The Journey & Photos-Part 1: Portland, OR to Columbia Falls, MT

This trip to visit trauma-informed communities is the culmination of a year-long journey I’ve been on, to explore childhood trauma and the myriad ways trauma can impact people’s lives.

I’ve been able to do this thanks to the Lancaster County Community Foundation’s Baldwin Leadership program.  The Baldwin program supports both the personal and professional development of recipients, with the idea that our Baldwin projects will benefit us as individuals, as well as benefit the community.

Part of my exploration this year has been into the multi-generational history of addiction and related trauma among the mothers and daughters in my own family. My mother, my maternal grandmother, and my maternal great-grandmother all struggled their entire lives with serious addiction, and as a result, the mother-daughter relationships through three generations were deeply fractured and painful.  Thankfully, my own daughter, Hannah, and I have been able to break that cycle, and we have a healthy, strong, deeply loving mother-daughter relationship. So it has been especially meaningful and special that she is traveling with me for the first week of this journey.

She and I spent 12 hours driving yesterday, departing around 6:15am (sorry, Hannah!) from Portland, OR. We headed east on I-84, through the Columbia River Gorge (where I’ll be meeting with folks doing trauma-informed community work next week) in rain and fog and early morning rush-hour traffic.

We got off the Interstate at Mosier and took Historic Route 30 up through Mayer State Park to Rowena Crest Viewpoint. The rain stopped long enough for us to get out and take a few photos, which you can see here.

Then we continued east on I-84 before angling northeast into Washington state, where we made a short stop in Walla Walla, WA just to get a feel for the town. (I’ll also be returning there next week for meetings with folks doing trauma-informed work in their schools, healthcare and justice systems, and elsewhere).

After a hearty late morning brunch in Walla Walla at a joint called “Bacon & Eggs” (how could we pass THAT up?), we continued driving up through Spokane, to Coeur D’Alene (another of next week’s trauma-informed community stops), and across the panhandle of Idaho, then into Montana.

We are now in Columbia Falls, MT, just outside of Glacier National Park, where we spent today hiking and exploring on the west side of Glacier, taking an 8-mile hike from Lake McDonald up “Going-to-the-Sun Road”. Tomorrow we plan to explore the east side of Glacier, up to St Mary’s. I’ll post photos from Glacier tomorrow….


Author: melaniegsnyder

Melanie G. Snyder serves as the Director of the RMO for Returning Citizens – a prisoner-reentry initiative that improves community safety by helping people transitioning out of prison get access to the services and treatment they need to lead whole, healthy and crime-free lives. She is a consultant to a number of newly forming prisoner reentry coalitions in other regions and states. Melanie is the author of Grace Goes to Prison: An Inspiring Story of Hope and Humanity ( and has given a TEDx talk titled “Breaking Out of Prison Thinking” ( Melanie is a certified instructor for the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Healing Communities model, a National Institute of Corrections certified Offender Workforce Development Specialist, and a SAMHSA-certified instructor for their trauma-informed criminal justice training. She is currently a Baldwin Fellow with the Lancaster County Community Foundation, focusing on trauma and trauma-informed care, and has conducted trainings on trauma, ACEs and related topics for numerous groups across Pennsylvania.

2 thoughts on “The Journey & Photos-Part 1: Portland, OR to Columbia Falls, MT”

  1. You are in a beautiful part of our country! Thanks for reminding me of lovely, fun and exciting trips with my sister through some of those same areas. I pray for a safe, informative and deeply inspiring journey for you.


  2. Beautiful shots, Melanie, and terrific that you can be hiking this landscape, even more special that you’re sharing it with Hannah!


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