Mount Rainier

Dart was in Mount Rainier National Park.

A view to the east in Mount Rainier National Park
A view to the west in Mount Rainier National Park

Yesterday, we planned to visit Mount Rainier National Park.  When we woke up, it was cloudy and drizzly.  I was certain the mountain would be covered with clouds but we went anyway.  Good decision!  The clouds went away and we saw awesome views of Mount Adams on the way and Mount Rainier when we got to the park.

Mount Rainier National Park

For those of you following us last year, you may remember we went to Mount Rainier National Park but wound up hiking outside the park in the National Forest because we had Dart with us.  We had entered the park from the west but the road going through the park was closed.  We went part way, never saw any views, and went to the National Forest.  Yesterday, we entered from the east.  What a difference!  We had spectacular views.  We stopped a few times at overlooks and just sat and stared at the mountain.  We ate lunch within view of the peak.  The road was open and we drove all the way through the park.  We highly recommend it to travelers in this area.

Life is tenacious and will find a foothold anywhere it can.

The Park paper has interesting information on how to react with close encounters by bears and mountain lions.  The place where we ate lunch had signs on all the picnic tables regarding bears.  But, the thing that got us the most was the following guidance:

“If you are near a river and notice a rapid rise in water level, feel a prolonged shaking of the ground, and/or hear a roaring sound coming from upvalley – often described as the sound of a fast-moving freight train – move quickly to higher ground – 200 feet above river level should be safe.”  We are reminded that this is an active “hot spot” and earthquakes happen regularly and the mountain is NOT dormant.

Eating lunch with Mount Rainier in the background.

From this picnic area, we were able to see a lot of people walking across the snow on Mount Rainier.  Here are three views with different lenses to give you an idea.  Look for the spots that look like pepper in the second picture.  It is people.

People hiking up Mount Rainier.
The little “pepper” spots are people hiking up Mount Rainier.
Mount Rainier. On the right side of the picture, there are people hiking up the mountain.

I have been reading a lot about the geology of the west.  Maybe I shouldn’t with all these volcanos surrounding us.  It’s time to try out the local brews and forget about it!


Where’s Dart (10)?

Dart is in a National Park.  Both pictures are taken in the same park.

Where’s Dart (10)?
Where’s Dart (10)?

Recently, Regis purchased local raspberries.  On the way to our current camping spot, I decided to eat some raspberries along the way.  I can’t remember what happened, but I wound up spilling fresh, ripe raspberries all over the place while we were driving.  I tried to clean them up as best I could, but I missed several of them that fell onto Dart’s bed.  They rolled under his fur and I didn’t see them until we arrived at our destination and he got up.  Several raspberries are smashed on his bed along with some others I found around the seat.  Poor Dart.  Now I have to find a laundromat where I can get his bed cover cleaned again.

This tree is in our campsite.  We’ve seen several trees like this where the seed for the new tree appears to have germinated after falling onto the trunk of the old tree (that was cut down).  This is one of the most interesting ones we have seen.

Tree growing from old stump.

There are several Christmas tree farms close by.

I can rent a paddle board at this campground but they don’t have wet suits.  Except for late afternoon when the temperature climbs into the low 70’s, it is usually quite cool.  I can’t do it.  I saw a mom bring her 4 kids down to the water to swim.  They all went in, complained about the cold, and came out.  When kids won’t swim in the water, you know its too cold for me!  I believe I will have to invest in a wet suit to take advantage of paddle boarding up north in the future.

For those interested in the outcome of our battery situation, we have a resolution.  If you remember, we bought the RV with 4 bad batteries.  The dealer replaced one of them believing that would take care of the problem, but we found that the other 3 continued to be a problem.  We took it to Camping World who ran a diagnostic and proved the batteries were bad.  Rather than waiting, we purchased new batteries so we could leave on our scheduled trip.  We hoped that we could get reimbursed under the warranty by the manufacturer.  The manufacturer has agreed to reimburse for the batteries but not for the installation and diagnostics.  That’s frustrating to me, but better than nothing.  We shall accept the outcome and move forward.  (Lesson learned:  Regis was suspicious of the batteries when we viewed the RV prior to purchase.  We should have insisted on new batteries before agreeing to the purchase.)

