New Years trip to Washington – Part 5

We take a day to rest, clean and organize our things from the adventure at Tillamook State Forest then decide to head north from Vancouver, WA for a day trip to Battleground Lake to enjoy the nature surrounding it. Being winter it is raining off-and-on today, so we go down to the lakeshore so my grandson can have some fun trying to fill the lake with rocks he finds on the shoreline. This is something he really enjoys, he has thrown rocks at Mt Adams, into the Snake River in Grand Teton National Park and now here. Kids are so funny how they entertain themselves. We discussed hiking the trail that goes around the lake but decided that with the rain it would just be a slick mess.

 

 

After our short stay at the lake we head to The Cedar Creek Grist Mill just outside Etna south of the Lewis River along scenic Cedar Creek. A gristmill grinds grain into flour using nature’s forces, usually water being run by a water wheel. The first water-powered mill was reported around 71 BC in Asia Minor. Grain mills in England were counted in the 1086 Domesday Survey In England, which stated there were 5,624, or about one for every 300 inhabitants that year, peaking to 17,000 by 1300.

Cedar Creek Grist Mill is a working museum allowing visitors inside to observe the workings of the mill built in 1876. Samples are given to visitors after the tour of the facility. This is a totally nature driven mill using the water flowing through a plumb to a Leffel turbine installed with its flume (water canal) around 1888. Pulleys, and belts turn the milling stone producing flour, corn meal and sometimes apple cider.

 

 

Resting on a steep and rocky slope in the narrow gorge of Cedar Creek, it is the only gristmill in Washington that still maintains its original structure, mills with stones, and is water powered, this is also the oldest building in Washington State still producing its original product.

 

 

The last owner died in the late 1950’s and the property was bought by The State Fisheries Department in 1961 that removed the old dam and built a fish ladder. The Fort Vancouver Historical Society leased the mill in 1961 and had it registered as a National Historical Place.

Time, weather and vandals took its toll by 1980. “The Friends of the Cedar Creek Grist Mill”, a non-profit corporation, was formed to save the old mill. Using period tools consisting of axes and adzes they replaced the damaged posts and beams. Due to a dam removal in 1961 they had to now get water into the mill, extending the flume 650 feet where the water from the creek could flow into the intake without the dam.

Next to the mill is a covered bridge across Cedar Creek. There is no history on the first bridge although it was completely replaced by a truss bridge in 1935. The 1935 bridge could not support heavy loads, so in 1994 a new covered bridge spanning Cedar Creek was built.

 

 

Sadly it was closed on this weekday right after the holiday but peeking in the windows demands a return visit when it is open.

New Years trip to Washington – Part 4

The next few days were spent visiting with the family and friends I do not get to see that often. My son had made a plan and got together a few friends to go on a little adventure on New Years morning out to Tillamook State Forest about 40 miles west of Portland, OR.

This 364,000-acre (1,470 sq kilometer) forest is managed by the Oregon Department of Forestry and includes areas for campgrounds, hiking and backpacking trails, fishing, swimming, timber operations and interpretative center. There are trails for horses and pack animals, mountain bikes and motorized vehicles. This temperate rainforest averages more than100 inches (2,500mm) of rain a year and is considered one of the wettest areas of the United States.

New Years Eve we were the old folks and went to bed early as we were meeting everyone out there at 8:30 the next morning, so an early start from home was mandatory. Up at 5AM I showered (to wakeup) made a good breakfast and got my snack items and lunch for the day ready.

Arriving a little early we got a meeting spot at Browns Camp and were amazed at the number of people with the same idea. The staging area was filling up fast. Finally the last straggler pulled in, we organized everyone to communications, the general route and off we went with my son leading the way.

 

Heading up Firebreak Trail from the staging area and into the State Forest was great, the further back in we went the less people we encountered.

Finishing this short trail we head along Power-line Trail and we swing back onto forest service roads at University Falls to make our somewhat meandering way south to……

 

…..the fun Cedar Tree Trail where we drive under a fallen cedar tree, you don’t get to do that to often.

