Rikki Rivera | Photographer » Wedding & Portrait Photography

Welcome to a true Northwest experience in the beauty of our much appreciated summers!

Last weekend after shooting a beautiful wedding in Edmonds, Wa, I was surprised by my super sweet fiance with a spontaneous family trip to Mount St Helens! That, of course, was after I came home to a clean house, well cared for children, and woke to a hearty homemade breakfast before take off – well loved ;).

I’ve been eager to go for a few years now, and we finally just DID IT! The beauty Washington has, from it’s endless seas to its tallest mountains, you really get the best of it all. So without further adieu, here is the beginning of our trip..



When we hit our first stop, we explored the gift shop, looked over maps, and read newspaper articles from the 80’s and 90’s! I hadn’t previously realized the eruption occurred the day after my birthday, seven years earlier. Wow!

I have to resist the urge of buying all the cute little trinkets, and I usually do. Jeremy quickly stole my attention when he showed me the second sign. With the first, he said, “This is the one you’ll probably agree with more, but if you do, you’re in trouble.” Hahaa. I laughed.

I had no idea how sentimental different areas of the Mount St Helens National Park area was (is) to so many travelers and outdoor enthusiasts. I was completely taken in my the many quotes shared throughout the visitor center, and instantly grew a newfound love and appreciation for a place I knew I would already be fond of.

“Man was only borrowing a little time up here. I always felt that I was being allowed by the grace of God to be at this lake. The mountain was just claiming back her territory.” Laura Bernard

There is nothing quite like taking in these breathtaking views, fresh mountain air, tall noble firs, and simply enjoying life. It’s an amazing experience all around. I highly recommend taking time out and enjoying the beautiful Northwest landscape.

It’s fascinating to watch your children in such a pure element, so stay tuned for even more incredible views of this beautiful monument, and our little adventurers who add a new twist to every facet of our lives. It’s full of fun moments, endless tests of patience, and an all around crazy good time!

This being my first time capturing the Relay for Life in Tacoma, it was challenging to control emotions in such an amazing place filled with the most incredible people. Everyone coming together as family, supporting one another, loving those who lost the battle, and fighting and hoping for a cure! It may not be much, it might be everything, but anything is worth something to people who lose their loved ones, and most importantly, to those who are enduring the cruel effects of cancer. It’s fun, exciting, sad, and heartbreaking – but it’s all so good! Join your local Relay for Life event and be apart of what can only be described as one loving, giving, honorable experience.

We didn’t know it then, but this would be Dr. Gordy Klatt‘s last year attending the Relay for Life event he began nearly thirty years ago in Tacoma, Washington. Succumbing to stomach cancer at the age of 71, he fought the good fight. I am humbled and honored to have met Dr. Klatt during and after my first Relay event to learn about the cancer research ACS funds, an event held at the Museum of Flight. You can see Dr. Klatt in the first few images. Rest in peace Gordy, we will always honor your courageous efforts!

When the weather is nice in Western Washington, you know to get out and take advantage of the warmer temps and sunshine. Whether we walk or drive 30 minutes or 3 hours, we can find a good adventure anywhere and thoroughly enjoy it together. Allowing yourself to be fully present in the moment with no distractions and play like a kid with your kids.. truly makes the best experiences.

I love that Alyx and Kate know how to have a good time no matter how new a place may be to them, or even if we’ve visited it dozens of times! They find unique things with each trip we take. They run, they play, and they not only make me smile, but they make others smile as well. That’s the greatest feeling – seeing other people take in a little bit of joy from their happiness. I’m happy to share :).

Not only did we get to bring my sister along with us, but we ran into a wildlife photographer/videographer who shared some stories of his own, and told us about the different sounds the birds were making. We walked away with a disc of his work and a greater appreciation for the place we come to get away.

From the lush greenery to the black and orange caterpillars, friendly squirrels, and rays of sunshine, there was no shortage of excitement or beauty. As we dive into summer, there will be a lot more where this came from! Stay tuned for more of our family adventures throughout the Pacific Northwest!

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