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
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.

Trees at Mount St. Helens.
Trees at Mount St. Helens National Park. 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 at Mounts St. Helens National Park
Squirrel looking for a handout at the viewpoint at Mount St. Helens National Park

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

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

Dart in car with mountain in background.
Where’s Dart (9)?
Dart in car with mountain in the background.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
Orca skeleton. Port Townsend Marine Science Center.
Gray Whale skull. 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.  (www.r2ak.com)  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.
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
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.
Eagle and Eaglet at Port Townsend, Washington. (taken with a telephoto lens)

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.

Jack Russell Terrier enjoying an evening dip in Puget Sound.
Jack Russell Terrier enjoying an evening dip in Puget Sound.

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.

 

Point Hudson Marina at Port Townsend, Washington
Point Hudson Marina at Port Townsend, Washington

 

Port Townsend, Washington getting ready for the Race 2 Alaska.
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
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)?
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.
Mountain behind Dart
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
Deer and her fawn in our campground

The Pacific Northwest

We have been bopping around the Seattle area and the Olympic Peninsula for the last few days.  It has been lovely.  The weather is in the 60’s.  It sprinkles now and then, but doesn’t last long.  I wouldn’t mind if it was a little warmer, but I prefer this over the searing temperatures in other parts of the country.  Dart is happy with the weather.

I have noticed that occasionally you can see a glimpse of the Olympic mountains.  While driving down the road, you get a glimpse and you are reminded that they are there.  Then, you go a little further and round the corner and the glimpse is gone.  It is as though the curtains were parted briefly for you to see they are there, and then closed again just as fast.  Basically, the clouds are usually covering the mountains and every so often they part long enough for you to realize they are there.  As quickly as you see them, they disappear again.

We played a round of golf.  I  was nostalgic for Florida because I spent so much time in the sand traps.  I can’t remember ever spending so much time working on my sand shots.  The hills out of the sand traps were very steep.  I spent too much time getting out of the bunker to have my ball roll back in again.  On one hole, I picked the ball up and tossed it on the green.  It was beautiful and I had enough decent shots to not give up.

On Saturday, the Fremont section of Seattle had a celebration and parade for the summer solstice.  The parade starts with naked folks on bicycles.  Many of them have body paint.  Some of them paint clothes, some paint animals, some paint fruit, and some are left to your imagination.  The parade was very unusual and, therefore, delightful.  I had a great time.

 

Pre-parade at Seattle solstice festival.
Pre-parade at Seattle solstice festival.
Seattle solstice festival.
Seattle solstice festival.

This is a very artsy part of Seattle and they have a troll under a local bridge.  We had to visit the troll.  Apparently, others had the same idea!

 

Troll under the bridge in Seattle.
Troll under the bridge in Seattle.

Afterwards, I told Jason I needed a beer so we headed to a brewery.  It was so cool!  We shared a table with someone celebrating their rabbit’s birthday.  Pets were allowed in this brewery.

Rabbit celebrating his/her birthday at a Seattle brewery.
Rabbit celebrating his/her birthday at a Seattle brewery.

While we were out watching parades and drinking beer, we left Dart and Coco in Jason’s place.  This is a picture of Coco’s spot.  I see her as a Duchess surveying her domain from her spot.

 

Coco on her princess chair surveying her domain.
Coco on her princess chair surveying her domain.

We stayed in a campground on the Kitsap Peninsula which was very convenient to the Bainbridge Island ferry.  When we visited Jason, we hopped on the ferry.  Dart got used to it.  The views were beautiful.  I got better at walking from the ferry to Jason’s place and going back (downhill) was a breeze.  Once, we took the car because we had to pick up some stuff we had delivered to Jason.  It is much better without the car.  The time we took the car took 3 hours to get back to our campground.  We arrived at the ferry ahead of schedule but the ferry filled up and we had to wait for the next ferry.  Walk ons never have to worry about that.  We were amazed at how many bicyclists get on the ferry.

