Enroute to Portland, I had to make a stop at Mt St Helens. When I lived in Oregon, I would visit this spot annually to see the subtle scenery changes, and it's now been more than 15 years since my last look!
HISTORY (if needed): The lateral blast of Mt. St. Helens roared on May 18, 1980 destroying 230 square miles of forest, and filling the valley with up to 150 feet of mud, rock and huge pieces of the mountain. It also created over 150 new ponds, lakes and wetlands.
Five years after the lakes were formed, "life in the lakes" was already similar to that found in lakes thousands of years old. Since my last visit, the frontal valley continues to look desolate but the surrounding area is amazingly green and lush. I was thrilled to be back.
When I left Seattle, I was able to take a ferry ride on the "Walla Walla" that made my trip to the Olympic Peninsula both brief and totally scenic. My destination was the town of Port Angeles for a number of reasons --- the Olympic Discovery Trail, proximity to the Olympic National Park, ferry departure to Victoria BC, and access to the San Juan Islands. I somehow envisioned doing all of this in just one week though I now know that a summer here might allow me to fit it all in!
Founded in 1862, Port Angeles is a town of timber, fishing and tourism along the Strait of Juan de Fuca. On clear days,you can see snow-covered Mount Baker from the waterfront with the Olympic Mountain range to the north. While I didn't complete my unrealistic itinerary, I did cycle the Trail a few days, hike a number of areas of the NP, and enjoy a lot of social time at my adorable little hostel. I believe I met about 25 people in a week, and nearly every night there was a social event -- a birthday party, movie night, music on the pier, and more -- a real communal setting.
The photos will tell the story, I hope. I've now arrived in Portland after spending a few days at the base of Mt. St. Helens but that tale will come in a day or two!
Rolled through Seattle for only one reason -- to visit family and friends. Spent 4 days enjoying coffee & conversation, eating & drinking, pool & Candy Land games, bike rides here & there, catching up on life, and laughing out loud.
It was great to be among people who've known me a very long time, and still wanted to share their time! Thanks to Peter, Ann, Nick & Grace, RIck, Diane, Claire, Annalise & Lily for the warm welcome! I hope to see you soon!
My week in Port Angeles, WA is now coming to a close with stories to be told early next week. I'll be in the woods for the next few days!
SIDEBAR: Acknowledgment to my nephew, Peter for naming my upcoming book on this journey, "In My Element". Brilliant!
My one visit to the Oregon coast was to Astoria where the Columbia River meets the Pacific Ocean. It's a favorite spot of mine because it's not a "boutique town," and it has so much history. While I've been enjoying my journey through the wonders of the mountains and canyons, I awoke the first morning to the smell of the sea and literally, breathed a sigh of relief.
Actually, I'd forgotten how wonderful it is to be at the ocean and still see the mountains. Salty sea, green mountain tops, history -- the perfect place to be to celebrate the 4th of July.
Living so close to the beltway culture tainted my attitude toward the good old US of A; while seeing the wonders of this country and meeting so many positive people has turned me around. For the first time in more than a decade, I was happy to fly the flag (on my bike) and celebrate the holiday.
I'll let the photos tell the rest of the story!
Rolled into Oregon after more than 15 years and started my tour in the Columbia River Gorge. I'd forgotten how BIG everything is out here -- the mountains, the river, the trees! I spent a week within this 90-mile long canyon in an area where you could still see high-desert but in a half-hour, enter the lush, green forests. It was a hot week with temps as high as 104 one day but I got out early and enjoyed as much hiking, biking and touring as possible.
While I couldn't capture it, both Mt Hood and Mt Adams were looming in the distance each and every day. I couldn't get over seeing these snow-covered peaks beaming in the sky over the hills. Yes, I've seen them hundreds of times before but I was still enamored!
Today, I arrived in Astoria where the Columbia River meets the Pacific Ocean, and yes, put my feet in the sand.
Cyclist, writer, teacher, avid reader, bike/ped advocate, nomad, pie lover