North Cascades

Once again, this country is stunning.  We drove through the North Cascades today.  It was a long drive but worth it.  The dogs may not have agreed, but they did get to split a hot dog for lunch since I forgot their lunch treats.

No words are adequate to describe how beautiful the country is in and around the North Cascades National Park.  The streams and reservoirs are a beautiful color green.  I can’t find the word to describe the color, but it is amazing.  When we were driving up to the park, the air temperature began to rise and there was a mist hanging above the Skagit River.  The water was probably very cold.  It was awesome.

We spent so much time stopping at overlooks and oohing and aahing that I began to think it would take us days to get through the park.  (Regis will tell you it’s because I had to make frequent bathroom stops.)  In my original plan, we were going to go from Concrete to the east side of the Cascades to camp.  We were going to drive around on the Cascade Loop.  Inability to get campground reservations coupled with waiting for my lens to be repaired made that plan un-doable.  So, we settled for a long drive through the park and back today.

My favorite sign for today:  Weeds are a pain in the grass.

Mom update:  My mom had her surgery today and they found no critical blockage.  I’m not sure what they did, but she was well enough to go home this evening.  My sister is staying with her tonight to make sure she is okay.  I was out of cell phone range most of today, so I haven’t talked to my sister/brother yet to get more details.

RV Steps and the Dogs

The first time we put Dart and Tekoe in the RV, they jumped out. That’s dangerous and it is surprising they didn’t get hurt (especially Tekoe).  As a result, we taught Dart not to exit the RV and we lifted him out.  We also lifted him in.   He got very good at this and would place himself nicely in your arms to do it.

When Coco arrived at the RV, she easily ran up and down the steps.  I became determined to teach Dart how to do the same.

This week, we were successful in teaching Dart to go up and down the steps.  He still has problems going down properly because he prefers to leap off the steps.  We mostly have it under control but I can’t declare victory yet.  Perhaps I never can.  I taught him to properly stop at the bottom of agility course obstacles and as he improved, I got lazy about enforcing the stay at the bottom.  The result:  He leaped off the top of the A-frame in a trial right in front of the judge and rolled a couple times when he hit the bottom.  We had to go back to training and enforcing stays at the bottom again.

There is one problem that both dogs are having trouble with that will require training not to go up until told.  Earlier this week, Coco ran up the steps and crashed into the screen door.  It has happened more than once, so we have to be careful not to allow her near the steps until the door is opened.  Dart apparently didn’t want to be left out and he crashed into the screen door today.  Being heavier and less agile, he didn’t recover as well as Coco and had to nurse a hurt leg for awhile.

First, we couldn’t get Dart to go up the steps.  Now, we have to stop him from going up until commanded without confusing him.

My mom was admitted to the hospital yesterday.  She was having trouble breathing and may have a blockage in her heart.  They are performing a procedure tomorrow.  Hopefully, all will go well and she’ll be ready to do some traveling in no time.

Mt. Baker

We took a ride up to Mt. Baker today.  We went on the Chuckanut Drive first which goes from Burlington to Bellingham along Puget Sound.  Beautiful!!!  Then we headed to Mt. Baker.  There were some girls offering car washes along the way, so we took advantage of having someone clean over 3100 miles of dirt off the truck.  The girls were great and scrubbed and scrubbed (the bugs were really stuck on the front!).  We made a good contribution for their work and immediately headed off to get the truck dusty again.

The pictures are better than any words that I can say.  It was hot, so we didn’t venture far off the roadway with the dogs.  There tongues were hanging low pretty quickly.  We went to the Nooksack Falls and walked around a bit at the end of the road at the top.  We let the dogs walk on the snow and the first thing Coco did on the snow was pee.  There were a couple cute snowmen someone built.

On the way back we got some great sandwiches and vanilla cream sodas at a local place.  At the campground, I twisted Regis’ arm to go to the ice cream social.  As you can imagine, it was very difficult to get him to agree to go!

A local sign says “If you see a fork in the road, pick it up.”

