Archive for the ‘2009/06/20 Washington’ Category

North Cascades NP

Monday, July 6th, 2009

We dropped the kids off at the Seattle airport on Thursday after a fun filled visit.  Our plan upon their departure was to grab a few necessities from the outlet mall, then pay a visit to Chateau St. Michelle winery (home to one of Kim’s favorite chardonnays).  Much to our chagrin, being a much larger winery then we are used to, the place was a tourist trap (very nice grounds) and we decided to leave without even tasting 🙁  No worries, literally across the street was Redhook Brewing Co.  We had a nice time tasting their beers and enjoying their patio.

On Friday, we packed up camp and were off to North Cascades National Park. Now that Lindsay was gone, we could get back to some more serious hiking.  After setting up in our new temporary home, we had the afternoon to explore the park.  We stopped at some pretty overlooks and enjoyed a short walk along Thunder Creek.

20090704-029xThe next day was the 4th of July.  Our plan was to ride through the park on the motorcycles and do the Marble Loop hike around Lake Ann. 

20090704-031xThe hike started from the Rainy Lake Picnic Area, where we found ourselves being the “picnic” for a wide array of bugs that were enjoying making lunch out of us.  Unfortunately, we left the bug spray at the camper. As we worked our way up the trail we found some nice people who were willing to share some of their spray, hence the smiles on our face.  Or could that be due to the views of Lake Ann from above?

20090704-052xLooks like a good place for a bear to have lunch, huh?  We once again found ourselves trying to capture yet another bear picture for the book.  Mom, you’ll be happy to know we were too far away to get a picture worth posting. We thought this was a nice filler:)  By the best of our (limited) animal identification ability, we think this bear was our first grizzly. 

20090704-055xRight about the time we spotted our furry friend we were stopped by deep snow on the trail.  What the…? It’s the fourth of July, there shouldn’t be any more snow! We were a little bummed about not completing the loop, especially since we had done most of the 2,800 foot “up” of the hike.20090704-069x  

On the way back down we had to take advantage of the timer shot op.  The North Cascades are described as the “North American Alps”.  As we hiked and toured the park we understood why. 20090704-126xWhen we finally made our way back to the camper, we were able to enjoy the fireworks from our campground.  Apparently this was the happening place to see the local display.  They did a very good job and many locals were in attendance.  We would say it was comparable to small town displays back home.  It was a nice ending to a good day!

20090705-011xOn Sunday, we set out to tackle Cascade Pass – a drive to a hike that was recommended by one of the rangers.  On the way, we spotted the road to Hidden Lake – a hike we wanted to do, but were told the road to the parking area was washed out.  Well, they apparently fixed it recently so we switched gears.  We set out on the 4.5 mile (one way), 3,200 ft elevation gain trail to find Hidden Lake.  The views were outstanding.  We tried not to break out in song too often “the hills are alive with the sound of music…” (Pretty corny, huh?) 20090705-014xThe trail brought us through a variety of different terrains from deep forest to open meadows (all on the VERY steep side of a mountain).  As we worked our way up, up, up, we noticed that some people in the distance had stopped by the snow line.  We had been next to snow for a while now, so we assumed they were resting. As we mentally prepared ourselves for the continued trek, we noticed they had set out across the ice field, having stopped to put on their snow/ice gear. Once again we were foiled by the snow.  Hidden Lake will continue to be hidden from us.  Looks like we may have to invest in some crampons. 20090705-024x

There was a great deal of glacial run off which made for several fun stream/creek crossings. 20090705-029x

Chris decided to find out how cold the water actually was.  VERY!  By the time Kim snapped the shot his feet were numb! 

We ended the day completing the drive up to Cascade Pass.  We didn’t have another hike in us after doing about 2/3’s of Hidden Lake but we still enjoyed the views from our “auto tour”.  Kim even spotted two young black bears playing on a patch of glacial ice in the distance.  Once again, too far to capture a good picture…

Today is our last day in the Cascades.  The plan is to clean the camper and get packed up for ALASKA!!!  Tomorrow we put the camper in storage and head to Vancouver BC where we will catch our flight on Wednesday, YEAH!!!

Mt. Rainier and Mt. St. Helens

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009
It has been a very busy few days since we left the Olympic Peninsula. On Monday, we headed southeast to check out Mt. Rainier and Mt. St. Helens.  After setting up camp in our less than desirable campground, we went to Mt. Rainier right away. Luckily, we had gotten an early start and had a relatively short drive, leaving the whole afternoon to explore the park.  Mt. Rainier was quite impresssive.  The size and scope made you feel pretty small and every view looked fake.  We took a few short walks and had fun trying to get a timer shot of the gang once again.
More wildflowers with the other side of Mt St Helens
More wildflowers in front of the blast side of Mt St Helens

The next day we set out early to visit Mt. St. Helens (no need to hang in the parking lot of a campground with the Clampits patrolling with shotguns, really).  On the way, Lindsay shared fond memories of learning about Mt. St. Helens in third grade.  Chris and Kim found the blast side interesting and quite different than the southside they visited a week or so ago.  We stopped at the visitor centers, got some souveniers, and took a few walks/hikes to check out the views.  The wildflowers were great again, the sun was shining, and Lindsay was whining:) She was less than pleased when we embarked on a 2.5 mile loop through hummocks created by the 1980 eruption.  She later agreed that the views were pretty cool though she could barely enjoy them due to the hiking part.  She faked it well for the timer shot though. It’s ok, a little shopping and a good dinner worked her out of her mood. 

Since the campground was so yucky (tech term), and we had visited both parks we wanted to check out, we all decided to head to Seattle for the last day.  We got up super early and, while the kids slept, Kim and Chris packed up and relocated to a park near Seattle. We had a fun afternoon checking out Pikes Place Market, where they throw the fish, and spending time in the (much nicer) campground playing ladderball and having a fire.  Tomorrow the kids are off… We will miss them.

