We spent the day enjoying the hospitality of friends new and old. Steve and Cath treated us to a leisurely breakfast and wowed us with photos from their travels around this beautiful part of the Pacific Northwest: a bald eagle with wings extended and talons embedded in a fish it was pulling out of the sea, glistening snows on Mt. Hood, the winding path up Beacon Rock, a panorama of the mist-covered Columbia River Gorge, etc. Not only do Steve and Cath live in a remarkably beautiful part of the world, they take the time to appreciate their surroundings. That is a quality I am trying to cultivate in myself and my children.
In the late morning, Steve and Cath drove my sister Becky, Sho, Saya and me (and our bikes – see pic) from Vancouver to NW Skyline Drive just west of Portland. That is where my good friends Brad and Lisa Graff live. They are hosting us for two nights before we cycle away on Monday morning on the final leg of our trip. We hope to reach the Pacific Ocean on Tuesday or Wednesday.
And waiting at Brad and Lisa’s for us was my wife Eiko, whom we had not seen since July 5! Watching Sho and Saya hug their mommy and hold on to her was touching. It felt so good to be reunited as a family again. Eiko was not able to join our bike trip until now because of commitments at her job at the United Nations and because she took off two weeks last month to fly to Japan to be with Arisa, her 22-year-old niece who is battling Leukemia and just received a bone marrow transplant. Sho, Saya and I have talked about Arisa every day of this bike trip, how cruel cancer is, how frustrating to be confined to a hospital room for eight months (and counting). Arisa rode with us for two weeks when we cycled the circumference of Iceland in 2011, and we can’t wait for her to hurry up and kick cancer’s butt so that she can join us on our next bike adventure.
Brad and Lisa live in an exquisite home with stunning views of Mount Adams, St. Helens and Rainier. We hiked through their property, identifying elk, deer and coyote tracks, and picked blackberries to put in a cobbler. As I stared out at the fir tree covered vista and regal mountains, I thought about how much of this scene resembles what Lewis & Clark saw as they struggled through over 200 years ago. And how that scene was similar to what the Native Americans had witnessed for 10,000 years prior. Despite industrialization and the tremendous explosion of the human population across the planet, so much wilderness remains, beckoning each of us to listen to sounds that are billions of years old, reconnect with the wild that resides in us all, and reminding us that it is our unique responsibility to preserve all that we can.
Here are some pics:
Steve, Saya, Cath, me, Sho
Our bikes on Steve's trailer
Reunited with Mommy!
Sho picking blackberries
Lisa picking blackberries
Eiko picking blackberries
The view from Brad and Lisa Graff's home