It was wonderful to be back on Whidbey Island where we would spend the next few weeks staying with Scott’s parents at their new home in Freeland, WA. The last time we had been here was in July of 2019, to help them move from Langley to Freeland. When we left, there was a multitude of unpacked boxes. Now, the house was in tip-top shape! I particularly liked their sign in the backyard.
Their property abuts a golf course. This is their neighbor’s yard.
During our stay, we enjoyed many delicious meals together. Scott’s mom can cook up a storm! It was very serious business.
Sue had dug out one of the bushes on the property that had died. She has an artistic eye for flair, and saw the beauty in the dead tree. Her vision was to remove the dead leaves and then hang effects on its bare branches.
Larry, Scott, and Sue worked together to prepare the base for display.
Our sister-in-law works at a local winery, Holmes Harbor Cellars. She has the “fun” job of serving samples of wine to happy customers. I walked one mile from Sue and Larry’s home to the winery. Delightfully, I enjoyed a sampling of both red and white wines. If you are in the area, I highly recommend that you check this place out.
We left Heber City, Utah, and headed north into Idaho. Once again, we stopped in Boise to visit our in-laws and enjoyed a meal while we caught up. Their house was jazzed up for Halloween.
We spent the night at Ambassador RV Park, and got an early start the following morning. Heading west on 84 into Oregon to 201S to 20W, we drove through Juntura (where the time zone changes from MST to PST. Thankfully, there was a street sign to let us know it was happening.
As we continued driving north, you could see Mount Hood in the distance. We drove to Little Sisters (just south) and boon docked off Route 20.
After driving on Route 20 for several hours the following morning, we stopped at a trailhead for the PCT to stretch our legs and take a hike. Unfortunately, it was “Closed Due to Extreme Fire Behavior.”
About an hour later, we drove through the town of Detroit, which was hit hard by the raging wildfires. Many homes were burnt to the ground. It almost looked like a war zone. It was so odd to see a single home standing intact amongst the ruins of so many others. Since I was born and raised on the East Coast, I had never seen such devastation from fire in a town before. I had only seen the aftermath of fire it in the depths of the forests and mountains. I said a prayer for the displaced families.
We continued east and then north into McMinnville. There is free overnight parking at the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum. We parked the trailer and took a stroll around the grounds. There are four buildings that display artifacts from the Early 1900’s, WWI, WWII, and up to modern times. We passed on going inside the museums and chose to enjoy the sites from outside the building. Below is a view of Howard Hughes’ Spruce Goose, the biggest wooden airplane in the world. It is massive!
If you have young children, this would be a great place to visit. Although the outdoor playground was closed due to Covid19, someday it will open again.
Later that evening, we met more in-laws at Ruddick Wood American Restaurant in Newberg. This is the second time that we were in Oregon, and a bonus to meet up with Aimee and Jay again.
In the morning, we were back out on the road again. Traveling on 47N to 26W, we stopped at Sunset Rest Area. We had not seen rain for over two months. Here we were, back in the wet PNW. We parked and took a walk through the forest on Steam Donkey Trail. Everything was wet and very green…another one of our country’s beauties!
Two hours later, we crossed over the Astoria-Megler Bridge, which crosses over the Columbia River from Oregon into Washington.
About 100 miles north up the coastline, Route 101 hugs the Pacific Ocean once again. There are a few public beaches just off the road with small areas to park your car. We stopped at Beach 2 and took a short walk to the water.
Less than an hour later, we entered the town of Forks, which is located northwestern section of the Olympic Peninsula. Forks was also the filming location for the teen vampire series, Twilight. We spent the night at Forks 101 RV Park, and in the morning began our last trek from Oregon to Whidbey Island.
Bright and early the next morning, we continued north on 101 until it veered east, running parallel to Washington State’s coastline and the Strait of Juan De Fuca. We pulled over at Lake Crescent, and took a short stroll to the water’s edge where we enjoyed the beauty of the day.
