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Up Topic General / Travel / Our 2 week trip to Oregon/Washington states w/pics
- - By neustkg (Important) Date 2010-07-19 3:51 PM Edited 2010-07-19 3:56 PM
Well, since my wife isn't working right now, we decided to take a 2 week trip to visit her parents in Bend, OR, and her brother in Washington, just north of Portland.  Took 3 days to drive out and had a very nice time.  Also, nice weather, except for maybe 5 days where the temps were above 90 (but that's rare in PacNW, and we visited when those temps happen), but it was only 3 days during our trip in Bend, and 2 on the way home, which is normal in ID and WY.  We decided to take advantage of our National Parks Pass (visited 3 NM's, plus RMNP the week before the trip, so we got our money's worth). Here are the highlights w/some pics:

Fossil Butte NM in SE WY (we got there just after it closed, but got some great views at sunset).  Fossil Butte was mined at the turn of the century for it's vast collection of fossils before it was turned into a NM.

Fossil Butte at sunset

Stayed in Pocatello, ID, and travelled to Crater's of the Moon NM, but along the way, we drove by the Atomic City (the first atomic power plant), and INL (Idaho National Laboratory, which is devoted to nuclear research). Here are a few pics there:



And a landmark for the Oregon Trail

Then drove across a very rural area of Idaho and stayed in Ontario, OR (home of OreIda french fries).  Drove to my wife's parents the next day.  Had a good time there, with a trip to the Cascade Pass, and a lava castle built during the 1930s.  The pass is winding and tractor trailers and long vehicles can't get through.  If there's too much snow, the state doesn't even bother opening the highway in summer (I think that happened last year or the last).

Visited my BIL in Battle Ground, OR and spent a day on Yale Reservoir, which has an awesome view of Mt. St. Helens (I didn't have the camera, but if I can find an old pic, I'll post it). 

Next day, spent the day at Mount Saint Helens NM, which was our 4th trip since 1999.  It's really changed over the years, and in about 20-30 years, it might look like several other very old blown volcanos (Broken Top in Bend, OR, for instance).


No trip to Mount Saint Helens is complete w/o a trip to the Big Foot Museum and a picture with Big Foot.  We stopped here in 1999 just about when the statue was finished.  I cracked up because we saw a similar museum at Loch Ness in 1998.

Big Foot (with a pic of me this time).

Next day, we drove home through the Columbia River Gorge and visited Cascade Locks, and drove through NE Oregon through Pendelton and Baker City.  Looked just like Utah.  I wanted to stop in Twin Falls, ID to take a pic of the ramp used for Evil Knievel's failed attempt over the Snake River, but it was too dark.  Maybe next trip.
Parent - - By joerunner (100 mile stud) Date 2010-07-22 9:22 AM
Hey, that's my neck of the woods.  You're giving me some great vacation ideas.

The gorge is where I do a lot of my trail running.

Have you gotten to the rim of St helens yet?  Pretty cool hike.
Parent - - By neustkg (Important) Date 2010-07-22 9:42 AM
When we were visiting Mt. St. Helens w/my BIL (who can't see any point to running, but to his credit he does a ton of hiking for his USDA Hydrologist job in your area), I mentioned the Rim Trail (I think it's something like 30 or 35 miles around, but around the base??) and he said that'll take you a week to do.  I said "nahh, maybe 10 hours hiking, but a good ultra runner should be able to do it in 5 or 6 hours."  He was "No way!" And we went back and forth for at least a half hour on that one.  Unfortunately, I can see Mt. St. Helens loosing it's National Monument status.  They haven't had as many visitors in recent years and closed down the Cold Water Observatory (their biggest site) in 2007 due to lack of funds (but my BIL says it's a ploy to try to get more funding--people complain, funding comes back, etc.).  I can see in 30 years the place not looking like a blast zone anymore and people probably will stop coming altogether.  I kind of wish they had built a road from either Cold Water or Johnston Observatories to Windy Ridge/Spirit Lake.  Would have linked up more of the park and made it more interesting.  I've always wanted to go to Windy Ridge, but that's a day trip itself as you  have to drive around the back side to Cougar (which isn't that interesting at all).

I really liked being out on Yale Reservoir.  You get a very nice view of Mt. St. Helens from the other side, too.  My BIL didn't do it this time, but he sometimes takes his boat all the way to Cougar, about 20 miles from where we were, and a closer view of the mountain (which is in view not far from where he lives in Battle Ground). I didn't take pics that day, but I think I have an old pic from 2004 I took when we visited from Seattle.

The Gorge is a very nice place.  You  could take a full day and look at the other Locks and waterfalls.  Traffic is a little heavy, though.
Parent - - By joerunner (100 mile stud) Date 2010-07-31 12:11 AM
I think the trail around St. Helens is called the Loowit trail and even during the best of years it was really slow due to the deep canyons and rock falls.  For the last 10 years or so many sections of the trail have become nearly impassable.  I've seen some very fast ultra guys take 12 hours plus to circle St Helens.  I tried it once several years back and turned around due to my inexperience and the condition of the trail.  The next day I made it up to the rim and that was really cool.
Parent - By neustkg (Important) Date 2010-07-31 3:59 PM

>For the last 10 years or so many sections of the trail have become nearly impassable.

I believe it.  The park service is having trouble keeping the National Monument open (closed the Cold Water observation area in 2007 due to lake of visitors).  When we first visited in 1999, I thought the place should become a National Park, what with Great Sand Dunes switching over w/Clinton admin.  But after visiting a lot from 2003 to 2005, and then just recently, I'm thinking the park might revert to just National Forest.
Up Topic General / Travel / Our 2 week trip to Oregon/Washington states w/pics

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