Father and Son US Road Trip- 9 States, 12 National Parks, 2 Months, 6500 Miles!

Discussion in 'Global Trip Reports' started by TonyBKK, Sep 3, 2012.

  1. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

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    Good morning from Gold Bluffs Beach Campground, on the edge of Redwoods National Park!
    dbe995e8873f8dca1bdde0f227d9f417_zpsc79fc7a8.
    Scrambled eggs, bacon, cheese, coffee for dad and hot chocolate for the little guy- yum!

    Cold, wet and foggy this morning-
    37531706b5138532f7ee2e1b18814eef_zpsa5828470.

    Let's go for a hike!
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    I've got a challenging loop planned for us that will take us 2 miles up the Miner's Ridge Trail then north along the Clintonia Trail about a mile to the James Irvine Trail which will take us another 1.5 miles to Fern Canyon, then we'll follow the beach back to the campground. Total loop will be around 8 or 9 miles! Let's go!
    17acf42452ab824f3e8c135cffddf59c_zpsc18cb4a9.jpg

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    Lovely trail and we had it all to ourselves-
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    c105c1e05b773caa2aa88e765cd27a90_zps873b3f05.

    Everything is so lush and green and still wet from the morning fog-
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    Well, we didn't have the trail entirely to ourselves- plenty of signs of elk all over the place. Careful you don't step in any! ;)
    275f024e6d4d53b29803d23e19d5d5c5_zps064c6773.

    Entering the redwood forest-
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    d7f6e9070bf88f82544450fbbacec61e_zps2c527a6d.

    Love how these smaller trees grow around the huge fallen redwood-
    9dbe6c86e2dd675984a1a4a2b126d254_zpse0d52870.

    Kristhawee is enjoying the hike-
    1fe122cfcc8db2085b353a9d81c2e633_zps0b550375.

    He hikes down to explore the inside of a huge redwood-
    fdb2e3b30359d9babe38da7f0f9e8bac_zpsc0f6760a.

    Where's Kristhawee?
    a67e155cd16badd537fa9e4eeda95b00_zps161c00d0.

    I join him inside the tree. Wow, you could live in here, and in the past some settlers did. This tree cave even has a back door:
    cd4f2fc8473ad3e98eeb9b5a5bf59215_zpsf8c3800b.

    Onwards we march!
    c84f18503cfaf430a74ab9807b70d4e9_zpsf956cb81.

    Here's a shortcut across a fallen redwood- looks slippery, I think we'll take the long way around-
    4283b9fe2fce26c5f3cfaed712207612_zpsd91db7cf.

    We feel pretty small amongst these towering giants!
    62af9178e4ce7556ba3ba56e633d9b6c_zps9e80740e.

    I am loving this trail!
    c00c9339e190fcc19db2f66629be906c_zpsefe758cc.

    Kristhawee had mad energy today and sprinted several sections-
    f8813e3f7d8fa1ad94d539a5ccb244f1_zps1d440c60.

    A "see through" redwood-
    c8e463dbe1c82c57c1f16b4bb7633bc0_zps25677de3.

    Can you see Kristhawee?
    b9ad96f79ea7d21187032b7dedff4109_zps5e1ebe21.

    On the run again!
    04ea4806418f76d11060684e02998c10_zps3de8c129.

    6d49d7d0aacce880440fd632ff7d2f32_zps230f3102.

    Father and son in Redwood National Park, California, USA
    c1ad5611dde88d9bf14a5705f2534783_zps76716c91.

    Onwards!
    601f30cb5f6ce3c4d7d454ffc3917bbd_zpsae0f55a3.

    I thought my gf would get a kick out of this phallus covered tree :smile1:
    224ce8132a5db245e8f49557103efc4b_zps4abb6293.

    We've reached the Clintonia Trail! Another mile to the James Irvine Trails and 2.8 miles to Fern Canyon!
    20973788555e744803724b52da7d6682_zps6d37a02b.
     
  2. David Learmonth

    David Learmonth Ol'Timer

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    Took a while for the pictures to show up -but at least they did! Many thanks. Really enjoyed it.
     
  3. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

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    Lots and lots of mushrooms in these woods!
    7eb5b8eca4a78ccede9a15bc71b298ce_zps50b145b3.

    Some of the trees have grown into very odd shapes-
    e6d20a24443615ca5c49f0cb7a9ef7d6_zpsc2e23d2b.

    I'm so proud of my son, he is handling this long hike with no problems whatsoever-
    7da10c7244da6e505c81296f7c52baf7_zps96816767.

    Running again!
    51e610455be736cb59457898e40e7f2d_zps39584951.

    I wish I had his energy!
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    Banana slug!
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    Walking amongst giants-
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    We've reached the James Irvine Trail! Only another mile and a half to Fern Canyon-
    41df53748c1a4a5a4cf4450ea4eef25b_zps22826206.

    Kristhawee explores another "tree cave"-
    61dffc35952aeff29a84e32d9d288d89_zps321e4d94.

    So warm and dry in here-
    f89123a575b9747bd3f35c10470537fa_zpsc8a8357f.

    Onwards towards Fern Canyon-
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    A bench and a plaque on a small wooden bridge- the words on the plaque took my breath away-
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    0b4282340f570e4bd5b857257db6aabf_zpscfe0ef59.
    "You shall walk where only the wind has walked before
    and when all music is stilled
    you shall hear the singing of the stream
    and enter the living shelter of the forest"

    Beautiful! I read it to my son and he seemed to get it. I'll never grow tired of this moving short poem. Couldn't have picked a more suitable place to read it!

    cb54af79b2b0b265a1933c16594ba369_zps3c915974-1.
     