When you drive around this area, you can round the corner and occasionally see a spectacular mountain.

After extensive arguing, I think we both agree this is Mount Adams.


Look in the background and you will see a cloud free view of Mount St Helens.


Mount St Helens

Dart was at Mount St Helens yesterday.  It is the most restrictive National Monument/Park we have visited.  Most often, pets are allowed out of the car at overlooks as long as they are on a leash.  At Mount St Helens, they are not allowed out of the car.  That made taking a good picture difficult and we never got one of Dart standing in front of the sign.

Mount St Helens, like so many mountains, is enshrouded with clouds.  It is as though mountains are cloud magnets.  Regis and I had a slight argument over whether the mountain was there when we first arrived.  I got a glimpse of it and said I saw it and wanted to take a picture from further down the road.  Of course, we couldn’t see it when we rounded the corner so Regis thought I was losing it.  The clouds eventually opened enough to reveal the mountain long enough for Regis to agree it was there.  There were not many clouds over most of the sky, they were primarily hanging around the top of the mountain.

Mount St Helens
Mount St Helens

Trees were planted extensively after the eruption outside the blast area and they have really grown.  But, it looks a little odd because all the trees are the same height and the same type of tree.  It’s beautiful, but your senses tell you something is amiss.  When you look at the forested sections, the trees look blurry.  It reminds me of pictures on jigsaw puzzles.  I thought my glasses needed to be cleaned but it is just something about the type and equal age (and height) of the trees.

The trees look blurry. Perhaps it has to do with being all the same age and type.

The squirrels at the overlooks were looking for handouts.

Squirrel looking for a handout at the viewpoint

It warmed up to the low 70’s yesterday.  We’ll have to learn to manage the heat!

Mount St Helens blast zone. Note the river cutting through the ash layer.
Mount St Helens blast zone

Port Townsend Marine Science Center

Where’s Dart (9)?  Can you name the mountain behind him?  Hint:  Notice the top is missing.  He was required to stay in the car while we visited this National Monument.

Where’s Dart (9)?
Where’s Dart (9)?

Before we left Port Townsend yesterday, I visited the Marine Science Center.  It is very small, but very nice and hands on.  This is a great place for kids.  The staff is very knowledgeable and enthusiastic about transferring their knowledge about the sea creatures in their tanks.  All of the animals can be found in the Salish Sea.  (It is bounded by the top of the Strait of Georgia, the southern tip of Puget Sound, and the western end of the Strait of Juan de Fuca.)

Crab that can be found in the Salish Sea. Port Townsend Marine Science Center.
Crab that can be found in the Salish Sea. Port Townsend Marine Science Center.
Fish that can be found in the Salish Sea. Port Townsend Marine Science Center.
Animals that can be found in the Salish Sea. Port Townsend Marine Science Center
Scallop that can be found in the Salish Sea. Port Townsend Marine Science Center

The whale skeletons were particularly interesting.  Look at the difference in the mouths of the Gray Whale and the Orca.  I also found out that the Transient Orcas are increasing in number while the Resident Orcas are declining.  The Resident Orcas eat salmon and their food supply is severely depleted.  The Transient Orcas eat marine mammals and their food source is increasing.

Orca skeleton. Port Townsend Marine Science Center.
Gray Whale skull. Port Townsend Marine Science Center.

We had to leave Port Townsend yesterday and we were sad to go.  We tried to see if we could stay longer but all the camping is booked for awhile.  The best we can do is plan early for next summer and see if we can stay for a month or more.


Whales and Seals

We are staying on the water and enjoy watching the seals swim by and pop their heads up along the shore.  I could stay in this spot for months!  Regis enjoys watching the ship traffic make its way up and down Puget Sound.