Back onto Forest service roads we meander north back to Browns Camp for a rest stop before our drive back home.

 

What a great way to start off the new year meeting new people, traveling this adventure with 10 other family filled vehicles and being out in the forest on a brisk but beautiful day. The 18 mile tail run was so much fun. Getting back home in the late afternoon we had dinner and relaxed for the night discussing what other adventures we should have in the next few days.

New Years trip to Washington – Part 3

I wake up starving and head down to breakfast provided by the Quality Inn in their small dining area. Starting off with cereal, I consume that and there is still a large hole in my belly so back to the buffet line I go for a second helping of something more substantial. AH HA, I spot bacon, sausage, a waffle maker, biscuit, muffins, bagels, English muffins, white gravy, donuts and more. I decide biscuits with gravy, a couple of sausages, a bagel and some orange juice will fill the hole very nicely. Finishing all this my stomach is finally quite happy.

Back to the room to clean up, pack and get on the road for the day, it is still dark outside at 7AM as I pull out of the parking lot.

Heading south for 14 miles (22.5 k) I follow a small dead-end road to Cape Arago State Park looking for the Cape Arago Lighthouse. I reach a turn around at the end of the road and get out to investigate this picnic/hiking area still searching for the lighthouse. The sun is just coming up and it is cold and windy, I almost loose my hat in the gusts of wind. This would be a lovely place to visit in good weather. Continuing back along the same route I notice a sign for a botanical garden that would make another interesting stop but still being too early it is closed. Further on I spot the lighthouse. Wondering how I get to it I find a road that is signed “Lighthouse Road, NO ACCESS TO LIGHTHOUSE”. Disappointed I am glad I stopped to get the photos I did from Sunset Bay pullout when I saw it in the distance.

 

The first lighthouse was built and illuminated in 1866 due to the amount of shipping that was coming and going in Coos Bay. This tower was only 25-foot (7.6 m) high with an open base. Connected to the keeper’s residence via a 1,300-foot (400 m) wooden walkway this tower was soon in need of repair due to its western exposure on the small island. In 1890 a second wooden tower, located higher on the island, stood 100 feet (30 m) tall providing better illumination. Erosion threatened this light and in 1934, the third light was built made from concrete to better withstand the inclement weather of the area. Decommissioned on January 1, 2006 the third light remains, all other accessory buildings have been demolished.

 

Continuing back to Highway 101 I head north for my next stop at Umpqua Lighthouse, 34 miles (54.7 k) north. A Coast Guard survey during the summer of 1849 determined the best locations for lighthouses along the coast. The mouth of the Umpqua River was selected as one of only six sites in the Oregon Territory, which included the modern day states of Oregon and Washington. In the fall of 1856, the officer in charge of lighthouses approved the erection of the lighthouse at Umpqua. In Oregon Territory, local tribes used the Umpqua River as prime hunting and fishing grounds and did not want the lighthouse built. But rather than attacking the Lighthouse the local tribes sabotaged the construction by stealing critical tools and supplies. Lit in October 1857 this was the first light along the Oregon Coast. The structure of the original lighthouse was compromised due to a sandy soil and river flooding not considered by the builders. The light was being removed in 1861 when the workers ran for their lives and watched the tower come crashing down just after they removed it’s light.

 

The lighthouse was replaced with a buoy and a decision that a new light at Cape Arago, twenty-five miles to the south would better serve seafarers. Eventually in 1888 it was petitioned that a new lighthouse be built at Umpqua so that a ship at sea would pass from one light to the next with out loosing sight of a light on land. Building the lighthouse further inland on a headland above the mouth of the river this is the farthest distance from a river or ocean of all the lighthouses along the Oregon Coast.

The new lighthouse keepers were housed in a duplex home, for the two assistants, a barn, cisterns, and two oil houses that were completed on January 1893. All that remained to be done now was to install the lens in the tower and the light was finally established on December 31, 1894. This new lighthouse stood 165 feet (50.3 m) above sea level and was constructed of brick with a plaster overlay. Decommissioned April 28, 2009 it was  “no longer a critical component for safe navigation”.

