Seattle, Day Three

Our last day. Adé and I managed to still wake up pretty early. It was April 20th, and like everyone else in Seattle we wanted to get food and get high.

Kidding, drugs are really stupid.

No, we still managed to get gigantic breakfast burritos, and our high was found on the 73rd floor of the Columbia Center. I do so much of this traveling on a shoestring budget that the idea of forking out twice as much money for the space needle to not go nearly as high up was ridiculous.

The Columbia Center, however, was blissfully quiet with only a few other people inside. It made for a beautiful recap to literally see everywhere we had gone in just two days, and look down a wonderfully quiet (can’t imagine why…) Seattle.

King Street Station is an easy walk from the Columbia center, but don’t be fooled by the number of places listed as grocery stores in the nearby international district. Getting food for the train from them would have amounted to random herbs and an large amount of fish eyes. Still, a small bodega had enough basic snacks to help get us through the two day train ride back to Chicago which, oh man, you guys are gonna flip when I post those pictures.

We were in Seattle for all of 48 hours, and looking back now I can’t believe how much this city gave to us two wanderers.

Seattle, Day Two.

So like, the weather report the week prior to this trip said “IT IS GONNA RAIN LIKE FUCKING CRAZY” and I was sufficiently bummed about that as every trip I’ve taken since November has had extremely harsh weather. Fitting given that it’s been, you know, winter.

Anyway, my first day in town came and went without rain, and the next morning I was greeted to beautiful spring weather from the window of my hostel and the morning tourist run of Pike Place. Hell, most of Mike, Adé, and I’s hike was in great weather, and only two or three hours of severe rain followed us back down the mountain and into Seattle. Packing post-hike dry clothes was a good choice.

It was our last night in town, and after exploring different neighborhoods we ended up with dancing and drinking friends which, sorry, you’ll have to wait for the Random Frames to see those.

Seattle Hiking: Tiger Mountain

Go to the woods. No matter what you’re feeling, go to the woods.

It’s incredible to me that $5 in bus fair and some luck got us to this mountain. It was a quick ride downtown on a city bus, then a fancy express bus ride out to a depot in Issaquah. From there, an old coworker of Adé’s graciously picked us up and took us to one of the trailheads. Looking at the map now, you could easily take another 45 minutes to walk it; looking at the folks in Issaquah, you could easily ask a stranger for a ride, too.

Our ride, Mike, that dude’s a trail runner- the lean, mountain goat type that you’re shocked to hear is 40, and we served as a bit of an excuse for him to put off Saturday chores. He was the right kind of patient for our energy level, where if I wanted to fuck around and go off trail and cut up my legs to take a picture of a tree with Adé, he would just run ahead and turn around and come back once he hit the next split in the trail.

…Until the rain came, anyway.

While we got soaked hiking down, Mike ran ahead to warm up his car AKA not get stuck in heavy rain like us idiots. I really don’t mind the rain, even when it’s heavy I guess, and Adé was a real champ about me still wanting to stop and take pictures in it. I think it’s safe to say we all got something we wanted out of the morning.

I don’t know, being in the woods is so cleansing to me. Growing up in the east coast Appalachian wilderness, the PNW is familiar and foreign at same time. The air is different, as are the colors, but the stillness and serenity makes me feel like I’m 10 again.

dearleviathan asked: “"My parents have since forgiven me." Favorite part of the whole description. What's the best thing you've found during your travels so far?”

I found some pretty cool sticks this trip.

Seattle, Day One.

Well, half a day anyway. The train, the good ol’ Empire Builder, pulled in to Seattle’s King Street Station at 3pm. This time I have a friend, Adé, with me and I think stepping off the train for him was a neat thing. It’s his first train trip, and we went big with a full two-day ride through the beautiful northwest. That train ride alone is a big adventure, so the idea that things were just getting started must have been pretty neat.

And Jesus did we start things off right. A quick bus trip up to Fremont where our hostel was, and with slightly less crap in our bags we headed down to the water to meet Björn who invited us out on a friggin’ sailboat. Like, I’ve never been on a sailboat before. They’re big and complicated and always on the verge of falling over and killing everyone apparently, which Adé and I were reminded of a few times out on the water. But as with pretty much everything, if I have the chance to do it I will do it. That includes helping operate the boat, warning crew about water up ahead, and naturally taking off my clothes and going swimming in the chilly bay.

Sometimes you have to set the mood for the adventure in the first few hours, and drinking a Rainier with a clear view of Mt. Rainier in that cold-ass water probably did the trick. The night was spent in Ballard with tacos, cheap margaritas, appropriated Latino holiday decor, and more importantly new friends. Scamming our way onto probably(?) the right bus, we made it back to the hostel for a few hours of sleep before waking up early the next morning. Tomorrow, we’d be going into the woods.


Oh man, what a whirlwind. Phone picz post for now, but people ain’t joking around when they tag stuff #northwestisbest



New Orleans        San Francisco

San Antonio          Oakland

Austin                   Portland

Los Angeles          West Glacier

St. Louis                Philadelphia

Washington, D.C.   Whitefish


The Sunset Limited

The Coast Starlight

The Empire Builder

The City of New Orleans

The Cardinal

The Pennsylvanian


More photos, and sneak peaks, on instagram.

Thoughts and other nonsense on twitter.



That's all the planning I do.

Using Amtrak to travel around the western US, I started Railpass as a 15-day train trip to circle western America, explore new areas throughout the U.S., have surprising adventures, and document the experiences.

Taking only a few cameras, a bicycle, and a change of clothes, each stop on that route was a full day's worth of adventure. The train rides between destinations offered a chance to talk to other rail-travelers, recuperate, and (of course) blog here.

This blog started as a photo-journal of that trip, and continues to be updated with further adventures via train.


My name is Brent Knepper.

I'm a freelance photographer from Chicago, IL. My first Amtrak trip happened when I skipped class in high school and took my bmx bike with me from rural Virginia to New York. My parents have since forgiven me.