Brightwood Photography » Santa Barbara + Los Angeles wedding photographer documenting adventurous love stories near mountains, lakes, and forests. This world is beautiful, so let's get out there and have an adventure.


Every now and then, we’re in need of adventure. A journey that uproots you from the comfort of your home, your schedule, and knowing where you’ll be the next day. Los Angeles has it’s good times, but I was in need of an escape to spend time amongst the mountains, tall evergreens, calming lakes, and roaring oceans. Finally, I heard the calling from the Northwest. I’ve been following many different artists and creators based out of the Northwest for quite some time now (Jeff Marsh, Nichole + Jordan Gibbons, Sean Flannigan, Ryan Flynn, Sara Byrne, Benj Haish, etc) and they were all a huge inspiration in putting together this trip.

Our goal was to spend 11 days driving from LA to WA and seeing as much as we could in that short amount of time. First up on the list was a 12-hour drive to Mt. Shasta to visit my roommate who has been away at camp this whole summer. We packed our bags, double checked the gear, and away we went. Our first adventure was climbing Mt. Etna and spending the night up on the summit. Although it wasn’t a very long hike, it certainly made up for it with the altitude we gained and lack of trails. The sunset from the top was incredible. The colors seemed to hold onto the sky as long as they possibly could before slowly fading into the night sky. Mt. Shasta was a beautiful backdrop and stood out like a giant amongst the other mountains around us. To make our packs a bit lighter, we chose to sleep without a tent on the summit which wouldn’t have been an issue had there been no mosquitos. We all spent the night slapping our faces, heads, arms, and backs to fend off the annoying bugs but it didn’t seem to help. Somehow we still ended up with no sleep and too many bites.



As we said our goodbyes a few days later, we dropped Davey off at the airport and Samantha and I were left with the open road in front of us. We made our way into Portland and explored the city streets and wandered through the boutique shops. One thing I learned from our short time in Portland is that I need to spend more time there. We were headed to Rainier in the morning, so we only had one afternoon in this great city, but it made a perfect first impression on both of us.

Thanks to a short notice recommendation from Jeff Marsh, we headed through the forests of Rainier National Park and into Spray Park. One of my favorite parts about this drive was that Mt. Rainier seemed to always be looking down on us and towering over the rest of the land. The moment we made it up the switchbacks and into Spray Park, I felt like we were in paradise. A quiet wind swept through a seemingly untouched meadow full of evergreens, trickling streams, blooming wildflowers, and lingering patches of snow. With Samantha by my side, I felt very much at home here. This short walk was more than I could have asked for and I can’t wait to further explore and walk deeper into the park.



The second half of our trip was filled with Seattle, a quick stop at Olympic Game Farm, and back down the rugged Northwest coastline. Thanks to beautiful weather, Seattle now holds memories full of blue skies and warm weather – something I know will be shattered if I were to ever move there permanently and I’m not looking forward to that. Nonetheless, I know that the beauty surrounding this awesome city would create a lot of great memories and happiness. Of course the day we got there, Macklemore was filming a music video along the street we walked along, but we didn’t bother to stand around until dusk. Instead we shuffled through the market and busy streets along the water, stopping occasionally to check out different shops.

From the advice of another friend, Carly Rae, we hit up Olympic Game Farm on the way towards the coast. Carly described it as an awesome little farm where you can drive your car and feed buffalo and other types of animals. Sounded like fun, so we checked it out. Holy moly, we couldn’t stop giggling through the entire time we were there. In the short 45 minute drive, the following animals stuck their heads in my car – Tibetan Yaks, Lamas, Deer, Bears (so close they basically could have stuck their head in), Elk, and Buffalo. There is still drool on my windows from the Elk – I had to roll my window up because they were being too aggressive and grabbing bread out of our laps! I totally recommend paying a visit to this place though, it was crazy fun.



I’ve heard great things about the Northwest coastline, but I never had the opportunity to experience it for myself. After spending a night sleeping out on the rocky beach, it definitely lived up to all of our expectations. Massive pieces of driftwood lined the forests along the edge of the beach, guiding us towards our distant campground. The main attraction at Rialto Beach is the Hole in the Wall, so once we ditched our packs, we danced and shuffled our way along the sand until we had to carefully step over wet rocks through the hole. What awaited us on the other side looked like a painting. The ocean spray glistened as the setting sunlight caught each droplet while they were all rushing towards the edge of the forest. Driftwood filled the beach and Samantha spotted a homemade driftwood fort left for us by previous travelers. As the sun went down and the cold air blew in, we made our way back to camp and laid down for the night. The next day was full of driving through Olympic National Park down to Cannon Beach, where we stopped and walked around the misty beach.



Our final stop before heading back down to LA was Crater Lake. Somehow, this place has evaded our presence every time we’re in the area, so Samantha and I were stoked to finally have the chance to spend some quality time here. What I didn’t realize while driving here is the road legitimately stays right near the rim, which was nice considering we were tired and expected to walk a mile or so uphill to get some good viewpoints. Our time at Crater Lake was full of simplicity and relaxation – we strung up our hammock in the trees, ate some lunch, and sat in silence as we looked out over the enormous lake. It was the perfect ender to our trip.



Northwest, you are an awesome bit of land and I can’t wait to get back up there and explore. #northwestisbest

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