Friday, December 11, 2015

Washington - 3rd stop


Crossing the Columbia River
The move to Packwood, WA was on November 1, 2015. This was one of the most interesting trips so far. It started off like any other, the sun was shining and for a change there was very little wind. Even the turbines weren't turning much.

The views were beautiful, with valleys and mountains.                  
As we headed up the mountain side it started to rain and got a little foggy.

Then it started to turn to snow and within less than 5 miles there was already 3 inches or more on the ground. When we got to White Pass, an appropriate name, we pulled off to the side of the road to let semi's pass us. We decided to continue on and we were so glad we did, as they ended up with 8" of snow that night. Within a few miles down the other side it turned back into rain again. Really don't want to make it a habit of driving the RV in snow!

We stayed at the Packwood RV Park. The campground is pretty rustic, most of it was closed for the season already. We had full hook ups but only 30-amp electric. The lots were good sized so you weren't on top of your neighbor. The best part of the camp ground was that a herd of elk came through every day.
The town of Packwood is known as the town that hosts the largest flea market in the Northwest. It is held every Memorial Day and Labor Day. Other than that there is not a whole lot in town. We enjoyed our morning coffee from the Mountain Goat Coffee shop. An adorable place with local art work for sale and the cutest flower pots and garbage cans.
There are also some fun wood sculptures and a very interesting abandoned building.

Waterfall on the side of the road at Johnston Ridge
We visited Mt. St. Helens on three separate days and never really got to see much of it due to clouds, but we did see some incredible scenery.

At 8:32 am, Sunday, May 18, 1980 Mt.St. Helens erupted and blew down or scorched 230 square miles of forest, recovery of the area continues today.
The volcano continued to erupt until 1986, violently at first, then quietly building a lava dome over time, Thick, gooey lava oozed out, piling on top of itself until it reached 920 feet in height.

The valley in front of the mountain from the west side, at the Johnston Ridge overlook, is filled with large gorges in weird twisting shapes from where the lava ran. It is an unreal scene and hard to imagine what it was like shortly after the volcano.

As you drive through the park and twist and turn with the road you are treated to little views of the mountain every now and then. One great thing about a cloudy day is Mother Nature treats you to some amazing sun rays.

Coldwater Lake - didn't test out the name but pretty sure it's true!

Highway 25 takes you to the East entrance of the park, and it is like driving through an enchanted forest. The trees create a canopy over the road and everything is covered in moss, the sun peaks through the tree tops giving everything a misty look. Waterfalls can be spotted in the woods, and if you look really close you can probably see a fairy or two. 
We climbed down the side of the road to get a closer look at this waterfall and found this little guy as well. 

We drove the Windy Ridge road and once again there were clouds over the mountain top. It cleared enough for us to see some of Spirit Lake from one of the overlooks.
Once we got to Windy Ridge, we had two choices, take a trail we weren't sure we would see anything or climb a gazillion stairs.

The zigzag pattern is the stairs!
We chose the trail and we weren't disappointed. It was a very cold 30 degree day with lots of wind, some rain, some snow and even a bit a sunshine.

Once again we were all alone, everyone else was smart enough to not be hiking that day, so Mielikki was able to run and explore to her hearts content.

The two mile trail twisted and turned with some great views of a valley and surrounding ridges. The views made the frozen fingers worth it.

The United States Geological Survey scientists continue to monitor the volcano for earthquakes, swelling and gas emissions. This metal shack is part of their equipment.

As we were driving out of the park the clouds parted a little for us.
                                                                                                               Back on Highway 25 heading to the Lava Canyon, we got another pretty good view. 
The Lava Canyon, was so much more than we expected.Looking at this "river" left us speechless. It's hard to understand that this wide expanse of grey rock was a hot, steaming mass of lava creeping along the ground, destroying everything in its place. 

Most of the roads in Mt Rainier National Park were closed for the season, and based on the snow we saw on the main road through the park we can see why. The day we were there was a beautiful clear day, an unusual event around here! 
This is just the beginning! 
Roadside waterfalls are always a treat, and Nancy loves to climb under overpasses to find other ones. 
This picture looks out of focus but it isn't. These trees, we think they are King Pines, are all over both parks and it actually hurts your eyes to look at them while driving by. There are acres and acres of them. 

Next stop, Hansville, WA to spend some time with family. Les's brother Dave and his wife Sue have set up a space for our RV on their property. Looking forward to family time, down time, and of course exploring the area.

Till we meet again....

Happy Trails to you!

Tips and things we have learned along the way. 
~ Before heading out to our next destination we check all possible routes. Sometimes the shortest most direct route may not be the best to travel with an RV. We use a regular map as well as Google maps to check for mountain passes, sharp curves in the road or lots of hills that may cause issues with an almost 65 foot load (the RV and car tow dolly). This may mean you have to take a little longer to get to your destination but that is better than getting stuck along the short route.  

1 comment:

  1. Love the awesome pictures and tips. I'm finally retired but not having adventures like you. Enjoying every step of your journey. Merry Christmas and a safe and Joyous New Year. Darlene Simonds