For the record, with our reroute to head further west to the Pacific, it looks like our trip might be closer to 6,000 miles or more for Maggie.
After meeting with our friend Jessica, her son Beau and their friend Ian in Spokane, we headed to Snoqualmie Pass - a rather quiet town sandwiched in the Cascade Mountains of Washington State and not unlike a rather bizarre TV show we’ve watched called Twin Peaks. There were real life characters and plots that would have fit right in with that show.
The scenery was spectacular despite the eery fog and dense clouds that surrounded the mountain tops. We slept at an Airbnb we happened upon and spent two interesting evenings there. The first night in a very cozy bed on an outside deck. Surprisingly, the sleep was restorative. Sleep doesn’t always come easy, but it did that night.
Rufous hummingbirds were buzzing all around when we awoke. Donna has always held these birds in high regard, so it was special seeing them in such large numbers, sipping home-made fresh nectar from the multiple feeders that hung around the deck. Below is a male Rufous, with another bird in the background coming in for a feed, and possibly a fight, because hummingbirds are highly territorial.
While staying there, we learned very serendipitously that a town - Roslyn, Washington, where the show Northern Exposure was filmed was just a 1/2 hour drive away. Our Maggie was named after the strong, independent, and capable female bush pilot from the TV series. The name certainly fit, as Maggie held all of those qualities. How odd that we would happen upon this area? The location of the series was really supposed to be in a small Alaskan Town called Cicely. Maggie also had ‘See the Northern lights’ on her bucket list, as well as ‘experiencing a full day of night’. Alaska was her chosen location to experience both. We were told that the Airbnb we stayed in was also known to catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights from time to time.
The Pacific Crest Trail cuts through Snoqualmie Pass. We did a short 5 mile hike on the trail and met some thru hikers at a local eatery named the Aardvark Café - basically a trailer and tent outside to sit down and eat, alongside route 906. We chatted with them about their travels and were interested to hear their trail names which all thru hikers seem to acquire. I copy and paste a bit of information about the “PCT” as it is called here. The trail is 2,650 miles and it generally takes the entire snow-free season to walk. That's about 5 months. Elite athletes who are experienced on the PCT have finished the trail in as little as two months. Steve hiked a large section, approximately 500 or 600 miles of the trail, in 1993 - way before starting our family.
This trip, with very little planning, apart from seeing the Peak to Sky music festival in Big Sky, Montana, has held lots of coincidences and interesting connections to Maggie, our family and our past.
The PCT hikers above have an arduous journey ahead of them. Our bucket list road trip for Maggie seems easy comparatively speaking. But, living the rest of our lives without our only daughter Maggie is an entirely different arduous journey and for us, feels like a harder one.
Yesterday, we finally arrived at the Pacific Ocean. It wasn’t easy making it there, adding on a huge loop of driving on slow roads. We know nothing about the coastline of the West, but knew we wanted to release some of Maggie’s ashes there. Finally, in the late afternoon, we found an expansive beach that felt fitting for Maggie.
After leaving the coastline, we turned around and started to head back East. We contemplated stopping in Portland but other forces compelled us to drive further west to Hood River in Oregon. Hood River is filled with adventure seeking people and multiple opportunities for outdoor activities. Today, we did a 30 mile bike ride along the Columbia River Gorge. It was challenging but just enough to work out the kinks from so many hours of driving.
Tomorrows miles should lead us to Salt Lake City in Utah, where we will meet up with Jason Lynch and his family. Jason is an elite runner who we have hosted twice in our home for the Cow Harbor 10k in Northport, NY. We wish he had gotten to meet Maggie, but she died before we ever met him. Jason has been following our story and Maggie’s Mission, including this bucket list road trip. He reached out to us and we are excited to see him and meet his family.