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Posts Tagged ‘drives’

Best of the West Coast: Hikes, Drives, Photos

August 21st, 2009 2 comments

I have the trip broken down into four or five parts (West Coast, Northern States, Northeast, South, and Southwest — it’s four if I combine the Northern States with the Northeast) and the West Coast is now finished, which means I figure I can do some evaluation. And if you’re joining the game already in progress, maybe this will help catch up. If you want to.

Nice intro. Oh well. Here goes:

Best West Coast Hikes > 10 mi.

  1. Glen Alpine Trail to Aloha Lake, Lake Tahoe (Day 12, 14 mi.) – Had everything. Except waterfalls. And there were bugs. But still: ever mile there was something new to look at that you hadn’t seen before, plus plenty of places to throw your hiking pulls on the rocks and jump into a lake.
  2. Half Dome Trail, Yosemite (Day 10, 18 mi.) – It wasn’t fun, but it was kind of an accomplishment and I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t dang pretty.
  3. Eagle Creek Trail to Tunnel Falls, Columbia Gorge (Day 19, 12 mi.) – The hike itself was kind of dull, at least until you got close to the big falls, but the payoff was huge and there were many waterfalls.

Best West Coast Hikes < 10 mi.

  1. Bumpass Hell Trail, Lassen Volcanic National Park (Day 14, 4 mi.) – Kind of cheating in that the hike I did went beyond Bumpass Hell and I’m really just talking about the trail to Bumpass Hell and not the one that continues past it. Whatever. Great views of Brokeoff Mtn. and various mountain scenery for the first and last mile, interesting views (and odors) of hell for the second and third.
  2. Fall Creek Falls, Rogue-Umpqua Scenic Byway (Day 17, 2 mi.) – If you took your basic Hawaii waterfall hike (e.g., Manoa Falls on O’ahu), removed all the people, then put it in Oregon, it would be this hike — which I liked a lot better than the hike to Manoa Falls.
  3. Lassen Peak, Lassen Volcanic National Park (Day 15, 5 mi.) – Another hike that’s no fun, but ultimately pretty and rewarding. It’s kind of a steep one (2,000 feet elevation in 2.5 mi.), but it’s pretty cool to be on top of something 10,000 feet high. Some pretty nice views, too.

Best West Coast Drives

  1. Rogue-Umpqua Scenic Byway, Oregon (Days 16-17) – Some awesome river gorges, a couple of very noteworthy mountain peaks, and trails leading off to waterfalls every four or five miles along the way. Highly, highly recommended.
  2. Mt. Rainier (Days 23-24) – The wildflowers were great, the rivers were great, the road borderline breathtaking. And I need a better thesaurus. And every time I hear the word “breathtaking”, I think of that one Seinfeld episode where the doctor calls Elaine “breathtaking”. It wasn’t really a top-flite joke or anything, I just remember it.
  3. Big Sur (Days 2-3) – I still think it’s a drive pretty much wasted if you don’t have a date with you and I didn’t really manage my routing very effectively while I was there. But still: pretty coastline! and not nearly as crowded as the Oregon Coast. Or as foggy.

Best West Coast Photos (That I Took on This Trip) (BTW, if you click on the link of the photo title, you’ll get a bigger version of the photo.)

  1. Mt. Thielsen, Rogue-Umpqua Byway (Day 16) – I love photos with roads or trails in them, sorry. And this mountain was very surprising to me. And I guess I also like how the photo conveys, you know, a *road trip* and all. mt thielsen oregon
  2. Stream Fording on the Hoh River Trail, Olympic National Park (Day 29) – I like the action in this photo — it kind of moves the eye around a little bit. Most of the photos I take just show nature, which gets all static and boring, but my nephew is neither static nor boring.hoh river trail stream crossing
  3. Tunnel Falls, Columbia Gorge (Day 19) – I like feel like big, impressive nature stuff can be interacted with, which I guess is why I think it’s so cool that they blasted a hole behind this waterfall so that I could walk through it. And I like the big white line on the left side of the photo.tunnel falls landscape orientation
  4. Vernal Falls, Yosemite (Day 10) – Mostly I just like the dark red-brown stripes in the granite that run parallell to the waterfall itself. If I could marry those stripes, I’d do it, so help me. I also like that this photo got taken at 6 AM — I’m amazed any time I have evidence of having been awake before 10.vernal falls in morning light
  5. Grass Lake, Desolation Wilderness/Lake Tahoe (Day 12) – Reflection + red mountains + blue sky + contrail + where’s-Waldo waterfall = pure gold. IMHO.glen alpine grass lake

