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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

California, here we come....

The main thing we came to California for was to go to Yosemite National Park.  However, we just couldn't pass up visitng Lake Tahoe also.  Before my kids call me and ask if Alzheimer's has already begun, I do realize that Lake Tahoe is also in Nevada.  I did not realize until I saw a map of the lake that most of the lake and most of the resorts are on the California side (west side) but there is a lot to see on the eastern Nevada side as well.  We actually stayed at a campground in Nevada, but when we went to the town of South Lake Tahoe, we were in California. 


With 71 miles of shoreline you can spend hours driving around the lake, but we spent most of our time on the southern end, east and west side.  Here is a picture taken at Emerald Bay. 

The average depth of Lake Tahoe is almost 1000 feet.  It never freezes over due to the constant movement of water from the lake bottom to the top.


Of course, we had to take a hike to a "vista point". 


If you like to look at big granite rocks (BIG, HUGE rocks) and sheer drop off cliffs, this is the place.  Of course, there are meadows, waterfalls, lakes and wilderness areas to boot.  We enjoyed our 2 1/2 days in the park, even though it was unseasonably warm for September.

What everyone comes is to see is the two most famous granite rocks; El Capitan and Half Dome.
El Capitan stands 3,593 feet from base to summit.  Climbers come from all over the world to scale it.

Half Dome rises to an elevation of 8,842 feet!

One scenic drive in the park is along Tioga Road.  One vista we especially liked was Olmsted Point.

Doug just had to go out to the very edge.  I was too scared to go!

Here is a lake called Tenaya Lake.  We fell in love with this lake.  One day we had a picnic there.  It even has a beach!  The water is so clear you can see to the bottom of the lake until it gets too deep.

Unfortunately Yosemite Falls and BridalVeil Falls were almost dry by this time of the year.  I'm sure they are spectuacular in the spring.

We are in Arizona now and will soon be posting pictures of the Grand Canyon.  Wish you were here to enjoy it with us!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Okay, so we're not beach people....

Anyone that knows us very well knows that we don't go to the beach.  That's really not hard to accomplish when you live in Arkansas anyway.  We have always vacationed in the mountains, mostly Colorado.  But we are leaving Washington and headed into Oregon and we decided to drive along the Oregon coast; the Pacific coast is much different than the Atlantic coast where Vicki grew up.  We weren't able to get to some of the places that we wanted to go, but we still really enjoyed it.  Hope you enjoy the pictures too!


It's hard to realize how big these rocks actually are until you see the people on the beach!

In some of these places at high tide there is no "beach"  left.

This day was quite cool and misty (fairly typical for the Oregon coast I think); no sunshine.  Also, what the locals call the "winter waves" have begun.  They are actually bigger than the waves in summer and look "angry".  This is no day for swimming for sure!


We left the coast and headed to Crater Lake and had a really nice day there.  We took sooo.. many pictures, but here are some of my favorites.  By the way, the water really is as blue as it looks; and yes, the lake really is in a crater.  Did you know that this is the deepest lake in the United States (1,943 ft.) and it is only fed by rain and snow (no rivers or streams)?  Neither did I.  I also didn't know that it is considered the cleanest large body of water in the world.  Wow!  Driving all the way around the lake is only 33 miles, but it takes awhile because there are 30 (at least) pull outs to stop in.  Yes, we stopped at all of them!  Enjoy!

Just to prove we were really there!!

Today (Thursday, 9/17) we left Oregon and headed into California.  We are on our way to Lake Tahoe and then on to Yosemite National Park.  It's hard to believe that our 4 1/2 month trip will soon come to an end; only 6 weeks left now.  I'll share more thoughts about spending this length of time in a motorhome with only one other person later.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Last, but not least on our Washington state tour

We are actually in Oregon now, but I wanted to show you how we finished our tour of Washington state - by visiting Mt. Rainier.  Some days are so cloudy that the mountain can barely be seen.  We were truly blessed to have had one day that was completely clear for a few hours!  One woman who was there on this day said that she had been there 40 times and had never seen it so clear. 

The one above and this one were taken on the way to the Paradise area of Rainier.
Here is a picture we took on the way to a different area in the park (the Sunrise area).  The day was not as clear as the first, but was still amazing to see.
We went on a hike and were able to see the glaciers closer.  I can't imagine climbing this 14,000+ foot peak; this was close enough!
There is so much more we would like to do here, but alas, we just couldn't do it all.  That means we will have to return to this area.  We spent a month in Idaho and a month in Washington and barely scratched the surface of all there is to see.  Washington and Idaho are two really beautiful states (and cool summer weather to boot).  God willing, we will be able to return again soon.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