We walked the 30 steps back to the truck and Scott discovered that he only had the door remote on his key chain. The key to start the truck had fallen off the ring. Oh boy! Imagine having to look for a black key that has fallen amidst this shoreline. We waded through the shallow water and I “eventually” found the key in the dark, black mud along the shore. Hallelujah!
After the excitement, we finally made it to Port Townsend Ferry Terminal, which took us across the Admiralty Inlet of the Puget Sound. Whidbey Island, here we come!
“The North Cascades are the wildest and steepest mountains in the lower 48 states. The ice age lives on within these mountain peaks with more than 300 active glaciers in North Cascades National Park Service Complex. Snow melts when summer comes to the North Cascades valleys. In the shade of some high mountains, where snowfall exceeds melting and evaporation, snow remains year after year and forms glaciers. Glaciers are compacted layers of snow and ice that creep and slide downhill. These powerful masses of flowing ice and rock constantly shape these mountains and provide streams and rivers with life – giving fresh water in summer.”
We left Whidbey Island and headed east on Hwy 20 towards North Cascades National Park.
When we were there two weeks ago with Molly, we only saw a small piece of it. We decided to return and explore it a bit more. This time we stayed at Newhalem Campground near the Skagit River.
It was a large, private campsite with lots of shady trees. We got settled, and then we took a short 1.8 mile hike on the River Loop Trail that surrounds the campground.
The trail led us to the water’s edge.
“The Skagit River was born from snowfields and glaciers high in the Cascade Mountains. As you walk along the river, notice waters tinted green by glacial ground “rock flour”. The Skagit’s flow carries these minerals and organic sediments which provide nutrients to life along its course.” In the picture below you can see the green-tinted water. It was beautiful!
The following morning, we got up early to drive farther north to hike Cascade Pass and the Sahale Arm Trail, a 12-mile, round-trip hike with just over 4,000 feet elevation gain and amazing views.
“The Upper Skagit people utilized Cascade Pass for thousands of years to travel to Eastern Washington. This popular hunting, trading, and camping route became a crucial path for fur traders and explorers.”
Today, it is a popular hike but not necessarily an easy one. The first 3.7 miles had 33 switchbacks through a shady forest with a moderate elevation gain.
This was the last of the switchbacks. At this higher elevation, there were some wildflowers still blooming. To our right we could see several glaciers when the clouds unveiled their presence.
As we climbed a little bit more, we could see Doubtful Lake below us. The color of the water from glacier run-off is one of a kind!
It wasn’t long before we came upon a young couple that had retreated about a quarter mile after seeing a mountain lion. Because it was so cloudy, they were hesitant on continuing on until the clouds passed. Below is a picture of us staring off into the distance at what we believed to be a mountain lion perched on a rock. If you zoom in on the second picture and look dead center, you can see “something” perched on a rock.
Another couple that we had previously passed had caught up to us. The six of us formed a pack and continued on, believing that six versus two people would scare off the wild animal.
The last 2.3 miles took us up and over ridges, until we reached the final stretch which was straight up very steep, rocky terrain. I was loosing my ambition to reach the peak, so I stopped to rest and eat lunch. I encouraged Scott to continue on since I was pretty much done with uphill for the day. After finishing my tasty peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich, another hiker stopped to rest with me. Together, we decided to continue to the peak as we had come so far and were almost there. We took each other’s picture to prove our quest.
Sahale Arm Trail has sites for overnight camping for those ambitious folk who don’t mind carrying their heavy packs up this steep terrain. Off to the right are small camping holes that can fit two small tents. They are surrounded by a three-foot rock wall to provide some shelter from the wind. Scott walked up higher to check out the various camp sites.
The picture below shows one of the campsites up on the rocks. If you zoom in and look to the left center, you can see a woman sitting on a rock wall that surrounds their campsite.
We sat down for a while to take in the beauty all around us.
We stayed longer than we normally would, as the view was spectacular. Since we were not camping overnight, we needed to get up before our muscles would tighten. We still had roughly six more miles to go. And, so the descent began.