  4. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

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    We're making great time and stop along the trail to explore the many wonders of the forest-
    a3e997520e79b25f537342ea46e5d642_zps00282aa7-1.

    A happy hiker!
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    Finally we reach Fern Canyon!
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    C'mon dad, quit taking so many pictures and hurry up!
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    Kristhawee in Fern Canyon, Redwood National Park, California, USA!
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    He loved bouncing on these makeshift "bridges" placed over the shallow creek-
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    It's hard to believe Fern Canyon is a natural phenomenon- it seems almost impossible to have so many ferns and moss growing so densely, with countless trickling waterfalls keeping everything green and alive- quite amazing!
    642adade4e8b81fa2d3748ad537255f9_zpsee7a0714.

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    More banana slugs! Are they making out? ;)
    8af6eab85424c15b702ed1aae4a2af60_zpsdb870b86.

    Little guy is looking mischievous...
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    Gazing up at one of the many waterfalls that keeps Fern Canyon so green-
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    It's a cool trail that requires a bit of scrambling over downed trees-
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    c0247f3416c7aedd0b5afe0af9963b68_zps3019057c.

    Easy to get wet feet here-
    f5dd15b3e731cc487316b966e72ac1e5_zps17696c41.

    As we are hiking out of the canyon and towards the beach we spot a huge bull elk in the meadow-
    a4509c7ba757cec1e50a34ed93ce2ffa_zps49cfeb3c.

    There's a map at the Fern Canyon trailhead that helps show our hike-
    46729d3804d4c42a5b6dfd1c0f000269_zpsaa27440a.

    Now we have to get out to the beach to hike all the way back to the campground, but there's a huge herd of elk in the way...
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    Takes us a while to find a way around as the area is very marshy and plenty of dead ends-
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    But finally we are on the beach, and it's a pretty long slog back to our campground-
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    Gold Bluffs Beach Campground is that away!
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    Kristhawee pretends he's a train and chugs along
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    Lots of pelicans in the air and seals in the surf-
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    Uh oh, has the train run out of steam? C'mon Kristhawee, we're almost there!
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    Kristhawee checking out a crab skeleton-
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    Yippee! We made it back to our campsite and the sun is shining! Perfect end to a perfect day!
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  5. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

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    While Kristhawee is off playing by himself I take the opportunity to replace the rear pads on the Land Yacht. The rear brake had been making a crazy racket and for the life of me, I couldn't figure out how to check the rear pads for wear without taking off the caliper...
    f6ef94638111d0bfbcd6549afa0a4000_zps60b3ccb0.

    Caliper off and I see that the pads are still fine... Weird, where's all that noise coming from?
    c67c63efe9026e764363c3e6c1714ad4_zps10ae6f3a.

    I play around and soon enough discover that the "floating" disc has way too much play on the rivets and that's what's making all the noise...
    68d8378e81b9211f408fd779ac783f77_zpsa8cc057a.

    Well, it's definitely annoying, but probably not terribly dangerous. When I got back to civilization and had a chance to check some BMW forums it turns out this rear disc "cow bell" is a common problem and that there was even a recall to replace that disc with one that has been re-designed not to get loose on the rivets over time. Of course the replacement BMW disc costs a small fortune. There are also some DIY epoxy fixes where you basically make your "floating" disc into a fixed disc, but the best solution I found was an aftermarket floating disc from EBC that I bought from Motorcycle Superstore on sale for just ~$148. :thumbup:
     
  6. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

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    Once I got the bike back together I accompanied Kristhawee down to the beach where he had a good time trying to outrun the waves. The water was freezing cold and it looked like there was a mean current, so swimming was out of the question.
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    A beautiful spot!
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    Kristhawee on Gold Bluffs Beach, Redwood National Park, California-
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    We had some fun tossing a frisbee around too- my kid has a pretty good arm!
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    As the sun sank on the horizon the temperature dropped quickly. We made a fire using driftwood that we collected on the beach and called it a night when the wood ran out. Another evening snuggled in our sleeping bags reading the Jungle Book. Our last night in California. I never want this journey to end.
     
  7. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

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    Another cold foggy wet morning- After a big breakfast it took a while to get everything packed up- it's no fun packing a wet tent :shifty:
    5102f6bc2c3cdb76db7a85fedd4a5135_zpscf9f9ee7.

    A good friend has recommended we not miss the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area and more specifically Honeyman State Park, home to the largest sand dunes in the country. It's about 220 miles from our campground to Honeyman-
    RedwoodNPtoOregonDunes200Miles_zps6aec86b1.

    Not sure we'll make it in a day, but we still have plenty of time. Adios California! Hello Oregon!
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    A beautiful ride up along the Oregon Coast Highway-
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    Mixed fog and sun and quite chilly along the coast!
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    Breathtaking views along the Oregon coast-
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    Great motorcycle road too!
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    We stop in Bandon, Oregon to grab some food and see the sites-
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    BandonORKristhaweeK1200LT_zps513e30d4.

    You are here!
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    It's a neat old fishing village and they've done up the waterfront nicely with boardwalks and lots of local art-
    64dbf902bb2a14488821a9886f2292e5_zpsb6650efd.

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    A lot of people were out crabbing and these nice young fellows invited Kristhawee to give it a try-
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    Seagulls and pelicans are eager to steal the bait if they can-
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    Kristhawee caught a crab! Now kiss it for good luck! :smile1:
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    We were warned to beware the local pelicans; apparently they can be quite aggressive and I never realized just how sharp their beak is-
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    These birds are BIG, with a wingspan as large as 10 feet and weighing as much as 30 pounds or 12 kilos and they can mess you up if they feel so inclined!
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  8. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

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    We needed to get some laundry done and Kristhawee was very keen to go swimming, so I stared looking for the nearest KOA. There's one in the Oregon Dunes Natl Red Area, but no pool, so we opted to backtrack a bit to the KOA a little ways south of Bandon. Good choice!

