First Time In The Northwest (Pt. 1)

 "This is not 5 feet at 11 seconds..." James said as he let out a long exhale.  "That's what the report said. Maybe the swell is delayed and won't fill in 'till tomorrow," I reply, hoping that we would score some sort of waves during the trip. I was itching to get in the water.   "Welp, let's head back to the van and cook up some eggs. Maybe we can wait out the rain and the tide to rise and it'll pick up out there. I can ask my one loc-dog buddy back in the parking lot if it was breaking anywhere else. Our best bet is to head north."

"This is not 5 feet at 11 seconds..." James said as he let out a long exhale.

"That's what the report said. Maybe the swell is delayed and won't fill in 'till tomorrow," I reply, hoping that we would score some sort of waves during the trip. I was itching to get in the water. 

"Welp, let's head back to the van and cook up some eggs. Maybe we can wait out the rain and the tide to rise and it'll pick up out there. I can ask my one loc-dog buddy back in the parking lot if it was breaking anywhere else. Our best bet is to head north."

 After months of scheming plans and getting ideas in line, I booked a flight to Oregon to meet up with my friend James Barkman. Ever since I was a kid, I dreamed of visiting the Pacific Northwest. I remember watching cheesy Disney films that took place in Washington and Oregon and always had an appeal to the fog and rain, the change of seasons, and endless coastline with little to no crowd. Since James has been hanging around up there for the better part of the past year, I found a perfect excuse to leave southern California for a week. For seven days, we lived off fried eggs, hiked a little more than we planned, met some rad friends, and most importantly, spent time together. 

After months of scheming plans and getting ideas in line, I booked a flight to Oregon to meet up with my friend James Barkman. Ever since I was a kid, I dreamed of visiting the Pacific Northwest. I remember watching cheesy Disney films that took place in Washington and Oregon and always had an appeal to the fog and rain, the change of seasons, and endless coastline with little to no crowd. Since James has been hanging around up there for the better part of the past year, I found a perfect excuse to leave southern California for a week. For seven days, we lived off fried eggs, hiked a little more than we planned, met some rad friends, and most importantly, spent time together. 

 As you may have seen in previous posts, one of my closest friends,    James Barkman   , has been on the road for the past two years living in his van and working on photo projects. The dude has some serious talent. Not only is he one of my favorite photographers, he's a guy I really enjoy talking to and learning from. Get to know James.

As you may have seen in previous posts, one of my closest friends, James Barkman, has been on the road for the past two years living in his van and working on photo projects. The dude has some serious talent. Not only is he one of my favorite photographers, he's a guy I really enjoy talking to and learning from. Get to know James.

 Big Foot spotting. Driving thru rain on the Oregon coast. 

Big Foot spotting. Driving thru rain on the Oregon coast. 

 Our mode of transport: Melody Barkvan. The perfect adventure mobile for hounding waves.

Our mode of transport: Melody Barkvan. The perfect adventure mobile for hounding waves.

 Hiking through the mountains was on my list of to-do's. The possibilities are endless in the Pacific Northwest. Here's a photo of the fog parting perfectly over miles of national forest and logging roads.

Hiking through the mountains was on my list of to-do's. The possibilities are endless in the Pacific Northwest. Here's a photo of the fog parting perfectly over miles of national forest and logging roads.

 Hiking in the rain to get skunked.

Hiking in the rain to get skunked.

 A shot of me on one of my first waves of the trip. Thanks for the shot James.

A shot of me on one of my first waves of the trip. Thanks for the shot James.

 Filling up on mountain spring water.

Filling up on mountain spring water.

 I had the pleasure of meeting a new friend,    Nicole Mason.    Neek is a photographer based in Portland and had met James a while back through mutual friends. She accompanied us on a few hikes and shared some wise words about life. 

I had the pleasure of meeting a new friend, Nicole Mason. Neek is a photographer based in Portland and had met James a while back through mutual friends. She accompanied us on a few hikes and shared some wise words about life. 

 Setting up the solar panels. This is how James powers all of his electronics.

Setting up the solar panels. This is how James powers all of his electronics.

 Cape Disappointment, Washington.

Cape Disappointment, Washington.

 Waking up in the pop-top.

Waking up in the pop-top.

 Re-organizing gear and being able to find stuff in a reasonable time is an essential vanlife skill. James has become quite the master. 

Re-organizing gear and being able to find stuff in a reasonable time is an essential vanlife skill. James has become quite the master. 

 Passing by. 

Passing by. 

 Looking out towards Pacific City.

Looking out towards Pacific City.

 After a mile hike through dense forest, the surf became visible through a clearing in the pines. Our arms were tired from carrying all our boards and wetsuits, and our excitement to suit up was through the roof. It was around noon, and had spent the majority of the morning cleaning the van, driving around, and figuring out what spot would be working the best.  "Hey, look at that right!" James exclaimed after pointing towards a face left untouched by anyone out in the lineup.   "That actually looked kinda fun. Small, but fun. I say we go out there and wait for a few nugs to come through. I'm just looking to get in the water." My eyes lit up as I saw another small set come through. Few guys were out, and I could picture James and I hooting and hollering at each other as we shared some waves. "I just have to throw some duct tape on the log before we go out."  "Sounds good. I'll get my suit on. You can take the 4-3. That reminds me. I'm gonna shoot Caleb a text and tell him we're surfing here and to meet us at Safeway whenever we get out. They should be here soon, then we'll caravan south to the spot we were looking at on Google Maps. The report said that swell should be filling in later this evening. It looks very promising..."  "Fine by me. Let's suit up..."

After a mile hike through dense forest, the surf became visible through a clearing in the pines. Our arms were tired from carrying all our boards and wetsuits, and our excitement to suit up was through the roof. It was around noon, and had spent the majority of the morning cleaning the van, driving around, and figuring out what spot would be working the best.

"Hey, look at that right!" James exclaimed after pointing towards a face left untouched by anyone out in the lineup. 

"That actually looked kinda fun. Small, but fun. I say we go out there and wait for a few nugs to come through. I'm just looking to get in the water." My eyes lit up as I saw another small set come through. Few guys were out, and I could picture James and I hooting and hollering at each other as we shared some waves. "I just have to throw some duct tape on the log before we go out."

"Sounds good. I'll get my suit on. You can take the 4-3. That reminds me. I'm gonna shoot Caleb a text and tell him we're surfing here and to meet us at Safeway whenever we get out. They should be here soon, then we'll caravan south to the spot we were looking at on Google Maps. The report said that swell should be filling in later this evening. It looks very promising..."

"Fine by me. Let's suit up..."

 Stay tuned for the 2nd installment of my  First Time In the Northwest.  I'll have another post up within the next couple days telling a story about the second half of the trip. You're not going to want to miss it. Thanks for reading.

Stay tuned for the 2nd installment of my First Time In the Northwest. I'll have another post up within the next couple days telling a story about the second half of the trip. You're not going to want to miss it. Thanks for reading.

Here are some more links:

Instagram: @seanrcollier

@jamesbarkman