3 to WA-6

Highway 101 in Oregon

I head north 40 miles (64.4 k) on Highway 101 to Heceta Head Lighthouse in Devils Elbow State Park.

Just a few headlands over from the Sea Lion Caves lies one of the most photographed lighthouses in Oregon, the Heceta Head Lighthouse. Surrounded by a state campground and park, the lighthouse can be seen from Highway 101, or visited if you are willing to take a short uphill hike.

 

Parking at the Heceta Head Lighthouse State Park there is a lot for day-trippers to experience the surrounding area. The Scenic Viewpoint on 101 is a great way to see a number of different attractions although parking below the historic Cape Creek Bridge will let you walk out onto the beach, bird watch the birds on the large rocks in the small bay, hikes or visit the lighthouse and caretakers cottage.

3 to WA-12

Walk to Heceta Head Lighthouse

Perched 150 feet (45.7 m) above the sea the Lighthouse is one of the most-visited lighthouses in the United States, with thousands of visitors each year enjoying its history, romantic aura, and a beautiful setting.

 

In 1888 the Lighthouse Board recommended that a first-order lighthouses be constructed here at Heceta Head and at Umpqua River. Looking at the forested site today it is hard to imagine that there was very little vegetation when the lighthouse was constructed. A forest fire swept through the area a few years earlier, wiping everything out. Construction began in 1892 with the contractors completing the dwellings, barn, and oil houses in January 1893. The 56 foot (17 m) tall masonry tower stands fifty-six feet tall has it’s light 205 feet (62.5 m) above sea level. This is the most powerful light on the Oregon coast and can be seen 21 miles (33.7 k) out to sea. With three keepers and their families at Heceta Head, a small, one-room schoolhouse was built at the station to educate the children.

 

Life became a little more modern and less isolated in the 1930s as the Oregon Coast Highway was being built. In 1934 a power plant/garage was built to electrify the station eliminating the oil vapor lamp. Meanwhile the keeper’s dwellings received lights and an electric washing machine.

Early years Heceta Head Lighthouse

Early years Heceta Head Lighthouse

The station was originally equipped with a separate dwelling for the head keeper and a duplex for the two assistants. The addition of electricity reduced the keeper’s workload and in the end 1930s the position of second assistant keeper was eliminated. Thus the remaining two keepers occupied the duplex, and the single dwelling was removed in 1940.

75 Coastguardsmen were stationed at Heceta Head during World War II as part of a coastal patrol. The commanders lived in half of the duplex, while the enlisted men were housed in barracks erected on the site of the former keeper’s dwelling, they patrolled the coast with roughly 12 dogs 24 hours a day.

After atomization in 1963, the remaining duplex cottage was leased to Lane Community College for extra class space and since 1995 the cottage has served as a Bed and Breakfast. Heceta Head Light and Keepers Quarters were placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.

It was 1:30 PM as I left the lighthouse and still needed to drive 191 miles (307.4 k) to my son’s house in Vancouver, WA. This dive took a little more time due to the Friday evening New Years Weekend traffic in the Portland Metro Area. Arriving at 5:30 PM we all went out for pizza and I fell into bed by 9:30 PM, tired after a very long tiring day.

2017 in review quite a better year

2016 was just a total joke of a year and I was glad it was over, 2017 has been much better and full of adventures.

January started off recuperating from an sudden illness that happened in mid-December and during this time I started planning a trip up to Vancouver, WA the end of February to visit family and purchase my new adventure vehicle, a 2017 Subaru Outback.

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A short trip exploring desert mines

Location

As a trip I have taken on my motorcycle before I wished to explore the El Paso Mountain area at a slower pace and take my larger camera with me. This happened a few weeks ago and I had such a fun time exploring I will return again as there are so many additional sights that I could not visit in one day.