    Hot tub? Check!
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    Pool? Check!
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    Laundry? Check!
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    Lots of kids to play with? Check!
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    924dcc815a0d9dc8cb6295c4cd8a6e93_zps8652e9d6.

    A good night's sleep? Check!
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    Pancake breakfast? Check!
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    Somebody ate too many pancakes? Check! :lol-sign:
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  9. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

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    Riding north from Bandon towards Coos Bay, Oregon we tagged along behind a group of Harleys for a while-
    568b1086a68741752a6ba9356932f435_zps3904d50f.

    These folks were cool, gave my son a big thumbs up, and didn't seem to mind us following them-
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    Cruisin' up the Oregon Coast Highway 101-
    a7a6b88d9c8bbc22e31a07187438d25d_zpse836b67c.

    Arriving Coos Bay there are huge timber yards just south of the city-
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    Welcome to Coos Bay, Oregon!
    CoosBayMap_zps3b36c693.

    We stop here for lunch and wander around the town a bit, finally ending up at the small but very entertaining Coos Bay Railroad Museum-
    CoosBayRailroadMuseum_zps00a407dd.

    Kristhawee is a train aficionado and really enjoyed the Railroad Museum!
    CoosBayRailroadMuseum1_zps7bace088.

    422330_10152029382005710_2046189991_n.

    200703_10152029374045710_310734551_n.
     
  10. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

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    After the Railroad Museum we rode out to the coast on the Arago Highway to check out the marina and visit some of the fantastic coastal parks-
    CoosBayCapeAragoSatView.

    Crossing the South Slough-
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    Kristhawee checking out the Charleston Marina -
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    CoosBayWharfSatView.

    The water is so incredibly clear here-
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    Bright sunny August day, but still quite cold-
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    Scrambling over some rocks-
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    Kristhawee takes a spill, but he's a tough kid and undamaged-
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    The Land Yacht admiring her water-going brethren ;)
    2a437e53aa58adb94683751694d21bb6_zpsf705fbcd.
     
  11. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

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    Next we checkout out Yoakam Point State Park and we thought seriously about camping there as it was such a beautiful spot, but I wanted to try and reach the Oregon Dunes today so we opted not to stay here.

    Here's Kristhawee on the beach at Sunset Bay in Sunset Bay State Park-
    97a26640ef7e7c97d764528cf40e97f0_zps6276ae14.

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    c35fc99c6120cad5de0e14289b6f4711_zps48ea12d2.

    It was low tide so we walked out onto the tidal flats to do some exploring. There were lots of crabs, hermit crabs, starfish and other sea life in the tidal pools- Kristhawee had a good time exploring this area with a really nice older boy he befriended-
    97d15ed89e4c064542b6c9116aee0b59_zps5ac55ea5.

    50099d369cccfd285809ecfb9aa056cc_zps3581b242.

    5129cb130886914ef72450cf85d92593_zpsf04edc23.

    It was getting late and I was still hoping we might reach the Jessie M Honeyman Memorial State Park in the Oregon Dunes, so we hit the road again-
    617bb7faed6bc0374b466f3702b6b3ce_zps852a01b6.

    Riding along the coast on the Cape Arago Highway-
    ef6707f591f24294568718688aebf5ee_zpsc20a0ca9.

    832999643ab076f0251f5adbc66fef0a_zps0c886309.

    Crossing back over the South Slough and into Coos Bay-
    fa006cdfaf251b471174f67fe4255128_zps34306d1a.

    Through the small towns of Barview and North Bend-
    5ea520fdba6f8e029a9788642af7038d_zps045b6481.

    Then across some rather spectacular old bridges that span the bay-
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    55ebaa0f94f020c110a9079fe7deca75_zps07df4f00.

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  12. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

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    Riding north towards the Oregon Dunes on the Pacific Coast Scenic Byway-
    422996dec6dc075de1e3876d1a3fc8c0_zps99cd86f6.

    More historic bridges, this one over the Umpqua River-
    3762d8f5fd21527a7328a21330f65c06_zps66e3dbfd.

    fe93acfeb7ec3809ba4fcca4ffc3e311_zps37b45ddf.

    The shadows are getting long and I'm beat. We've reached the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, but still a ways to go to reach Jessie M Honeyman Memorial State Park . I don't want to be riding in the dark or setting up camp after dark so pull off the road at the Tahkenitch Campground-
    70ed16e77e4e132b68a1a67b0cd077ec_zps0165e872.

    It's a beautiful campground and nearly deserted. We found a really nice spot and enjoyed a quiet evening before passing out early-
    0225e884b8dfa612dfd42152895eedef_zps75abcf50.

    Good night! (-_-)Zzzz
     
  13. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

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    Good morning from Tahkenitch Campground in the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area!

    Kinda gross but fascinating too, our campground was full of these massive slugs-
    e755bbbdaf6f2892faaa4fa2a9c6c18e_zps5bdd337d.
    I dig how this guy is picking up the pine needles as he goes, giving himself the appearance of a bushy tail ;)

    Jessie M Honeyman Memorial State Park is less than 10 miles up the road- so close, but I'm still glad we stopped when we did the previous night.

    Kristhawee in Jessie M Honeyman Memorial State Park!
    638619188e0406b3977059d7013d5752_zpscc756098.

    Wow, calling these dunes "big" really doesn't come close to doing them justice. Very impressive!! Nice warm bottomless sand with Cleawox lake in the background-
    abdcdf3d9d054cc648f4235a7e76a844_zps389c7f1d.

