Author Archives

Tom Cochran Vagabond

I photograph and write about the people and places that catch my eye in the Pacific northwest and the Rocky Mountain west. I draw my palette from the landscapes and cities, rivers and highways, mountains and farm and sea coasts of Washington and Oregon, primarily. I sometimes travel farther afield, across Idaho, Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico. I am a seeker of sights, a will-o'-the-wisp in search of the winsome, photographing and describing the unusual, the beautiful, the engaging, and the truly awe inspiring. Welcome to my corner of the world!

Cascades, Columbia, Capital, and Cannons – 3

This series of posts describes a journey from northwest Washington state to East Wenatchee, along the central Columbia River to Umatilla, Oregon, west to Portland, north to Olympia, onward to Port Townsend, a ferry ride back to Whidbey Island, and home again. This post will travel up and over the North Cascades at Stevens Pass, and down to Tumwater Canyon a few miles west of Leavenworth.

Cascades, Columbia, Capital, and Cannons – 2

A journey from northwest Washington state to East Wenatchee, along the central Columbia River to Umatilla, Oregon, west to Portland, north to Olympia, onward to Port Townsend, a ferry ride back to Whidbey Island, and home again, this was my first post-Covid-19 shutdown overnighter. The first step, from Everson to Everett, is at Cascades, Columbia, Capital, and Cannons – 1.

Cascades, Columbia, Capital, and Cannons – 1

I’ve been closed down, sequestered with my wife, for over a year because of the threat of a dread disease, Covid-19. Now, I feel free. I was vaccinated twice, late January and late February. My wife received her first shot at the beginning of April and her second in late April. So, I hit the road. This was a great opportunity to see some fascinating parts of Washington and Oregon. For my celebratory first trip in far too long, I covered a rough triangle in central and southern Washington and Oregon along the mighty Columbia.

The Oso Slide – 2 – Tragedy and Memorial

Saturday, March, 22, 2014. 10:36 a.m. A moment in time. Before that moment 43 children, women, and men were living ordinary lives. After that moment in time, the world changed for dozens of people. This post is a story of tragedy in northwestern Washington state. It is also a story of the aftermath, rescue, and remembrance, a story about a living memorial at Steelhead Drive and State Route 530.

State Route 530 – Part 3

This post follows the highway from the Cicero Bridge east to Darrington, home of one of the Hampton Lumber Mills, a distance of 20 miles. Along the way, SR 530 passes the community of Oso, the Oso Slide Memorial and the vanished community of Hazel, the ghost of Fortson Mill, the Darrington Rodeo Grounds, and the Darrington Bluegrass Park.

State Route 530 – Part 2

State Route 530 isn’t long, only 51 miles from Interstate 5, crossing State Route 9 that runs north to the Canadian border, past Arlington, Washington, east past Oso, through Darrington, then north to Rockport on the Skagit River. The first post in this series of posts about State […]

Ring Around Washington – 1

A journey around the state of Washington offers a traveler busy big cities, pleasant small towns, sandy ocean shores, dense green forests, magnificent mountains, fertile farms, and sweeping bridges. People working, people playing, people entertaining, people thinking. This post looks at some of the beauty and wonder of […]

The Oso Slide

March 22, 2014, was a dreadful day in Washington state history. A tragic landslide occurred 4 miles east of Oso, Washington, a small, rural community 60 miles northeast of Seattle, nestled in a beautiful valley of the North Cascades. A hillside collapsed, sending mud and debris rushing south […]