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Posts Tagged ‘waterfalls’

Miner’s Castle Is Major Awesome (Day 57, Part 2)

September 16th, 2009 4 comments

Drove across the U.P. to Christmas, Mich., where I got a campsite for the night, then headed out to Munising (a town!) and then Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore to see what was there, half-way intending on finding it to be lame and then leaving first thing in the morning.

I found out Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore existed by going through a list of all National Parks Service properties on Wikipedia and seeing that this one looked kind of pretty in the pictures, plus somewhere in my mind I thought I remembered someone telling me that the “claw part” of Michigan had something worthwhile about it. Turns out that real life is prettier than the pictures, most especially *my* pictures (in this case). IMHO.

munising-fallsSee that there? And if you squint hard enough, you can almost see a waterfall!

So Munising Falls wasn’t the good part. It was close to town, though, and thus got visited. The next site down the line was Miner’s Castle, which was recommended by RS’s Reader’s Digest book.

miners-castle_kayaksThe Miner’s Castle; the miner himself may be in one of the ‘yaks. But probably not.

miners-castle_pictured-rocksSans paddlers.

Was mostly struck by how pretty the water was. Looked like something you’d expect to find in the South Pacific, but it was on Lake Superior. Pretty cool. I figured I hadn’t seen enough of it and then found what looked like a good 10-miler I could try the next day.

Meanwhile, my writeups get continually lamer. This one’s almost *sincere* [shudders]. Only another 68 days of blogging to go (give or take)! Maybe my second (writing) wind is waiting for me in, oh, let’s say the Adirondacks. Seems likely enough.

bkd

PS, The campground was an NFS site, so you know it had to be good. It was a pretty big NFS campground (40 or so sites) and privately managed, which meant it was a little on the expensive site for NFS ($16). But: potable water, plenty of trees, and I could do laundry without my neighbors having to watch. NFS campgrounds über alles.

Amnicon Falls, Courtesy of Expensive/Sold-Out Hotels Everywhere (Day 57)

September 15th, 2009 2 comments

I meant to stay the night in Duluth, but the Super 8 wanted $70 for a smoking room and the Motel 6 wouldn’t answer their phone. So I drove across the river to Superior, where cheap roadside motels were plentiful. But, despite all of them broadcasting “Vacancy” in red neon, none of them had rooms. Supposedly. I guess I could’ve shaved. Oh well.

So I drove on to the first campground in Wisconsin. It stays warmer at night in states where they have > 0% humidity it turns out. And where you’re below 7,000 feet elevation. It was dark when I got there. Slept pretty well. And when I woke up, the campground had waterfalls.

It probably had them when I went to sleep, too, but I have no evidence of this.

amicon-falls_with-bridgeThe pool is brown from the tannins!

Nice privacy in the campground — especially when only three of 30 campsites are taken. A little expensive for an out-of-stater ($22), though it wasn’t much cheaper for in-state ($16?). Ah well. Cheaper than $70 and less smoky, plus it got me closer to my next scheduled stop in Michigan than I would’ve been otherwise. Hooray Amnicon!

And then I left.

Went to a Country Kitchen restaurant, though, which had spectacular pancakes.

bkd

The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone and Nearby Attractions (Day 43)

August 30th, 2009 No comments

Without a whole lot of time to explore the park, I decided I’d hit the Canyon area Friday, then the geysers on Saturday. As such, Friday:

yellowstone_lower-falls-sprayThere’s this stairway down to Lower (Yellowstone?) Falls that’s called Uncle Tom’s Trail. There are a lot of stairs there and a lot of overweight people who should maybe more-fully consider the trip back up the stairs before starting the trip down. Oh well. Also: rainbows.

yellowstone_lower-falls-viewpointLower Falls.

yellowstone_lower-falls-artists_pointSame waterfall, but this time with a “Grand Canyon” view. The canyon has interesting colors in it (not pictured).

yellowstone_grand-canyon-riverSee? Interesting colors.

yellowstone_hayden-valleyHayden Valley — sort of how you’d romantically envision all of Wyoming looking. I think it mostly doesn’t look like this, but maybe the government can fix that for us. Write your congressman (or congresswoman!).