    People bring sleds and snowboards to slide down the dunes. We made due by just running down as fast as we could. Kristhawee declared we were motorcycles- I'm the GSXR and he's the Ninja and the race is on! :mrgreen:

    Ooops, somebody crashed...
    a3be7978f97cf9026af5b55097b88006_zpsd7839d5a.
    A face full of sand isn't much fun, but he got over it pretty quick :thumbup:

    Maybe rolling down is safer?
    450e31ea1e60490e7db059e1145fc8cd_zps07becbb8.

    Just remember, hiking back up is a slog! :yawn:
    7eab0e4cbe137e21bf0f0c97a6d60b51_zpsdc94aad5.

    Kristhawee on the shore of Cleawox Lake-
    6dd0e3d9bd24b2938f53034c56972ad1_zpsed22caec.

    We hiked around the lake to the swimming beach on the other side-
    ac83dc0781be99271bf20c9ab667dee0_zps724c6453.

    15eb554cdafa5522a34d03686bdc35dc_zpsf6f092e7.

    Somebody wants to race :lol:
    f9dfe9468569fd541e5fefefb7fcd5b9_zps34f73a51.

    The park was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) during the great depression and features some really cool buildings and architecture; the centerpiece would have to be the Cleawox Lake Bathhouse, built in 1938 and now on the US National Register of Historic Places.
    0f993d691725d8de34517dccd2b9c99d_zpse2f45beb.
     
  14. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

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    They had canoes and paddleboats for rent near the beach and Kristhawee was keen to go for a cruise and wanted to try a paddleboat, so off we went!
    647b78d3a3c9377d6797714a8018212e_zps2cfb6d49.

    Dad did most of the peddling as Kristhawee was more interested in see how the boat works than actually making it go ;) He did occasionally help out though-
    6dc52f6c9d1097fb67140f612f24a586_zpsa762eb94.

    It was peaceful and quiet out on Cleawox Lake, we'd brought along some drinks and snacks and did a full tour of the lake-
    e0beef4bb5d8249e5d8688d32c984799_zps1857ace8.

    e1b5cf13ff51dc1186ec823c28184876_zpse2de68c7.

    My Co-pilot ;)
    a68914e0e57570cb09012f7323d9cede_zps092c5d47.

    ac26e98c5a534faa674ef9cc81221e9c_zpseefb4b18.

    fc3005b7362238340a9562eff103d363_zps7f45d1a5.

    ee98e5759fa0ab0553c3602ee2af6e03_zps3b618037.

    Don't remember what I said to elicit this response... :lolno:
    d6faa7f5ab4c65c412224510710094c1_zps85a57c6d.

    After cruising around Cleawox Lake for a couple hours we dropped off the boat and Kristhawee wanted to play at the beach-
    c25e8f8b32a9b3355e721a0e5d2c664e_zps736275d8.

    Water was pretty cold, but didn't dampen his enthusiasm-
    12fcf7cde578b8b2ad4f2d8e16757dc4_zpsfc5cd3d9.

    Serious work building sand castles-
    7eab109893f02c63888bc7016fad10e4_zps251c947d.

    The super high pressure drinking fountain can double as a shower ;)
    67bba616ff3067cdc5b0c181ecc810dd_zps1ef907a5.

    It's getting late and we need to get going- a couple last look at beautiful Cleawox Lake as we hike back to the Land Yacht parked on the south side lot-
    8c0349fb2ed572e53f8859a6ee47c523_zps993b6c65.

    Goodbye Jessie M Honeyman Memorial State Park! Kristhawee and I both hope to re-visit this park again some day!
    80d07ecdacdb27e7faadf254220f78c5_zps2c5d25f0.
     
  15. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

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    Today we only covered about ~65 miles, but it was a fantastic day!
    HoneymanToBlackberryMap.

    We rode north along the Oregon coast on Highway 101 on a beautiful August afternoon-
    fd1df3cb212692f4902e10e6983e2914_zpsd9002aa4.

    We pass through a bunch of State Parks, including Devils Elbow, Stonefield Beach, Smelt Sands and more!
    6a893504d27c745546a40a52dd8ed3a5_zps601e9e3e.

    More historical bridges-
    8e79ec05d35db5ec9970faf982d497a5_zps7b178a82.

    A cool tunnel near Cape Creek-
    a9b5664a98a1fbbe5cf9913dbebc90e0_zpsfbc54bdc.

    Another cool bridge near Stonefield Beach-
    6617c75a98868dc397a13daf39f624a2_zps49d8a40e.

    Another very cool bridge brings across the Alsea Bay brings us into the town of Waldport, Oregon-
    3414e95269538774a32fd31b5866f55a_zps5f1be4d1.

    It was really quiet in Waldport. We stopped to grab dinner at Grand Central Pizza on the main drag-
    a3f6f242d57484e9317059c5de74e984_zps5bf78bad.

    A big salad bar and all you could eat spaghetti dinner hit the spot! We ate well and they had WiFi so Kristhawee was able to chat with his mom.

    It's getting late and we need to figure out where we're going to stay tonight. I ask the girls working at the restaurant and they recommend a National Forest Campground just east of town. Sounds good, let's go!

    We pulled in to the Blackberry Campground in Siuslaw National Forest just before sunset.
    eb94a950a1e538e57802cfff077a5702_zps9ecc3e53.

    Once the sun went down it got quite chilly. We built a big fire-
    3f7ac36c73b462bc79d3a8d1bf25aa75_zps22608239.

