25 October 2014

Washington Parks Tour

At the beginning of October we spent a week in Washington state, touring the National Parks and hiking as much as possible. We did not make it to North Cascades National Park, choosing instead to go further south to Mt. Saint Helens National Monument, and even down to Portland, OR for the day. 

Our first night camping (in Mt. Rainier National Park) we saw some mice scurrying around the rental car. I figured they were tiny enough not to be able to get in. The next morning, I found I was wrong. One had nibbled a cookie. Bit a hole in a Lara Bar wrapper and shredded three rolls of toilet paper. Demon! We stored the food better from then on, and kept doors closed, but I was constantly worried that the mouse was still in the vehicle and would chew my down sleeping bag or ruin the car somehow. The fears proved unfounded. 

We did several great hikes, one main one in each place. In Mt. Rainier we did the Naches Peak Loop which overlaps the Pacific Crest Trail. It was astounding. We also did part of Mt. Fremont.

Mt. Rainier. It's ever-present.
Rainier in Reflection Lake.

Autumn foliage on the Naches trail.

Boyfriend and Rainier.

Mt. Rainier and colorful foliage.
We did not get around the the east side of Mt. Saint Helens in order to get any photos of the devastation that occurred there. We did a short "hike" through the Ape Caves, some old lava tubes. We had to use headlamps. It was so fun!
The entrance/exit to the Ape Caves. Lava tubes near Mt. Saint Helens.

We were accompanied on our hike in Olympic National Park by a Canadian couple. We had no choice really. They camped near us the night before and we were informed that they were going to attempt the same loop as we were, and that they'd join us. Even though we tried to get up early enough to beat them to the trailhead, it was unsuccessful. It wasn't bad though, they were very nice and very fit, keeping up out 3 mile an hour pace. The trail through the rain forest was mostly boardwalk so it was easy, though sometimes slippery. We got to the beach a low tide and it was super rocky and filled with seaweed. Not a very pleasant walk along the beach. The four of us were joined by a young black tailed stag. He stayed with us for a good mile or so. The beach hike ended at a fun sea stack which we were able to climb and see way up and down the coast. We couldn't see out west because of the ever-present fog. 

Rainbow over the Pacific at Rialto Beach, Olympic National Park.

Whale bone!

Petroglyphs along the beach near Wedding Rock.

our hiking buddy.

I could not live in the Pacific Northwest. It is altogether too rainy and dreary. And very humid. I loved visiting though, I am sure I will do so again. I have discovered a love for the ocean. This was my first time seeing the Pacific Ocean, and I want to see more of it. Without fog. The forests are beautiful. So green and full of moss. The temperature was amazing considering the time of year we went. I just tired of everything being damp all the time.

1 comment:

Luanne Ryman said...

I hiked the Natches trail when at Rainier a year a go. I loved seeing it in your beautiful photos with the fall foliage, it was August when I was there and tons of wild flowers in so many varieties, including wild orchids.
But as you say, unfortunately it takes a lot of rainy days to produce the lush green forests all summer. Very jealous you made it to Olympic and to the farthest point to the Pacific. I never made it there and is still on my list of must hike places.