Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Ft Flagler to Fat Smitty's

On 9/25 I headed north with the rain on the day I left Mt Rainier.  I had no particular destination in mind just eventually get on 101 Pacific Coast highway and to Olympic National Park. 

I ended up in the area of Port Townsend..and spent the night camped at Ft Flagler on the tippy top edge of Marrowstone Island.  Everyone said take a ferry...but I don't really like being on ships so I didn't ...I watched everyone go back and forth to other islands packed on the ferry from the tranquility of Marrowstone!  

We watched the fishing boats come in with the catch of the day.

Casey and I scoped it out pretty good the lower section of the CG was full so up on the cliff we went where it was all open and quiet. After getting settled in site 2A right by the bathrooms we walked down by the water ...We saw information posted about how Pigeon Guillemot nests here during breeding season so If you wanna see them come to Ft Flagler in spring...they dig a nest in the cliff face...

So we explored the islands shore and watched some Harlequin Ducks dabble around, about a dozen altogether...as well as common loons & cormorants!

...and SO many gulls!!! I think it was a gull rookery as there were so many young California Gulls.  

I thought of Diana's love of rust when I saw this, looks like some of my nailing jobs!

Later we watched an awesome sunset...it set the cliff ablaze with dusky color!

I wanted to visit the Naval Museum in Bremerton but parking was not to be found in an area where I would leave my van,,,and the parking garage was too short! 6'8"? So we drove on to Port Townsend and poked around I saw this group of Heermann's Gulls new  for me..

 then through Sequim famous for the lavender farms...

And I enjoyed seeing this artwork in the native style there was a gallery but $$$

We found camping at Dungeness State Recreation Area where a gentleman and I discussed the pros and cons of his using his generator in close proximity to my camp site *&^%$#  I won  that battle when  I asked how long did he intend to be making that terrible racket??
 ...after breakfast Casey and I hiked down  onto the spit to see the lighthouse. It may be hard to see but if you look at this strip of land then let your eye follow the top blue horizon to the right....you can see how the land turns sharply to the right and on the far right just under the clouds you can just barely see the lighthouse...

 Casey was not going to be able to do the 10 mile round trip hike and I was not too excited about the thought myself SO happy I have a 60X zoom camera!!

and we past by Fat Smitty's burger joint... I thought it was kinda cool looking but don't think I'd eat food here!

Eleanor Roosevelt: You must do the thing you think you can not.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Color On Mt Rainier

On the 24th I headed a little farther north to Mt Rainer National Park.  

Mt Rainier is the tallest peak in Washington state @ 14,410 ft. also in the cascade range and the last eruption was in 1894! Yes it is another big volcano with receding glaciers., Carbon Glacier is 700 ft thick and the lowest elevation in the lower 48 at only 3,500 ft! 

Mt Rainier is considered to be a deadly threat!! It is active but currently resting...lets hope it stays that way...Seeing the Big Siren by the ranger station didnt make me feel any safer!! The Nisqually river cuts a path filled with freezing glacier melt...

Higher up and closer to the mountain the color was breath taking!  Photos can't do it justice you have to go see with you own eyes..but here are some of my attempts to being back the glory...

This burgundy red is from myrtle bushes...and I dont know the gold brush maybe its willow?

Saw some awesome waterfalls too!  This is Narada Falls..

With the beautiful rainbow..and this one is closer to the mountain..

Sluiskin falls 

And some of the critters were more Golden Crowned Sparrows, 

Saw lots of other birds but no good photos...saw some black tailed deer..

course she didnt want me to show the world her face so she hid it..

The VC is very nice with awesome views of the mountain...they did not have a penny pincher machine tho---

It was getting late so I headed back to Cougar Campground for the night planning to finish my drive on up to Reflection Lake the next day...

Wouldnt you know got up to rain and thick fog so decided to head on certainly didnt want to drive Stephens Canyon Rd in the rain and fog...Back to I-5 and points North!

Eleanor Roosevelt: You must do the thing you think you can not.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

1980-2015 Mt St Helens

MSH80 eruption mount st helens 05-18-80-dramatic-edit.jpg
web photo
My next stop on my "most awesome adventure", after a quick but fun visit at Ridgefield, was up one exit on I-5N where I camped @ Paradise Point campground for one night.  This time of year most campgrounds have maybe one loop and one restroom open...I hate that! WE are still paying full price but we get way less...That's about all I can say for Paradise Point.  The next day I headed right up to Mt St Helen's it was not far away...

Its amazing how much regrowth has taken place since the May 18, 1980 blast! These are the reminders of how it was ....these trees left in place as they were blasted down by the force of the explosion on that day!  I do see some new trees standing and showing color so one day this whole mountainside will be covered with maples and aspen and whatever else...
                   and some trees have been planted...this is a stand of noble fir I think!

