Crazy Logging Roads and Fish

We managed to see 6 more waterfalls, making it 11 waterfalls in 2 days.  Two of the waterfalls had fish jumping up them.  We stayed the longest at those waterfalls.  One of the waterfalls had a bench located where you could sit and view the falls.   I enjoyed rooting for the fish and hoping they would make it.

Fish jumping up Deadline Falls, Oregon.
Fish jumping up Deadline Fall in Oregon.

For a couple falls, we had about 2 miles of hiking round trip through old growth forest.  Very cool!  We were particularly impressed with the hike that is designed to accommodate disabled persons.  The trail was wide and smooth.

Disabled access trail to Susan Creek Falls in Oregon.
Hike to Susan Creek Falls in Oregon with a trail designed for disabled access.
Dart and Regis at Susan Creek Falls in Oregon
Dart and Regis at Susan Creek Falls in Oregon

The most interesting adventure turned out to be the last fall of the day.  We had to go up about 8 miles of logging roads to get to Grotto Falls.  About a mile or so in, we saw a forest service employee driving in the opposite direction.  He flagged us down to tell us there was a state truck with a tractor on it heading our way and just wanted to warn us.  As we continued, I became particularly aware of how narrow the road was with no shoulders.  If we encountered this truck, where would we go to get out of the way?

Fortunately, we didn’t meet up with the truck by the time we got to the trail head.  We saw another car at the trail head but never saw the person(s) who belonged to it.  We hiked up the mountain to see the falls and they were spectacular.  You could stand behind them.  Regis nearly took a shower under them.

Grotto Falls in Oregon
Looking out from behind Grotto Falls in Oregon
Grotto Falls in Oregon
Grotto Falls in Oregon

When we left, I did not think we needed to backtrack because the lousy map that I had showed the road continuing on to meet back up with our main route.  This is a decision that made for an interesting ride back.  Well, Regis thought it was interesting.  I might use another word.  Maybe the word terrifying fits for parts of the trip.  We encountered LOTS of downed trees on the way back.  Someone had cut the trees so you could drive by, but they were cut with a gap narrower than the road.  There were also rocks in the road from sliding off the mountain side.  Much of the road was flanked by rocky cliffs with loose debris on one side and a steep plunge down the other side.  Remember, there were no shoulders and it was a narrow road.  We saw no signs of human life on this road with the exception of the roads existence and someone having cut trees.  We saw one human made structure – a shelter.  Oh, and there was no cell phone service.

As we began to reach the point of being 20 miles in and the road was getting rougher, these were my thoughts.  What if there is a downed tree we can’t get around and we have to turn and go back?  And, what if another tree fell behind us as we went by and we would now be trapped?  Do we have enough food and water?  No, we don’t.  I just purchased a can of tuna fish and a small can of chicken and a bag of hamburger buns.  We did not have a can opener.  Dart and we were doomed to eating buns until we found our way out of this mess.

Then, we came upon the worst tree yet with a small gap.  We weren’t even sure we could fit through.  I got out to guide Regis and we made it through.  After at least 30 miles of driving, we finally got back to pavement.

I asked Regis if he enjoyed it.  After all, this was finally a road that was worthy of the jeep.  He said he didn’t want to have to turn around and go back and he was worried about that.  He also got concerned when the trees got bigger than the car.

Obstacle on logging road in Oregon
Obstacle on logging road in Oregon

Now we had two situations where there were numerous downed trees.  The one trail was extremely difficult (see last post) and the logging roads had downed trees everywhere.  In addition, we saw lots of trees in the area that had snapped off toward the top.  It was clear that a lot of work had been going on to clean up the mess.  A forest service employee told me they had a bad winter and they got what they call “cascade concrete.”  That’s snow stuck to the top of the tree and weighing it down.  It snaps the big trees and the smaller trees bend over to the ground.  It certainly explains a lot about why we spent so much time trying to bypass downed trees.

