Tag: Travel


“Oceans of diamonds always shine, smooth out below” MorningBeck                                         img_2247img_2208

From the time I was 12 years old and had watched, “A River Runs Through it” and witnessed so many other films covering Montana, my heart yearned deeply to witness this beauty that so many call, “God’s Country”. Trust me when I say, this IS God’s Country. If you are looking to find solace from the everyday torment of work, politics, drama, social media and anything else that may be causing you stress, this is the place to go. When we entered Montana my heart beat heavily. With eager eyes and my head smushed against the van’s glass window my need to jump out of the van and experience the air and everything that was Montana grew rapidly and without ceasing. I begged dad to stop the van and so he did. I stepped out onto the road that quickly turned into grass to witness this miracle that God had created. We looked around and my heart swelled.







There was a stream at every turn and at every other turn people were fly fishing just like what was depicted in “A River Runs Through It”:). Unfortunately I didn’t get any pictures of this as they were so far away that they wouldn’t show up in the picture had I actually taken one. I couldn’t believe how everything I was seeing with my own eyes looked just like what I had seen in movies. You always think that movies make things look better than what they are OR they take away from what they really are. In this case it was everything I thought it would plus more. The beauty of this is unparalleled.




We even stopped to get some pics of ourselves 🙂





Oh! Look’s like Miriam has the selfie stick this time! *hehe* 🙂


Everything looks like an image out of a book. It looks and feels so unreal. It’s just one continuous jaw dropper. And if you’re not convinced wait until you check out my blog post on Glacier National Park!



As we were driving by the railroad tracks, I felt transported back to the early 1900’s envisioning a time when trains were a steady means of transportation along with the horse and sometimes a car. I could just hear the train’s horn blowing as the passengers leisurely gaze out the window at their surroundings never knowing that there would someday be airplanes, portable telephones and what we have come so desperately to depend on: the internet. Life was more simpler back then and I wonder if sometimes all of this technology we have now really is good for us. It’s something to ponder.


Dad, forever patiently waiting for me to get every single last picture I could muster. 😉



To me this is the second most beautiful place on earth. I’ve never grown up in the mountains and never saw real mountains until I went to Washington. Besides the paradise that I grew up in (river & ocean), this would be my other choice in complete equivalence, though different scenery. It truly is God’s country.

Mt. Rainier

“Comin’ down the mountain. One of many children. Everybody has their own opinion…” Mountain SongJane’s Addiction


Like most fantastic sites to see, Mt. Rainier is coming in hot on the “fantastic sites” meter. Boy what a huge volcanic mountain! I tell you, along with Mount St. Helens this place is just as enormous and wonderous! One thing I noticed after we left, was how mysterious Mt. Rainier is! It’s this huge, gigantic mountain that seems like it has its own personality.

While we’ve been here it feels like I’ve been “chasing” this mountain for weeks now. You can see the mountain from hours away because of how large it is. We can see it here in Aberdeen, which is about 3 hours away. You can definitely see it from Seattle, 2 hours away and so it seems as though in specific spots you can see the peak or part of this amazing wonder. However, at times it has been hidden by fog, clouds or darkness; the one time I got to see it before we actually went to it was on the Bremerton ferry to Seattle (check out Seattle Part 1 to see what I’m talking about). This elusiveness kind of gives it an interesting trait. It’s like it’s playing a game with you and knows you want to see it but won’t come out until it feels sorry for you and only then will it let you glimpse at it. But on the flip side, it seems to be quite visible from every direction – thus giving it it’s elusiveness. It only took a couple of hours to arrive at Mt. Rainier and so, like most of the attractions, there are many pull-offs you can stop at to get out and take pictures. On route you can see that everything is quite rustic: the cabins, houses, food places etc. It’s not only rustic but it’s VERY green! Along the way you can see moss growing on all the trees inside of the forest area. And no, this is not spanish moss.



Whenever I end up in a spot so beautiful that I have to make an image, I say to myself, “Gosh I want everyone to see this.” And so it goes that I have to show you this beautiful image with the light busting through and hanging over the trees and spilling onto the little walkway.


That was our first stop coming into Mt. Rainier. Our next stop was directly in the national park. You do have to pay to go through it:

  • Vehicles: $20
    Motorcycles/ Walk-In/Bicycles: $10
  • image





There are four entrances to Mt. Rainier, we went in through the “Paradise” side. It’s not as beautiful as the “Sunrise” side but it was still beautiful…as you can see 🙂

We kept on going until we reached a place where we could have a nice picnic. We had quite the caravan with us; 10 people. But we found a place – a NICE place!




Here are some of the picnic crew.