Kielbasa

We went to a local Co-op today to pick up some food and they had kielbasa.  We figured we’d give it a try.  I was hoping for some local trout, but there was no trout so we bought the kielbasa.  We couldn’t find any horseradish.  I grew up eating kielbasa with horseradish.  If you didn’t make numerous facial contortions while eating the kielbasa with horseradish, you either didn’t have fresh horseradish or you failed to put enough on.  Until you couldn’t breathe, you didn’t have enough horseradish.  Sadly, we couldn’t find horseradish and had to use mustard instead.  Mustard is okay, but simply not the same. The kielbasa was the spiciest I have ever had, but it was pretty good.

The owners of our campground pulled out about 4 trailers from storage and set them up for the week-end.  I suppose the owners of the trailers have arrived by now or will later today.  Most of the trailers had Canadian tags.

I spent some time tweaking plans for our return trip.  There are so many choices and we can’t do them all.

Seattle is celebrating Pride this week-end.  They have a lot to celebrate this time as a result of today’s Supreme Court ruling.  Hooray for justice! Today LOVE WINS!

That’s Regis making dinner.

Seattle Traffic Ugh!

We had dinner with Jason in Seattle this evening.  About 25 miles outside the city, there was a sign that said 85 minutes to Seattle.  We were moving along at the speed limit, so I thought the sign was a mistake.  It wasn’t.  About 8 miles outside the city we slowed to a crawl.  We could have walked faster.  It’s probably typical traffic for Seattle.  It is not my cup of tea.

We took the dogs for a walk on a rails-to-trails.  They are trails built on old railroad beds.  I love them.  We did about 4 miles round trip.  We planned to go further, but it got hot today and the dogs were wilting.  It’s supposed to get even hotter through the week-end, so we may have to get our hikes done early in the morning or do something else.  (I know my friends and relatives in Maryland are dealing with exceptionally hot temperatures so I don’t expect any sympathy from them over our little heat wave.)

There is a several casinos around here.  Maybe I’ll be a big spender and drop a twenty on the slots and see what happens.  It beats the heat!

The Fly

The most entertaining thing that happened today was watching Coco chase a fly that got in the RV.  Had I known it would be so much fun to watch, I would have tried to get a fly in sooner!

I picked up my lens today and it works great.  Today I remembered that on one of the flights I took this last year, they made me check my carry on bag.  I always carry my camera on the plane in a camera bag that looks like a backpack.  If I knew I was going to have to check the camera, I would have used a better bag.  I didn’t have a choice.  I believe my lens may have been damaged as a result.  It’s great to have the lens back.

There are some cows next to our campground and one calf.  I walked the dogs by the field today and didn’t notice the calf.  When one of the cows saw the dogs, she started to trot over and moo.  After first, I thought she was curious.  Then, I noticed the little calf laying in the field.  It was hard to see him/her in the grass.  Mom stopped at the little calf and mooed at us until we left.  I got a couple pictures later.  The little one looks just like mom.

These Mountains are Crazy

The mountains here are mysterious.  One day you’ll be in a spot and not see a particular mountain, the next day there will be a huge, snow-capped mountain looming.  Sometimes the huge mountains look small and other times they are overwhelming.  The mountains that play with your head the most here are Mt. Rainier (especially) and Mt. Baker.  When we drove on Route 20 from Fidalgo Island the other day, we did not see Mt. Baker.  Today, we drove the same road, turned the corner, and the mountain was there.  The same thing happened when we looked at Seattle from Whidbey Island.  The first day, we didn’t see Mt. Rainier.  The next day, it was unmistakable.  I know the haze accounts for some of this, but it is still eerie.  I don’t understand why the size changes from one day to the next.  Mt. Rainier and Mt. Baker can look bigger, the further away you are.

We went back to Deception Pass today and did some hiking.  I love the Pacific Coast and Maine because the mountains/hills meet the ocean and it is stunning.  Also, the water is very clear and blue.  We saw some dolphins or porpoises way off in the water.   It was 56 degrees where we hiked by the water and 20 degrees warmer when we got back to camp in Burlington.

On the way back from the hike, Regis asked if I thought we needed to stop for anything on the way back.  I suggested ice cream.  He looked at me with disgust (like that’s not what he meant), but then quickly asked me to let him know if I see anything.  Of course I found a place and the ice cream was delicious.  We encountered two separate groups from Maryland (out of about 4 cars total).  I guess Marylander’s like ice cream!

My lens is ready.  We plan to pick it up tomorrow.  I’m looking forward to having it back.