Seattle skyline at night
Seattle skyline at night

 

 

Seattle skyline at night.
Seattle skyline at night.

Seattle

Dart was on his way to Seattle on the Bainbridge Ferry.  We went to visit Jason.  We walked on the ferry and from the ferry to Jason’s apartment.  It was the toughest hike we’ve done so far on this trip.  It was all uphill and Seattle has steep hills.  If I had to do that every day, I would be in great shape.

 

Seattle waterfront
Seattle waterfront

Although we went to Seattle to visit Jason, of course, I also wanted to go to REI.  I love REI in Seattle and cannot miss an opportunity to go there whenever I am in town.

We cheated and let Jason drive us back to the ferry.  The skies looked ominous.  I like the pictures of Seattle we got on the way back because the skies looked so cool!

 

Seattle skyline
Seattle skyline
Seattle skyline
Seattle skyline

Dart did really well on the ferry trip and walking through the city.  He is a country dog, so city life is a little overwhelming to him.  There are lots of noises and lots of people.  He was a perfect gentleman!

Where’s Dart (7)?

This is a very unhappy guy.  It was very windy on the sun deck on the ferry and Dart is not fond of the wind.  Later, I could have taken a better picture but Dart was too unhappy to make him do it.

 

Where's Dart (7)? What city is in the background?
Where’s Dart (7)? What city is in the background?

A Taste of Scandanavia

While in Oregon, we visited the Bonneville dam to see the fish ladder.  What most impressed me were the Pacific Lamprey’s attached to the fish window.  Notice their little teeth.

 

Pacific Lamprey at Bonneville dam.
Pacific Lamprey at Bonneville dam.
Pacific Lamprey at Bonneville dam.
Pacific Lamprey at Bonneville dam.

We decided to take the scenic route as we headed north, closer to Seattle.  That turned out to be a longer trip than planned.  We were hoping to get close enough to Mount St. Helen’s to get a view (if the weather cleared).  When we got close to the mountain, the road was closed because of snow.  We had to turn around which required disconnecting the tow vehicle.  It was a pretty drive, but made for a long day.

 

Forest Service Road to Mount St. Helen's
Forest Service Road to Mount St. Helen’s

We met up with our son, his friend, and Coco (his Bedlington Terrier) and toured the cute little town of Poulsbo on the Kitsap Peninsula.  It has a Scandinavian theme with a fantastic bakery (you have to try the Viking Cups) and a wonderful coffee house. It is very dog friendly.  We visited a park at Point No Point and walked on the beach and a short trail.  Then, we went back to Poulsbo and had dinner with the dogs outside on the waterfront.  The weather, scenery, and company were outstanding!

Poulsbo, Washington
Poulsbo, Washington
Baked goods at Sluys' Bakery. They are outstanding and you must try the Viking Cups.
Baked goods at Sluys’ Bakery. They are outstanding and you must try the Viking Cups.

 

Dart posing at Poulsbo waterfront
Dart posing at Poulsbo waterfront

Regis, Dart, and I went back to Poulsbo this morning for some coffee and we sat on a bench looking out over the water.  The people were very friendly.  Between the food and the people, this is going to be a nice area to spend a couple weeks.

 

Fish

Dart is at the Columbia River Gorge in the last Where’s Dart (6).  There is a lot of water in that river.  Coming through the gorge from the east to the west, you go from a very dry climate where the scenery is brown to a wet climate with lush green vegetation.  It is a dramatic change within a couple hours of driving.   It is one of my favorite drives.  If you have never done it, put it on your bucket list.

We hiked along the road that was the original Columbia River scenic highway.  Sections of the old road still exist and have been turned into a hiking/biking path.  Where the sections are gone, hikers/bikers must drive on roads or along the side of the interstate.  The hike was very nice and it was the longest one we have been able to take on this trip.  The temperature was in the 60’s and Dart was very happy.  It was overcast.  Even if it wasn’t, we were hiking through dense forest most of the time so there was a lot of shade.  I think Dart is in his element.  He was still in the lead at the end of the hike after going more than 5 miles.  This is not the dog that was hiking in Nevada, Utah, and New Mexico.  If he had a say in the matter, I think he would choose to live here.