 

The trails took me from Red Rock Canyon State Park through the El Paso Mountains finally exiting close to the old gold mining town of Garlock. This west to east trail can be traveled in either direction and has many side trails leading to other areas.

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PLANNING PART 3 – Leaving Dawson for Skagway, AK and home

Lets go on an Adventure

ADVENTURE – An exciting, daring, bold, risky or very unusual experience or undertaking fraught with physical, financial or psychological risks.

Any ideas of what to visit in the areas I am traveling would be appreciated, not all sites are noted somewhere, secret spots abound. And if you share these secret spots with me to enjoy I will not post where they are but will relish in the beauty around me and be grateful you trust me with this shared this information.

 

Leaving Dawson I will ferry across the Yukon River, A major waterway in this area that is the 3rd longest river in the U.S. Heading west along Canadian Highway 9 to the border crossing into Alaska Crossing at a small border station I shall continue along Highway 5, The Taylor Highway, to pass Chicken, AK and finally end at the junction with Highway 2, The Alaskan Highway, to head southeast.

Dawson 2 Skagway 2017-11-17 at 1.52.06 PM

Crossing back into Canada I will continue then south along Canadian Highway 1 to visit Destruction Bay and Kluane National Park and Reserve.

kluane-PIC00016-edited

Kluane Lake from Google

Not much further I will turn at Haines Junction on Highway 3 toward the city of Haines, AK. I understand Haines Highway is a very scenic drive and is a perfect road to take on my way to the Alaska Marine Highway Ferry to Skagway, AK.

 

I have always enjoyed my time in Skagway with the cruises but have never stayed longer than 6-8 hours. I cannot wait to relax and explore the town after the cruise ships have departed. For 2 nights I will stay in this town to explore the many sites I have been rushed through or not been able to see.

Skagway-8

From this point of the adventure south I have not been lucky in finding many sites to visit. If anyone has driven these roads please let me know about interesting or scenic places along the route.

Skagway 2 Barkerville 2017-11-17 at 1.53.32 PM

After this short respite I will head north up the Klondike Highway back into Canada and again turn east around Carcroos onto Highway 8 to Highway 1 then south on Highway 97. Visiting Salmon Glacier – Granduc Mine then turning off onto Highway 26, I will visit the living history museum of Barkerville.

Barkerville

Barkerville from Google

“Today, the extraordinary town of Barkerville (named in Billy’s honour) still stands as testament to BC’s golden beginnings. With a unique streetscape of 125+ heritage buildings, authentic displays, satellite museums, restaurants, shops and accommodations there is still so much to explore. Declared a National Historic Site of Canada in 1924 and a Provincial Heritage Property in 1958, Barkerville is now the largest living-history museum in western North America, where exciting seasonal events and fun-filled daily activities await.” from Barkerville Historic Town website.

Returning back to Highway 97 I will visit some of the Provincial Park’s scattered along this Highway and then turn toward Kamloops, British Columbia to explore Highway 5A, I hear it is one of the areas scenic motorcycle roads.

I will enter back into the United States at Abbotsford and head down Interstate 5 to Vancouver, WA for another stop to visit my son and family before heading back south to Southern California along the Washington, Oregon and California coast, Highway 101.

2 Home 2017-11-17 at 1.53.58 PM

There you have it a 45 day long adventure that I am looking forward to.

2017-10-31 OverallMap

Canada PLANNING PART 2 – Onward to Jasper and Dawson, Yukon, Canada

Lets go on an Adventure

ADVENTURE – An exciting, daring, bold, risky or very unusual experience or undertaking fraught with physical, financial or psychological risks.

Any ideas of what to visit in the areas I am traveling would be appreciated, not all sites are noted somewhere, secret spots abound. And if you share these secret spots with me to enjoy I will not post where they are but will relish in the beauty around me and be grateful you trust me with this shared this information.

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The Canada adventure is in planning

ADVENTURE – An exciting, daring, bold, risky or very unusual experience or undertaking fraught with physical, financial or psychological risks.

