Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Mt. Ranier & Oregon Coast

Our last vacation for the summer, and it was a fabulous one. We are exploring the Northwest, and we headed in another lollipop shaped road-trip. We started out after a half-day of work for Brian and drove to Richland, Washington for a stop over. I was a bit surprised at how flat, tree-less, agriculture, brown, hot and dry the south-eastern part of Washington state can be! Even though Richland sits on the banks of the Columbia River, a very wide river, it is only green for about 200 yards on either side. Then the ubiquitous brown takes hold. The next day we drove along the banks of the Columbia, following it through the Columbia River Gorge, and we watched as the brown rolling hills gave way to steep cliffs and green vegetation. The temperature also slowly dropped and overhead clouds filled the sky. We stopped at Hood River to try and have a coffee on the banks of the river, and watch the wind surfers. However, the wind proved too gusty, and so we trekked on through Portland and out to the sea.

The Oregon coast is spectacular. Wide sandy beaches, steep cliffs, rock formations, inlets and funky little towns along the way. It was a bit too chilly to get into the water, or stay in the water, which was also cold. That really didn't stop Jacob, as he liked to jump the waves, but it kept the rest of us just enjoying the sun, scenery and sand. There were no shells on the beach, only molted crab shells and sand dollars. We spent two nights in Seaside, and then went to Astoria, which sits at the mouth of Columbia and Young Rivers. We got to see freightliners roll by and saw some seals from the many piers. Mostly we just walked around the downtown and ate great seafood. Oh, we also visit Ft. Clapsop, a National Park Service site; we can't drive past one without stopping.

Next was Mt. Ranier, which was truly a jewel, and it was better than I expected. I packed bug-spray and was prepared for hikes through forests. We didn't need the bug spray, and most of our hikes were above the tree line. We got to see glaciers, wild-flowers and sweeping views, instead of forest paths. The kids have both turned a corner as far as hiking is conerned. Jacob told me I was too slow and kept a better pace than I did on our 5 mile, 1700-elevation gain hike. Annie actually did (most) the hike herself, eventhough she needed a little prodding and was a tad too pokey. We made it to the top of skyline trail, and got to walk past waterfalls, through snow fields and see Mt. Hood & Mt. St. Helens (what's left of it, that is.) I can't say enough how fun this was for us. We also got to see marmots (fat, grumpy looking things), a fox, deer, a grouse and chipmunks. And then, alas, we came home. School starts Monday

1 comment:

Rachael said...

Definitely need to add that mountain to our list when we visit the west coast again. I'm about to up date our blog as we are now back online. Weird how I've missed being able to use the internet, really need it to research this place as little English is spoken. Really need to learn either dutch or german. Think we'll do German as that's whatt he kids are doing at school. That has gone down brilliantly, Abi cried on Sunday as there was no school! I'm going in to help on Friday and am hoping to pick up a bit of work too. Place seems nice. We're in a small town about 8 miles from the base. Good cycling routes and a park nearby. Haven't explored much as it rained for the first week. The sun is out today and is due to stay like this for at least a week so I'll plan a busy weekend. I think we have a bear from school that will be with us and then Abi has to write a journal so we'd better make it a great weekend! Enjoy the start of schoolxx