SO the blast and the glacier mud flow changed the landscape forever on that day and took over 50 human lives with it.....1,500 elk, 5,000 deer and countless other critters!! It was the largest landslide in history!

...but it was not all about the smoke and ash, new lakes were formed like Coldwater lake when Coldwater creek was dammed by debris and the course of the creek was changed... within 4 yrs it had everything any lake has, birds, fish, vegetation.

...and its one of the most beautiful I've seen! Only Mother Nature can create this...

SO Happy they are keeping it off limits to camping and such... it is pristine!!  I saw a pair (new life bird) of Barrow's Goldeneye..

and a Bald Eagle came down to land for a moment...

St Helen's now has 3/4 of the dome missing! And yet it still smolders....so who knows when it could happen again...there was a small eruption in 2004! 

There is a wonderful but scary film of the events leading up to the blast and the blast itself... and some great exhibits in the VC on Johnston Ridge Observatory, I would highly recommend visiting St Helen's its a magical area IM happy it's  now part of the public lands, we need more and more to protect and save...

every stump tells the story of the blast...

Many refused to leave their homes when the mandatory evacuation orders were given, resident Harry Truman had lived in the shadow of the Mt for 50 years he refused to leave his home...he said, "Im coming down feet first if Im coming down at all," ...he was 83. 

I stayed one whole day but would rather have stayed longer...

There is a Campground down the mountain near the first Visitor's Center, called SeaQuest.  Again, it was mostly closed up...the showers were old and in need of a good cleaning, and they charge full price...so State Parks need to improve..next morning it was time to Blaze a new trail farther north..

next stop Mt Rainier. 

Eleanor Roosevelt: You must do the thing you think you can not.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Just What Day is it Anyways?

SO Monday Night I stopped at the Bridge of the Gods on Historic Highway 30 and had a lovely little room at the same name motel.  I was very close to Portland so I emailed big bins Jen of I Used to Hate Birds Fame.  Wondered if she would like to show me around Ridgefield NWR since my path would take me right past it...I had plans to see at least 2 more water falls possibly 3 and the Bonneville dam.. So when I sent that email my computer is still on Eastern time...It was late when I signed off like after 10 so my computer told me it was Tuesday!! (well it was Tuesday back on the East coast)  I got up and Jen had answered my email...she said Im off tomorrow Wednesday, so we can hook up!! Since I was not really aware of what day it really was my computer said it was Tuesday so tomorrow is Wednesday and so she wants to meet me TODAY...see Jen had answered my email on Tuesday so Tomorrow was Wednesday not today but in my pea brain it was already Wednesday!! You Got that?

SO I said I can meet you at 3 see  you there after I see these waterfalls...

Off I went first to the dam...Bonneville Locks n Dam.

Very interesting stuff...I enjoyed seeing the fish in the lower level try to swim up the ladders they make for them to go upstream...

I saw a lot of cedar wax wings there! This one gave me that over the shoulder look...

I got my passport stamped here and Pinched a Penny and they had Penny holder folders so I got one so happy was I!

I left the dam and headed to the waterfall area..Horsetail falls is road side..

And the Big One Multnomah...

Wakeena was another hike to get a good view so I opted for the best view from where I was still not recovered from the 3.8 miler with elevation gains..

AWESOME all of them!! I got another penny pinched at Multnomah!! 

I had to meet Jen at 3 so Off I went to Ridgefield...I got there about 2:30 looked around waked Casey and then by about 10 till I met this lady who told me there was another unit I was at the S unit so I wondered if I was at the wrong unit..So I fired up what juice I had left in the laptop and Jen had written..."your email sounded as if you are going to be there today, is that right?" SO I thought well it is Wednesday so yeah...BUT then I looked at my computer calendar it was TUESDAY!! Holy Cow...so I shot off a message sorry I can try for tomorrow..etc..then she called and saved the day and met me anyways!! How nice is that???
Ridgefield impressed me with the variety of habitat in a small space...it has everything going for it.  We did a loop drive around and we saw quite a lot in the space of a couple hrs!  I saw herons and egrets right off and Jen saw Red tails and Northern Harries, then there was Sandhill cranes and mallards, and coots, and kingfishers, golden crowned sparrows and stellars jays, and possible snipes or dowitchers wish it was long billed I need that on my list but my photo just wasnt good enough to tell...some pied billed grebes...and brewers black birds! 
Gr Blue Heron

snipe or dowitcher?

red tailed hawk

pied billed grebes

female mallard

cranes in flight

and lots of turtles were out catching some rays..

Big Thanks to Jen for a great Birding afternoon and for accommodating my blunder of what day it was!!

Eleanor Roosevelt: You must do the thing you think you can not.