Lets go on an Adventure

What does this mean? It can be different for everyone; skydiving, mountain climbing, scuba diving, river rafting, caving (spelunking) traveling, exploring…… anything that is outside the ordinary for that individual is an adventure. Many make their adventures a way of life and never stop. For some it is just a day, weekend or short trip. Does it need to involve speed, height, a high level of physical exertion or highly specialized gear, some would say yes. I do not think that at all, it is up to the individual the extent of the adventure to be accomplished.

Next August my ADVENTURE will involve a 45 drive from Southern California to Dawson, Yukon Territories in Canada, up the Dawson highway to the Arctic Ocean and back in my 2017 Subaru Outback. It is something I have never done and it has always been on my bucket list. I have taken 2 cruises to Alaska and have loved the experiences. I now want to experience the lands of Canada and Alaska from the ground driving through the countryside.

2017-10-31 OverallMap

·      Will it be scary? …..Probably as I will be doing it alone.

·      Will it be exhilarating? …..Yes.

·      Will it be fun and exciting? …..Definitely.

·      Am I excited to plan and start this adventure? …..OH YES.

The trip will leave Southern California and head up east side of the Sierra Nevada Mountains then I will cut over to Vancouver, WA to visit my son and his family for a few days.

2017-10-31 CA2Van

The Adventure really begins after this visit as I head to Glacier National Park, Montana; Waterton Lakes National Park in Canada. Continuing north to Banff and Jasper National Parks, Alberta, Canada. Then going north into the Yukon Territory, the smallest and least populated province in Canada to the small town of Dawson. From Dawson I will head up the Dawson Highway to Inuvik, Northwest Territories, Canada and then continue the final 130 km on the new all season road to Tukoyakuk, Northwest Territories, Canada. Returning to Dawson I will then head east to Chicken, Alaska turning south for Haines to cross on the ferry to Skagway, Alaska. It will then be time to head south after a few days rest in Skagway. Stopping again in Vancouver, WA I will hopefully finish with a camping trip in the Sierras with a group of Overland Bound friends to end this adventure. That is the rough itinerary at this time.

·      Adventure? …..I think so.

·      Something out of my ordinary routine? …..DEFINITELY for me.

So what does this involve? A lot of investigation on the Internet, reviewing maps and with the help from individuals who kindly share their knowledge of the areas I am visiting. I will be camping along the way when possible and staying at motels, hotels or lodges as needed. Road conditions, places to stay, services (food and gas), places to visit all need to be investigated.

·      Will schedules change?

·      Will additional sites present themselves?

·      Will destinations be revised?

All a YES to me, it is still being planned so anything is all possible.

My vehicle is still getting prepared for the adventure with items to makes it’s life and mine more enjoyable. Better suspension, all-terrain tires, roof rack, navigation equipment, full size spare tire, tow strap, tools, tire gauge, tire repair (plug) kit, gloves, fire extinguisher, shovel, axe, extra gas can, repair parts, extra power outlets added for charging all the electronic gear that we all carry now, tint for the rear windows, communications, boost jump starter battery charger and jumper cables, and a portable air compressor for a start.

w: Springs 1

My clothing and toiletries will be my normal travel items (see previous post) modified for the weather. I will possibly be adding a Go Pro video camera to my photographic equipment for additional documentation of the adventure.

Then I must go through the camping gear to pare down to the basics on what I really need to take along. It will include tent, tent ground cloth (footprint), sleeping bag and pad, stove, pots, fry pan, plates, cooking and eating utensils, dishpan, dish soap (Dawn), camp chair and table, tarp, mosquito repellant and head netting, camp lights and batteries, propane, lighter and matches, trash bags, cleaning bucket, 5 gallon drinking water container, a cooler and food storage containers.

Additional gear will include a hand held GPS, first aid kit, whistle, cordage (para-cord), knife, bear spray, maps, compass and possibly a small backpacking hammock.

Now what am I visiting along the way.

