Camping · Pacific Northwest · Photography · Seattle

Escaping the city in the Pacific Northwest

Cape Disappointment Light House. Shot with Nikon D5300 and 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G.

I love living in Seattle. It’s a great city, with lots of great stuff to do, tasty food, and mostly wonderful people. Sure, the drivers are pretty bad, but that’s okay.

But sometimes you need to get outside of the city. To breathe in fresh air and take in the views.

My wife and I have invested in some quality camp gear that we’re taking out for the first time in a couple weeks. She wasn’t sure if she’d like sleeping in a tent – she’s still not really sure. But last September, we roughed it at Cape Disappointment.

When we drove cross country to move to Seattle, we hit a number of wonderful and beautiful places. But as we passed through Coeur d’Alene, Idaho the land started to flatten out. We saw the rust of Washington’s eastern urban center Spokane and the trees started disappearing. When we did see trees, they were covered in thick smoke in the distance, in the middle of summer’s wildfire season.

Tumbleweeds. I remember seeing tumbleweeds and not much else for a couple hours, at least.

But then we hit the Columbia River and the Cascade Mountains. We parked the car and ate our lunch overlooking the massive river and taking in the miles of mountains. From there, the landscape only got greener, even as we approached Seattle. Think of Dorothy approaching the Emerald City and you’ve got a pretty decent idea of what we experienced.

For the most part, when we head out into the wonders of the Pacific Northwest, it’s just a day trip. We’ll park the car and go hiking, or hang out along the water. But it’s never enough, really.

My friend, Chris, and I left a day early for Cape Disappointment this past September. We decided we’d set up camp and relax while my wife and our other friend finished up the work week.


The camp is right on the Pacific Ocean, approximately where Lewis and Clark ended their expedition across the Louisiana Purchase. That first day, the weather was incredible. We watched the sun set over the Pacific, walked the beach playing fetch with my buddy’s dog under the midnight moonlight, and kicked back with hotdogs on sticks the next afternoon. Plus beer.

Waking up that first morning reminded me why I love camping so much. The crickets and birds chirped, the dew covered the tents and grass, and it all felt right.

The sunset over the Pacific Ocean.

We were less lucky by the time the others joined us. The sun had already set, and rather than the camp being lit by the full moon, cloud cover came in. Just as the car pulled up, the clouds released a light rain. Not enough to distinguish the camp fire, but enough to make us all cold and wet to the bones.

The rain barely gave over the next 36 hours. The tent that arrived with the two latecomers was missing a rainflap, and we tried to make do by covering it in plastic. Poor Kevin woke up wet and cold and relocated to the backseat of the car. Good thing, too, as the tent collapsed in the course of the night.

Hannah and I were luckier. We were dry and warm inside the tent, if nothing else. And after two nights sleeping on the ground by the Pacific Ocean, Hannah had not yet given up on the idea that maybe, just maybe, a tent of our own was a good idea.


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