Leaving Yosemite was difficult for all of us. We met some incredible people there and felt a lasting connection with the unique environment, but as always we had something to look forward to. A relieving five hour drive and we found ourselves in San Francisco. We were welcomed by Dan’s cousins Sherry and John who opened their home and were more than gracious. I couldn’t tell you how luxurious it felt to, for the first time on our trip, be inside of a house, sleep in a bed, eat full meals and most notably; take hot showers! We certainly made the most of our two days in San Francisco. One day, John lent us his surfboards and we spent hours rocking on the water waiting for a decent wave to come by at which we would awkwardly dig into the ocean in hopes of it carrying us in its powerful wake. Though most of our attempts were unsuccessful, the euphoric feeling of riding a wave was enough motivation to slug ourselves back on the board; over and over again. The following day we explored the city and got a feel for the culture of San Francisco. My impressions of this city were different than most, it seemed very lively, gleeful, safe and even had natural beauty to admire by the water. I’m not one for the big city, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see myself back in San Francisco. Before we knew it we were back on the road continuing north, up the breathtaking Pacific Coast Highway-on route to Portland, Oregon. We split the drive up into two days which turned out to be one of our best decisions; pretty much the entire Pacific Coastline is one very long beach and is only put to use around cities. We took advantage of these uninhabited beaches and stealth camped beside the pacific for the night; admiring an iconic sunset west over the water while sea lions danced below in the sparkling water. California through Washington and alas, Portland…probably one of the kookiest places I’ve ever been. We met up with a close friend of Dan’s; Diane and her cousin Vincent, who took us to one of Portland’s many draft breweries. Unfortunately, my underaged self was not even allowed to enter this hip brewery. I spent the next couple of hours exploring the downtown area and it felt as though I had travelled back in time to the 60’s (or what I imagined it was like). I saw people dressed in all kinds of wacky getups riding anything from unicycles to fold-up backpack scooters. Though Portland was short lived it was unforgettable; a truly cultured, unconventional city.
We left Portland and had finally reentered Canada with an even fuller car, our first stop was Squamish. I immediately felt a sense of home in Squamish. We were welcomed into the climbing community and campgrounds surrounding the monolithic rock known as “The Stawamus Chief”. The climbing circus and highline festival was in full swing when we arrived and it was a special time to be there. Much of the camp would get up really early and spread out to either go climbing at one of the many crags or highlining up on The Chief. We would then return back to camp to share stories, beer, and brag about our days accomplishments. My friend Tyson had flown out to Vancouver to visit me before he took off on his 9 month journey to New Zealand, so it was really nice to get him on some rock as well. Michael flew home a bit early and had left Dan and I alone, naturally we climbed harder then we had in any other location. Everyday a new adventure up extremely tall multi-pitch climbs that blew me away, though I regrettably broke my camera lens on one of our hikes and was unable to capture most of our escapades. I cannot express the transcendental feelings and pure focus I would achieve while climbing on these impressive rocks, feeling the weight of the heavy granite against my hands and the nothingness below my feet. Though every couple of days we would go back to Vancouver, I was always longing to get back to Squamish, right up until my flight home.
Even now; sitting in a Coffee Shop back home I crave the high crag and the adventurous spirit of Squamish. Looking back on my pictures and memories of this entire trip seems unreal…Was I really on top of Half Dome? Did I really get to explore the desserts and canyons of Utah? I am more than grateful to have experienced such an incredible trip. I’m so thankful for my brother Dan who constantly shared his climbing knowledge and for being my mentor. And of course, Michael for always having a positive attitude and keeping us entertained during the dull moments. This is the final blog post of my trip, but I promise it will be not be the last post – as I’m already looking into new places of travel; another country, continent and adventure…The chronicles continue!