The Washougal River

At around 11 the next day we made our way over to Erika’s house excited for the days adventure to the river. We were standing outside with new faces when we found out we’d be taking a big yellow van up to the river. I looked around – there were 10 of us + Rocket the dog… Should be interesting I thought. I kept reminding myself that it’s okay to feel slightly uncomfortable – that good things come out of these kind of situations – if anything it would make me smile later. Around the corner came our driver. “Levins” is what everyone called him but he introduced himself as Jason. Jason and his sunshine yellow van would be carrying us to the holy waters of the Washougal this early afternoon and I couldn’t wait. The 8 of us + Rocket piled into the back awaiting the hour long journey. Rory provided some tunes on the guitar as we all anxiously awaited feeling the sunshine on our faces and water engulfing our bodies.

There were a surprising amount of people this far out of town but we found a sweet spot and loaded up on the sunscreen. After waiting a few minutes for it to dry everyone jumped off the 10 foot ledge to the swimming hole. I waited a little while – jumping from high places has never been my thing. But with a little persuasion and will power I made it in (I think I might have been the only one that screamed a little… but regardless I was happy I did it). The afternoon was as follows.. picnic on the rocks, lots of swimming in the perfect water, adventure hike down the river, losing Rocket multiple times, watching crazy young people jump from 30+ feet high cliffs and Levins in his flowery printed shorts whom I watched in awe while he used his old cameras underwater – wondering if they could withstand the element.

It was late late afternoon by the time we all loaded up in the van and headed back to Portland. Everyone in the back took a snooze while I spoke to Erika and Levins about future travels around the area. It had been the perfect summer day. Driving down sunshine spattered windy dirt roads deep in the forest in an old yellow van… swimming until our skin turned to prunes and getting so much vitamin D that our bodies needed a tiny nap to recover from the excitement. When we got back we made a plan to have dinner at Nate’s new house which was 5 minutes away from us. A delicious meal, celebratory fireworks and good conversation ended this pretty perfect summer’s day…

*The two photos of Rory underwater were taken by Jason Levins. .

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