Day 15 - Yakima River Canyon, WA
|Monday, May 17, 2021: It was overcast when we woke up. Overcast? This had better clear up by midday!
|Mmmm, Ivar's clam chowder for breakfast. The Breadfarm potato loaf was gone so we started to work through the sourdough loaf Debbie bought the day before.
|We left Millersvania State Park ...
|... and drove down the road to a grocery store in Tenino.
|They had plenty of Schilling cider to choose from, so we bought a sampler 12-pack.
|We marveled at the seafood options; something we rarely see in the heartland of America.
|How is this possible? Not only did a Washington store have Pearson's Mint Patties from Minnesota, they also were selling York Patties right next to them!
|We also picked up some sliced turkey breast and Diet Coke, then we were off again.
|It wasn't looking good for seeing Mount Rainier today, which was our main destination. Occasionally, a flash of blue sky would appear but not enough to see an entire mountain.
|We stopped to get a look at Alder Dam.
|We followed lovely Alder Lake for a while.
|We passed Hobo Inn in Elbe, Washington.
|Who wouldn't want to spend the night in a caboose?
|Or dine in a railroad car-turned-restaurant?
|We passed Ex-Nihilo Park but were too shy to pull in and look around.
|It is a park containing metal sculptures created by Daniel Klennert.
|It looked enticing but we just drove on.
|We entered Gifford Pinchot National Forest, ...
|... and then Mt. Rainier National Park.
|Just like that, the skies started to clear.
|We drove past the National Park Inn at Longmire, ...
|... where we caught a glimpse of Mount Rainier above the trees.
|We worked our way up the mountain and as we rose in elevation, the snow by the side of the road got deeper.
|We stopped for a short walk near the trailhead to Carter Falls.
|The path led to a long, wooden bridge ...
|... which offered the perfect vantage point to admire Mount Rainier and Nisqually River. Once again, the Bundlings Weather Luck came through for us.
|We drove over Christine Falls Bridge and got a picture of it after we passed.
|Another bridge took us over Nisqually River.
|The snow was getting even deeper.
|We reached the Paradise area. Here's the Henry M. Jackson Visitor Center, ...
|... and here's part of the Paradise Inn.
|The visitor center was closed but two rangers stood at the entrance to answer visitors' questions.
|We noticed metal disks on the ground in front of the visitor center and got a closer look.
|Each disk represented a major mountain peak in the West Coast states and they were arranged relative to each other. From north to south, here are most of the peaks represented: Glacier Peak in the North Cascades, ...
|... Mount Baker, ...
|... Mount Rainier, ...
|... Mount Adams, ...
|... Mount St. Helens, ...
|... Mount Hood, ...
|... Crater Lake, ...
|... and Mount Shasta. Not shown: Lassen Peak, Three Sisters, and Mount Jefferson.
|Of course, Tom had to touch the snow as we headed back to The Ocho.
|We ate sandwiches for lunch, made using some of the many cups of fry sauce we had accumulated.
|It was the 17th of May, which is Syttende Mai - Norway's Constitution Day. Each year, the neighborhood of Ballard in Seattle holds a large celebration on this day, but this year, an online celebration was planned instead, starting with musical performances before the official 12:00 PM start. Tom joined in by composing his own theme music on the fly: "Norway is sovereign, the king defers to Parliament..." Such a catchy tune.
|We headed back down the mountain, admiring the shorter mountains just south of Mount Rainier.
|We spotted something odd on the slopes of Mount Rainier ahead.
|It looked like a small fire but we really couldn't tell. Perhaps it was just clouds around dark, melting snow.
|The snow on the mountain across from us showed the marks of a recent rockslide.
|We got out briefly to view Narada Falls.
|It was finally noon and we managed to have enough cell service to watch a frozen title screen for the Syttende Mai 2021 festival. As we continued down the mountain, we'd get a few minutes of connectivity at a time, so it was a lesson in patience to watch it.
|There's a view of the slopes that create the Nisqually River, ...
|... and here is a closer look.
|There's Christine Falls.
|We passed a Thor Tellaro, which is a sister rig to our beloved Thor Sequence 20A. This didn't have the poptop or the cassette toilet door on the side so it is a different floorplan than ours.
|Google Maps wanted to route us through an imaginary road in the Longmire area, ...
|... so we got to drive around the grounds again looking for a road that simply isn't available.
|If we had found it, we would have saved over an hour of driving, but instead, we had to backtrack out of the park through the Nisqually entrance again.
|However, it did give us a chance to get a photo of this great Mount Rainier-shaped mailbox.
|In Ashford, we passed this beautiful lodge ...
|... and these cute deer.
|We crossed over the Nisqually River and started following it to the east.
|Bright yellow skunk cabbage blooms dotted the side of the road.
|Moss covered tree trunks and branches.
|In Packwood, we turned onto US-12, the White Pass Scenic Byway.
|We drove along steep mountainside that plunged into the valleys below.
|We stopped at an overlook to check out Mount Rainier in the distance behind us.
|We reached White Pass (elevation 4500') ...
|... and entered Wenatchee National Forest.
|We stopped at Clear Creek Falls overlook.
|Here's the view to the east.
|Episode 12B. Number one - the Larch.
|Here's Rimrock Lake ...
|... and the tunnel near the end of it...
|... and the dam that created it in the first place.
|Signs of volcanic activity cover Washington. These columns look like the ones that make up Devil's Tower and Giant's Causeway.
|Nearing Yakima, we spotted an odd teapot-shaped thingie. We'd be seeing a teapot-shaped gas station the next day, so perhaps this is just the preferred shape of things around here.
|We were back in the land of orchards, with cherries and apples adorning these industrial buildings.
|We went to Sarg Hubbard Park in Yakima ...
|... to see Washington's Merci Train boxcar.
|Signs behind the fence tell of the story of the French Gratitude Train plus local benefactors.
|Here's the back of the car. We were very lucky to be seeing five of these boxcars during our trip.
|From the park, we could see ...
|... Mt. Adams in the distance.
|From Yakima, we headed north ...
|... along the Yakima River ...
|... to Big Pines Recreation Site, a Yakima River Canyon campground.
|We had a great campsite all the way at the back of the campground, with a large empty group campsite on one side and an empty regular campsite on the other side.
|The river was just beyond the shrubs out there.
|We enjoyed another one of the beers that Doug sent with us, ...
|... and grazed on a bag of fajita chicken that Stacia sent with us.
|We walked out to the Yakima River to get a better look.
|Pretty yellow irises grew wild along the water's edge.
|We hung one of the cable organizers Doug gave us. It worked great until the adhesive proved to be no match for the rig's oddly smooth, squishy, impossible-to-adhere-to walls. But even when attached to the window or laid flat on the dinette table, the organizer continued to hold all of our cables nicely.
|Doug had given Debbie a Pacific Northwest sticker too, so she stuck it on the blue folder in the shoe closet (so named because of the shoe organizer hung in there to create storage shelves). The sticker at the top is of the Galesville Limited, Debbie's grandfather's homemade RV, and the sticker at the bottom is a drawing of our Thor Sequence, created by a member of our Sequence/Tellaro Facebook group.
|Occasionally, a train would pass by on the opposite side of the river from us. We love trains.
|It was Sunday night, so we watched the seventh episode of "Atlantic Crossing." We had been fortunate to be able to keep current with it. We were even more fortunate that we were still able to watch it at 8:00 PM Indiana time, even though we were out west.
|Sunset comes earlier than normal when you are camped in a canyon.
|But the sunset clouds come right on schedule.
Copyright © Deborah Schilling/Thomas Bundy