We got up early to watch the R2AK race start today at 6:00 a.m.  (  A lot of people came out to watch the start of the race.  I’m rooting for the robot in the race.  It’s called Navocean.  I also like the orange trimaran but I don’t know their name.  Very impressive.

After an hour and a half after the start of the race, the town reverted back to a quiet little town.  I love this place.

I took off on a whale watching tour while Regis toured the town.  Regis likes the architecture on some of the buildings and I’ll do anything to see a whale.  I got lucky and saw some orcas.  You can never see too many orcas.  These were transient orcas for those who know something about the orcas in the Salish Sea.  There are resident orcas and transient orcas.  The resident orcas eat salmon and the transient orcas will eat mammals.  The two types of orcas do not “mix” with each other.

Orca spy hopping in the Strait of Juan de Fuca.  Spyhopping is when the whale sticks his/her head above the water to look around.
Port Townsend
Port Townsend

Recently, I went to the post office to send a parcel to Maryland.  The lady there was extremely helpful.  She said she had a less expensive solution for me and took over and packaged the item for less than it would have cost me for my plan.  After our bad experience with the USPS when we started this trip, I wanted to be sure to let you know that there are parts of the USPS who couldn’t be more helpful.  It was a great experience.


Port Townsend and R2AK

Dart was standing on the beach at Fort Worden State Park in Port Townsend, Washington.  The body of water is the Admiralty Inlet (Puget Sound).  Across the water is Whidby Island and behind that Mount Baker.

We are enjoying Port Townsend.  The scenery is beautiful.  Yesterday, we walked along the bluffs to see an active Eagle nest.  There was one eaglet in the nest stretching his wings.  He should be ready to leave soon.

Eagle and Eaglet at Port Townsend, Washington.

While sitting on some driftwood looking over the water in the evening, a harbor seal popped its head up out of the water to look at us.  A local said the seals are interested in dogs and may have been interested in Dart.

Enjoying an evening dip.

Dart and I took a walk early this morning to a viewpoint overlooking the Strait of Juan de Fuca.  I watched three bald eagles circling over the water.  One dove but pulled back before entering the water.    We watched one hunting again this evening.

We learned that the Race 2 Alaska begins in Port Townsend at 6:00 a.m. tomorrow morning.  Today, they are having a pre-event “ruckus.”  The official program for the race states:

“It started as the best beer-infused bad idea we’ve ever had:  a $10K double dare designed to challenge every maritime wing nut, armchair dreamer and hardcore adventurer to hurl themselves to Alaska on any boat they can find.  The rules are intentionally dead simple:

  • Get a boat without an engine
  • Start in Port Townsend
  • Race unsupported up the Inside Passage
  • Finish in Ketchikan
  • If you’re first, we’ll give you $10,000. If you come in second, you get steak knives.”

The race is in its second year and it sounds tough.  There will be expensive racing machines, two boats with all women crews, one boat with mobility-impaired sailors, and even a paddleboard.  If you get to Ketchikan, there is a six pack of beer waiting for you on the beach.

Port Townsend, Washington
Port Townsend, Washington getting ready for the Race 2 Alaska.

We are looking forward to the start of the race tomorrow morning.  It should be a lot of fun.

Whidbey Island has a Naval Air Station.  The Island is directly across from us and we continue to see and hear fighter jets.  This evening we saw these ships and submarine heading south in Puget Sound.

Ships and submarine in Admiralty Inlet

It is good to keep your eyes open and be vigilant, you never know what you will see next.

Where’s Dart (8)?

This one is hard.  If you can name the mountain in the background, the town we are in, the state park we are in, or the body of water, you get credit.  In the first picture, I drew a line around the mountain because you can barely see it.  We could see it better than the camera was able to capture.  I provided a close up shot of the mountain that I was able to obtain later in the day.

Where’s Dart (8)? There is a mountain underneath my line drawing behind Dart. There is also a lighthouse on the point behind Dart. Directly across the water is an island.
This is the mountain behind Dart in the picture above. You can see the bluffs on the island.

The following picture is provided for the cute factor.  These are our neighbors in our current campground.

Deer and her fawn in our campground