If you are anywhere near this wonderful park, please make plans to see it.  There is so much to see and do here.  We spent several different days going to different parts of the park but there is still so much that we did not have time to do.  I hope you enjoy the pictures!
Hurricane Ridge, probably the most popular viewing spot in the park.
Somehow, Doug talked me into taking a one lane (with two way traffic) road from Hurricane Ridge up the side of the mountain to a place called Obstruction Pass, elevation 6100 ft.  I do not have Doug's confidence about driving roads with sheer drop offs and no guard rails!!  I don't have any pictures of the sheer drop offs because I had to close my eyes and pray!
This is the pass, but we did not hike to the summit.  Wow, you can sure see a lot from up here!
Next, we went to the Lake Crescent area of the park and hiked through an old growth forest to Marymere Falls.  Below is a picture of the trail.  As you can see some of the trees are just HUGE.  Yes, that is us standing at the base of the tree.  You couldn't tilt your head back enough to see the top of the tree.  You would have had to lie down on the ground and look up (we didn't try this but I think it would work).
This is the root ball of a tree that had toppled over in the forest.  Doug estimated that the diameter was around 15 ft. WOW!
Marymere Falls
The falls drop 90 ft. from the top into a gorgeous pool
Sol Duc Region and falls
The drop on these falls is not nearly as great as Marymere, but they are unique because there are 3 falls coming from the same water source above.  You can see the depth of the canyon if you look at the bridge at the top of the photo.  We have a 4 (almost 5) year old granddaughter who loves waterfalls; we took this one just for her.
This is Salmon Cascade, where the mature Salmon come in their quest to return to where they were born.  We could see them swimming in the water below the falls and occasionally they would jump out of the water.  It is just an accident if you get a picture of them jumping because they are up and down before you can snap a shot.  Doug saw one jump from the pool up into the swirling water around the rocks, but we never saw one get all the way to the top.  I am told that they will jump until they either make it or fatally injure themselves while trying.
Well, I hate to end on that note about the Salmon fatally injuring themselves, so I found another picture you may enjoy of the fabulous Olympic mountain range.  This is a close up from Hurricane Ridge.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Mt. Baker and Shuksan

It was not a perfectly clear day, but at least we could see the mountains.  The first picture is of the road we drove to get there, very twisty.

This is Mt. Shuksan from across Picture Lake in the Cascade mountain range

This is called Artist Point - lots of pictures taken here
Not much to say about these except WOW!!
This is Mt. Baker

Friday, August 21, 2009

Our Week in Anacortes, WA

We are over in the Olympic Peninsula now but I wanted to share what a wonderful week we had last week. First of all, after camping in the national forests for a week we enjoyed our stay in a commercial campground in Anacortes with cable TV (the first time we had seen the news since mid June). It was also nice to have full hook-ups (no need to ration water) and had easy access to stores, etc. We also went out to eat a few times, something we have done very little of in the past 2 months. I guess we'll have to scratch this weeks "weigh day"!

Anacortes has a population of about 17,000, so it's not too big or too small. It has access to beaches, mountains and nearby islands as well as Canada. There are ferry boats that take you to the San Juan Islands and to Victoria Island in Canada. You can actually see snow capped Mt. Baker from the marina in downtown Anacortes!
Here are some of the highlights of our week
This was taken at Mr. Erie Park's 1,270 peak. When it is not a hazy day you can see much farther. This is Doug at Mt. Erie. You may not have seen him since he had a buzz cut. He also looks different because he has lost 18 lbs. since he had the stent put in his heart in June. The doctor told him to lose 30 lbs. so he is trying. Good job, Doug!
The Deception Pass Bridge connects Fidalgo Island (where Anacortes is) and Whidbey Island (where the Naval Air Station is). The bridge and pass are very scenic and very popular.
We took a hike around this area. Doug is sitting on a tree on the hiking trail that has been bent over. You can see a lot of trees that are bent like this, primarily due to the weight of the snow in the winter, and yet they still survive and thrive. It kind of reminded me of the weight of trials in our lives sometimes, yet Jesus carries us through them and we become stronger.

Looking toward the San Juan Islands from a hiking trail at Deception Pass.

Views from the Deception Pass bridge

This is only about half of what we did while in Anacortes. Some of the prettiest pictures are yet to come, but I'll have to work on that tomorrow. Thanks for keeping up with what we are doing. I hope you're having a very blessed summer!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Hello, Northern Washington

We finished the Selkirk Loop and have driven all the way across northern Washington state on state highway 20. We are now in Anacortes, Washington which is about 2 hr. north of Seattle. We took about 5 days to drive here from Idaho and stayed at National Forest campgrounds during that time. One of the campgrounds was in a canyon with no cell or internet. Even the camp hosts only had a two-way radio for emergencies. It felt pretty strange not to have cell or internet service at all, but it was quite a scenic drive and very little traffic.
Here is a picture of Doug at one of the Forest Service campsites in the North Cascades.

One of the mountain passes we went through was Washington Pass (elevation 5500 ft). Believe it or not, the road was really pretty good and we had no problems. At the summit there is an overlook and even the trail out to it was gorgeous. The overlook is where we took the pictures.

All the lakes here are pretty, but it is hard to beat a lake called Diablo Lake. It is on a stretch of Hwy. 20 in North Cascades National Park that is closed in the winter. As you can see, the color of the water is almost emerald green. That is because as glaciers in the high country slowly wear down the mountains, the grinding of rock against rock produces a fine silt that is carried into the lake below. This “rock flour” suspended in the water reacts with light to give the lake its blue-green color. The bottom picture shows it best, although it is even more vibrant when you see it in person. The variety of scenery that God placed on this earth is just amazing! That we would be blessed enough to travel and see it this summer is also amazing. God is so good to us!