It’s been hard to leave Fresno.

I got stuck there for a month and the inertia had really been hitting me. When you’re go go going, it’s hard to stay in one place; when you’re recuperating somewhere for a while, or relaxing at home, it’s hard to leave. But after my return from Moab, I made a begrudging decision to get going. I’ll definitely be back: the friend group I met there will absolutely be worth the commute. I ate some food, I gratefully accepted an oil change, and I headed up North on a loooong drive.

I passed gorgeous mountains, saw stretching pines and a beautiful sunset on my way up. I made a quick stop by Odell Lake and Diamond Peak to soak in the view before making a stop at McCredie hot springs at dusk. The water there was so hot! In some areas, too hot to touch — I felt like I was cooking. In some areas, very cold. There were a few swirling spots I found that were warm — but some bubbling leaked out boiling hot water onto me here and there.

The next day, I made a morning stop in Portland, to visit an old friend as well as a new one I had met in Hawaii — she owns a restaurant, Derby, that I gleefully got some macadamia nut waffles from.

I drove over to Mount Hood — a gorgeous, striking peak, with a bunch of thick woods surrounding. There were also, pleasantly, a bunch of wineries and restaurants surrounding. It seemed like it would be a great place to spend the day. Meanwhile, I was zipping through — I drove along the beautiful Columbia River Highway, passed by Mount Adams, painstakingly drove through Gifford-Pinchot National Forest, before reaching my ultimate destination of Mount Rainier National Park.

Mount Rainier was… overcast. To say the least. I couldn’t catch the mountain, but did catch the wildflowers.

Here’s what it actually looks like, from my trip last year.

I’m staying with a friend’s parents in Seattle, and the breakfast game is outta control.

I went West to Olympic National Park, with intentions to hit the Hoh Rain Forest. The whole area is lush, and humid, and cool. It’s gorgeous. I greatly enjoyed checking it out.

I also went over to La Push, and visited the Pacific again, with rocky, rough coasts. I walked onto the creatively named First Beach to scope the scene, and folks were partying there hardcore amid the amazing landscapes.

I got a dreadful cheeseburger and also peeped Lake Crescent on the way back. So blue!

The following day, I had a bunch of time so I made my way out to North Cascades National Park, which I absolutely adored last year. I went to a new section of it this time around, and hiked to Artist Point by Mount Baker. The road up was closed so I ended up walking it, meaning I was there for about a six mile hike. Whew!

This hike was so worth it. Just, phenomenal. Hard to even really describe. It was cool and snowy. The temperate breeze rolling in was reminiscent of Spring’s first breath over the mountains, and all you could hear were birds chirping and a gentle whooshing sound. It made me really miss home, and the changing seasons, as it had been so arid where I had been travelling most recently. Certainly a welcome break. And the view was absolutely astounding.

I’m just hanging in Seattle for a short while before heading Eastward. I really can’t wait to come back and spend more time here, exploring.