The dogs are waiting for water in the picture below and probably hoping for a treat too.

Coco

We moved from Concrete to Burlington and will stay here for 9 days.  Looking forward to it!!

We like the campground and it really works for us with dogs.  I’ve been researching hikes and have a couple planned for this week.  We also plan to take care of issues that have popped up with the RV.  Regis went to the hardware store today and I did the wash and dusted the RV.  We took the dogs for a couple walks around the campground and I continue to be amazed how many times each dog can poop.  One of these days you’ll get a picture of twenty dollar bills sitting in their food bowls.  I may try it!!

We sat around in the sun most of the day reading (me) or just relaxing (Regis and the dogs).

If we were worried about how well Coco would fit in, see this picture.

I brushed both dogs today.  They are both made out of different types of velcro.  Since Coco has a recent haircut, she was easy to brush out and I got all the seeds out of her head.  The seeds turned her into a chia pet.  I took the shedding comb to Dart and the air was filled with dog undercoat.  It’s amazing how much hair can come out of a sheltie on a regular basis.

Following are some pictures of Coco that are more flattering.

It’s really nice to get my Bedlington fix in.  I’ve had two Bedlingtons in the past and absolutely love them.  They are the sweetest dogs.  They definitely attract attention.  Most folks have never seen a Bedlington and a Bedlington can stop them in there tracks.  We’ve only had her to ourselves 24 hours and we’ve been stopped several times by folks who want to know what she is.

Favorite Trail Ever

Jason picked out an incredible hike for us today.  We hiked the Sauk Mountain trail in the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest.  It was another brutal drive up a forest service road to get to the trail head, but not as bad as the road outside Mt. Ranier.  From the trail head, we hiked up the mountain through a wildflower meadow.  The views were incredible the entire trail and the wildflowers and butterflies were gorgeous.  We saw buttercups, lilies, paintbrush, phlox, and columbine.  As we neared the top, we saw heather.  There were so many flowers and I have no clue about the names of most of them.

By the time we got to the top, I was done in.  I definitely need to get in better shape.  Nevertheless, we made good time so I guess there is hope for me.  The views from the top were amazing,  We could see Mt. Baker, Puget Sound, and east and south to the Cascades.  We could barely make out Mt. Ranier through the haze.

I give Jason a lot of credit for picking great hikes and not killing me in the process!!

I thought it would be hard to beat my favorite hikes which include a hike on the Oregon Coast and the trail to Angel’s Landing in Zion National Park.  When we started our hike today, I immediately placed it in the top three hikes.  Upon reaching the top, it moved to first place.

The dogs got wiped out on this hike.  It was half the distance as yesterday but more than twice the change in elevation.  Jason thinks the dogs weren’t getting the mountain breeze close to the ground and we were in the sun the whole way.  The dogs probably got a little overheated.  We met a couple that was hiking with a Golden Retriever and made it all the way to the top, but the dog was having trouble on the way down.  They were helping him walk and kept resting him and giving him water along the way.  Jason thinks the dog may have been hot.  That dog will likely fall asleep as soon as he gets in the car.

We have so many fabulous pictures, it was hard to choose.  

Today, I really could have used my lens that is in the repair shop.  Regis took all the pictures.  His little camera does a great job!

Jason agreed to leave Coco with us for a couple weeks.  It will be good for Dart and we enjoy her.  She is an amazing little dog.  She is skinny but very athletic.  She is very friendly and gets along with everyone.  It will be fun to have her for a few weeks.

Mount Baker Lake hike

We hiked 8 miles round trip today on a beautiful hike.  The forest was beautiful.  The path was a little above the lake, so we got views of the lake now and then.  I still find the aqua color of the water unbelievable.  We got occasional views of the snow capped mountains.  It was one of the nicest hikes I have been on.

The dogs had a great time and were well behaved.

The place that Jason got the recommendation for the hike, suggested a stop at the local Brew Pub after the hike.  We thought that sounded like a great idea, so we dropped the dogs off at the RV and went to the Brew Pub.  Upon pulling up, we noticed a place that looked like you tied up your horses.  By the time we left, it was obvious that it was, indeed, a place to tie up your horse.  In our parting picture, you will see that we have the only vehicle and we are clearly in the minority by not riding a horse to the Brew Pub.