After the initial 2.3 mile steep descent, we enjoyed stopping every now and then to take some photos now that the clouds were waning and revealing some of what we could not see on the way up. I was in my glory, ahead of Scott, walking and whistling down the trail. I love going DOWN. All of a sudden, I heard him tell me to STOP. Then he said, “Bear! Bear!” I saw the bear to my right, and my adrenaline started to rush through my body. I turned around and quickly got behind my tall, brave husband while my heartbeat rapidly increased. He told me to be calm and to take the bear spray out of his pack. If you look closely, the black bear is dead center in the picture below. There was a group of hikers toward the left under the clouds that had stopped to watch the bear (and us).
How about some live footage?
For some reason, I cannot get the video to load. I will try to edit and add the video when we get into an area with better WIFI.
The bear retreated over the ridge, and we went on our way. Here are a few more photos as we continued our descent.
It wasn’t long before we were at the start of the 33 switchbacks, which indicated another 3.7 miles to the parking lot. It was after 6:00 p.m. It was a long day but certainly one of our favorite hikes to date!
The next morning, we were back on Hwy 20 heading east towards Idaho. We stopped in a town called Twisp and parked our car near a park to eat lunch. Scott spied a swim club across the street, and I excitedly changed my clothes and went for a swim. While I swam, Scott read under the shade from the tree in the park.
A few more hours on the road, and we called it a day. Arriving in Idaho would have to wait until tomorrow. We spent the night at Canyon Creek Campground, WA.
I met three bicyclists from Maine that were riding across the country. They had stopped here in Colville to spend the night. Talk about determination and energy. They carried their sleeping gear, etc. on their bicycles!! They had left in early May and were on track to arrive on the west coast before the end of August. Quite ambitious, but not for me.
I thought that it would be helpful to see a map of Whidbey Island. We typically enter the island from the east, taking the ferry from Mukilteo on the mainland to Clinton, which you can see on the map above. We left Corbett, OR, late Friday morning for the trek to Whidbey Island. Obviously, we forgot our rule to NOT travel on Fridays. It took us about four hours to travel north up the coast on Hwy 5. The heavy traffic did not let up. It is a Friday in the summer.
We finally got to the exit for the Mukilteo Ferry, only to sit in the ferry car lane for two more hours. When we finally got to this point…
…it was still another hour until we got to board the boat. At last, we were on our way.
When we were here last December/January to visit, we parked our trailer at my in-laws property and stayed in their private apartment above their garage. Below is a view of the apartment from the backyard.
They had just sold this house, so we had to park our trailer at the Holmes County Rod and Gun Club, where they are members. It is less than a ten-minute drive from the gun club to their home. (Even though the house was sold, they were not vacating it until 8/8/19, but we were not able to park our trailer there this time.)
The town center of Langley was just another five minute drive from the gun club. We drove into town to have a bite to eat. Then, I had mother and son pose for a picture.
We ran into a friend of Sue’s who has a four-month old puppy that is being trained to be a service dog. His name is Quincy , and I want him.
The next day, Scott and I took our bikes to Fort Ebey State Park in Coupeville. After our ride, we took a break by the overlook. There was a couple with two pets at the picnic table right next to us. At first, I thought that they had one dog on a leash. Upon closer examination, the reality of their two pets was apparent. See if you can tell the difference.
On Saturday, July 20, Langley had a town parade as part of their four-day summer festival. There were about fifty people lined up along Cascade Avenue, which ran parallel to the water.
Some of people that were marching in the parade were throwing candy to the kids. Others handed out small water bottles, and I got a banana from a gorilla!
The parade lasted about fifteen minutes. It was adorable!
That evening, Mitch, Ani, and Mila joined us for dinner at The Porter Pub at Whidbey Air Park. I love restaurants that have indoor/outdoor seating.
Scott’s mom’s birthday was July 25. We celebrated her special day with dinner at Blooms Winery on Whidbey, located in Freeland. In addition to wine tasting, it offers both indoor and outdoor seating in a casual setting located at the historic Bayview Corner. Mom got the fish taco special.
