Mt Baker and North Cascades NP

Patty posing for Mt Shuksan

We are so close to Mt Baker that we can see it from Greater Vancouver on a clear day. We decided to finally drive there and do some hiking for the day. It was a beautiful sunny day, we left early and drove 30 miles east of Bellingham on the Mt Baker Hwy, Hwy 542, and followed the signs past the ski area and Picture Lake, Mt Baker at 10,781 ft, is the third-highest mountain in Washington State and the fifth-highest in the Cascade Range. We hiked the Artist Ridge Trail, 2 miles RT, to an overlook with spectacular mountain panoramas. We could see Mt Shuksan, 9,131 ft, an “Alp of the Northwest”  in the distance and meandering up the staircased trail we had beautiful mirrored reflections of Mt Shuksan in snow-melt ponds. Mt Baker peeked through the trees along the trail. We met a local couple, Dean and Dudley Evenson, he was playing the flute, while she was taking video of him (www.soundings.com) making CDs for relaxation music and videos. Click on thumbnail to view images Continue reading

Mt Rainier NP

Our first time to Mt Rainier National Park, we are staying at the SunTides RV Park in Yakima for a week, July 8-15, in order to spend quality time in the Park. Mt Rainier (14,410 ft) stands as an icon in the Washington landscape, viewed from miles away. Our first day we drove to Paradise, the most popular area in the Park, to the Paradise Jackson Visitor Center, completed in 1966, it was so cold when we arrived at an elevation of 5,400 ft, and the mountain was in the clouds. We went to the Guide House where we obtained our permits for our 2-night backpacking trip. This is also where you get permits for climbing Mt Rainier, and there were some people getting theirs. From here you hike up to Camp Muir (10,188 ft) and the next day leaving very early you can summit Mt Rainier. That will be another trip for us! We had lunch in the historic Paradise Inn, opened in July 1917, and in 1920 a 104-room wing was added called the annex, to accommodate the increased demand for lodging. Over the years Paradise Inn remains in its grand old state, barely changed from the 1920’s. After spending most of the day at Paradise we drove to White River Campground where we spent the night before starting our backpacking trip. Click on thumbnail to view images Continue reading

Olympic Peninsula and Seattle Washington

Today we were sad to say farewell to Bend/Sisters area, but we had to keep heading north to Gig Harbor, WA and its Gig Harbor RV Resort. We crossed over the famous Tacoma Narrows Bridge, which was first built in 1940, but collapsed just months after it was completed, and Gig Harbor was isolated from Tacoma and Seattle by Puget Sound until 1950 when the second bridge was built. In 2007 a $1.2 billion project added a second span to the bridge. Gig Harbor was incorporated in July, 1946, and is the Gateway to the Olympic Peninsula. After we settled into the RV Resort, we went into the quaint town of Gig Harbor located on the shores of Puget Sound. We enjoyed a fabulous dinner at Tides Tavern on the water with amazing views of Mt Rainier. Continue reading

Grand Coulee Dam

After leaving Salt Spring Island we flew to San Diego to spend time with Kevin, Ericka and our sweet, adorable grand daughter Harper. When we returned to Canada we picked up our Sherpa and headed south back to the States on our way to Rapid City, SD. Our first stop was at the Suncrest Resort Campground, in Moses Lake, WA. And today we our going to travel the Coulee Corridor Scenic Byway on our way to the Grand Coulee Dam. The Coulee Corridor is an amazing 150 mile road trip revealing the story of the ice age floods that occurred around 13,000 years ago. The scenery along the route is both magnificent and unique. We stopped at Soap Lake which is known for its mineral-rich water and mud. In the early 20th century, people flocked to Soap Lake in search of a cure. We took photos of the bronze stature with steel wings that stated “Calling the healing waters”, the worlds first human figure sundial. Following the scenic byway, shaped by the massive Ice Age floods, we saw basalt cliffs, green farms and fields dotted with thousands of lakes nourished by the Grand Coulee Dam. We arrived at the Dry Falls State Park, which is the site of a former waterfall which is now a dry cliff, 400 feet high and 3.5 miles wide. When the floods occurred the waterfall was ten times the size of Niagara Falls. Today it is filled with lakes and wildlife. Then we arrived at the Grand Coulee Dam, at 550 feet high, it is the largest concrete structure in the US. It is a gravity dam on the Columbia River, built between 1933-1942, to produce hydroelectric power and irrigation. It has three power stations and it is the largest electric producing facility in the US. It stands 550 ft tall, 5,223 ft long, 30 ft wide at the crest and 500 ft wide at the base. Continue reading