    And daddy enjoyed a nice cold Stella Artois! beerchug.gif
    2730d127b769ec0cbdaaaf92fc71e216_zps77841d7b.
    Life is good!!! :happy1:
     
  16. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

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    Good morning from Blackberry Campground in Siuslaw National Forest, Oregon, USA!
    3c5a95d4149f026466a7eee5275a38ec_zpsd51bfd33.

    Wow, there's a good reason this place is called Blackberry!!!
    c7672f3a210a30b06e3bdb6b68d4c821_zpsdcabb3ad.

    Blackberries and Bacon! Breakfast is served!!
    1c96ee29ef5395c22cbac1bb22413a04_zpsfd4aec4e.

    One bowl of freshly picked blackberries just won't do- Kristhawee went looking for more-
    1ad5b5ef7ad3c05cfa20a0f4f2e07ecf_zps97c6ff82.

    It was really chilly in the morning, but as the sun climbed higher it warmed up nicely and Kristhawee wanted to go check out the creek that runs through the campground-
    55ed76b0703e5301ff42fe3e71bfdbd6_zps05c698dd.

    We had a great time swimming and bathing in the freezing creek. Hadn't had a proper bath in days so we cleaned up in the creek. Little man looks a bit cold...
    fe3058a678c4cdda353fcf2375daf4b7_zpsa1bf98dd.

    We hung out in the creek for a good long while, getting out to warm up in the sun when we got cold, then jumping back in. Good fun! Finally it was time to hit the road. C'mon little guy, get dressed or daddy's gonna show these pictures to your friends when you're a teenager ;)
    80c0c00e73176e496c510c4f4843d33b_zps9a08f0e0.

    ebc3b0de6359e3b2093e72d69c840b5f_zpsc32e9ecf.

    Bye bye Blackberry Campground!

    Next stop, Mount Saint Helens National Monument!! :happy1:
     
  17. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

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    Today we're headed to Mount Saint Helens National Monument in Washington state, roughly a 200 mile ride from Siuslaw National Forest in Oregon-
    SiuslawORtoSeaquestWAmap.

    Alsea Highway 34 is a fantastic road!
    ec98364227506e8eb1a4dd3620e05fe3_zps245413d6.

    Zoomin!
    38f46907eac7903d7e598d160450b8af_zpsc985c24a.

    The Alsea Highway twists and turns through Siuslaw National Forest all the way to Philomath and Corvalis-
    55c222fe13dd7e471bd42027b5c1151a_zps98bea734.

    Beautiful riding all the way to Philomath-
    bde08f6cd5b33a249f44708a77ef5580_zps76580198.

    We stopped for fuel and lunch in the funky little town of Philomath then continued east until we hit the I-5 interstate which we followed north to Portland and on to Washington state.

    A few pics riding through Portland, Oregon-
    43a94b5ed48ac5d33ebe41a23bd099b0_zpsea3fde90.

    d0cb6759c640abc8ca62895d665002ee_zps48480c77.

    I don't think I've ever seen an Interstate Highway with a drawbridge before...
    15b9fecadc76e56232b036c5be53d3e1_zpsb003be41.

    We've crossed the Columbus River and are now entering Washington!
    3442d2db76510d7b0c0663a28b8b0a0b_zps8cec5b6a.
     
  18. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

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    After we got past Portland and Vancouver we made good time north on the I-5 and exited at Castle Rock where we did some shopping, then rode east on the Spirit Lake Highway-
    1a2fdb21f6109a76157d0a76d64fdb4f_zpsa7a24be7.

    The Spirit Lake Highway is an amazing road that climbs up the west side of Mount Saint Helens to the Johnston Ridge Observatory-
    SpiritLakeHwy504Map.

    Beautiful views of Hoffstadt Creek in the late afternoon sun-
    9d2ed7953b6817c017fd7a523b289229_zpsb507f4b8.

    We catch our first glimpse of Mount Saint Helens from the Elk Rock Viewpoint-
    dce02fab24b36d862c0505a02a01fb06_zpsf7ffd941.

    We're at nearly 4000 feet elevation and as the sun drops farther on the horizon it's getting cold fast-
    7977bde72b3b9674d025f068a0d10ae4_zps2a32edd4.

    This is far enough for today- we'll head back down to find a place to camp and return tomorrow. Riding down the Spirit Lake Highway to Silver Lake and Seaquest State Park-
    6a0afb37b600f95f1c0eebc9807c0638_zps6388c791.

    639313261eeb663be7874eebbaf17cd2_zps628024df.

    f69b5723ad1ed876a7666d1554e7b819_zps24e93dde.

    1cc40c7bd039840c552a06742e9687fc_zpsa6bc9a50.

    You can just make out the crescent moon peeking over the treeline as we descend the Spirit Lake Highway to Seaquest State Park-
    e0b669aac47e63f06489abd641887783_zps2f299870.
     
  19. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

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    Good morning from Seaquest State Park, Washington, USA!
    65d68ef8994f9a03a48bfc007d332799_zps00496cc8.

    We arrived here after dark the night before but fortunately found a nice spot to camp and enjoyed a twilight hike before bed.
    26820bb9268cb13fb915f8fe35e38314_zps49c4e061.
    Well rested we are ready to explore Mount Saint Helens today!

    Big thanks to Dave for recommending a quite decent instant coffee from Starbucks-
    28d41bbb76e181e0a1541e1d0521588a_zpsc36c0cde.
    After surviving for weeks on nasty folgers instant coffee this starbucks brew was very welcome!

    We first went to the Mount Saint Helens Visitor Center to learn more about this active volcano that erupted in spectacular fashion on May 18th, 1980. This eruption was the deadliest and most economically destructive volcanic event in the history of the United States. Fifty-seven people were killed; 250 homes, 47 bridges, 15 miles (24 km) of railways, and 185 miles (298 km) of highway were destroyed.