 

Columbia River Gorge Scenic Highway.
Columbia River Gorge Scenic Highway. Both spans of interstate 84 are visible in this picture as well as the railroad track and an original section of the highway on which you can see Regis and Dart walking.

We started our hike at the Bridge of the Gods.  I love the mural that is painted on the support.

 

Mural on the support structure on the Bridge of the Gods over the Columbia River.
Mural on the support structure on the Bridge of the Gods over the Columbia River.

We visited a fish hatchery on the hike.  We got to watch them tag the fish.  They had one trailer where people were doing it manually.  They clip one of the fins and put a tag in the nose of the little fish.  We only saw them clipping the fin.  Another trailer was using an automated system to tag the fish.  It is very sophisticated and quite amazing.  This process was only clipping the fin at this time.  (Apparently, they have trouble hiring enough people to manually tag the fish.) We particularly enjoyed watching the little fish jumping up at the water pouring into their pond.  They clearly have an innate desire to jump up waterfalls.  We got a video of it.  We apologize that the video isn’t great.  We’ll work on that.

Where’s Dart (6)?

 

Where's Dart (6)?
Where’s Dart (6)?
Where's Dart (6)?
Where’s Dart (6)?

 

Hell’s Canyon

Update:  This post was updated to reflect the correct name of the canyon.  I apologize for my error.  It is not Devil’s Canyon.  It is Hell’s Canyon.  The pictures were captioned properly, but the title of this post and the reference in the first paragraph were incorrect.

Dart was at Hell’s Canyon and the Hell’s Canyon reservoir.  Last year, I wanted to visit the Canyon but didn’t want to drive that far.  We were in southeastern Washington at the time.  I was somewhat reluctant to drive from where we were camping in Baker City, Oregon because it is a long drive.  I’m glad we went.  The Canyon is beautiful.  It is very out of the way, so there were few people there.  I definitely want to return and camp there when I get a paddle board.  I think paddle boarding on the reservoir would be fantastic.  Maybe Regis could fish while I am paddle boarding and get us a fresh dinner!

 

Hell's Canyon
Hell’s Canyon
Hell's Canyon
Hell’s Canyon
Hell's Canyon reservoir
Hell’s Canyon reservoir

We saw a new bird for us – a Chukar.

 

Chukar at Hell's Canyon reservoir
Chukar at Hell’s Canyon reservoir

We saw a snake in the middle of the road.  After realizing he was alive and getting his picture, Regis tried to get him to leave the road.  He was successful, but the snake blamed me for the inconvenience and hissed at me.  I didn’t know snakes could make a noise like that.  He probably didn’t stay off the road but at least when we left him he was safe.

Snake at Hell's Canyon reservoir
Snake at Hell’s Canyon reservoir

We also saw a young bear run across the road.  We did not see his momma anywhere.  We were told he was probably a yearling and on his own this year.  He still seems very small to me.

 

Young bear at Hell's Canyon reservoir
Young bear at Hell’s Canyon reservoir

We stopped at the reservoir to eat lunch and noticed a lot of butterflies in this one location.  There were different types of butterflies.  Although a lot of one type were on a tree, there were also butterflies on the ground and on rocks.  I wonder what was so appealing about that place.

 

Butterflies at Hell's Canyon reservoir
Butterflies at Hell’s Canyon reservoir

On the way back from the Canyon, we stopped at the Hole in the Wall slide that happened in the 1980’s.  It buried the original road and the road had to be rerouted.

 

Hole in the Wall slide in northeastern Oregon.
Hole in the Wall slide in northeastern Oregon. The highway was buried and had to be rerouted around the slide debris.
Hole in the Wall Slide sign
Hole in the Wall Slide sign

Lastly, this is what the landscape looked like during most of our ride to and from the canyon.

 

Northeastern Oregon
Northeastern Oregon