The Upper Left USA

THANK YOU, MAX and ERIC! We spent the last week in the Upper Left (the PNW) with Nikki’s two younger brothers. The area around Seattle is truly amazing, with plenty of  beautiful places to hike and explore. We had obviously seen many photo’s of the PNW and how green it an be, but didn’t realize that it was actually real, not just photo shopped. Anyway, I’ll get own to some of the things we did.

First, we headed down to Portland to visit a friend of Eric’s, to see the town and spend some time in the parks around Portland. We walked around the city, toured the Japanese and Rose gardens, had a drink at the Bridgeport Brewery after which we camped out at Ainsworth State Park.

The following day we woke up early and took a quick hike near Horse Tail falls, a pleasant and easy walk, but none the less, beautiful. After spending the afternoon in Portland, we started heading north towards Seattle but took a pit stop near a beautiful old wooden bridge.

The following day, we went out to a deserted old coal mine near Stevens Pass. It is one of the longest non-operational coal mines that was not closed off. It went about 3/4 of a mile into the mountain with a few shafts splitting off of the main tunnel. It was a fun experience and definitely something that Nikki and the dogs were a little nervous about.

After Eric left to go back to State College, Pa, the 3 of us and our 2 dogs pilled into the Sprinter and took off for the Olympic Peninsula. It’s absolutely incredible how wet, and green the forest and vegetation is! I’ll let the photo’s speak for themselves, but it’s beautiful there. After doing a few hikes, we headed towards the very North West point of the US to camp. We stayed at a probably the  North West most campground in the continental US, Hobuck Campground, which is a MUST for anyone traveling through that area.  It’s a big open field right near the ocean. The vibe there is great, with tons of kayakers, surfers, mountain bikers and camper vans… Anyway, DO IT.

We headed back towards Seattle the next day to give us some time to work on the van. We had to re-do the forward facing drawers as they weren’t as secure as we initially planned. With some prep, we replaced the front plates and the locking mechanisms on the 4 drawers. We’re very happy with the new locks; they so far seem to be much more secure and actually look nicer than the old ones as well.

We finished up as quickly as possible and took off to Mount Baker – Snoqualmie National Forest. Not a big surprise, but the area was absolutely beautiful. We camped along Mountain Loop road and hiked Gothic Basin to Foggy Lake the following day. While only an 11 mile found trip hike, the elevation gain is pretty intense. The last mile or so of the hike was covered in snow so we had a very hard time finding the trail… which meant that we just bushwhacked the remainder of the hike. A few times our legs would fall through the snow, but nothing too concerning. The dogs were loving it, and playing around in the snow. After summiting to a beautiful view, we relax and had a bit to eat. We could barely see Foggy Lake as it was still frozen over with some snow covering it.  We were a little concerned about the down hike as it was a very steep uphill climb covered in snow… but after a few steps, we realized we could easily ‘ski’ down in our shoes… The dogs had a blast chasing us and we switched between sliding on our feet and on our butts, as iff we had sleds. With this skilled mountaineering technique, we got down the snowy part of the hike in 15 minutes, versus the hour it took us to get up.

We all really enjoyed the hike and would certainly recommend it for anyone looking for a tough, but short hike, with great views and few other people.

With that done, we said goodbye to Max and his puppy, Zhook, and headed north to the Cascades….



Posted in USA.

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