The following day Molly arrived and we had a do-over birthday dinner at Gordon’s on Blueberry Hill, a polished indoor only restaurant with harbor views, also located in Freeland. Our server surprised mom with a treat!
A few days later, we took a drive to Double Bluff Beach, one of many off-leash dog parks that are found on the island. The beach is large and goes for miles at low tide. It is home to housing eagles. On clear days you can see Mount Rainier and the Olympic Peninsula. This early evening, we enjoyed taking in the sights.
There it is! Snow-capped Mount Rainier can be seen in the distance.
On Saturday, August 3rd, Scott went back to Ebey Landing to bike ride with Mitch. He dropped me off at their house, and Mila and I hung out waiting for Ani to get home from work. Bubba and Blu entertained us as we sat outside drawing freehand using a U-Tube video as a guide.
When Ani got home, she packed a lunch/snack, and the three of us walked a mile down the road to a local winery, Holmes Harbor Cellars.
After tasting a few wines, we walked another mile back to the house. I would like to live down the street from a winery, just saying.
On Sunday, Scott and I took a drive to South Whidbey Community Park in Langley.
It features softball, baseball, and grass soccer fields, a basketball court, picnic shelters, several restrooms, a children’s playground, a skateboard park, and many hiking trails. We enjoyed a short hike in the shaded forest.
Scott and I returned to Double Bluff Park on Monday for a hike along the shoreline. Today there were a number of bathers that came to frolic in the water and seek refuge from the hot sun under their self-made cabanas.
We didn’t have our suits on but the water was a bit too chilly for me to enjoy a swim. There were, however children and adults enjoying the water. One woman said she could only stay in for a little while before her legs were numb. It didn’t seem to bother the children!
As the official move date of August 8 approached, we found ourselves eating out much more than eating in. I didn’t take a picture of EVERY restaurant we dined at, but below are two more.
One afternoon, blue jello shots were on the specials’ menu. We all graciously declined. Then, the assistant manager brought them over for free. Mom and I wanted no part of them, but Scott and Larry did. He wasn’t quite sure how to go about “drinking” the semi-solid shot.
On Day One of the three-day move, they rented a U-HAUL trailer that Scott attached to our truck. They began the process of emptying out the two storage facilities.
They had a LOT of things. Even the lawnmower was going.
On Day Two, we used all three of our vehicles (Scott’s truck, Larry’s truck, and Sue’s car) and transported all the “loose, unpacked” items that we could handle. On Day Three, they hired “Back Breakers” to move the furniture and heavy boxes. Below is a picture from the inside of their “new” garage.
On our last night on Whidbey Island, we enjoyed a delicious dinner and wine with Larry and Sue at Bloom’s.
I kept telling Scott that I needed a picture of the two of them on the front steps of their new home. Why don’t I have one???? It was hard to say goodbye, but we will be back to Whidbey Island soon. We know where to find them.
If you plan to visit any of the San Juan Islands during the summertime, it is smart to make a reservation ahead of time for the ferry, especially if you plan to travel with a vehicle. Our reservation was for Monday morning on the 7:25 a.m. ferry from Anacortes to Orcas. It was a beautiful day.
It was a wee bit chilly, but that didn’t stop Scott from capturing the beautiful sunrise coupled with a marine push that produced the spectacular fog this particular morning.
We arrived at Orcas Island in less than an hour. The island is shaped like a horseshoe. The ferry is located on the bottom left side. Once we got off the ferry, we traveled north on Orcas Road (#5) to Lover’s Lane, which is not only the center of the horseshoe, but also the town center of Eastsound (#4).
Our first stop was at my friend’s son and daughter-in-law’s store in Eastsound.
There is a wide assortment of really cool jewelry, most of which was hand designed by the owner. She also draws all of the artwork that is screen-printed onto the clothing by her husband. Their collection of items come from all over the world. Their “lust” for “wandering” around the globe allows for the broad scope of worldly novelties. The store did not open until 11:00 a.m., so we decided to take a ride around the island to kill some time.
