The Dream That Became a Reality/ My First trip to the PNW

Six months ago, flying to the other side of the country was just a dream to me. It was a huge and terrifying thought. I had never been to the west coast, but seeing so many photos of it on social media, I had to make the jump and make it out there. In December, I decided I was actually going to do this, and I messaged my friend Nick if he wanted to tag along. After clicking checkout for the plane ticket, I was trembling with fear. No shame in admitting that. I couldn't believe that I had actually done it. At that time, I was starting to talk to people from that area so I wasn't going in blind. This trip wouldn't have been possible without Hanna Walters being the most welcoming person I had ever met and being our personal tour guide.

After landing in Portland at 11am, Hanna picked up Nick and I. We were super hungry so we got coffee and some snacks. We roamed downtown for a little bit, seeing the fountain, a crazy parking garage and eating at the food carts because I was sort of obsessing about the mac and cheese one, and then we headed to the Vista house.

Credits: Hanna Walters, Nick Sahler

The views from the Vista House were incredible. And on the edge of the cliff, the white dots are cars to put into perspective of how narrow and high we were.

The next stop we had was Latourell Falls, which was only down the street. Being completely open, you can walk all the way to the falls. The water was freezing and it was constantly spraying you but we were troopers and made it all the way to the back of the falls.

Not realizing how close these waterfalls were, we made it to the tallest fall in Oregon, Multnomah.

Having a free day, Hanna and I made the three hour trip to Seattle. This was where it was starting to hit that I felt like I belonged there. With the excess of food from Pike Place Market, good vibes and incredible views, I literally didn't find anything that I didn't like.... well maybe the gum wall, that was kind of weird.

As you can probably tell by now, Hanna and I didn't have any models this day, or any of the days. It was just us exploring together which was a feeling I had never felt before. Not to make this whole blog post sappy but I've never had a person that I could do that with. Just up and go somewhere and have the time of my life.

After Pike Place, we headed to the Columbia Tower, which being 76 floors is the tallest building in Seattle.

After getting down from the tower, we decided to work on our model portfolios and started modeling for each other.... or just trying to take photos of each other taking photos.

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Seattle was one my favorite days from the trip. Before I even thought of flying out there, Hanna has been one of my largest photo inspirations and it meant a lot to me for her to show me one of her favorite cities and all her favorite spots.

With the go, go, go mentality, the next morning was our day to head to the coast. It doesn't matter if Cannon Beach is a huge tourist spot, I had to see Haystack rock for myself. Even being in front of it, it was hard to believe it was real.

My first west coast sunset was by far the best sunset I've ever seen in person. I could get used to that everyday. These photos do it no justice whatsoever.

With Hanna knowing I skateboard, she took me to the Burnside skatepark in downtown Portland and even with it being small, there's so much history in this little spot. Next time I'm definitely flying with a skateboard.

We really filled this trip to the point where we didn't have much free time. The St. John's Bridge has been something on my bucket list for a long time and seeing it in person was incredible. Still can't believe it's real.

This secret lookout spot was even harder to believe. Portland is such a beautiful city.

With some more free time, we headed to Trillium Lake. As soon as we stepped out of the car, this German Shepard came running at us but was never threatening. We pulled out our cameras and bent down and it started posing! It stood there for a good five minutes pointing it's nose in all different directions.

I decided it was a little hot and that I'd put my feet in the water. As I was gradually walking further in, this little newt swam around my ankles. Not going to lie, I jumped a little because I didn't know what it was. 

Since Timberline Lodge wasn't too far away, we jumped back in the car and headed up that way. I know I keep talking about the views of all the places Hanna took me but I can't even put them into words. Mountains for miles.

Being almost six feet tall, taking photos of my feet like this is rather difficult.

Hanna also took me to a camera thrift store where I snagged a fog filter, and pointing it into the sun coming in from the window created so much flare.

I had always thought having a campfire on the beach was a romantic thing to do, so we ended up doing that. Being the second to last night I'd be spending in Oregon, it was hitting me that I had to go home, which hurt. Really bad. It was freezing that night, but our hotel was oceanfront and it wasn't a far walk back to our room. We roasted marshmallows, ran down the beach, put our toes in the horribly cold water and Hanna managed to give me a piggyback ride all the way back to our campfire.

That morning we headed to Hug Point. It was a little overcast which made the coast have such a different vibe. The one thing I'm not used to is the beach being so much longer. Here on the east coast, our beaches are pretty eroded so there isn't as much sand as west coast beaches or rocks as large as these.

That night, Hanna and I went out to dinner but wanted to go out to a place where we had to dress up a little. With us being photographers, we couldn't head downtown without modeling for each other.

This was the one thing I wasn't looking forward to. Heading back to PDX and getting on the plane to come home. These were the best nine days of my life, but I'll be back in October for so many more memories.