After close to a 3 year hiatus, I take on the challenge of going on a nature exploration expedition.I return to one of my favorite regions on the planet. The Pacific Northwest is a safe bet when wanting to experience impressive creation drama.I traveled from one corner of the lower 48 to the other(SE–NW) I then traveled over 1600 miles (32MPG) in a Camry and a few miles on foot (Within 5.5 Days). The total expense was also about $1600. 1 Dollar a Mile was Worth my While. Two flights later I arrive one hour late to smoky Seattle. Major wildfires in a vast area were the cause.Couple this with a drought and we are left with mid distant views to be veiled in white and flowers to be completely absent. If I were to give each trip a 5 point system: 1 point per general attraction, then the trip commenced with -2 points.
As a seasoned traveler in all seasons and regions, I know not to overly fret over anything I encounter.So it is now Day -.5, and I head over to see Cushman Lake in Olympic National Park. My $80 annual NP pass was not really needed the entire trip (NO attendants in the booths). This was a good start to my venture. I absorbed the scene of semi hazy tall mountains surrounding this large lake.
I wake up at around 3am on Day 1, to drive in the dark (with my HD glasses) to MT Rainier NP.I arrive at sunrise to Sunrise point to witness hazy yet dramatic mountains. I saw these very mountains over 5 years ago in early July and they were adorned with fresh looking snow. Now the glacier was receeding to its core leaving dirty snow caps.
I return to Iron Creek Falls (Short hike), I limped (from a hiking injury) in the shallow waters leading to the falls in 2010 and remember the waters being very cold. This time I put a mini wet suit on and submersed in these frigid waters to reach the bottom of the waterfall where its falling from a sheer cliff. The area where the water slams was much deeper than I expected (6 or more feet). I return to Lewis River Falls to see the large (wide) water fall from various angles. I finish the night in Stevenson, WA enjoying a sunset on the shores of the Colombia Gorge that was free of smoke.
On Day 2, I start by visiting the outstanding super tall Multnomah Falls. A drone armed with a 4k camera operated by a man from Brooksville FLA showed up in my sight out of the blue. I meet a young Japanese woman in the parking lot of Oneonta Falls. She lives in Canada and was on an exploration trip. We hike together atop a giant heap of fallen trees and through portions of the river measuring up to 4 feet tall to reach the falls set amidst a canyon. And yes this was my 2nd time doing this.I return to smoky air as I travel a tedious and long route to Bend, OR. I ended up on a peak of volcanic glass reflecting the golden hue of the setting sun as I see Pauline Lake in the distance. There was no one / or sound in the whole vicinity.
Day 3 to bask on the banks of blue Metolious River then unto Sahalie Falls (3rd and deserving visit). I witnessed the powerful flow of water atop this world class waterfall. I hiked down a steep and muddy bank to view the dynamic dual streams of Koosah Falls from within 100 feet away. I was stuck for a little (long feeling) while trying to get back up to the trail. A couple of gypsies from Texas (RV’ers) watched my dilemma in concern. I eventually lay hold of tree roots and barks to climb out.
I made my usual trek to Proxy Falls 30 minute drive away (Another World Class Waterfall!) I met up with Ben bouncing on the end of a massively long fallen tree trunk. I met a family (Father, Daughter and Son) also using the tree as a bouncing spring. I challenged 2 ladies to enter the base of the waterfall. They surprisingly agreed, took off their shirts and proceeded to enjoy this rain of glory.
Day 3.9 I decide to fore-go going to Crater Lake due to fires (to spare the details) and go to the Magnificent Oregon Coast 1 day early. I got super mixed up in a wild sand dune zone by the ocean as the fog was developing out of the wet sand. I see a crowd of horses miles away in the foggy, sandy coast. I arrived at my car after trudging through nasty thorny bushes atop these dunes. I had to change cloths after that (My shoes had pounds of sand inside).
I meet a couple atop a mountain view of the sea cliffs under plentiful sunshine. They were walking bikes that had trailers filled with belongings that had a sign saying “we are not homeless, were just seeing America”. They shared their story with the video camera and I.Later that glorious day I take in the crashing waves plashing high over the craggy tide pools in the Devil’s Churn. I decide to stay in Tillamook, OR at Red Apple Inn (theme styled room with no AC).
Day 5 I wake in a coastal dreamy foggy morning scene within haystacks and small people figures. Day 5.5 I am back to WA and loving the moisture in the air (Smoke is Gone / But Edible to Come) I visit with the locals at Aberdene, WA. I met a young lady at the shop that is from the Quinalt Tribe which I happen to be on my way to visiting within Olympic NP that night to conclude my expedition. I saw the rainforest with its charm of dense, moist green forest with streams and waterfalls going into the larger Quinalt River set amidst towering mountains.
Here is one of the Videos I produced from my trip: