Archive for June, 2009

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

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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.

The Columbia River Gorge, Part II

Friday, June 19th, 2009
Mt St Helens and wildflowers... and us

Mt St Helens and wildflowers... and us

After spending much of the past few days hiking and hunting waterfalls, we decided to take another scenic motorcycle loop.  This time we went north trying to get a view of Mt. St. Helens, the volcano that erupted in southern Washington on May 18, 1980.  To our surprise, we actually found a southern entrance to the Mt. St. Helens National Monument.  There were several hiking trails, some with interesting volcanic information. 

The exit of Ape Cave

The exit of Ape Cave

We checked out Ape Cave, which is an extensive lava tube discovered in the 1950’s from an age old eruption.  Chris did a little exploring but Kim didn’t make it much farther than the entrance, as it was very dark especially with the mini flashlights we just happened to have with us.

Mt St Helens and wildflowers...take 1

Mt St Helens and wildflowers...take 1

Another area in the park, Lava Canyon, offered incredible views from a new growth field. 

Mt St Helens and wildflowers...take 2

Mt St Helens and wildflowers...take 2

After taking a short hike to a waterfall in the Canyon we both took turns trying to capture the moment.

Upper Multnomah Falls

Upper Multnomah Falls

Today we woke up to torrential rain, which we thought would last all day.  Around noon there was a break in the nastiness, so we set out on foot once again.  After 200 miles of riding doubled up on the bike yesterday, we were ready to get back out on the walking trails.  Multnomah Falls, the highest waterfall in Oregon and right down the road from our campground, was our starting destination for another loop hike.

Wahkeena Spring

Wahkeena Spring

The 5 mile trail looped through old growth forest and several different springs and creeks that feed the waterfalls.

Clowning around in front of Fairie Falls

Clowning around in front of Fairie Falls

The sun didn’t last for long, hence the hats.  This weather makes for bad hair days (Kim’s Walmart haircut doesn’t help either!).  It was actually fun walking in the rain, but a bit chilly.  We were happy to have a camper to go back to instead of a tent today. As it turns out, after watching the news later, today was record setting day for rain in this area, go figure…

Tomorrow we head north into Washington.

The Columbia River Gorge

Wednesday, June 17th, 2009
Latourell Falls

Latourell Falls

After leaving Silverton, we headed north to the Columbia River Gorge, an area recommended by several people. We found a very nice State park with full hook ups right on the historic Columbia River Highway. After a very brief travel day (we were set up and had lunch by 2),  we set out to explore the area.  We started with a drive up Larch Mountain Road.  After a 14 mile drive we took a brief hike to an overlook that showcased 5 major mountains; Mt. Hood, Mt. Jefferson, Mt. Adams, Mt. Rainier, and Mt. St Helens. The views were pretty good considering  it was the first relatively sunny day we have seen in about 3 weeks.  Unfortunately, it was too cloudy/overcast to get a good shot of any peaks.  Next, We dropped back down to the scenic highway to visit some waterfalls. Our first stop was the Latourell Falls, one of many in the area that were quite impressive. 

Bridal Veil Falls

Bridal Veil Falls

Our second waterfall stop was Bridal Veil Falls.  After a short 1/2 mile jaunt through the woods we came upon a nice waterfall hidden in the woods.

Motorcycles and Mt. Hood

Motorcycles and Mt. Hood

The next day we took off on the motorcycles for a scenic tour of the area. We followed a 150 mile recommended loop and improvised on a few roads to make it more interesting for the bikes. We had great views of Mt. Hood (the highest peak in Oregon) for a good part of our ride. 

Ponytail Falls

Ponytail Falls

Today, we decided to set out on foot from our campground to check out some more local waterfalls.  Our first stop was Ponytail Falls.  From there we followed the gorge trail to several other falls. 

Oregon wild flowers along the trail

Oregon wild flowers along the trail

The wild flowers were very pretty along the trail. 

