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  1. #1

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    Cool National Parks of the COW Loop (California, Oregon & Washington). Mucho photo!

    Although the boy is an experienced international traveler, he'd never had a long road trip; that changed a few Sunday's back when we headed for 5 to drive north to Washington, loop around the Olympic Peninsula and return along the coast via 101. The car was packed with gear since we planned to camp about half the time. A long day got us into Washington the first night, and we got a hotel. I was worried when a guy said that day was so cloudy that Mt. St. Helens wasn't visible from close up, but the next morning it was clear and sunny.





    Had a lot of picnic lunches, starting with Coldwater Lake while returning to the freeway.



    We arrived at a campground in the Ross Lake NRA section of North Cascades National Park. A nice night by Goodell creek ending with smores.







    I even shrank the boy so he could walk on the line.



    BTW, that's a trick of perspective, not Photoshop (tm).

    Things were about to change.

    The forecast for rain the next day was true, but there was a 50-50 chance of it clearing by night. We gambled on that happening, getting a backcountry site, with a choice of 200-300 yards from the car, or 4+ miles. Good that we chose the former. Hiking the trail into the grey would've been pointless. It is really boring listening to rain in a tent for 17 hours. We caught a glimpse of nearby mountains upon arrival, serious rock and ice, which sounded like thunder crashing into the valley below. But soon, this was the only view.



    The next morning we broke camp quickly. I'd only had about 3 sips of water in that time (fluid in, fluid out, which meant out of tent), but we drove a long way until reaching a cafe; the idea of one of the pop tarts, granola bars, etc., was not even considered.

    We were doing this trip on the fly, a change for a planner like me. When I went to book the ferry that would save us 3-5 hours of driving at 1 PM, I was told the next spot was 9:15----the next night! But then a turning point. We took a chance on stand-by, the boy did some driftwood construction, and we were on the next sailing.



    Hanging the tent to dry, I saw we had brought much of the forest along.



    We left housekeeping a note of apology, $10 and a Hershey bar. With rain forecast the next day, we decided to do 2 nights in our Sequim motel. The next day it was grey and cold on Hurricane Ridge in Olympic NP, but we did find a calm spot with some beauty close up. Sometimes you just have to look harder.







    Why don't kids believe you when told to bring a coat?



    We then went to Journey to the Center of the Earth 3D, had another soft night, packed up and got a wilderness permit for Hole in the Wall on Rialto Beach in the coastal part of Olympic. Arrived and it was grey-again. Tide and tensions were high. Not raining but with spray it was certainly moist. After a 1 1/2 mile hike we picked a spot, and then, another turning point. The tide went out, the sun broke, and we explored the tidepools and watched the sunset while enjoying freeze dried spaghetti and filtered creek water. It was perfect!







    Two seem cool until you start seeing 50 at a time.





    Some serious driftwood.











    The next day we learned about irony, for the first time Olympic was sunny. We were at the Hoh RAINforest. Go figure.







    Now this is weird. After a tree falls, and these trees can be 200-300' (not redwoods but Douglas firs and Sitka spruce), other completely separate trees can grow on the log.



    After the log rots away, the roots of the new trees remain.



    We had a hotel night in Astoria Oregon, then went to Lewis and Clark Nat'l Historic Park before driving down the coast.



    We found a campsite at Umpqua Lighthouse State Park near the Oregon Dunes.



    The next day it was time for fun in the sand.



    In a way it was good that he crashed into that tree right at first; made him be more careful the rest of the time, and he only got a little scrape above his lip.



    After staying the night on the sofa of a former roommate of mine from the single days of yore, we headed into California on the Redwood Highway, with a couple of stops since these forests are one of my favorite environments.



    Eventually, though, the only thing on the list before being home was "drive". That I did with focus. Fortunately the wife had the hot tub set properly for our return.

    Thanks for looking.

    A bientot.
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    What the dormouse said
    Feed your head!


    You've read it; you can't unread it!

  2. #2

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    Re: National Parks of the COW Loop (California, Oregon & Washington). Mucho photo!

    What a fantastic trip, and great pictures to illustrate it! I'm kinda jealous that we didn't do a road trip this year. I'll have to show your report to my husband for future reference.
    A signature should go here.

  3. #3

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    Re: National Parks of the COW Loop (California, Oregon & Washington). Mucho photo!

    Wonderful pictures and what a spectacular itinerary. I love Mt St Helens - such a moving site.

    Thank you for sharing!

  4. #4

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    Re: National Parks of the COW Loop (California, Oregon & Washington). Mucho photo!

    That is awesome! I don't know if I like the roughing it part of the trip ... but it sure does look like it was worth it.


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    Re: National Parks of the COW Loop (California, Oregon & Washington). Mucho photo!

    Truly beautiful trip report, camping so close to the ocean must have been incredible.

  6. #6

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    Cool Re: National Parks of the COW Loop (California, Oregon & Washington). Mucho photo!