First, we headed east and then south on Olga Road until we reached Moran State Park (#14). I loved the welcome arch as we entered the park. We parked the truck and walked around, checking the place out. We thought about coming back to kayak on Cascade Lake, which was off to the right, if it warmed up.
Next, we continued on Olga Road to Pt. Lawrence Road to Doe Bay Resort (#14). It was mostly private roads, so we turned around and headed west to Obstruction Pass Road. There was ample parking here, and we took a short hike to see the views.
Obstruction Pass Beach is said to be the largest “public” beach on the island. The picture below shows most of it.
Then, we headed north again to Rosario Resort and Spa (#2). There was a lot of parking at this beautiful resort, but not one spot was open for us to park. Scott dropped me off so that I could take a walk around and take a few pictures. I would love to stay in this condo overlooking the water. It reminded me of the condos at The Sagamore, Lake George, NY.
In the opposite direction was the resort. My next picture shows part of the restaurant/pool area.
For some reason, I didn’t take a picture of the hotel. So, here is their website picture, which gives a much better view than I could have gotten from land.
Below if one more shot from the parking lot.
Later that afternoon, we stopped for a late lunch at The Madrona Bar & Grill which was located right on the East Sound. It featured steaks, seafood, and other American fare served in a rustic cottage with deck seating & water views.
Afterward, we drove to the hostel where we would be staying overnight. It was also located in the center of town, about one block from the water. Actually, everything on this island is pretty close to the water.
Below are some pictures taken from the backyard. There are a few options for sleeping to choose from…a private bedroom or a shared bedroom in the house, or outside in a tent, tepee, or bus. Not kidding.
The owners sleep in the little brown building with the red windows and door.
We checked into our private room on the second floor in the house and took a nap. When we woke up, we drove to Crescent Beach Public Beach (#10) with the idea of taking the kayaks out to catch the sunset. This was as far as we got.
The next morning, we checked out of the hostel and went to breakfast at Rosies. They are known on the island for the BEST breakfast. We arrived shortly after two large parties, and were asked by our server if we had to catch a ferry. We didn’t know then that it would be 45 minutes before we would see our food. I never had “baked” eggs before, so it was worth the wait.
We headed west to Enchanted Valley Road (#3) to see my friend’s son’s home. They had purchased some land about five years ago and are slowly building “little houses” to allow for their growing business and family. It was so wonderful to see this handsome, young man again. He is the son of my very dear friends that I grew up with. They must be so proud of the life their children have created for themselves on such a gem of an island.
We had time for a hike and “Murf” suggested we check out Turtleback Mt. Nature Hike (#7). It was an easy to moderate hike with some long uphills to some spectacular views.
We parked by South Trail and headed north to Lost Oak Trail.
Parts of the trail were shady and wide while others were sunny and grassy.
Some were narrow…
…and lead to a magnificent views.
It was time to head south to the ferry for our reserved 7:25 p.m. ride back to Anacortes. When we pulled up to the station, the attendant seemed entertained by our arrival time. He said that the 5:15 ferry had just left and the next one was not until 8:50 p.m. I told him that we had made a reservation over a week ago. Upon checking my text messages, I realized the mistake I had made. Instead of booking a round trip fare, I booked two one-way fares from Anacortes to Orcas. Since their return trip is free, we just had to wait another three hours for the next ferry. I’d rather be hiking.
We finally were on our way back to Whidbey Island, hoping to return to Orcas Island again some day.
Molly was able to get a few days off from work again. This time we picked her up in Bellingham, and then we headed west, passing through North Cascades National Park.
We were able to find a really nice campsite right on the river at Early Winters Campground. It is a first-come, first-serve campground. This is probably our favorite campsite yet!
Here is a few from the other side.
This campground was located about five minutes from the quaint town of Mazama. There is one local gas station/grocery store/restaurant with outdoor seating. It was usually frequented by many customers. Their homemade bread was to die for.
After we set up camp, we got on our bikes for a 17.2 mile bike ride along Methow Community Trail.
