In need of a road trip this summer to make better use of my annual interagency pass, the forecast was for high temperatures, except for the Pacific Northwest. This season was mostly a snowbound one for high peak hiking, so I decided to decline any snow climbing, solo.
Leaving Thursday morning, I headed north on Interstate 5 and took the McCloud Exit past Dunsmuir, CA. I stopped at the ranger station to ask about roads, as they were having computer problems. The National Forest website was down the night before, so I had to get information personally. Seeing my hikes would be alright, I drove on paved roads to the McCloud Falls series of hikes. First was Lower Falls. Some forest crew were doing some field training, and people were about. I started with my photos and movies, having my old tripod to steady the shots.
Next was the Middle Falls, then the Upper Falls. Fine day! Finished with my project here, I entered Mt. Shasta City, CA, for food and drink. Then, it was to hike from Bunny Flat to the Sierra Club Hut. A group of young males were backpacking with snow gear, to camp by the backcountry lodge. I hiked back to my car, and drove to my lodging in Yreka, CA.
Up early the next day, I continued north on Interstate 5 into Oregon. It began to get warm, so I declined my 3X hike to the top of Spencer Butte, outside Eugene, OR. Coming into Portland, I headed east on Interstate 84 to Multnomah Falls. This was a familiar sight, with throngs of tourists. Next, I drove to the short hike to Sherrard Point atop Larch Mountain for some classic views of the Cascade peaks. My fourth visit to the Portland Womens Forum scenic viewpoint netted my usual photo record. Driving back down into Vancouver, WA, I had some food and a rest.
Up early again, Saturday, it was to motor north to take highways into Mt. Rainier National Park. Seeing the hiking op, I took the short trail to Carter Falls. This was a disappointment. Next, I came to the trailhead for Comet Falls. Two NPS volunteers gave me bad words and incorrect or no information. I surmised that I’d have to check the trail on my own, as the NPS website warned of hazardous conditions. I took my light day pack with an ice ax, and ventured forth. Other hikers were returning with nary a word, so I figured that it was O.K. I began to run into snow close to the end of the hike, and my ax gave me some security. I had to downclimb some snow and awkward moves to come to a bridge, and then there was the falls. Objective completed! Setting up my tripod in the snow, I proceeded with my movies. Excellent! A volunteer who was worth something knocked down some undercut snow hazards, and apprised me of things. On my way back, I told unprepared hikers of the dangers, but game hikers were making it. After a stop for photos at the Christine Falls pullout, I took another stop at Narada Falls, where I snapped even more photos.
Motoring up to Paradise, I went for a snow hike. I wished for telephotos of the glaciers and icefields, seen from here. I kicked steps on the well trodden path, with hundreds of hikers trudging up to a snow play area. I secured a view, wishing for some silence and solitude, then two hikers began to follow me there and chattered loudly. I requested ten seconds of quiet to capture the sounds of nature, and so got my videos. My jeans got wet doing a sit glissade where tourists were playing, and I tromped through the water on the trail and stairs back to my car.
Doing a counterclockwise loop about the mountain, I gained more sights, with another falls, and the sight of the peak. Glorious! I may never climb this mountain, with the guide cost being too much for me, but you can get the gist of the view from the flanks of the peak. It was through towns and highways to Seattle, where I obtained more lodging.
Sleeping well, I was up Sunday for a drive up I-405 through Bellevue, WA, and then to U.S. 2. Coming shortly to Wallace Falls State Park, this was my biggest hike for this trip. The trail was gorgeous, and you finally come to the lower falls. In shadow, I had to take what I could get, and hiked up to the Middle, then Upper Falls. It was a mostly downhill hike back to the cars, so now, I had to sightsee this scenic highway. Arriving to Deception Falls, I had to stop for a look. I made the short loop, and motored over Stevens Pass.
The town of Leavenworth, WA, had long interested me. I found parking and walked about this Bavarian motifed part of town. Shooting plenty of photos, I decided to have an authentic meal, and enjoyed my best dining of this trip. Motoring off, I made a stop at Peshastin Pinnacles State Park for some quick photos. With power lines, it is not too appealing for photography.
U.S. 97 led me to Interstate 82. Lodging then in Yakima, WA, I liked how this road trip was going!
Up early the next morning, I drove in the dark to witness a lightning display ahead of me. Rain was forecast up north. I motored past wind generators to come to the Columbia River Gorge. The sun was rising, and I had nice vistas from the north side of the river. Checking the Horsethief Butte trailhead, I snapped a few photos. After a brief wander in The Dalles, OR, I motored south on U.S. 197. It was to the White River Falls State Park for another sight to capture. I had a nice sky on my way south to connect back with U.S. 97. Back to U.S. 97 south, a stop at Peter Skeen Ogden State Scenic Viewpoint and the bridges over the Crooked River made for a sight.
A loop, with sights, over OR 126 and OR 242 was now my goal. A good quiet spot on the way was Cline Falls State Park. With a good lunch stop in Sisters, OR, I stopped at the hike for Sahalie Falls. I gazed at the rapids of the McKenzie River, then saw Koosah Falls. More foamy water made for additional photos. Then, it was to the McKenzie scenic highway, and to the trail to Proxy Falls. The trail loops back to the cars. I made more stops at Belknap Crater, along OR 242, and the Dee Wright Observatory. East of McKenzie Pass were more sights.
Into Bend, OR, I secured more lodging, and drove to the top of Pilot Butte, with the summit drive now completed. Having hiked this hill 3X, I noted plenty of fitness minded hikers taking the trail. It was windy and cold on top, surprising many people, it would seem. I took some photos, then as the sun set, headed for Downtown Bend to do some more walking and magic hour photography.
My last day out, I spent some time with my handheld, and getting breakfast. Navigating my way to Tumalo Falls, I saw it in morning shadow. Back to U.S. 97, I did a detour to Salt Creek Falls over Willamette Pass on Highway 58. More vista points on the way back. It was then to Crater Lake National Park, with various sights to see. I took the rim road about the west side, and to the main visitor center.
Along OR 62, I stopped at the Rogue River Gorge, then Mill Creek Falls. Into Medford, OR, I intersected Interstate 5 and finished my loop. With sights of Mt. Shasta and more dining in Mt. Shasta City, I speedily zoomed on home, despite plenty of road work along the Interstate.
Shooting 2,130 images and movie clips, I did mostly light hiking, roughly 23 miles over about 5,000 feet of gain, total, with more driving. No peak ascents that I would count, of note. Counting them all, I viewed 23 named waterfalls. Spending about $330 cash, I charged up about $260 for lodging. Using then some 55 gallons of gas, I paid from 3.619 to 3.999 (Mt. Shasta City Chevron) for a in-trip fuel cost total of about $186. I had about 5 gallons in my tank when I left home.
Perhaps aware that many or most people aren’t interested in strenuous climbing, but could be interested in quarter mile strolls with magnificent sights to see in only this way, I may be changing my tune in regards to my lifestyle. I am a sorry sight to see now, with fine feasting, and mainly just the 2,200 miles of driving. Hoping to get back to the summits as the snow melts, I will see how it goes for me. My health is an issue. I need to get more exercise and lose weight. But, I am getting to be an age where safety lapses may endanger others, and I really don’t need to be paying for rescues!
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