From California to Wyoming, with Love

In the last three weeks we have been in five new states…with an extra country thrown in for good measure.

Tripping state to state and kindling sparks of friendship…here are some people and places I’d like to show you.

Last of Northern California

Just before we hit the border of Oregon we hopped out of the truck and took a hike in the rainforest of northern California.


Florence, Oregon

This was quintessential rain-filled wild Oregon coast. We visited Sea Lion Cave, one of the biggest sea caves in the world. Inside, with the crashing waves, were hundreds of sea lions and a cacophony of sea lion communication.


We finished up Florence with a hike down to the tide pools by the beach. With rain boots on, we ran and splashed in the cold driving rain, delighting in wild winds, starfish, sea anemones, shell litter and white foam from the crashing waves (which we dubbed whale toothpaste). Have I mentioned that I love rubber boots? There’s nothing like them for walking through sheep poop or tide pools.


Salem and Portland, Oregon

In Salem we met up for a hike with the venerable, Errin Chappel (see her below pointing out to the kids where we are at on the map). A friend, formerly from Michigan, she took us hiking to our first Oregon waterfalls…and then gamely shared our GAPS lunch at the Silver Spud and said it was good;) Thanks for being a great sport, sharing the day and lunch with our brood, Errin. Good conversation, good adventuring.


After hanging out with Errin, we settled in to a campground near Portland. I try to make my raw milk runs when we are settled somewhere so as to avoid the comical grumpiness that settles over my husband when we have to pull the Silverspud on some gravel farm road. While near Portland I visited another small raw milk farmer…where the funnest attraction was not the Jersey cow but the camel named Bethlehem. The gentleman I purchased the milk from is supplementing his real estate income with raw dairying, holding it all together for his family while his wife deals with leukemia.


We also took an awesome hike at Eagle Creek.  The combination of waterfalls around every bend, and ravines, rivers, mossy trees, and wildflowers was intoxicating. I couldn’t keep a grin off my face the whole time. Of course the pictures don’t do it justice.


Lastly in Portland, I chanced upon Salt, Fire and Time, a traditional healing foods community kitchen. With plans to leave the area the next day the boys and I hopped into the truck to check it out. We met the lovely chef/owner, Tressa, and toured her kitchen in downtown Portland. She sent us out the door with a gift of sauerkraut! I love Tressa’s business concept and I am thrilled to have met her and have a resource to draw on.

Hoh Rain Forest, Forks, Washington

From Portland we drove on to Forks, Washington and entered the Twilight zone:).  I will guiltily admit that I saw the vampire movies when they came out. It was very funny to see all the Twilight posters and even entire shops dedicated to Twilight paraphernalia. Better than vampires though was visiting a Pacific Northwest rainforest one day and grilling steaks over a beach fire for lunch the next day…and then watching the tide wash away our fire when we were done! 

Olympic Peninsula and Port Angeles, Washington

New food of the month – Fresh, wild nettles from the Port Angeles Farmer’s Market. I love them sauteed in ghee. Here also are a few pictures of us playing “winter” in the Olympic Mountains.


Alan and Sandy’s house in Duncan, Vancouver Island, B.C.

One of the best aspects of traveling has been meeting perfect strangers and making new friends. Through a cousin we made contact with a couple on Vancouver Island,  Alan and Sandy Philip. One thing leading to another they invited our brood of six to stay in their home. They would have let us stay longer…but we like to leave a place with people still liking us:) They showed us interesting features of the area like an eco village called O.U.R Ecovillage. Alan & Sandy have a lot of interesting things going of their own…like a solar powered cistern for irrigating their permaculture gardens, the beginnings of a food forest, and homemade wines. Being experienced grandparents, our kids had a ball with them and were very reluctant to leave their (and ours) new friends, Alan & Sandy.

Ferry rides to Vancouver Island, B.C. and Seattle, Washington

We took one ferry ride with just our truck…to stay at Alan & Sandy’s home on Vancouver Island. A couple of days later we took a ferry across the Puget Sound with truck and trailer to cross over to Seattle and start our trek back east.


Jon and Katy Nasvik, Sun Valley, Idaho

My husband has proven he has a knack for finding interesting people. Back in January, when he attended the World of Concrete Convention, he met and talked to a guy named Jon. Again, with one thing leading to another he told Jon of our travels and also told Jon he’d like to visit him sometime in our travels…

So several months later we are driving up to another home of somebody I have never met, someone I haven’t even talked to. I will admit that I had some reservations about the people who lived in this gorgeous, concrete, piece of art, house. My fears were quickly allayed as I felt the warmth coming from Jon and Katy, and their kids, Sophie & Nate. Their home emanated love, fun and peace. A pioneer of decorative concrete as far back as the 70’s, Jon is a concrete artist. Nate was thrilled to observe some of his techniques and to see a concrete craftsman at work. Their home is a featured cover article in Concrete Construction Magazine, February 2011. A bonus of our stay there was that Katy is interested in nutrition and we got a kick out of trying new things in the kitchen and eating them together as two families. There were a few tears on our kids part when we left, they had so much fun playing with Sophie and Nate.

So here I leave you, as we explore Yellowstone National Park. We are also entertaining thoughts of visiting another current stranger/future friend on our way through South Dakota. I’ll be in touch. 🙂


About Melanie Christner NTP, CGP

I am a Nutritional Therapist & GAPS Practitioner in the Green Mountains of Vermont. I help families gain back their energy, digestive health, and robust immune systems...using targeted lab testing paired with nutrient dense whole foods. Find out more at
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2 Responses to From California to Wyoming, with Love

  1. Those pictures make me SO jealous!!! One grand adventure, a lifetime of memories.

    For some reason, I’m not getting your posts to my inbox. Saw this on facebook instead.

    Love You All,

    • Thank you, Erika. I’m not sure why you aren’t getting the posts into your inbox, hmmm…
      A lifetime of memories, yes, squashed into 6 months! It will take some time to unwind it.
      Love you too,

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