When we were planning this trip, I had envisioned spending weeks in Washington kayaking the San Juan Islands and hiking in Cascade National Park. But the reality was that if we did not speed up our pace, we would end up spending 3-4 months in North America where we were over budget almost every week. We needed to start heading south faster before we burned up too much of our travel savings.
From Vancouver Island we took the ferry to Washington, sailing through the gorgeous San Juan Islands. During the trip we saw a large pod of orcas and we were lucky enough to see a huge full moon rise over the water, it was other wordly.
We spent a beautiful night on Whidbey Island camping in the forest next to the water.
From Whidbey Island we took another ferry over to mainland Washington and headed to stay with Jessica and Kobus from Life Remotely (not before stopping at Cosco to stock up on beer, bourbon and whiskey!). We spent a few relaxed days with them eating like kings, drinking and doing a shameful amount of laundry. Since they just finished 18 months on the PanAm they also were full of really great advice and showed us some impressive photos. They are great people!
Originally we planned to visit Seattle, but since parking in cities is a challenge and we were trying to avoid more big spending, we instead headed to Mt. St. Helens and Gifford Pinchot National Forest for some free camping and exploring. Near Mt. St. Helens we did a strange and slightly scary hike in the Ape Cave lava tubes. Let me just say, bring a very good flashlight if you do it, it was PITCH BLACK for miles with wet floors and sharp rocks.
The next day we traveled into Washington and visited the Columbia River gorge…..