The last time we posted, we had to drive 30 miles to the nearest town where we could get cell phone service, gas, and groceries.  The only store available was a little convenience store where I was able to get chips and Dinty Moore beef stew.  (I remember liking that as a kid when we went camping.  After eating it again, I don’t feel the same way.)

On our second day of waterfall adventures, we found a bigger town with a grocery store (if you could call it that).  They had a produce department with a handful of vegetables.  I am looking forward to getting somewhere where I can eat a salad!  I was almost ready to eat the green stuff growing in the campground because I miss my vegetables.

We saw cars parked at the side of the road in the national forest and couldn’t figure out what the people were doing.  The cars were empty and only there during the day.  It turns out that there was a fire not too long ago in the forest and after a fire, lots of mushrooms grow.  The people were gathering mushrooms for commercial sale.

 

 

Crater Lake and Waterfalls

Dart at entrance sign in Crater Lake National Park.
Dart at entrance sign in Crater Lake National Park.

Dart was in Crater Lake National Park.  Yes, the water really is that blue in the lake.  It is astonishing.  The water is exceptionally clear and it is the way the light waves pass through the water that makes it so blue.  The lake is one of the deepest in the world.   It was formed around 7,700 years ago when Mount Mazama collapsed in on itself.

Wizard Island in Crater Lake National Park.
Wizard Island in Crater Lake National Park. The water really is that blue. The island is a cinder cone.
View of Oregon from Crater Lake National Park. The lake is on the left.
View of Oregon from Crater Lake National Park. The lake is on the left. Way off in the distance on the right is a volcanic mountain but I am not sure which one it is. There are so many of them in Oregon. Also, you can see Mount Shasta in California from Crater Lake.

We got a guide to 24 waterfalls in the area so we thought we might try to see them all over the 3 days left that we have.  We saw 5 waterfalls today.  I think our goal is overly ambitious.  It wouldn’t be so bad if some of the waterfalls didn’t require difficult hikes of almost 4 miles round trip.  On our hike to Warm Springs Falls there were lots of trees down on the trail.  It was an obstacle course.  I think Dart loved it.  He may have felt like this was the most unusual agility course he’s ever done.

Toketee Falls in Oregon.
Toketee Falls in Oregon.
Watson Falls in Oregon.
Watson Falls in Oregon.
Whitehorse Falls in Oregon.
Whitehorse Falls in Oregon.
Clearwater Falls in Oregon.
Clearwater Falls in Oregon.
Warm Springs Falls in Oregon.
Warm Springs Falls in Oregon.

The weather is in the 60’s here during the day and the 30’s at night.  Dart loves it.  He was very happy hiking today.  We were hiking in forests, so we were always in the shade.

For some reason, the motor home hasn’t been too cold at night even though the temperatures plummet.  We are wondering if it is because the night starts off so warm and takes awhile for the temperature to drop.  It doesn’t stay freezing long enough to cause the heat pumps to stop working entirely.  This morning, we did hear the ice breaking up on one of the heat pumps.

Oregon

Where’s Dart?  He is in a National Park.

Dart with large blue lake behind him.
Where’s Dart (11)? Name the park and/or lake.

We stayed in Pendleton, Oregon for a few days and visited the downtown area.  We had a couple options for our next destination and opted for the easiest route.

We loved our trip and had a spot along the way where we could see multiple volcanic peaks at the same time.  There were about 9 peaks we could see.  The only one we couldn’t see was Mount St Helens.  There were a lot of clouds in that spot.  It was amazing to see so many peaks but nearly impossible to get good pictures.  We have found that it is extremely difficult to take pictures of snow covered peaks in the background.  They often don’t show up in the picture.

