Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Mount Rainier National Park

Our last park was Mount Rainier and we glimpsed the mountain as we drove south.

 We stayed at the Paradise Inn in the shadow of the mountain.

 The views were phenomenal.

 And the hiking was great.

 We were lucky enough to see some wildlife such as this fawn.

And this well camouflaged ptarmigan.

 This is Narada Falls, near Paradise.

We took a hike with a ranger and saw the Nisqually glacier, one of 25 glaciers on the mountain.
The dark hole in the valley is the floor of the glacier where snowmelt is flowing down the mountain down the mountain.

Mt. Rainier was spectacular!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014


Olympic National Park is known for its temperate rainforests
which gets about 150 inches of rain annually.

 A temperate rainforest is dominated by conifer trees unlike a tropical rainforest.

 Ferns dominate the forest floor.

And moss covers everything.

 Manmade objects slowly get covered by the vegatation.

 And the trees tower over everything.

In the rainforest, everything is green.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Washington Beaches

We explored Ruby Beach along the pacific shore.

We first saw the beach at high tide.

Then returned later at low tide.

We searched around the exposed rocks & tide pools for sea life and found some!

At first I didn't realize that the green cup-like things were sea anemones.

A mosh pit of star fish!

The beach also has lots of stacked rock art!

A beautiful wild beach.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Walking among Waterfalls

Olympic National Park is huge and has several distinct ecosystems, mountains, coasts, rain forests & lowland forests.
Today we explored the lowland forests with its many waterfalls.

This is Marymere Falls, a short hike from our cabin.  

And this is Sol Duc Falls.

We also hiked the Spruce Railroad Trail along the north shore of Lake Crescent.

The end of another fun day.

Olympic National Park

We have arrived at the Olympic National Park and the first order of business was hiking Hullicane Ridge.

We hiked to Sunrise Point and could see for miles.

We could see Mt. Olympus covered in glaciers beyond the visitor center.

We continued on highway 101 to Lake Crescent Lodge.  This is our home for the next few days.

The view from our cabin.

The sun setting on Lake Crescent.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Cowboy Dinner

The Sun Mountain Lodge in Methow Valley has a wonderful horseback ride & cowboy dinner for its guests.

This is me on Buttermilk, my mount for the evening.

Our wrangler guide, Red, did a great job keeping everyone safe and having fun as we rode through the beautiful countryside.

You can also take a covered wagon to the homestead, where dinner is served.

Dinner was delicious and included grilled tri tip steak & chicken, salad, fruit, cowboy beans, cowboy potatoes, cornbread and this yummy desert.

We were accompanied by Maggie, the barn dog who was relagated to the wagon during dinner.

Once back at the barn, she cooled off in the horse trough, her personal swimmin' hole!

Mountains & Islands

Today we drove back through the Cascade Mountains and took a ferry to San Juan Island.

Here's a clearer look at the craggy Cascades.

We squeezed our car onto a Washington State ferry and floated over to Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. 

One well known resident of Friday Harbor is Popeye, a female harbor seal that has been hanging around the marina since 1995.  She got our attention by splashing us as we walked by.  The residents & tourists have been giving her scraps from the nearby fish market.

In 2005, she was named the port's official seal and a sculpture, depicting her cloudy right eye, was installed in her honor in a nearby park.

We also visited South Beach, a jumble of diftwood.

Picked wild blackberries,

And visited a lavender farm.

Grandma's Cove, San Juan Island.