  • Yellowstone is crowded.
  • I guess the good and bad thing about the place is that the most important sites are very accessible.
  • Actually, that seems mostly bad, since it’s hard to lose the sense that you’re not alone. Very hard.
  • Every photo ends up feeling trite since, well, anywhere you stand to take one there are five other people trying to do the same thing.
  • And then the trails don’t seem to take you anywhere you really need to go.
  • Plus, you have to buy intra-park regional trail guides ($0.50 each, but still — these are usually included on park maps).
  • But these trail guides really only talk about the often-paved little nature trails that run alongside the various parking lots.
  • In fact, some of the “trails” they include aren’t trails, they’re just parking lots.
  • And then if you ever do get onto a trail, the stuff in the guide doesn’t match up with the names of things on the signs at the trailhead.
  • Meh.

bkd

Siyeh Pass Hike Photo Report (Day 39)

August 26th, 2009 6 comments

siyeh-pass_going-to-sun-mtn

siyeh-pass_baring-creek-cascade

siyeh-pass_buck-stopped

siyeh-pass_baring-creek-valley (1)

siyeh-pass_going-to-sun-ridge

siyeh-pass_baring-glacier

siyeh-pass_baring-glacier-ridge (1)

siyeh-pass_trail-flowers

siyeh-pass_clouds

siyeh-pass_looking

siyeh-pass_switchbacks

siyeh-pass_me-at-pass

siyeh-pass_chokom-lake

siyeh-pass_matahpi-shoulder (1)

siyeh-pass_me-at-top

siyeh-pass_backside-trail

siyeh-pass_preston-park-trail

siyeh-pass_preston-park-creek

siyeh-pass_preston-wildflowers

siyeh-pass_squirrelSquirrel, but no moose.

deadwood_falls

deadwood_falls-lower

butterfly

Some notes, I guess:

  • 10.3 miles for the pass hike, but then I added 2-3 miles to go see the last waterfall (and butterfly).
  • 3,400-foot elevation gain (I hiked from Sunrift Gorge to Siyeh Cutoff — if I’d done it the other way around, it would’ve only been 2,200 feet, but then the sun would’ve been in the wrong place).
  • They have interesting clouds here.
  • Gale-force winds at the pass (almost — I’m guessing ca. 30 mph); second hike of the trip so far that made me get my gloves out of the backpack (Lassen Peak was the first).
  • Despite singing the “Grizzly Bear Oh Won’t You Come Stand Maybe Fifty Yards from Me (But Then Don’t Come Any Closer)” song for most of the hike, did not see any grizzly bears.
  • Or black bears.

bkd

Review of the City of Spokane: ****1/2 (Day 38)

August 25th, 2009 6 comments

As I was driving down I-90, I realized I had a craving for a small- to mid-size city. Realizing that Spokane was nearby and that I hadn’t ever spent any time there, I decided to exit the freeway and check it out.

Eh. Enough with the Yelp review. I didn’t exactly see *all* of Spokane, either, just some of Riverfront Park, which seems like it would be better named “Riverstraddle Park”, but whatever. This is the area that was the site of the 1974 World’s Fair (also: Wod Fir) (the less I watch the Simpsons, the more interesting references to the show become). I kind of liked it. It was a cool blend of small-scale Central Park and ruins from 1974 that wouldn’t have seemed out of place in 1991-93-era Mittweida or Döbeln, although the people in Spokane were considerably more pleasant and there was somewhat less coal smoke in the air.

There were also some waterfalls and a gondola ride that seemed a little unnecessary. IMHO.

spokane_riverfront-park (1)Bikeway/walkway through the park. The tower, I learned, was donated by Burlington-Northern.

spokane_squirrelUrban wildlife.

spokane_sun-dialA loving homage to the Flintstones, which had been canceled only eight years prior to the fair…

spokane_abandoned-stageNever quite recovered from that 1980 April Wine booking. I love ruins, especially recent ones.

spokane fallsUpper Spokane Falls. This is all right in the middle of downtown, btw (in case you don’t know your Spokane geography). Maybe I should’ve mentioned that.

spokane_falls-gondolaLower Spokane Falls and the purple gondola ride rolling on, defying critics who have labeled it “unncessary”.

Spokane kind of reminded me of Reno — IMHO, a good thing.

bkd

Best of the West Coast: Other Stuff

August 22nd, 2009 2 comments

Since no one demanded it, I’m providing it.

Best West Coast Campgrounds

  1. Island Campground, Rogue-Umpqua (Day 16) – Riverside campsite, no mosquitoes, decent privacy, the sound of rushing water putting you to sleep…
  2. La Wiss Wiss Campground, Mt. Rainier (Days 24-25) – Riverside campsite (fine, you had to go down a trail), few mosquitoes, decent privacy, and the sound of rushing water to… A little less private than Island, quite a bit bigger, which is why it’s #2 instead of #1, despite the benefit of providing potable water.
  3. Dalles Campground, Mt. Rainier (Day 23) – Mt. Rainier has good campgrounds. For that matter, so far, everywhere that isn’t California has good campgrounds.