It was all flat, which was perfect for us to warm up our legs for tomorrow’s elevated bike ride. None of us had been on a bike recently. Shortly into the beginning of the ride, there was a suspension bridge that takes you over the Methrow River. We stopped to rest and to watch some dogs frolicking in the water. That’s Molly on her bike on the bridge.
The next day we drove to Chicakadee Trailhead, and did a 5.7 mile single track loop with considerable elevation, narrow paths, and a few steep drop offs. Needless to say, I hopped off my bike on a few occasions so that I wouldn’t fall down the hill. I did take one photo of the Northern Cascades off in the distance.
After the ride, we stopped in the town of Winthrop to have some lunch. Winthrop is a small, old fashioned, western-like town. Some of the buildings are quite old, yet maintained.
That evening, we saw a beautiful sunset from our campsite.
The next morning, we packed up camp and drove a couple of hours west. The map below shows our location at Rainy Pass.
We hiked Maple Pass Trail, a 6.4 mile moderately trafficked loop trail with breathtaking views. This is the third time that I have walked on part of the Pacific Crest Trail. Maybe some day we will hike the entire length of the PCT. Right.
Since it is a loop, you can begin either in a clockwise or a counterclockwise direction. If you go clockwise, there is considerable elevation gain, but the descent is not as steep. We figured our knees would prefer a gentler downhill. Once we began, it was pretty much an uphill climb.
We finally got our first glimpse of Rainy Lake.
It was rich in color and surrounded by snow-capped mountains.
Scott always finds the best spot to take his pictures.
As we reached higher elevation, the wildflowers were everywhere! They were absolutely stunning!
We continued up the switchbacks, enjoying the colorful view but anxious to get to the summit of the pass. See if you can find Molly and me. Here’s a clue. She is almost at the top.
Am I there yet?
We finally made it to the top and pondered the trail we just climbed.
Scott found a perch to take our first picture of Lake Ann.
Next, he spotted a white mountain goat on the rocky hill. Can you spot it?
It was pretty chilly at the top of the pass as the wind was howling. We had a quick snack and then began our descent. We hope that you enjoy Scott’s photos. The view was truly amazing.
Here is a closer view of Lake Ann. Now, you can see the small island on the lake more clearly.
Three climbers and their professional guide were plucked from the flank of Mount Rainier yesterday in a high-altitude helicopter rescue after falling during a climb. The accident — a 120-foot slide down a steep slope to a crevasse on Ingraham Glacier high on the mountain — sent all four climbers to the hospital.
No one was killed.
The most seriously injured of the four, Patrick Clemens of Bethlehem, Pa., was airlifted to Madigan Army Medical Center at Fort Lewis near Tacoma with a broken leg and head injuries, said National Park Service spokeswoman Lee Taylor. A hospital spokeswoman declined to release his condition late yesterday. Another climber, 42-year-old Matthew Fisher of Vernon, N.J., suffered a sore back and a possible spinal injury and was taken to Harboview Medical Center in Seattle. He was listed in serious but stable condition last evening.
A third climber, Peter Bridgewater, 54, of Singapore, suffered no major injuries. He was in satisfactory condition at Tacoma General Hospital.
The guide, 31-year-old John Lucia, lost consciousness for a time after the fall but then was able to help with the rescue before he was flown to Tacoma General Hospital, where he was in satisfactory condition.
The climbers were on a trip run by Rainier Mountaineering Inc. (RMI), the mountain’s largest guide company, following the popular Disappointment Cleaver route to the 14,411-foot summit.
Bridgewater, who was roped to the three other climbers, fell on a steep slope at 12,600 feet, pulling the rest with him, Taylor said, based on a report from a Park Service climbing ranger at the scene of the rescue.
Bridgewater had fallen a moment earlier, but Lucia, who was first in line, was able to stop the fall. But when Bridgewater fell again, all four men slid toward the crevasse, Taylor said.
Lucia and Bridgewater were going so fast that they flew over the giant crack in the glacier. But Fisher and Clemens slid into the crevasse and fell about 20 feet.
The rescue operation involved two Black Hawk helicopters from the Oregon National Guard, a U.S. Army Reserve Chinook helicopter, park-service climbing rangers and RMI guides.