    Here is an amazing video of the eruption-


    Kristhawee deep inside the volcano-
    1daf8caf78505ad3caf9b1187241dce1_zps2aa9771a.

    We watched a cool movie about the events leading up to the eruption and Kristhawee banged through a Junior Ranger workbook and earned another badge!
    baab37ce1700de329e6425b2c0c7c2bc_zpsfba2db18.
    Congratulations Kristhawee! I'm very proud of you! :clap:

    We rode back up the Spirit Lake Highway to the Johnston Ridge Observatory. A beautiful day with amazing views-
    d2fb8d56472dcf43d31ca68089ca4049_zps778d8023.

    Fantastic road and very little traffic-
    3f0201ce9e866ab94f3205de36f41f38_zps81a1096e.

    Yesterday the volcano was obscured by clouds, but today we are blessed with amazing views of Mount Saint Helens, with Mount Adams to the left-
    17a3669b0a1566e406e3c141a87cb439_zpsc612c83e.

    Kristhawee at the Elk Rock viewpoint, Mount St. Helens National Monument, Washington, USA!
    90cd01b2781a157452a2995c73127c86_zps7fb9cc79.

    The Spirit Lake Highway ends at the Johnston Ridge Observatory-
    f338e3e5fa831d836cc155186bd2faa4_zpsf9bd060f.

    Here's a cool map of the National Monument-
    ec7d4bb2f771a361a6362e4e071498b9_zpsf61bb479.

    A ranger gave a fascinating presentation on the volcano and eruption-
    f873ec82d75759eaa854c61ceda65446_zps46192a6e.

    The crater is over a mile wide and the volcano is still active. A new dome is slowly growing inside the crater-
    0a0c569e5a17bad75440b0d9a3407296_zpsc9fdbadc.

    f85b493e185f16c87ce94240a45019e7_zpsee509b6b.
    Consider that Mount Saint Helens is only 96 miles south of Seattle, Washington and 50 miles northeast of Portland, Oregon!

    Father and Son at Mount Saint Helens, Washington, USA!
    a5b70e6be917571063bb64778060e7d6_zpsa6811a50.

    741f3bef34b9af4addb1936b0adc2ea9_zps07fbc6b9.

    You can just catch a glimpse of Spirit Lake and Mount Adams in this pic-
    f094b478ea0176cccf105ee1ab8edaa3_zps8066e1b2.

    Boundary Trail #1- you can actually hike right up to and all the way around the crater, but you have to carry all your own water and the weather up here can turn nasty without warning. This is a hike I'd love to do with my son when he's a bit older and I'm carrying better equipment.
    11927fa52ffb411c5804b3a7c7a898c4_zps70fba407.

    When the volcano blew some 32 years prior every living thing in this zone was killed. Yet slowly life is returning, but it's still in a fragile state-
    04ee24b731e2b69a0e3467d408c959d8_zpsf3e2cea6.

    We hike a little ways down the trail to enjoy the views and a picnic lunch-
    13416ffed2f685a71e54a3fa35b86e5e_zps2b9494ac.
     
  20. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

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    It's a gorgeous day and we're keen to go hiking so ask the very friendly rangers for recommendations and they say that the 2 and a half mile Hummocks trail might be just the thing for a nice father and son hike-
    8ed178713e70f131b4d10ff2b66fe5d5_zpsb3a5f6d4.

    The Hummocks are huge remnants of the original peak of Mount Saint Helens that came to rest here after the eruption in 1980. The hummocks buried the Toutle river, but eventually the river seeped back up to the surface. It's a fast changing ecosystem of ridges and ponds where wind and rain carve gulleys and ravines. And more recently, beavers have returned and are now doing what they do best, and damming small creeks and creating ponds and small lakes.
    b6ce59ab205dbb4f5b807c097fa98ab3_zpsd7becb33.

    This area is teeming in wildflowers-
    e597e85753645724fbe911c043706910_zps53617b19.

    fde58d13f47e2cbe204427047b75a0ee_zps39c1f211.

    1eabe42c439facf420d8bdfd86925f4d_zpsccb52e6a.

    The trail is a nice easy 2.5 mile loop through the hummocks-
    b37c98660a4f1591f23a1cc8f9029acd_zps5ec7098f.

    Lots of ponds and small lakes-
    716a9ecf396e1af9bf3152d1ca6e80b3_zpscf33ffd5.

    Hard to believe we're hiking on land that used to be part of the peak of Mount St Helens-
    5d22869f5166c0cf3d0dd9f0ef1852dc_zps3d81b4f3.

    2615373a8b2ba802252aec711282b52d_zpsa07ddd7a.

    Birch and Pine trees are slowly returning to this area. Wildflowers are everywhere-
    66439bddb1ca22c9c6a2b025db3a9ceb_zpsc7251716.

    Erosion is hard at work- where'd the trail go??
    da7e40bd4b8eab26e987b159415d9e7e_zps99bf0cb1.

    The crater is again hidden by clouds and I feel fortunate that we enjoyed such clear views in the morning. That's the Toutle River, buried in the original eruption, it's returned to the surface and cut a new path down the mountain-
    a2358b54c9a53e3a13751a382546d3ec_zps6f0f646d.

    Another spot where erosion has eaten the trail-
    1e8ddfa3030c6ae476c7bbaa1e764281_zpscfec9c5b.
    Kristhawee's like, "now what?!" ;)

    We find our way around and continue on this wonderful trail-
    25b5a15ad65822ad968aeaa160b8d42a_zps4e0690fb.

