Sometimes life demands introspection, and whenever I’m craving solitude and balance I find myself gravitating toward home. Facing my first five day weekend in years, I had no reason to resist the pull drawing me westward for the 4th. Ocean air and deep-rooted friendships never fail to restore equilibrium, and the caverns of my heart are full with all the right things.
Days were spent running near the tidal flats of Padilla Bay and visiting some of the local gems that make the Northwest the terrestrial treasure trove that it is…
…Whistle Lake, where relaxation and exhilaration collide. Nestled in forestland, a short hike serves as the gateway to an outdoor utopia that welcomes swimmers, fishers, and thrill seekers alike. Pristine water dazzles beneath the rocky cliffs and towering evergreens, while a rope swing dangles on the eastern edge of the lake. We only swam, but reminisced on the days when adrenaline and peer pressure forced us off the edge toward a splash landing.
…Deception Pass where the view spans from Mt. Baker to the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Admittedly, after the recent collapse of the I-5 bridge, I was more consumed with thoughts of structural integrity than the scenery.
…Snow Goose Produce Market where fresh waffle cones serve as the perfect vehicle for what I’m sure is an entire pint of locally churned ice cream.
And my nights were spent around a backyard campfire, toasting every passing train at The Trainwreck, or relearning my wedding processional song on lonely ivory keys.
I took Highway 2 home. Windows down, the soundtrack of summer escaping into the wide open space, my hair tangling while the mess of thoughts in my head did the opposite, somehow unraveling itself – a strange catharsis urging me to take every USFS road, stop at every scenic viewpoint, and jump in the Wenatchee River at every turn. Time didn’t allow me to act on every impulse.
Instead, I pulled over to watch the fish jump at Tumwater Dam and stopped in Leavenworth to move around. It’s funny how your perception of places evolves over time. I remember Leavenworth as the first big stop on summer road trips over the mountains to watch my dad play softball in Chelan, promising overwhelming heat and ice cream cones. Now, this Bavarian oasis evokes thoughts of Dick Van Dyke’s flying car and a child catcher. And the marketer in me shudders at the branding nightmare it creates; even the Siren isn’t allowed to show her face in town. Somehow I escaped without devouring schnitzel or strudel… the bakery that didn’t accept credit cards lost a good customer that day.
Extra time on the road was rewarded with the smell of
gin pine trees and miles of marshmallow clouds I wanted to pluck out of the sky and roast over a late night mountain campfire. And the Wenatchee River was too treacherous to jump in, so I dove in the Columbia as the wind turbines on the horizon applauded my form.
A quick dip was just what my shoulders needed to soothe the sunburn I earned cruising with the sunroof open, and a trip home was exactly I needed to regain some perspective.