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

 

 

Oregon Trail

I visited the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center yesterday.  It was very interesting.  It  was well done and had a lot of good information.  The center is located by the Oregon Trail and you can still see the ruts from wagons that traveled the trail.

 

Exhibits at the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center.
Exhibits at the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center. The Oregon Trail can be seen in the background to the right of the blue wagon.

We went into town in the afternoon and sat outside at a pub.  I talked Regis into ordering the Death Burger because it had two patties.  Dart got the second patty.  Everyone was content with full bellies and great drinks.  It was toasty out and the guy told us that the tap house across the street allows dogs inside.  If I can talk Regis into going again today, we can sit in the air conditioning!

Where is Dart below?  Since he is not at a National Park or National Monument I will give you a hint that he is on the Oregon/Idaho border.

 

Where's Dart (5)?
Where’s Dart (5)?

We saw these ponies on the side of the road in Oregon.

 

Roadside ponies in northeastern Oregon.
Roadside ponies in northeastern Oregon.

While Regis was driving today, he pulled over to let someone pass him.  When he did, I noticed a deer next to the river on the other side of the road.  I ran over to take a picture and saw that a fawn was climbing out of the water behind its mother.   I took a couple pictures and then left quickly because the mother saw me and was concerned.   I didn’t want to cause her or the fawn any more stress.

Baby mule deer in northeastern Oregon
Baby mule deer in northeastern Oregon. (As shot with telephoto lens)

When I got back to the car, a guy on a bicycle pulled up.  He wanted to know if we had any extra water.  It was very warm outside.  Fortunate for him, we had one bottle of water left.  He thanked us and told us he was in a bicycle race and had left from Astoria, Oregon on his way to Yorktown, Virginia.   (We looked it up and he’s in the Trans Am race.) That’s a long way. We saw a lot of cyclists in Idaho and again here in Oregon.  They are cycling in the mountains.  My plan would be to have someone drop me and my bicycle off at the top of the mountain and then coast to the bottom to get picked up!

Birds of Prey

Today we went to the Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area.  Over 800 pairs of raptors nest in the area in spring and early summer.  It was set aside as a conservation area because of the high density of birds of prey nesting there.  We saw several immature hawks on electric poles.  We probably saw about 7 of them with one hawk to a pole.  There are very few trees in the area, so it is probably the best place to perch while waiting for mom and dad to provide lunch.

 

Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area
Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area

We saw numerous Raven nests on electric poles.  The young are very large in the nests, so they are probably going to fledge soon.

I saw some birds of prey over the cliffs by the Snake River, but I was not able to identify them.  I don’t do well identifying birds of prey.

Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area
Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area

Since we were there in the heat of mid-day, there was not much bird activity.  We saw lots of Piute Ground Squirrels.  I suspect they are a major menu item for the birds of prey.  Apparently, the birds are attracted to nesting along the Snake River because they use the cliffs for nest sites and there is abundant prey in the desert.

I didn’t realize until our visit that in the past, there was a little mishap between the Snake River and a volcano.  The volcano spewed its guts and filled up the Snake River canyon.  The Snake River had to find a new path and significantly altered its course.  I learn so much by visiting all these areas!

We headed into Oregon and set up camp.  I immediately went to wash some clothes and while sitting outside waiting for the clothes to wash and dry, I was entertained by a Robin(s).  There was a small sprinkler set up in the grass and it may have contributed to the Robin’s success in obtaining worms.  I never realized how much trouble a Robin can have pulling a reluctant worm out of the ground.  I also didn’t realize they break the worm up in pieces before carrying off to its nestlings as many pieces as will fit in its beak.

Robin getting a worm.
Robin getting a worm. (As shot)

We went out to scope the town after dinner.  Upon our return, we saw several people looking up into a big tree in the campground with binoculars and cameras.  Of course, we joined them and were rewarded with the sighting of a barn owl.

Barn Owl
Barn Owl (As shot)

Water

Yesterday, we left Nevada and arrived in Idaho.  After setting up camp we went to the Snake River and took in the scenery.  I didn’t realize how much I missed seeing water until we got to Shoshone Falls at the Snake River.  Although the surrounding area is high desert, the water was a pleasure to see.  There is a lot of irrigation in this area, so there are crops and grass.  This is the first time we have had grass in our campsite for awhile.

 

Shoshone Falls on the Snake River.
Shoshone Falls on the Snake River. This is a moderate flow of water.

We saw this beautiful golf course by the river and I wanted to play!  I also wanted to paddle board.  The river looks lazy enough for my skill level to paddle board.

 

Snake River by Shoshoni Falls.
Snake River. Do you see the beautiful golf course? I’d really like to play it!!

 

Perrine Bridge over Snake River.
Perrine Bridge over Snake River with a clearance of 486 feet below. Those dots in the river are people paddle boarding or kayaking. This may be one of the only man-made structures in the US where base jumping is allowed year round without a permit.

But, instead of paddle boarding today (which I seriously considered), we went to the Sawtooth Recreation Area instead.  On the way to the area, we had to cross the Snake River over the Perrine Bridge and saw these guys jumping off the bridge.  Another thing that looked like fun!

 

Guy getting ready to jump off the Perrine Bridge.
Guy getting ready to jump off the Perrine Bridge.
Guy successfully landing on his feet after jumping off the Perrine Bridge.
Guy successfully landing on his feet after jumping off the Perrine Bridge.

 

The Sawtooth National Recreation Area is nestled up next to the Sawtooth Wilderness.  We wanted to scope the area for a possible future trip.  We fell in love and we are putting it toward the top of the list for a longer stay on a return trip.  There is a lot to do there and lots of camping possibilities.  We found several lakes that looked very inviting for paddle boarding.

 

Sawtooth Wilderness on the left, Sawtooth National Recreation Area in the valley and on the right.
Sawtooth Wilderness on the left, Sawtooth National Recreation Area in the valley and on the right. The Salmon River begins a little to the left in this picture. (Also called the River of No Return).
Sawtooth Wilderness Sign
Sawtooth Wilderness Sign

 

Pettit Lake in Sawtooth National Recreation Area.
Pettit Lake in Sawtooth National Recreation Area.

We went on a walk and the scenery was stunning.  Dart was in heaven.  He hasn’t been thrilled on our walks lately, so I have been worried that something might be wrong with him.  I know he isn’t crazy about the heat, but he was happy to go on all those hikes last year when we ventured across the northern states.  It was around 72 degrees today and there was no shade on the hike.  That isn’t significantly different than one of the hikes we took in New Mexico, but today he was happy.  We were able to let him off the leash (which is permitted in some areas) and he was extremely joyful.  At one point, his tongue was nearly hanging to the ground but he was clearly still happy.  I don’t know whether he liked being off the leash or liked the northern environment.  The sun is not as direct overhead, which could make a difference.  I am no longer worried about him.  He is healthy and fine.  I guess he prefers to be in northern states, so transplanting him to Florida for his home base probably doesn’t sit well with him.

Sawtooth National Recreation Area and where we hiked with Dart.
Sawtooth National Recreation Area and where we hiked with Dart.

On the way back, we stopped in Ketchum at a brew pub and sat outside to eat and have a beer.  I got a double burger and gave Dart one of my hamburger patties.  The weather was perfect and the view was amazing.  The food and drink were pretty good.  What’s not to like about that?