Worst campgrounds: Odessa in Oregon (although I shouldn’t complain about a campground that costs $0, it was pretty divey and there was no concierge service); Plaskett Creek at Big Sur (*no* privacy, no apparent understanding of boundaries by the people staying there, relatively loud, pretty crowded, $25/night).

Best West Coast Geographic Features

  1. Waterfalls.
  2. Peaks.
  3. Rivers.

Best West Coast Restaurant Food (I haven’t been trying to eat in great restaurants or anything, just — you know)

  1. Mi Chalateca, Federal Way (Day 30)
  2. That Peruvian place in San Francisco, San Francisco (Day 5)
  3. Round Table Pizza, South Lake Tahoe (Day 11) – All you can eat for $5.99!

Best West Coast Mountain

  1. Mt. Rainier
  2. Mt. Shuksan
  3. Mt. Thielsen

Best West Coast Waterfall

  1. Tunnel Falls, Columbia Gorge (Day 19) – They should blast tunnels behind *every* waterfall. Plus it was very pretty.
  2. Nevada Fallsf, Yosemite (Day 10) – Probably the most angry waterfall I’ve seen in my life.
  3. Fall Creek Falls, Rogue-Umpqua Scenic Byway (Day 17) – Like I sort of said yesterday, it reminded me of a secret waterfall you’d find on Kauai, only it was in Oregon.

Meh. Good enough.

bkd

And on the Seventh Day the Heavens Cleared, And There Were Mountains (Day 36)

August 19th, 2009 No comments

I understand that good weather isn’t Washington’s natural state, but this place is so much prettier when the sun’s out it’s ridiculous. And as someone who has waited two weeks just to get a transmission fixed, trust me, I *know* ridiculous.

The last day of the family reunion we finally got some decent weather, so we headed up to Mt. Baker, which was sort of supposed to be, like, the ever-present beacon of hope during our stay in that area. Instead it was a sort of hiss and byword that, some said, lay nearby and cloaked in clouds so that only the pure in heart could see it. I dunno. Maybe my heart just didn’t purify until Sunday. It was probably the breakfast burritos that finally did it.

nooksack falls (1)Nooksack Falls, falling.

mt bakerMt. Baker, named by Oregon Territory politicians in order to curry favor with the then-powerful International Brotherhood of Pastry Chefs.

mt shuksanAnd then if you turn around you see Mt. Shuksan, which, if one didn’t drive all the way to the top of the road, one might be inclined to think was Mt. Baker.

mt baker isolationThen if you turn *back* around, you see Mt. Baker again, only this time it’s RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU!!! Beware Mt. Baker.

path to table mountainThe flat thing at back-left is Table Mountain. This path does not actually go there.

I feel bad that my oldest brother and his family left Saturday night and thus never got to see the pure-in-heart version of the area and instead went away believing that the North Cascades are this place you go to where you sit around houses and play Butt Man all day. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, just that it’s not entirely accurate.

bkd

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

Hoh Rain Forest and Five Mile Island (Day 29)

August 11th, 2009 4 comments

With the truck still laid up, my dad was kind enough to let my brother and me borrow his Jeep and head out to Olympic National Park, which we now know was almost named Elk National Park. We didn’t see any elk or Greek gods while we were there, though. Maybe they should have gone with Option C.

I wanted to do this hike along the Hoh River in the Hoh Rain Forest, supposedly the greatest example of a temperate rain forest on earth. There were no toucans in the rain forest or three-toed sloths. Just a lot of trees and moss. Some rain. Went on it with my brother and three nephews with the goal being Five Mile Island (10 miles round-trip if you can believe it).

The rain forest is probably cooler than these pictures make it look, although I had fun trying to re-correct the colors in the photos to match my perception of reality.

rain forest realityAnd then the fairies came and performed a merry jig.

hoh rain forest mossStill not sure whether the trees like having the mosses and ferns growing on them.

hoh rain forest moss 2This one, for instance, seems a little irritated. Or maybe I’m reading too much into it.

hoh rain forest sam rickSam and Rick negotiate a deceptively difficult portion of trail.

rain forest cut logWhat the trail looks like. Sort of. Depending on your monitor.

mineral creek fallsMineral Creek Falls

hoh river trail stream crossingA treacherous stream crossing.

hoh river bridgeWe found troll scats under this bridge.

hoh rain forest treeAnd then we saw a tree!

five mile islandThe Hoh River at Five Mile Island. Sadly, we witnessed no nuclear melt downs — heck, we couldn’t even find the containment facility (although that might have just been more evidence of failsafes working as designed).

five mile island and meProof I was there.

Only one of my nephews (Ammon) and zero of my brothers made it to the island, and not without getting eaten alive by deerflies first, which only added to the richness of the experience — for both of us, really. Plus I got to use my first-aid kit for something. Finally.

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

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