Sunset in the Coconino National Forest, looking northeast toward Sedona, AZ, 4/17/15

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Olympic National Park, October 17-19

View from back porch at
Hurricane Ridge
I took off for Olympic National Park on Sunday, going over the Narrows Bridge in Tacoma to Port Angeles on the Peninsula.  I visited the Visitor Center on my way to Hurricane Ridge.  The weather was beautiful, the view amazing.  Then, I drove to Rialto Beach on the west coast and arrived as the sun set, overnighting at Mora which is about a mile inland.
Rialto Beach at dusk
The next morning, I went back and visited the Elwah Valley and Sol Duc Hot Springs.  My favorite part going through the old growth forests.  It felt like sacred ground, like I would hear Gregorian Chants at any moment.  From there I went to the Hoh Rain Forest to overnight next to the Hoh River.  

Flock of pelicans at La Push's First Beach
I got up early and hiked the Trail of Mosses in the Hoh Rain Forest ... beautiful, other-worldly.  I was there as the first shafts of light came through the trees and onto the trail.  I then drove further south and explored the Queets and Quinault Rain Forests where I'd love to come back to spend more time. 

Lake Crescent
This park whole park needs more time.


Sol Duc River
Hoh River at Campsite

Very large stand of moss covered Maple Trees
One super large,
fallen maple leaf
First shaft of morning
light on Trail of Mosses
in an old growth forest

Old Growth, Hoh Rain Forest



And more mushrooms

Moss at Hoh Rain Forest
Visitor Center

Autumn color next to Hoh River

Big Cedar Tree & Prius RV

Ruby Beach

Quinault River

Graves Creek Road
Quinault Rain Forest

Roosevelt Elk near Quinault River

originally posted 11/1/10

Monday, October 11, 2010

Mount Rainier National Park, October 11

Mt. Rainier looming over
road to Sunrise
After arriving home on October 1st, I decided to check out some local National Parks when the weather was nice and I wasn't needed by John.
Ground Cover with
Fall Colors

On the 11th I went to Mount Rainier, coming in from the northeast corner.  The drive was relaxing and beautiful.  I explored the road to Sunrise (schedule to close the next day), and other roads on the east side of the park, driving over both Cayuse and Chinook pass.  The Fall Colors at Chinook were spectacular. 

Mt. Rainier peeking out from behind the clouds
Unfortunely, the campgrounds had just closed for the season.  So, I made it a day trip instead of an overnighter.  I'll return later to explore other areas of the park.

Chinook Pass

Entrance to park at Ohanapecosh
originally posted 10/31/10

Friday, October 1, 2010

The Journey Home (SC to WA),
September 25 - October 1

Hubby John
On my way back north from Congaree National Park in South Carolina, I received a call from my husband John.  He had an abdominal CT scan for an intestinal issue and the doctors coincidently found kidney cancer.  He would likely need to have one of his kidneys removed in 3-4 week.  After overnighting at Char's in Virginia, I headed home.  My intent was to take the scenic route home, but stay close to the Interstates in case I needed to get home more quickly than expected.

In Spotsylvania,
1,492 Union deaths on Neil McCoull's Farm,
an unknown number of Confederate burials

Many thanks to my friends who graciously changed their plans, even canceling airline tickets, from our scheduled rendezvous.

On my first day traveling west (9/26), I visited Spotsylvania Court House Battlefield (which was a continuation of the Battle of the Wilderness).  When I stopped at their information station, a historian was there ... enthusiastic about sharing information about Spotsylvania and the Civil War period of US history.
Bloody Angle at Spotsylvania
20 hours of hand-to-hand fighting

After learning about the Fredericksburg Battle earlier in the month, I had some basic, larger questions about Civil War history.  He helped me understand the political climate of this time when the country was expanding west, and both the North and South battled for control of each new state.  He explained that "the Southern Way of Life" was about living the Jeffersonian Ideal, each family being self-sufficient on their own land.  He further shared how it was the North's victory that freed slaves vs. the Emancipation Proclamation.   I also found out that Abraham Lincoln was not popular during his tenure as President ... and much more. 

US Hwy 33 in the
 Mongahela National Forest

My head was spinning as I left to join the ranger-historian and other visitors for a guided tour at the Bloody Angle where, for 20 hours, during pouring rain and into the dark, men fought hand to hand.  Bodies laid 4 to 6 feet deep.  May 12, 1864: a very terrible, very sad day.  Hard history to hear.

Sculpted Walls on the
Lincoln Boyhood NM

 Now late afternoon, I continued going west to overnight at Shenandoah National Park.  The next day (9/27), the fall colors on US Hwy 33 were spectacular. 
One sculpted wall at
Lincoln Boyhood NM

I drove some beautiful scenic roads, overnighting in West Virginia and then in Kentucky.  Next, I visited the Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial in southern Indiana (9/29).   The building itself had beautiful sculptured walls depicting significant times in Abraham Lincoln's life.  Lincoln lived at this location from age 8 to 22.  It is here that his mother, Nancy Hanks Lincoln, is buried.

Driving by the
Gateway Arch in St. Louis at the
Jefferson National Expansion Memorial

Upon leaving the Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial, John called to tell me that one of our beloved dogs would need to be put down that day and that his scans showed two swollen lymph nodes which may mean that the kidney cancer has spread.  Here is the post on our family blog about that hard day.  I decided it was time to stop meandering and get home straight away.

Bad Land in southern unit of
Theodore Roosevelt NP
I overnighted in southeast South Dakota, and the following night in southwest North Dakota (9/30) at Theodore Roosevelt National Park.  I arrived a couple of hours before sunset.  Although I was dog tired from long days of driving, I decided to at least do the scenic loop around the southern unit of the park for a bit of relaxed sight seeing. 

Buffalo at Theodore Roosevelt NP
I'm glad I did.  I saw buffalo, deer, wild horses and elk.  I went to bed early, and woke up before sun rise to bugling elk and coyote howls ... magical.

Wild Horse at Theodore Roosevelt NP
I took scenic State Hwy 200 across Montana, and then hopped onto I-90 through Idaho and Washington.  I arrived at my Western Washington home at 10pm that night (10/1).

Prius RV shadow at sunset
Theodore Roosevelt NP

Leaving Theodore Roosevelt NP
at dawn

I'm glad to be home with John.

originally posted 10/30/10