Part 1

The real start of my trip will be when I leave Vancouver, WA for Glacier National Park in Montana where I will be overnighting at the Apgar, Sprague Creek or Fish Creek Campgrounds depending on availability in the south end of the park.

 

From there I will head over “Going to the Sun Highway” to see the sights and stop as needed for the night.

2017-10-31 Glacier

The next day I will enter Canada and stop for a few days to explore the area of and around Waterton Lakes National Park.

After Waterton, I will head to Banff to stay for about 5-6 days in a condo (timeshare exchange) to explore the surrounding area. Along the way to Banff I will stop at the Bar U Ranch National Historic Site to look around.

2017-10-31 Glacier2Jasper

The fist day I will wander around the town of Banff getting current information at the Visitor Center and the Banff Park Museum, visit the Whyte Art Museum of the Canadian Rockies, the Natural History Museum and the Buffalo Nations Museum. Just outside of town I will visit Cave and Basin National Historic Site and the Upper Hot Springs.

In my remaining days in Banff I will explore up Highways 1 and 1A as far as Lake Louise visiting locations and scenic overlooks such as Backswamp, Muleshoe, Sawback, Hillsdale Meadows, Johnson Canyon, Moose Meadows, Silver City, Rock Lake, Castle Cliffs, Storm Mountain, Castle Lookout, Protection Mountain, Baer Creek, Outlet Creek, Corral Creek, Lake Louise and Moraine Lake. Returning at the end of the each days adventure to sleep in a nice bed with kitchen area. If the condo idea falls through I will just head north along those highways stopping at campgrounds along the way to Jasper, Alberta, Canada.

2017-10-31 Banff2LL

Now, how have I found this information? From maps; computer mapping programs; books, searching the specific areas I wish to visit on the Internet (Google is my friend); country, territory and city visitor information sites; and information from other travel bloggers. I have gone to my local bookstore to wander and peruse the shelves looking for interesting travel books of these areas. I will go to my local Automobile Association to find out what information they might have available there. A travel book, map and your time searching are well spent in preparing for a trip. Information gained ahead of the trip will help insure you plan the time to see the sites most important to you.

I will continue with the planning of this adventure in additional posts so please stay tuned.

Any ideas of what to visit in the areas I am traveling would be appreciated, not all sites are noted somewhere, secret spots abound. And if you share these secret spots with me to enjoy I will not post where they are but will relish in the beauty around me and be grateful you trust me with this information.

Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks trip, August 2017 Days 6 & 7

The Beartooth Highway is said to be one of the most scenic drives in the United States. Featuring breathtaking views of the Absaroka and Beartooth Mountains, high alpine plateaus, glacial lakes, forested valleys, waterfalls and wildlife.

Abutting Yellowstone National Park it sits in a 1,000,000 acre (404,686 hc) wilderness. Being one of the highest and most rugged areas in the lower 48 states, it contains 20 peaks reaching over 12,000 feet (3,657 m) in elevation. Surrounding mountain glaciers are found on the north-facing slope of nearly every mountain peak over 11,500 feet (3,505 m) high. The Road itself is the highest elevation highway in Wyoming and the Northern Rockies at (10,947 feet; 3,336 m) and in Montana at (10,350 feet; 3,154 m).

Breathtakingly beautiful this drive takes your breath away with the vistas and the driving along the curving mountainous roads. This road is not for the faint of heart as the steepness at the edges can be overwhelming for people who do not like heights. This is a road for driving, exploring and for taking your time to see all the sights and paths along the way.

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Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Park trip August 2017 Day 5

Again leaving at 7:30AM we all head for the upper (northern) loop in the park heading clockwise to miss the construction traffic later in the day. We first want to visit the Mammoth Hot Springs area, then work our way back south. As we pass the major road construction project the wait was a little longer today and there was more of a line in front of us and behind us.

Is Mammoth Hot Springs drying up? No according to the National Park Service, it is in a constant state of change as the movement of water and fissures constantly changes underground. The Park Service estimates the amount of water emanating from this area has not changed, only where it issues forth.

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