Triple Falls, go figure...

Triple Falls, go figure...

The “summit” of our 7 mile roundtrip hike was Triple Falls.  We were wondering where they got the name from:)

Horsing around at Horsetail Falls

Horsing around at Horsetail Falls

Although you can only see part of the falls in this shot, it was actually quite tall.  We had fun joking around trying to capture a timer shot.  From here we headed home to shower and check out the town of  Hood River.  We heard Naked Winery was very good and we needed to find a place to ship some of our ‘grape’ purchases before heading into Canada.  We had a great night tasting wines at Naked and beers at the Full Sail and Big Horse Breweries.

Trail of Ten Falls, Silver Falls State Park

Friday, June 12th, 2009

Hi, 20090612countI’m The Count from Sesame Street and the first post guest host!  Although I enjoy the dark and cold weather, Kim and Chris do not.  After spending time along the coast, they were happy to relocate to an inland location looking for some sun.  They were even happier about finding a good hike. The Ten Falls Trail at Silver Falls State Park (the largest state park in Oregon), seemed like the ticket. The 8 mile loop brought them through old growth forest and to (go figure) ten different waterfalls.  Though there wasn’t as much sun as they were hoping for, there were glimpses and it was in the upper 60’s, which was perfect hiking weather!  20090612-065x

#1, Upper South Falls, AH, AH, AH…

 

 

 

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#2, Lower South Falls, AH, AH, AH…   

 

 

 

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#3, Lower North Falls, AH, AH, AH… 

 

 

20090612-020x#4, Double Falls, AH, AH, AH…

 

 

 

 

20090612-092x#5, Drake Falls, AH, AH, AH…

 

 

 

20090612-101x#6, Middle North Falls, AH, AH, AH…

 

 

 

 

20090612-108x#7, Twin Falls, AH, AH, AH…

 

 

 

20090612-119x#8, North Falls, AH, AH, AH…

 

 

 

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#9, Upper North Falls, AH, AH, AH…

 

 

 

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#10, Winter Falls, AH, AH, AH…

 

 

 

 

 Today’s post was brought to you by the letter F, for Falls, and the number 10, for the amount of waterfalls photographed today.

 

Seriously, we had a ball finally hiking again. We are just outside of Silverton, OR. The Ten Falls trail was a large, well maintained loop trail with great waterfalls and views. Not sure why, but at the first waterfall, one of us started counting like the Count…laugh and all. It continued at each waterfall all the way up to number 10. Naturally, we had to document this silliness, hence our ‘guest host’.

After completing the hike, we drove over to Mt Angel, a nearby town with a strong German heritage. While there, we found a local german sausage maker. We bought a variety of flavors and raced home to grill our feast. All were very good, and most of what we bought is now keeping our fish company in the freezer. It’s getting crowded in there, we better get eating…

The rest of the Oregon coast

Thursday, June 11th, 2009
Haceta Head lighthouse

Haceta Head lighthouse

We heard rumour that route 101 along the northern half of the Oregon coast was even more twisty/turny and picturesque then the southern part.  Sounds like a perfect excuse for an overnight road trip on the motorcycles. We setup camp just outside of Florence and after a good night’s sleep, we loaded up the bikes for a trip up the coast to Astoria. As has been the norm since we hit the coast, gray, cold, and misty rain accompanied us the whole trip up.

Rogue Brewery Public House

Rogue Brewery Public House

Astoria is the northernmost town on the Oregon coast and sits along side the Columbia River.  There is a great deal of history and we enjoyed checking out the beautiful old victorian homes.  A bonus of this destination was the fact that Rogue Brewery has a satellite “Public House” right on the water.  After finding lodgings for the night we stretched our legs walking the 2.5 miles along the river to get there.  We had fun sampling the beer and pub fare.

