurt ever (I recommend the Marion Berry)! … we had to bring some home with us …that’s my lunch this afternoon ,along with chunks of that tender french bread.
When we travel, we eat; local specialties and small shops, diners where the parking lot is full, street carts with a line, we always look for “that place”, you know, the one that you can’t forget. I truly believe that smells and tastes make the strongest memories.
We finally rolled in just after 10 last night, with a few stops, one just to grab a few cups of fresh picked Washington cherries … and his morning? we are getting back into our routine … and later today? I’ll start planning our next 1000 mile trip … everywhere from Boise is 1000 miles. This time I’m thinking, FISHING!!