Oct 2, 2014

OR to ID

After Washington, it was back to our beloved Oregon State Parks. We wanted to check out a WA State Park before leaving the state...but the camping fee was too pricey for us (for a state park. That isn't California). We like to stay as far under $30 a night as we can. So it was back south to Oregon where the state parks are the best we've ever seen. One of the reasons being that, along with local government grants, incredible support from the community and support from local businesses, they are so smart with their resources and infrastructure design. These antique appliances were saved and installed in newly constructed picnic shelters. You see things like this all over the parks in the northwest. Use what you got!

This is just charming decoration on a refurbished electric stove. Form and function :)

Emigrant Springs was a place along the old Oregon Trail where people would stop to fill up on water, and enjoy the shade (or lose their oxen in the thick forest). This was the first forest the travelers saw since leaving Missouri (and the last we would see for awhile since we are headed eastward). Fascinating history along this whole route. It's pretty wild reading diary entries and personal perspectives from those traveling 2,200 miles through the wilderness, towards a new life, in a place they had not yet seen.

We found an original Meeker marker

Biked into Meacham, population...<100? Got some food and friendly conversation from the folks at the general store. We were told “This is the town” it's the diner, post office, bar, town hall, you name it - for this little settlement along the trail. In 1923 it was the “Capitol of the U.S. for a day” when president Harding stopped into town for the commemoration of the 18th anniversary of the covered wagon migration. Best apple pie we've found west of the Mississippi. I grabbed a town newsletter, the Meacham Gazette, authored by Mountain Millie. It included the September birthdays, local announcements, a pineapple salsa recipe I'd like to try, and recipes for homemade tick and insect repellent among other interesting and handy info.

old oregon trail

new oregon trail

And on down the road. We are officially headed eastward. On our way to Boise, we pulled over for a hardy brunch at this saloon. I can't even remember the name, but it had those old west swingy doors you can see over Ed's shoulder. Which, I assure you, we gracefully and casually entered through. Eat (and drink) like the locals!

Then we finally made it to Boise Idaho where we settled down in our dear friend Whitney's driveway for a few days, and visited with her little family. My gosh, it was nice to see a familiar face after so long. We've made a lot of new friends in our travels, but it was SO great to spend time and swap stories with an old one. We didn't go anywhere! We didn't want to! It was awesome! We just stayed home. Hung out, ate, drank, watched the baby be cute, and caught up. Chill to the max. Only baby pictures were taken. It was so so wonderful and we really enjoyed our time there. Baby Jasper is easy-going and cute. Just like his parents. haha

Sep 22, 2014

Mount Rainier

We visited Mount Rainier for just one day. It's a sin to take only one day for a national park visit, but we had to be on our way. We took the Stevens Canyon entrance, stopped by the visitor's center, and jumped on a trail to Silver Falls.

A glimpse from downstream

Looking further downstream - this impressive river canyon is looking pretty dinky in the pictures. You gotta see it for yourself!

The visitor's center was a Mission 66 project. The program is often criticized for not holding true to the National Park mission and aesthetic (tough to beat that CCC parkitecture), but I was pretty in love with this mid-century/NPS/nature center mashup.

Looking back after leaving the park

On the road again...

Riding up top with Bowie

More columnar jointing! (remember Devil's Postpile?) This all used to be LAVA

We are getting very good at recognizing landforms, understanding what they're made of, and how they got there. It's pretty thrilling to have the ability to read a landscape.

Upper Left

Oh boy, I'm getting very behind on blogging our travels. I hate to gloss over so much (though it's a constant reality of fulltime travel) but I'll just say that we love Washington. We stayed on the edge of town but got to spend a good amount of time in Port Angeles throughout our visit to Olymic NP. And thanks to the phenomenal Olympic Discovery Trail, we were able to easily explore by bike. Washington is full of great local business (breweries, wineries, and MOSS - which is now selling my handmade jewelry!), bike/hiking trails, nature reserves and restored wilderness areas. We were busy!

Canada through the mist

We also got to meet up with my friend Denise and her husband in Seattle. We had a great time catching up, touring the city, and getting the hang of travel by ferry.

Bench/shrine for Kurt Cobain

Pike Place Farmer's Market has been continuously operating since 1907

Seattle has the weirdest history ("let's built a city on this floodplain" - hilarity ensues)
These are "skylights" in the sidewalk

And here is the underground view! Denise and Kyung treated us to some fun tours, and we got a pretty good intro to the culture and history of Seattle.

We visited the Dungeness Spit, but were too cold and tired that day to hike the whole thing before high tide (the spit is 5.5 miles long!). We just explored the various driftwood shelters, stone cairns, and did some bird watching - bald eagles!

We hiked to Sol Duc Falls and up along the River Trail.

Art hike! Webster's Woods in Port Angeles is a pretty special place.

Lake Crescent

Next: More mountains and volcanoes

Sep 16, 2014

Second Beach - Olympic National Park

This place is incredible. I took so many pictures - couldn't help myself. We spent the day walking up and down the beach, scouting out perfect picnic spots, exploring sea caves and inspecting tidal pools. 

It was such a beautiful day, one for the books. 

picnic spot #1

Overexposed photo...but he's just so handsome




Again, wat?

picnic spot #2

snail swirls

starfish party

So hard to leave. I didn't want to leave. We say that about a lot of places, but the Pacific Northwest is...just made for us...or we were made for it... Either way, we'll be back.

Sep 15, 2014

The Hoh Rainforest - Olympic National Park

The Hoh Rainforest is a temperate rainforest in Olympic National Park. I was really excited to visit because I had written a report on the Hoh Rainforest when I was in 6th (7th?) grade. The report was actually supposed to be about the Hoh Indian Tribe, but between the library and the young internet, I found next to NO information whatsoever on the people...so instead I mostly just talked about their environment, the Hoh Rainforest. It was neat to finally see, smell, experience something that was just a far-away concept to me ever since my middle school days. Honestly, we were bummed that it was a glorious, sun-shiny day. I wanted rain! Or at least some clouds. Everything seemed a little bit thirsty, but as the sun machine came down, things got all nice and cool and a lot more mystic. 

We hiked to 5 Mile Island, and a quick jaunt through the Hall of Mosses, but first stop - the visitor center. These nature center/bookstore/museums are the best. I always go a little (a lot) crazy over the dioramas, graphic design and illustrations.


Me with the trees

Drippy moss curtains

The Hoh River is a gorgeous milky blue. I've never seen a river this color before.

5 MI. IS.
love these arrowheads

Everything grows incredibly fast. As soon as a tree falls, it's overtaken with moss and lichens and other small trees, providing nutrients to the young plants. These are called nurse logs. Once the new trees' roots reach around either side of the nurse log, and into the ground, they really take off growing. The nurse log eventually decays, leaving behind a row of trees that are about the same age, and typically in some crazy magic-doorway shape. It's very cool to understand, and see each stage of this process.

A little forest on a nurse log

Super dense growth, another nurse log

Ferns everywhere

A lot of this going on. You can't sit still for too long, or something will start growing on you... Our friend Tracy from Oregon says everything is so mossy, moist, and grows so fast, some people find little trees growing on their cars!

Hey slug, you're gross!

Mossy crescent moon log

Along the trail

 I don't know what this is. Fungi of sorts?

Here be wizards