A rare sight, the sun on the Oregon coast

A rare sight, the sun on the Oregon coast

We took the ‘more’ scenic route on the way home, the 3 Capes Scenic trail. The sun even came out at one point. We were a little startled to see these odd black shapes moving all around us. Then we remembered what shadows look like and stopped at one of the many wayside areas to enjoy our few minutes of sun. 20 minutes later, we were back to our familiar gray. Missing the sun more than ever now, we are headed back inland in hopes of seeing it again one day 🙂

Deep Sea Fishing in Oregon

Monday, June 8th, 2009
Our chariot for the day

Our chariot for the day

We woke up at 5 AM to be at the docks by 6.  After some hot java, things started to look clearer.  We haven’t seen that hour since our Grand Canyon adventure. We headed out for a 5 hour tour with Captain Bill and his mates Kurt and Tim from Betty Kay Fishing Charters out of Charleston Oregon.  Things started out slow and dismal much like the weather of late. 

Kim catches a Copper Rockfish

A few of these...

 Although Kim caught the first fish of the day, it wasn’t a keeper. After several less than successful stops we found a hot spot and we were reeling them in left and right.  Unfortunately, we couldn’t stay in this sweet spot long. Apparently, the local fishermen like to follow the charters as they reveal their secret fishing spots and a couple boats were about to discover this location.  We spent a great deal of time outrunning and avoiding these troublesome anglers.  This forced us to reel in and relocate quite a bit, although the verbal exchange between Captain Bill and the anglers was entertaining.  Fortunately, Captain Bill was hell bent on everyone having a great fishing experience and pretty much guaranteed you would catch your limit.

Plus the Octopus she caught...

Plus this...

Late in the day, Kim snagged the bottom with her hook (an all too common occurrence throughout the day). She gave up her pole to Tim the deckhand, like several times before. He worked it a little bit and finally got it loose, however it felt like something from the bottom may still be on the line. Kim reeled and reeled and we were surprised to find a 25 pound octopus on the line. It was an interesting flurry of activity to get the sticky creature out of the water and into the cooler. Its tentacles and suction cups stuck to any smooth surface. Kim was a trooper and helped peel the arms off anything they stuck too (only squealing a little). Mmmmm, octopus for dinner!

Equals this

Equals this

Finally, we reached the limit of fish for everybody on board (including the deckhands) and headed home. A 5 hour charter had turned into close to 10. Good thing nobody had afternoon plans. For a small fee, everybody had their fish cleaned right on the dock, including our octopus. We stopped at a small fish store for supplies and drove home to try and cook our “fresh catch” dinner. The fish was incredible, the octopus….not so much. Once we get internet access again, we will need to do some research on how to cook it, as ours came out a bit rubbery.

Welcome to Oregon

Saturday, June 6th, 2009

We left the Redwoods and arrived at our next destination on the Oregon coast Wednesday.  As much as we would like to report about a crazy schedule of hiking and motorcycling… the weather has been less than cooperative.  Since we arrived on the coast, a week ago, every day has been cloudy, rainy, foggy, and 50’s. It feels like we are back in Rochester, which is good for the homesickness, but bad for our activity level. 

The Oregon coast has a great deal to offer and is home to State Park after State Park.  The views, even with the clouds and fog, are amazing.  We have been “auto touring”, taking some short coastal hikes, visiting the local towns (we even managed our first movie this trip- Angles and Demons), and checking out the local wildlife (sea lions, harbor seals, and shore birds). Our first night here, we met a young couple from the UK and spent the evening trading traveling stories over a few adult beverages and spaghetti.

We are staying in Sunset Bay State Park (no cell or internet once again).  Oregon State Parks offer free camping on Saturdays, which was a nice surprise.  Struggling to find good gray day activities, we looked into deep sea fishing.  Again, we were pleasantly surprised to find out this was “free fishing” weekend in Oregon, saving us the cost of purchasing day licenses.  Tomorrow, we head out to sea hoping to stock the freezer with some local fish.