    Quote Originally Posted by MTNGIRL View Post
    I love Mt St Helens - such a moving site.
    It was cool, I remember well when it blew in 1980; the power is staggering. We usually don't stay in a visitor center longer that to let the boy stamp his NP passport and look at T shirts, but this one is exceptionally well done.


    Quote Originally Posted by Megastrophy View Post
    camping so close to the ocean must have been incredible.
    Our biggest spat on the trip was picking a site there. The boy thinks I want to merely avoid getting wet, but I'm thinking of the forces that fling tons of driftwood about like Lincoln Logs. Had I known the overnight tide was even higher than the one we saw that afternoon (which was described by one guy as the highest he'd ever seen!) I'd have never slept.

    A bientot.
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    Feed your head!


    You've read it; you can't unread it!

  7. #7

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    Re: National Parks of the COW Loop (California, Oregon & Washington). Mucho photo!

    Amazing pics. I love camping and being out in the wilderness. Looks like you guys had lots of fun.
    Oo-de-lally, Oo-de-lally
    Golly, what a day

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    Re: National Parks of the COW Loop (California, Oregon & Washington). Mucho photo!

    Wow, great story and pictures!
    Check out my page at www.myspace.com/wheresmickey

    Check out my pin collection at www.pinpics.com. User name is WheresMickey




  9. #9

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    Re: National Parks of the COW Loop (California, Oregon & Washington). Mucho photo!

    Great trip report! Your son is so lucky to have seen all that! We live so nearby....and we haven't taken the kids up to the Oly at all.

    You might have been at Umpqua during the same time we were camping nearby, also near the dunes. Weird!

    My mom lives in Astoria (actually out near the L&C park), where did you stay? Did you like it? It's changed a lot in the last few years. I actually enjoy going there now. Some good restaurants and quaint hotels downtown.

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    Re: National Parks of the COW Loop (California, Oregon & Washington). Mucho photo!

    ok, I really enjoyed this report. The pictures are amazing!! I sure loved the star fish and aquatic animals!!! and I am still wondering how you did this!


  11. #11

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    Cool Re: National Parks of the COW Loop (California, Oregon & Washington). Mucho photo!

    Thanks for the kind words. In Astoria, we stayed at the Best Western stinkerbell. It was a Saturday, so we did call that afternoon; think they we sold out by the time we arrived. Here's an odd sub-tale. After only having the room long enough to get in, have the boy change into a swim suit, go to the pool, then return because he forgot his key, there's a knock. It's front desk guy saying the person downstairs says we're too loud. I was mid-change to my swim suit, so just nodded so he'd go. But I had to stop at the desk, since, even if we were being loud, there hadn't been time for anyone to be so annoyed that they'd complain AND the desk clerk could get to our room. He then mentions she'd said it was going on for hours! OK, I get customer service, he needs to tell her he said something, but that something could've included the fact that it was impossible to have been us.

    Really only drove through Astoria, but the recently reconstructed fort at Lewis and Clark NHP was well done, and the volunteers there were obviously proud and enthusiastic about their park.

    Hakuna Makarla, here's the trick on the pic. He's on either a rock or log at least 50 feet away. Hard to spot since just about everything has something green growing on it. I just happened to notice the perspective when I looked up while sitting at the picnic table, and the camera was handy.

    A bientot.
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    What the dormouse said
    Feed your head!


    You've read it; you can't unread it!

  12. #12

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    Re: National Parks of the COW Loop (California, Oregon & Washington). Mucho photo!

    Quote Originally Posted by ralfrick View Post
    Thanks for the kind words. In Astoria, we stayed at the Best Western stinkerbell. It was a Saturday, so we did call that afternoon; think they we sold out by the time we arrived. Here's an odd sub-tale. After only having the room long enough to get in, have the boy change into a swim suit, go to the pool, then return because he forgot his key, there's a knock. It's front desk guy saying the person downstairs says we're too loud. I was mid-change to my swim suit, so just nodded so he'd go. But I had to stop at the desk, since, even if we were being loud, there hadn't been time for anyone to be so annoyed that they'd complain AND the desk clerk could get to our room. He then mentions she'd said it was going on for hours! OK, I get customer service, he needs to tell her he said something, but that something could've included the fact that it was impossible to have been us.

    Really only drove through Astoria, but the recently reconstructed fort at Lewis and Clark NHP was well done, and the volunteers there were obviously proud and enthusiastic about their park.

    Hakuna Makarla, here's the trick on the pic. He's on either a rock or log at least 50 feet away. Hard to spot since just about everything has something green growing on it. I just happened to notice the perspective when I looked up while sitting at the picnic table, and the camera was handy.

    A bientot.
    it was a cool shot!!! and these pics are so amazing. I wish I could see all this and my kids. I wish you had more pictures!!

  13. #13

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    Cool Re: National Parks of the COW Loop (California, Oregon & Washington). Mucho photo!

    Quote Originally Posted by Hakuna Makarla View Post
    I wish you had more pictures!!
    I used most of these in the report, but there are a few others located here.
    http://s100.photobucket.com/albums/m...20Loop%202008/

    A bientot.
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    What the dormouse said
    Feed your head!


    You've read it; you can't unread it!

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