Hey everyone. Sorry for the delay in reporting here. Fell off the grid for a while, and am still trying to catch up. Let’s see if I can get this thread back on track.
Troy and I made to dry land on July 11. Our first stop was for breakfast in the quaint community of Bellingham WA. We sat down with thelal. Thanks again for breatfast and the great conversation. I hope your long journey turns out great. It seems like you are quite prepared.
We headed south for Seattle. It’s been quite a while since I have been downtown, and I thought it would be a great opportunity for Troy to experience the Northwestern scene. While I slaved away in a coffee shop, Troy visited the Space Needle and American Music Experience. Both cool venues. We found a place to stay just a block or two northwest of the downtown. Our afternoon evening goal was to pub crawl our way across downtown to see a Mariners game. We found a few great watering holes along the way, made it through Pike Place Market and to Safeco Field. The Mariners won! I am sure it was because of our attendance. We reversed our course back across town, walking off a couple of the pints we had. A great day in Seattle. Sorry we missed you Willman. Maybe next time we’re up that way.
Well, enough with the city life. We made our way out of Seattle and headed for Rainier National Park. I hadn’t been to Rainier before, and I am glad we came this way. Rainier is on the short list of quintessential National Parks in the US, and it is quite obvious why once you see the magnitude of the mountain. We entered the park from the west side, through Nisqually Entrance, and stopped at Longmire and Narada Falls. I stood in the mist bath generated by the falls as Troy fiddled with the camera settings. The left side of me soaked by the third shot, I finally walked away.
We visited the visitors center at Paradise and tried our flip flop trekking skills on the snow pack. A bit cool on the toes. The day was dwindling, and we had no idea where we were going to stay. We ventured east along the Stevens Ridge and Backbone Ridge road. It was quiet an elevation drop toward the Stevens Entrance, and the views were spectacular. Just outside the south entrance we found a quiet spot along the banks of the Ohanapecosh River. Tomorrow, we plan to head back into the park and head for Sunrise.
I am pretty sure a bear went through our campsite last night. Scat was piled up in our tire tracks this morning, and Troy said he heard something “rather large” making it’s way through. We packed up and headed north, back into Mount Rainier NP to catch the morning sun on the eastern and northern slopes of the mountain. The Sunrise Visitors Center is very old school compared to it’s contemporary partner at Paradise. The limitless views to the east and south from Sunrise lookout make you feel above it all. A beautiful place to be.
Troy and I backtracked our way out of the park and headed south. Today’s destination is Mount St. Helens National Monument. Our path took us to the eastern side of the park. It is the more quiet side, with only a two lane dead end road finishing above Spirit Lake with Mount St. Helens in the distance to the south. A park ranger gave us the low down on the explosion that happened 3 decades ago, and the devastating impact it had. The change in topography is quite unimaginable unless you see it first hand. Amazing.
It was time for us to continue down the road. Our rough goal was to make it to Crater Lake National Park by the end of the following day. How we got there was wide open to interpretation. We decided to take only back roads south, and to enjoy the Washington and Oregon countryside. We crossed the Columbia River Gorge at Hood River, and wandered southward. There are some interesting roads in the wilderness areas between Portland/Salem/Eugene to the west and Bend to the east. Some were single lane paved routes with small pull outs every once in a while, and these were open to two way traffic. It was incredibly remote feeling and absolutely beautiful. Dusk was heading our way, so we found a riverside camp spot for the night.
Some buddies of Troy’s in OZ had nominated him on Facebook to perform some silly act of ice cold brutality. I can’t remember the name of this stunt, but I was involved. It consisted of Troy videoing himself sitting on a rock in the glacier fed stream and getting 2 buckets of stream water poured over him. I was the pourer, and recipient of roughly one third of the water. Dang cold. Ah to be a kid again. Almost forgot.
I visited MSH 24 years after the blast and was surprised to see thousands of trees floating on Spirit Lake. Your photo shows them still there but maybe fewer now. You would think they would all be waterlogged and sunk by now. I found MSH to be absolutely fascinating and the destruction truly unbelievable.
2008 FJ Cruiser expedition ready and off-road trailer with RTT.
Our backroad adventure continued today, meandering southward toward Crater NP. Most of the roads we took were mere grey lines without numbers on our atlas page. Troy navigated our way, and did a heck of a job with what we had to work with. We used both the HEMA and Rand McNally atlas’ to do the job. Both have their respective benefits. We skirted the western boundary of the Warm Springs Indian Territorial land and past through Detroit OR. We stayed high in the hills west of Bend, mostly on graded dirt until we came out just north of the park by Diamond Lake. We entered Crater Lake through the north entrance, and wound our way clockwise around the truly amazing lake.
At roughly 6 miles in diameter and over 1900 feet deep, it is considered the deepest lake in North America. It was created some 7700 years ago when the Mazama volcano collapsed after blowing and venting. What I found interesting is that I could not see any ingress or egress of the water here. It has filled from centuries of snow and rain. The blues of the water surface are deeper than any other lake I have seen. You can see Wizard Island and Phantom ship in the lake itself.
We departed Crater Lake through the south entrance through Mazama Village, and headed further south for the night.
I have traveled the stretch of Interstate 80 between Salt Lake City and San Francisco perhaps 2 dozen times in my life. Pretty dang boring until you hit the Sierras. Prisons and power plants, period. Sigh.
So in the spirit of the last few days, Troy and I decided to continue the back road odyssey eastward through the borders of Oregon, California and Nevada. We quickly dropped out of 4 days of pine trees to the wide open desert landscape this area is know for. Two lane asphalt and graded roads were our friends. I could have done without the 50 plus miles of washboard before hitting pavement outside Winnemucca NV, but such is adventure. Seeing something other than the back end of a semi was very nice.
We could have continued our remote rambling eastward, but we needed to get to Salt Lake City the next day. So we hit I-80 eastbound and found camp spot near a creek in Carlin NV shortly before dark. It was nice to see a desert sunset again. I missed them. I have to tell you the honest truth. I got more mosquito bites here than I did in all of Alaska. No kidding. We got up the next day and headed eastward through the Bonneville Salt Flats to Salt Lake City, my hometown. We caught up on emails, laundry and such. Then went out for dinner and sodas with my old circle of friends. They gave Troy a good razzing. He fit in well.
If you don't mind my asking; how much did this trip set you back? I would guess $2,200 or so in gas. If someone wanted to retrace your steps how much money do you think they should expect to set aside?