Washington*, the State. Not the District or the President. *and a little bit of Oregon, too.

Having previously only flown into Seattle, I missed the miles of misty forests, majestic rivers, and magnificent waterfalls of eastern Washington.  If you get a chance to take a train through Washington State, take that train.

I had a few moments to update my Snapchat (@missmelnitz) with some snazzy new filters and take a wet-wipe bath to freshen up before meeting Vikram in Seattle.

This was my second time meeting up with Vikram in Seattle (the last time was 2013), and though it’s a shame that so many years pass between each visit, it’s always so nice to catch up with friends from childhood.

Vik didn’t mind doing touristy things like going to Pike Place.  We stopped into a French bakery for lunch, walked around for an hour, and then I headed back to the train station to catch the afternoon train to Tacoma.

In addition to seeing one of my dearest friends, I got to pick up my first on-the-road package:  thanks, Mum, for mailing me my boots, another water bottle, more conditioner, and some new clothes.

Happy Canada Day!  And happy vegan treats!  Margaret and I went on a tour of Tacoma, which included all the important spots like the filming locations of Ten Things I Hate About You.

Margaret’s friend Jenn, her cool dog Archer, and I went hiking near Mount Rainier.  As a protection to animals, no dogs are allowed on the trails of Mt Rainier NP.  But our hike at Noble Knob SP afforded some great views of the snow-capped peak.

What’s up, Mount Rainier?

I look like a skilled alpinist here, but it’s mostly an optical illusion.

While the rest of us got winded and weary, Archer killed it on the hike, with extra energy to run dirt donuts and dig a hole.

Post-hike treat of a Veggy Burger and root beer float at Wally’s Drive-In near Enumclaw.

The next day, we went to Olympic National Park and explored the Hoh Rainforest.

The trees were utterly gigantic in a way that boggles all sense of time.

If you find a friend who will go hiking in parks with you two days in a row, that person is the most beatific friend you will ever have and puts up with you any more than one person should ever have to.

On the way to Astoria from the Hoh Rainforest, we stopped at Ruby Beach.


I am still unsure why it’s called Ruby Beach.  It was mostly blue and greens and browns.

Margaret took me to Blue Scorcher Café, where I had a fantastic breakfast with some very spicy tempeh bacon (sorry, stomach ulcer!)

We spent a little time in Astoria along the waterfront and under the bridge before heading to catch my train in Portland.

I enjoyed the moody skies and mossy rocks for as long as I could, trying to picture a time when the docks would have bustled with fishermen returning with the morning’s catch.

Au revoir, Portland, on my way to Los Angeles!

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