We are currently at a place with barely minimal cell phone service and no internet service.  Regis is able to get some basic reception on his phone but I can’t get enough reception to send an email.  The closest grocery store is almost 30 miles away and I have difficulty calling it a grocery store. They had some “fresh” food and we bought the last dozen eggs.  I am almost ready to eat the grass in the campground in order to get some fresh greens.  Coming from a home base with outstanding grocery stores, it is particularly hard for me to deal with so little options regarding food.  I have heard of food deserts and I believe we have been sitting in them regularly.  I deeply appreciate that we have so many food options where I live.

Regarding Dart – Since December, Dart has vomited regularly with commercial dog food no matter that it is premium dog food.  I have been making his dog food and occasionally he eats the same thing we had for dinner.  He has been extremely healthy ever since.  I don’t know how to explain this.  It is what it is.  We have noticed that he will not eat ground beef.  Go figure.

 

Pow Wow

We left the cool air in Washington on Friday and arrived in Oregon.  It has been in the upper 80’s in the afternoons.  That may not be that hot, but it’s hot compared to where we have been most of the last month, in the low 60’s.  I think Dart is ready to head back to Jason’s apartment and leave us.

We went into the town of Pendleton on Friday evening to go to the farmer’s market.  We saw a parking lot but the sign said exit only so I rounded the corner to find the entrance.  There was no entrance on that side.  Regis told me to take a U-turn and go back since there was no traffic.  I followed directions and when I turned around I was facing two lanes of oncoming traffic.  I was on a one-way street facing the wrong way.  The lessons to be learned:  1) do not blindly do what your husband tells you to do and 2) traffic will show up when it is most inconvenient.  We survived, found the entrance to the parking lot, and bought some delicious peaches and cucumbers at the market.  We also saw a wine and coffee bar that was packed.  Since we had Dart and all the outdoor tables were full, we didn’t get to check it out.

The Umatilla Indian Reservation is hosting a Pow Wow this week-end, so we went to check it out.  We saw much of the dance competition on Saturday and heard the drumming contest.  The outfits were beautiful and very colorful.  It was very impressive.

Tiny dancer at the Pow Wow at the Umatilla Indian Reservation
Tiny dancer at the Pow Wow at the Umatilla Indian Reservation
Tiny dancer at the Pow Wow at the Umatilla Indian Reservation
Tiny dancer at the Pow Wow at the Umatilla Indian Reservation

 

Golden age dancers (55+) at the Pow Wow at the Umatilla Indian Reservation
Golden age dancers (55+) at the Pow Wow at the Umatilla Indian Reservation
Back of outfit worn by dancer at the Pow Wow at the Umatilla Indian Reservation
Back of outfit worn by dancer at the Pow Wow at the Umatilla Indian Reservation
Dancers at the Pow Wow at the Umatilla Indian Reservation checking cell phone between songs
Dancers at the Pow Wow at the Umatilla Indian Reservation checking cell phone between songs
Tiny dancer at the Pow Wow at the Umatilla Indian Reservation
Tiny dancer at the Pow Wow at the Umatilla Indian Reservation
Dancers at the Pow Wow at the Umatilla Indian Reservation
Dancers at the Pow Wow at the Umatilla Indian Reservation
Dancers at the Pow Wow at the Umatilla Indian Reservation
Dancers at the Pow Wow at the Umatilla Indian Reservation

 

Mount Rainier

Dart was in Mount Rainier National Park.

 

A view to the east 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
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.

 

View of waterfall and snow in Mount Rainier National Park
View of waterfall and snow in 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.

Flower growing from crack in the rock in Mount Ranier National Park.
Life is tenacious and will find a foothold anywhere it can. Flower growing from crack in the rock in Mount Rainier National Park.

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.

View from picnic area with Mount Ranier in the background.
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.
People hiking up Mount Rainier.
People hiking up Mount Ranier.
The little “pepper” spots are people hiking up Mount Rainier.

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.

Dart sitting on rock with mountain in the background.
Where’s Dart (10)?
Dart sitting on a rock with mountain in the background
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.
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.

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