Lou Whittaker, a veteran mountaineer and co-founder and president of RMI, said the four were part of a larger guided group following a standard route.
Another RMI team was traversing the mountain yesterday to check out the route, and the company planned to resume regular guided climbs today.——————————————————————————————————————————
A year later, he attempted the same climb with a successful and gratifying outcome. Fourteen years later, he returned not to climb but to hike and reminisce about the past.
Molly had reserved a site (Loop A 130) in Ohanapecosh Campground, set beneath towering old growth trees and running alongside the Ohanapecosh River.
It was drizzling, so Scott and Molly got busy putting up a tarp to give us some shelter.
When that was ready, we took a short hike on Silver Falls Loop Trail to the Grove of the Patriarchs, which were accessible from the campground. What I love most about the hiking trails in Washington is the richness of the greenery.
We hiked along the river’s edge and found a spot to sit down and take in the beauty surrounding us. Scott was busy taking photos.
All of a sudden, Mr. Photographer had a minor problem. Oops! No problem. He was able to retrieve his camera cover before it was swept away by the rushing river.
A little farther up we were delighted to see and hear Silver Falls.
We had to cross over a single person suspension bridge that crossed over a quiet part of the river, and into the Grove of the Patriarchs.
On the way back out, there were small bridges that provided more stunning views of the river.
That evening, we made a fire to combat the soft drizzle and cooler temperatures. Campfires are not the norm for us.
We woke up early the next morning as we had a bit of a drive from our campsite to Paradise Trails. The winding roads in the park allow for views of ancient trees and beautiful waterfalls. I particularly love the rock tunnels that you will ultimately drive through.
Scott chose Paradise Trails, which was the trail where he began his summit trek years back. On clear days, these trails provide an amazing view of the many glaciers and the summit. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a clear day. We started on Skyline Loop via High Skyline Trail, a 5.5 miles round trip-hike, with an elevation gain of 1,700 feet. The trail starts in the parking lot as a paved trail. When Scott was here last, it was covered in snow. Today it was luscious green.
If you zoom into the picture below, you can see a stone building. It may be a warming hut although we didn’t see a path leading to it.
As we gained elevation, the fog rolled in, making it difficult to see the glaciers and summit before us.
Off to the side of the trail, there were climbers training for the same climb that Scott had made. We got off the trail to get in the picture.
We continued up the trail towards Panorama Point.
We befriended a park volunteer, Pete, who was eager to hear about Scott’s previous climbs. In the picture below, Scott is facing the summit of Mt. Rainier, and Pete is looking at the valley below.
As the clouds appeared to be dissipating, Scott got up to be ready to capture a glimpse of the summit. You can barely see the summit in the picture below.
Here’s another shot. Don’t blink.
There it is, right behind me! That’s about as close to the summit that I will get!
There were more nice views of a glacier and waterfall on the way down.
While we sat around waiting for the clouds to pass, there were several frisky friends who came right up to us hoping for some food. One of them climbed up Scott’s back and sat on his shoulder!
Then there are the OTHER furry friends. They are more interesting in eating the flowers.
The clouds were hovering over the summit, so we continued hiking on Skyline Trail loop. The snow depth in some places was mind boggling.
As we came down in elevation, the landscape quickly changed back to colorful flowers amidst the luscious greenery.
The next morning, we broke down camp and headed to Palisades Lakes Trails, which is over by Sunrise section of the park.
The trails descends into a valley with many lakes to explore.
We only went as far as Clover Lake due to time constraints as well as the rainy weather.
We returned from our Whistler ski vacation to spend our last two weeks on Whidbey Island. It’s been nice being able to enjoy dinner and sometimes breakfast with Scott’s mom, Sue, and Larry. Pepper, the cat, never got this close to me.
From our apartment upstairs, we could see into their dining room if the shades were not drawn. Scott took this picture using a telephoto lens on his camera. That is Larry’s seat and no one else’s.
There is a two car garage attached to the main house. Above the garage is the apartment where we stayed during our visit.