    Steep colorful bluffs descend to the Toutle river drainage-
    e39cfd88c5223eab8731258a7ed64dff_zpsdbe88d3b.

    In some places the ground is littered with pyroclasts, the lumps of molten rock that were ejected during the eruption.
    152d9562c180198085563ba727661a5b_zpsd2490f72.

    In other areas young trees are taking root and forests are starting to grow-
    36a424b68c69fc093bcc511631c611bb_zpsb4033918.

    c418ad809a4bfe161881a803719991dd_zpsc041dea7.

    We spot our first beaver dam-
    9805e763d06f4e400d147c0d050cad66_zps931ac481.

    This one looks pretty old.
    fa9b59efa54fb0bd9e3c105bed066e6e_zps800baeba.

    I reckon the beavers have already moved on as I don't see any evidence of freshly cut trees. All of the trees we see with teeth marks look like they were felled some time ago-

    7d6344d636c4c343d897c5a713c6e601_zps722411c1.
    b4f8583d5485fd8e1bead7ae62d08759_zpsf5d4c312.

    5cc2c7705cc1a6a767b555f244b7789c_zps0df1c393.

    The beaver ponds are the perfect place for cattails and they going to seed- Kristhawee's never seen one before-
    844ddb38751b75ddae66894f759575fc_zps855bb401.

    I tell him stories about how when I was a kid we'd have cattail fights. A solid hit and they explode in a puff of seeds. He's game! :mrgreen:
    5080af08cc95ef90b4ac4c1910321c0a_zps2ed9f807.

    It was a great hike but it's getting late and time to head down the mountain and rendezvous with my friend Dave who's got a fishing spot on the Lewis River. Another pleasant ride down the Spirit Lake Highway-
    6deacb3cabcb59427a3573179adf3e5c_zps95892936-1.

    The Hoffstadt Creek Bridge is an impressive piece of engineering-
    5aed408ffaff42c4e6aaaa4cf9e1bb8d_zps465d74ec.

    We pulled off here for a quick look-
    5b93e87e60aa0ecf734db6f870fc54f2_zpsdd8a2979.

    Further down the mountain there are some interesting old houses, some half buried in ash, and this sagging old shed-
    23fbd01b3d0419103abaab1083ed58b9_zpse4e5d9c9.

    This area abounds in bigfoot sightings. They're said to look something like this-
    f7ffa9940f55a130e6a09e985ff6aa17_zps62048c0b.

    Some wonderful bigfoot tales, if you're in to that sort of thing, here: http://www.bigfootencounters.com/classics/beck.htm

    I downloaded and read some of these stories to Kristhawee and he was fascinated and bit freaked out :wtf:
     
  21. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

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    It was only some ~50 miles or so from the Spirit Lake Highway to my friend Dave's fishing spot on the Lewis River-
    Hwy504ToLewisRiverMap55Miles.

    He's got a nice set up there with a camper and fishing boat and Mocha the dog-
    4dcdbb9d728daa995e59b5948dbc6b60_zpsfcfcc7d1.

    26aae5a84a7cb35fb6ac1376178256b0_zps55c234a0.

    Kristhawee and Dave really hit it off and are now best buddies-
    4b4918682f3a6467601b9c7c2d4f7134_zps26460383.

    Kristhawee even got to drive the boat :mrgreen:
    fce8adcb88279fbf2222e9ee650cde4b_zps6a400f5e.

    Dave showed off his super-soaker ;)


    The Lewis River is quite beautiful-
    2ff7fc72d0472a6b9b4f048cd18e4535_zps8b2031cd.

    When Kristhawee got too naughty Dave hog tied him ;)
    e144f2b794209c8232dc410260add47c_zpsce13bbcd.

    And when that didn't work he threatened to throw him overboard ;)
    f9f2f3a48763547af96a152a9c7d879f_zps5d055418.

    We came up empty but Dave's friends did much better-
    6d96639a776e094d0f91f1c97f929e58_zps740b403d.

    We ate well, lots of fresh fish! I had a chance to do some laundry and get packed while Dave and Kristhawee took off down the river again-
    6d820456e94627ecf438a56705011d7e_zps8b16b913.
     
  22. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

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    And we're off again!
    1ac79a6ff68c82fbfad890d5593dfdc7_zpsbe09f4db.

    Kristhawee and I both really enjoyed the Wonderland Cave back in the Black Hills so we were both keen to check out the Ape Cave here in Mount Saint Helens National Monument. We rode to the Beaver Bay campground as it's quite close to Ape Cave-
    65ea9fb93328a710a4a50e6af17dba2e_zps6c151578.

    Beaver Bay was a nice campground with hot showers and very friendly campground hosts. We got lucky and snagged the last spot in the campground!
    7a6aeb1cbdf41f908847ff6b13270a64_zps023eff59.

    Lots of kids here and Kristhawee had a good time playing with them. Tonight's dinner was Chili and mashed potatoes with smores for dessert :mrgreen:
    c12a826fcefbd289793acc1028e2dca9_zps14f81bf0.

    You know this is going to go down nicely with dinner! beerchug.gif
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    Kristhawee likes his marshmellows well done ;)
    39124042698a95906adbcccc389950cd_zpsc36a6c9b.
     
  23. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

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    Good morning from Beaver Bay, Washington!

    Chilly this morning and we've just cracked the 6000 mile mark on our summer adventure!
    97c4275c3c15ca927e8948d266018d9b_zps7a7e0a78.

    15 miles to the Ape Cave!
    9fbbd714fdbde7005968f578b18cb96d_zpse59ca28b.

    At the trailhead to Ape Cave we had to check in with the park rangers as they don't want anyone getting lost in what is the longest lave tube in the US. They made sure we had a primary and backup light source and warned about the cold temperatures in the cave.

