Seattle, Mt. Rainier

August 29, 2017 Leave a comment

We’ve lived in the Seattle area, and visited here often.  We love the area, the people, the scenery and the opportunity to visit the Great Outdoors.  So when we were in the area we had to visit some iconic places.

Mount Rainier is one of the most active volcanoes in the USA and is one of the most scenic parts of a Seattle visit.  So we took the drive to the Paradise Visitor Center and enjoyed the drive, the scenic stops, but not the Paradise Center… the visitor parking lot was overloaded.  The price for a nice day in the great PNW…

Then a quick drive to Seattle and Pike Place Market for lunch and just visiting.  Actually, a slow drive, if there is one thing Seattle has too much of it is traffic!  But we enjoyed our visit (and yummy Ivar’s fish and chips) very much.

 

Punchbowl Falls, Angel’s Rest

August 16, 2017 Leave a comment

The Columbia Gorge is not only scenic, it has some great hikes.   We were glad to be back and have some nice weather to do two different hikes.  First we did Punchbowl Falls, 2 1/2 mile in on Eagle Creek.  This hike isn’t too strenuous, although there are some scary drop offs to watch for.  The Falls are gorgeous.

Our second hike was up to Angel’s Rest.  This is the only hike we do that is rated “Hard”, not because of the length (total distance maybe 5 1/2 miles) but it is steep, rocky, and high.  Elevation gain is some 1,500 feet, tough n old folks like us!  But the view is absolutely superb.  See the second set of pictures.

Punchbowl Falls hike

Angel’s Rest hike

 

Our scary RV day

August 7, 2017 1 comment

We’re on our way from Glacier NP to the West Coast and found an RV park along the way that was highly rated.  There was a warning, “steep downhill grade with switchbacks” entry into the park, but I called the owner and he said no problem, we have big trucks coming here all the time.  So off we went.

Once we got to the entry road, we unhooked our car, as suggested.  Then we started down the hill.  What we didn’t know is that the road was narrow, gravel, had deep ditches, and yes, it was steep.  Then we hit the first switchback.  It needed a “K” turn to get around and we still drug our rear wheels through the ditch .  Three more, and we were down.

Yes, this is a nice park, if you have kids and a small camper.  Once we got in our site we found no phone, no internet, and only 30A power.  Not good!  We were scheduled to stay here 4 nights but we left the next day.  Romola and I were both apprehensive but with some heavy duty “K” turns, we made it back up to the main road.  Won’t do that again!

 

Yellowstone NP

August 2, 2017 Leave a comment

Yellowstone National Park is a national park located in the U.S. states of Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho. It was established March 1, 1872. Yellowstone was the first National Park in the U.S. and is also widely held to be the first national park in the world. The park is known for its wildlife and its many geothermal features, especially Old Faithful geyser, one of its most popular features.  Since we’ve seen Old Faithful several times, we focused more on other parts of the park.

Our friend Beth Horton is Park Archeologist, so we had some extra incentive to visit the many sights.  Native Americans have lived in the Yellowstone region for at least 11,000 years.  Organized exploration did not begin until the late 1860s. Researchers have examined more than 1,000 archaeological sites.

The Park spans an area of some 3,500 square miles, comprising lakes, canyons, rivers and mountain ranges. Yellowstone Lake is one of the largest high-elevation lakes in North America and is centered over the Yellowstone Caldera, the largest supervolcano on the continent. The caldera is considered an active volcano. It has erupted with tremendous force several times in the last two million years.  Half of the world’s geothermal features are in Yellowstone.   The park is the centerpiece of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, the largest remaining nearly-intact ecosystem in the Earth’s northern temperate zone.

Bryce Canyon NP, Utah

Bryce Canyon is located in south western Utah.  It is distinctive due to geological structures called hoodoos, formed by frost weathering and stream erosion of the river and lake bed sedimentary rocks. The red, orange, and white colors of the rocks provide spectacular views for park visitors. Bryce sits at a much higher elevation than nearby Zion National Park. The rim at Bryce varies from 8,000 to 9,000 feet elevation.

There are some very nice hikes in the area, but you have to remember:  they all start at the top so when you get down you have to climb all the way back.  And it can get steep, and hot, but the views are worth the effort.  Here is a photo collage I made of our visit.

Sunset at Arches NP, Moab, UT

We were scheduled to spend 5 days in Moab but we shortened it to one night.  Sitting in the sun in a tin can motor home is no place to be when the temps are predicted to reach 107F!

So we parked, turned on the AC, and went to Moab Brewery for a cool beer and some good food.  But we are in Moab, so we had to make a quick trip after dinner to check out some of the fabulous scenery of this area.  So here are some quick pictures taken close to and at sunset.

 

Hiking Smelter Mountain

This was one of the most difficult hikes we’ve ever done.  Not because it was that far, or that high, but it was so steep and rocky.  It gained 1,000ft in one mile, all rocks and boulders. And in the full Colorado sun…. good thing we had lots of water with us.  It took us from the base of Smelter Mountain to the broadcast towers on the very top.

But we made it, and the effort was worth it, with spectacular views of Durango and the surrounding mountains.  The trip back down was anticlimactic, we just made sure of our foot placement and we got down no problems (well, maybe for 100 yards or so when we made a wrong turn).

Granted, we questioned our sanity several times on the way up (hey, we’re in our mid 70’s) but it was definitely worth the effort.