One flight up to 2nd Floor
Knock, Knock, Who’s There?
On Tuesday, January 22, Scott and I took a drive to Everett, WA, to look at some diesel trucks that he had seen on the internet. Neither one of us thought that we would leave our Toyota Tacoma behind that day, and drive away with a different vehicle. It wasn’t long before we said hello to our new truck, a 2018 Chevy Silverado. Look out mountain passes…here we come! This truck can pull a much larger RV in the event that we choose to upgrade in the future. Dream on, Sue.
On Thursday, Larry and Sue took us on a road trip to Skagit Valley to see the winter snow geese.
Unfortunately, not many snow geese were around. It could be due to the very wet and muddy conditions. I didn’t take a picture, and Mom was very disappointed that we missed a truly spectacular site. Below is a picture of “Snow Geese Landing in Foggy Weather”, taken by photographer, Duke Coonrad.
Mom was right. It is a truly spectacular sight! We drove to the town of La Conner and went window shopping. We spotted an egret, and I caught Scott in action. This channel of water is a part of the Pacific Ocean that separates Fidalgo Island from the mainland.
Later, we had lunch at Seabolts, and I ate the most delicious mussels. They farm them not far from the restaurant.
On Saturday, January 26, we returned to Bellingham to celebrate Molly’s upcoming birthday. First we took a six-mile hike at Chuckanut Mountain.
Halfway into the hike, we spotted Mount Baker in the distance. Mt Baker is an extinct volcano located in the North Cascades.
Towards the end of the hike, we came to Cyrus’s Gates Overlook. On a clear day, you can see Orcas Island in the distance.
After the hike, we headed to Brunch in Fairhaven, followed by some chocolate cake and the Happy Birthday song.
On the way home from visiting with Molly, we learned that Scott’s dad has passed away that late afternoon. Even though it was a blessing that he would no longer have to suffer, we were not expecting that phone call. Needless to say, it was a bittersweet day.
Our last evening in Whidbey came much too quickly. Larry and Sue took us out for dinner at Charmers Bistro.
We enjoyed a great meal and talked about how quickly time had passed. It was hard to believe that we would be taking off in the morning to continue our life on the road after an almost three-month hiatus. The time came to say goodbye for now. We are so happy to have spent this time together.
It was wonderful to be reunited with my husband after almost six weeks apart. We have decided that it is just too long to be traveling alone. Scott left Estes Park, Colorado, with trailer in tow on December 3, giving himself seven days to get to Washington. The first two days were slow moving on Route 80 due to high winds, snowy weather, and the road being shut down due to a 17-vehicle pile up.
Then, he decided to make it a marathon and drove more hours than I would have allowed in any one day. He made it to Whidbey Island in Washington in four days…three days before I arrived in Seattle.
Scott’s mom, Sue, and her husband, Larry, have lived in Langley, Washington, for 15 years. They have a beautiful home in a quiet area on the southern end of Whidbey Island. There is a one bedroom, one bath apartment above the two-car garage that we stayed in during our visit. As you turn off Doc Savage Road onto their driveway, you immediately feel welcome.
Next, you take a sharp right to reveal the hidden, front property. To the far left behind our parked RV is Larry’s “Man Cave”, where he has built many beautiful pieces of furniture (among other things) over the years.
There is a family of alpacas in the neighbor’s yard, and on clear days you can see the Olympic Pensiula and Useless Bay.
It rarely snows on the island, and the temperature almost never gets below freezing during the winter months. Daily temperatures range from low 40’s to mid 50’s. It does, however, rain a lot. This would explain the richness of the color green that is found in trees and on many structures.
It can rain for days on end, and there aren’t many sunny days. Yet when the sun does come out, it bestows the most beautiful sunrise and sunset. I am told that Washington has the most spectacular summers, and we are looking forward to that experience later this year.
Just up the road from Sue and Larry’s home is a private trail through the woods that leads to a back road. It has some short, steep inclines, and it is a great place to get your heart rate up while enjoying the green scenery. I remember spotting an owl here several years ago.