Right, so that’s it. Feel free to argue with me, especially on the photos — it’ll only make my ego grow stronger. If I get to it, I’ll post another West Coast Best-Of thing. If not, you didn’t miss much (“best things I vomited”, for instance).

bkd

Categories: west coast Tags: , , ,

Sol Duc Falls and I, Breaker of Droughts (Day 30)

August 11th, 2009 4 comments

Never been to the Sol Duc part of Olympic National Park before. Now I have. Was pretty, the waterfall was unusual, and the weather was rainy.  I kind of prefer the spelling of droughth with the h at the end. Should’ve used it in the title.

We camped out by the rain forest. Started raining during the night some time — which you sort of expect in a rain forest, I guess. Drove out of there and tried — nearly failed — to get breakfast in Forks. We were, though, able to verify that the town’s economy is still mostly Twilight-based. If only the author had visited before writing the books. So lame.

The hike up to Sol Duc falls was only 0.9 miles from the trailhead, well within tourist range, even with the rain. But on the plus side, it was the first time all trip I got to break out my rain gear, which is really good at keeping rain out. Which you’d think would be true of all rain gear, but alas.

hwy 101 in the rainHighway 101 at 12:11:16 on August 10th.

sol duc fallsSol Duc Falls, with impressive triple-cascade action!

sol duc falls bridgeYou know it’s a tourist when he’s carrying a golf umbrella onto the trail.

crescent lake cloudsAnd then the loch ness monster came and ate our car.

I guess they’d had a long droughth up here. And it’s not that hard for me to look back at my 106-degree Yosemite photos and think about the two averaging out.

bkd

Driving Mt. Rainier

August 7th, 2009 1 comment

Wanted to post some more photos from the drive around Mt. Rainier. I think it’s the kind of place that should seem otherworldly if you’re not from here. Maybe someone can let me know.

hwy 164 mt- rainierFor instance, I’m pretty sure this view never happens in California. This is heading toward the mountain, driving between Auburn and Enumclaw.

mt- rainier national park roadThis is the road heading west toward the Paradise Lodge inside the park. Tree tunnels don’t happen much in Orange Countay (sic).

box canyon mt- rainierBox Canyon, a canyon with water in it.

rainier and reflection lakeView of Mt. Rainier from the side of the road, across Reflection Lake. With wildflowers.

bee and flower rainierHow bees do business.

narada falls rainierNarada Falls — I enjoy the photo for its complete lack of perspective.

nisqually river gulchNisqually River tributary wannabes.

bridge and lineMy attempt at a Chadley photo.

It’s a pretty cool drive. At some point I’ll make a list of my favorite stretches of road on the trip and this one’s got a good shot of being on there. Fierce competition.

bkd

The Rogue-Umpqua Byway Is Like New Zealand, But Not So Far Away (Day 16, Part 2)

July 28th, 2009 1 comment

It was kind of like going to a movie you haven’t heard anything about and then really, really liking the movie. I don’t have any photos that really do it justice, but the drive along the Upper Rogue and then the Umpqua Rivers heading out of Crater Lake was pretty fantastic. About every five miles or so there’s something spectacular — waterfall or mountain peak mostly.

rogue river gorgeThe Rogue River Gorge — the colors are reminiscent of NZ. To me. No kauri trees, though.

mt thielsen oregonMt. Thielsen and Hwy. 230. I’d never heard of the mountain, but — man, that’s an evil-looking mountain. IMHO.

lemolo lake and thielsenLemolo Lake and Mt. Thielsen in the distance. The sign posted at the lake said that the fine for swimming in the (public) lake was $10,000. Mussolini would feel *so* vindicated.

watson falls umpqua oregonWatson Falls — I think it’s the second-highest waterfall in Oregon.

hwy 138 and umpqua riverWhat Hwy. 138 looks like.

island campground umpqua riverMy private beach for the night at the Island Campground (only $8!).

Anyway: I thought it was pretty cool, favorite drive of the trip so far. I need to take up fly-fishing just so I have a reason to come back here. Would probably be a good place for rafting or whitewater kayaking, too, and I’m guessing the North Umpqua Trail would be worth hiking, too.

Out,

bkd

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