More of the Olympic Peninsula

Saturday, June 27th, 2009
Kayaking in the shadows of Mt Olympus

Kayaking in the shadows of Mt Olympus

The past few days have continued to be filled with outdoor fun.  Friday started off fairly sunny so we wanted to take advantage as the weather is a gamble every day around here. Lindsay experienced yet another “first” when we went kayaking.  We rented a double kayak, which Chris and Lindsay manned while Josh and Kim paddled the singles.  We had a nice afternoon exploring Lake Aldwell and the surrounding scenery. After our kayaking adventure it was home for a fire, dinner,  video, and of course some smores:)

Harbour at La Push

Harbor at La Push

Interestingly enough, we have all read (or are currently reading) the Twilight series.  Unbenown to us when we planned our visit to this area, it is “Twilight” country.  We spent Saturday visiting the Hoh Rain Forest section of the park and hitting various locations from the book.  Lindsay loved the hiking (NOT!), so after a few short walks through the rain forest we set out to see the town of Forks and La Push (the 2 main towns in the series).  Forks was uninspiring but we had a lot of fun walking along the beach in La Push collecting rocks (sorry Bren, we couldn’t find a shark tooth but we will keep looking). We ended the day with dinner and a video.

The last day on the Olympic Peninsula was spent dividing and conquering.  Chris and Josh set out to tackle Mt. Storm King and Merymere Falls.  They had perfect weather for riding the motorcycle to their destination and hiking the 6 miles (give or take).  They enjoyed lunch on top of Mt. Storm King and relished in the views.  While they excercised, Kim and Lindsay did some girly hair dying (scary pink), ice cream eating, and ended thier day with a visit to the Olympic Game Park.  Lindsay loved the animals and had a blast feeding the Bison, llamas, Elk, Bear, and other large game from the truck.  Chris was not pleased with the drool  all over the truck but loved the stories.  The boys were pretty pooped after their day so after dinner they chilled with a movie while Kim and Lindsay had a fire and made smores.  Another fun, full day was had by all.  Tomorrow we move onto Mt. Rainier.


The Attack of Josh and Lindsay

Thursday, June 25th, 2009
The wind was really blowing on the ferry ride back from the airport

The wind was really blowing on the ferry ride back from the airport

We were ready… It was a long time coming but Josh and Lindsay finally made it.  The countdown is over.  The ride to the airport was uneventful and the kids landed as we hit the airport loop.  After exchanging our hello’s and hearing the stories from the kid’s day of travel, we started heading back to the Olympic peninsula.  We chose the “ferry” route, which was a bit faster than going around Puget Sound.   We just missed the next ferry when we got to the terminal so we found a little Chinese restaurant nearby to grab some lunch.  We were all pleasantly surprised at how good it was.  The kids had never been on a car ferry so it was a novel first experience. The kids were a little pooped with the travel and time change so, after some grocery shopping, we headed home to chill for the evening.

Today we started out with a walk along the tidal pools at Salt Creek.  There were lots of great creatures to check out; starfish of varying colors, crabs of varying sizes, sea anemones of varying ugliness, and many other creepy crawly swimmy things (including Chris at one point…oops).  This was another first for Josh and Lindsay, as they had never experienced tidal pools before.   Our next stop after lunch was a short hike to Sol Doc Falls within Olympic National Park.  Although it wasn’t the best waterfall we have seen of late, we had fun trying to capture the perfect timer shot with the kids. Since we are located in the same place as the Twilight series takes place, the kids wanted to rent the movie and watch it (for the 20th time). We finished our day with a great steak dinner and a movie.


Olympic National Park

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009


We  arrived on the Olympic Penninsula in Washington yesterday, a few days before  Josh and Lindsay were due, so we could set up camp and get the lay of the land. Olympic National Park is HUGE and has several different entrances with a wide variety of geographical points of interest. 

Hiking up Hurricane Ridge

Hiking up Hurricane Ridge

The nearest park entrance to our camp is Hurricane Ridge, seemed like a good first stop. As we made our way up there, we watched the temperature drop from the low 60’s to 39 degeees and the clouds were quite ominous.  We were not prepared for the cold, so we opted for a shorter hike then planned.  We were pleasantly surprised  when, near the summit, the clouds parted and allowed the sun to shine on us.  We enjoyed our hike up to Hurricane Hill, which we shared with Pat and Matt, a father and son enjoying their father’s day together.

Wildflowers again, this time in front of Mt Olympus

Wildflowers again, this time in front of Mt Olympus

We had fun taking pictures and watching the wildlife.  There were several black tail deer and marmot  playing in the fields. We were again  inspired by the beautiful wild flowers against the panoramic mountain views.  

On the ferry to Victoria, BC

On the ferry to Victoria, BC

As we were only a Ferry ride away from Victoria Canada, today we had to take advantage.  As the crossing was costly, we doubled up on Chris’s motorcycle. We set the alarm for 6:30 (YUCK!) and were on the water by 8:15 coffee in hand.  The ferry ride was enjoyable.  We met some nice guys from Canada who were finishing up a two week motorcycle tour of the Northwest US. 

The Empress Hotel in Victoria from the Harbor
The Empress Hotel in Victoria, BC

We were very impressed by the Victoria Harbor and the city itself.  Many people had told us how beautiful the city was, and it didn’t dissapoint.  Victoria really had the feel of being in another country, unlike Canada near our home.  We spent the day touring the coutryside on the motorcycle and walking the city around the harbor.  It was a long, full day and we were happy to get home and to bed.  Tomorrow,  Josh and Lindsay arrive and more adventures begin.