    From wikipedia:

    Ape Cave is a lava tube located in Gifford Pinchot National Forest just to the south of Mount St. Helens in Washington state. Its passageway is the longest continuous lava tube in the continental United States, at 13,042 feet (3,975 m). Ape Cave is a popular hiking destination with beautiful views of the Mount St. Helens lahar region. Lava tubes are an unusual formation in this region, as volcanoes of the Cascade Range are mostly stratovolcanos and do not typically erupt withpahoehoe (fluid basalt).

    Kristhawee at the entrance to the Ape Cave-
    3223b3682eae879a28a7c2dba63d44f8_zps060451f6.

    From the main entrance you have two options- the technical Upper Cave and the easy Lower Cave. The upper cave involves a lot of climbing over rock falls and the rangers said it would probably not be a good idea to take my son on that route. One of the technical sections of the Upper Cave (not my pic):
    Ape_Cave_Lava_Tube_IMG_2194.

    Kristhawee didn't mind- Lower Cave it is!
    3347625be70815981739f6df1e4439f4_zps19f866a2.

    It's a cool 42 degrees down here, year around and there's a cold wind that blows through the cave; odd since it dead ends... Where does that wind come from?
    8d8adff61ee9b18cef167abf16e59ad4_zps6537ecbd.

    3588671ea963473a7b258c6d5f59d8a7_zps6f9c467b.

    Wow, this is the "easy" cave, but nonetheless there are still some technical bits. With a backpack on I had to wiggle through here on my stomach. Not recommended for anyone who suffers from claustrophobia!
    261a1c51cb98e960127180df3f1e5083_zpsc34e9237.

    Pretty cool though!
    c665a105b6d96467dd2012de333219a7_zps2ca74ccc.

    The Ape Cave was totally different from the Wonderland Cave we visited in the Black Hills, and Kristhawee thought it was totally cool!
    df759dff425265be797b24976b696e7e_zpsd0868221.

    Climbing back to the surface-
    500f72b05f675cd2d2265e0f49af7161_zpse3ce86dd.

    Next time we'll do the Upper Cave! :mrgreen:
     
  24. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

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    After Ape Cave we rode north on the amazing National Forest 25, then west up the equally impressive National Forest 99 to the Windy Ridge Observatory-
    NF22NF99Map.

    994f9c3188a8f8f10055f442e756f5e7_zpsdd776fea.

    Gifford Pinchot National Forest-
    5c31209110b3c8c6b24825a18bb1d537_zpsb7d6a08c.

    Muddy River National Volcanic Monument-
    08b62b2d7582bd3e734d7936bee76451_zps6b714782.

    What a road! What a ride!
    8712707db238c139ef6d3769d534df77_zps8d367bb6%20(1).

    8ca3041085b727b6da1d570b322cc18b_zps09cbee40.

    Approaching Mount Saint Helens from the east via NF99-
    d62fc7bdf6f766c18a3f840189724de9_zps4697c911.

    The view from the Windy Ridge parking area-
    c2af2b1c3569aefdfee37af09273d903_zps727a1920.

    Spirit Lake, and on the very far side you can just about make out the Johnston Ridge Observatory. Would be cool to hike from one to the other some day :mrgreen:
    f8b4974d4ca9aa10d767b7f7d24b12a9_zps96ff21e7.

    It's a whole lot of stairs up to the actual Windy Ridge viewpoint- Kristhawee wants to race so I give him a nice head start. Can you see him?
    8f038f79bbdcf37710c86af2ecb026cf_zps692d370a.

    About half way up, looking back towards the Windy Ridge parking lot and Mount Saint Helens. Can you see Kristhawee on the stairs? He bolted up too fast and didn't take into account the lack of oxygen at this altitude!
    3588a9dc836665f299799fd977c5231f_zps14c4fed0.

    But he made it to the top all the same!
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    Another view of Spirit Lake and that's the summit of Mount Rainier way off in the distance-
    85d5080b9e97e7acd2812436199c23d0_zps2f4b4014.

    Windy Ridge, Mount Saint Helens National Monument- What a gorgeous spot!
    e8d2fd36fa16123af45356b03ef8a5a4_zpscc785241.

    Kristhawee at Windy Ridge, Mount Saint Helens National Monument, Washington, USA!
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    9dfcc4aaadfc3a3e0ed8978b88903117_zpsa624a6e1.

    Gazing in to the crater of Mount Saint Helens-
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    Fantastic view of Mount Adams to the east-
    64359a455543a2c66bf56a36f46578a1_zpsae118594.

    What goes up must come down!
    de3c9cc86753f40baf70a1dccc5b037b_zps5f1f4fa8.

    A sexy new R1200RT parked next to our Land Yacht-
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    Kristhawee checking out the R1200RT-
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  25. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

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    Time to ride back down the 99 and continue north on the 25 towards Mount Rainier National Park-
    75650c2b924f2f0c6cdacb3396c6a341_zps53c89c80.

    f030d1ea89f840e4d37e5355ba814e95_zps1aa67b34.

    There's Mount Rainier off in the distance- farther than it looks!
    5514107ecd2519fc02352096f0c1c700_zpsbc0f5c9c.

    The twists and turns never end on NF99
    1d3cd45ac425423716835026d1a219de_zps4be124ff.

    6dd48d68472d0e84288ac79c535b7763_zpsc497de8d.

    We catch occasional glimpses of Mount Adams as well-
    88327dff701cb16a7b84be0fec19ade8_zps1a1eda24.

    Bye bye Mount Saint Helens! See you again some day!
    b07b1ef634d61545738d1b6dd771a1ed_zps144a9aca.
     
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