What you DON’T see is that FANTASTIC “Yeti” cooler to the left-hand side of the image. That cooler is the end all, be all to coolers! I highly recommend it. My friend Kelly and her husband Heath have one and swear by it. We do as well. It has kept our food cool for at least 4 days like it was the first day! We haven’t gone longer than 4 days but we will find out when we go camping at the Clearwater if it can keep the cool longer.

You would have thought I was the paparazzi the way I was snapping pictures (and I’m sure you can tell from the images above). It’s the same mountain just different angles. LOL, it was so magnificent I just want no one to miss anything!

Info on the Mountain:

*In Mt. Rainier, 97% of the park is wilderness and is protected from development. It became an official national park in 1899. It’s an active volcano and has repeated eruptions! When it erupts again they say it could be devastating. Geologists also say that Lahars will be the devastation that comes from the eruption (a slew of material looking like wet concrete).

Engineers designed the roads specifically for view and not by how easy it would be. Even though these roads are nice to drive on, it’s because of the winter snow and ice that much of the park is inaccessible. They say that sometimes you can hear the glaciers pop and crack as they move as well as avalanches! Another thing that I thought was pretty neat was that the mountain creates its own weather system. I think that’s clever. I never knew that.*

We finally arrived at the visitors center at “Paradise Inn”.


This is the final stop to see her in all her glory.


These signs are plastered all over the picnic tables throughout the entire drive up:


These are obvious warnings but if you’re unfamiliar, wildlife inhabit this entire national park and so when you picnic, you are not picnicking alone. 😉 Somewhere there is a bear smelling your food like Yogi and wanting to get your “Pic-a-nic Basket!” Just make sure he doesn’t have a sidekick named “Boo Boo” or you may have bigger problems than wildlife.

When you leave the visitors center, just a little ways down there is an area named, “Packwood” where there sits a BEAUTIFUL little waterfall and a nice tall view.




I thought it was kind of neat how the wind had blown in just one direction that the branches permanently face this way.


And of course, there is the tallness of everything that really puts you in your place.


The City by the Bay

 “We’re looking for such different things, it is insane but we wouldn’t want to be the same.” Weightless311

Golden Gate Bridge



Now that it’s getting down to crunch time, my stomach is twisting around in knots and I’m absolutely about to jump out of my skin! I know it sounds really bad but the closer I get to the end of this semester, the sooner I want it to get here so I can be gone! I shouldn’t rush my life away and I really try to take each day at a time and be thankful but it’s really difficult to to do that when you’re getting ready to go to the West Coast for the first time! I really feel like I’m about to explode! We have exactly 3 weeks and 5 days until we take off so naturally I’m beginning my research of tourist destinations!

San Francisco is our first BIG hit when we get to California. Minus our arriving in Sacramento and driving to Penryn where my cousins live, our first tourist-y place to visit is, “The City by the Bay”. You know, I never knew San Francisco had so many nicknames! They include:

  • Baghdad by the Bay
  • The City
  • The City by the Bay
  • The City That Knows How (archaic)
  • Everybody’s Favorite City
  • Fog City
  • Frisco
  • Golden City
  • The Golden Gate City
  • San Fran
  • Shaky Town

Though I have read of several sites that say locals do not like the nickname, “San Fran”. Haha I don’t know why this is but I suppose we’ll find out. I’ve looked into booking a guided tour by bus and those prices seem quite reasonable. It was around $24.99 for the bus tour that includes stops at: The Golden Gate Bridge, Haight Ashbury, Lombard Street and several other places. I’m also wanting to go to Marin Headlands which seems like a great place to a get an image.

In the midst of researching touristy places to visit, I tend to feel self conscious about actually being, “touristy”. Part of the reason why my adventures in the past have been so poorly documented was due mainly in part to the sheer embarrassment of looking like a, “Tourist”. I tried to blend in as much as I could but if you think about it, if you’re not from there, you stick out like a sore thumb anyway right? If you’re a tourist, it doesn’t take a camera to differentiate you from locals; looking around at every object and taking in the entirety of this new experience proves that you must be a tourist or either a completely strung out weirdo! A local doesn’t examine it’s surroundings with curiosity and wonderment because he/she lives it everyday and has seen it already. Our touristic tendencies come out in our body motions and facial expressions. That just made me think about how funny that visual really is when you imagine it. But I’m not going to let that stop me from really experiencing everything and having memories of it later. Plus, everyone takes pictures all the time now anyway right?

So here’s what I’d like to know: Are there any other recommendations for San Francisco that we should check out? What are some recommended restaurants? Is there a coffee shop or market that we absolutely must go to?