Glacier National Park

Please forgive out absence as internet and cell service are extremely rare commodities in Glacier.

It goes without saying that we enjoyed our time in Glacier immensely. No shortage of scenic vistas, towering mountains, babbling creeks, waterfalls, wildlife, and of course glaciers.

Side note: I’m writing this on my cell phone traveling east on Route 2 (part of the Lewis and Clark Trail) between Browning and Cut Bank, Montana and we just passed the site of Lewis and Clark’s winter stopping ground Camp Disappointment.

Ok, I’m back. Sorry for the commercial break…

We traveled the Going to the Sun Road that cuts through the park. Built by the Civil Conservation Corp, it is yet another example of the influence the CCC brought to this nation.

The 50 mile going to the Sun Road was Ah-May-Zing! Two lanes; one spreading her arms out the valleys beyond as well as the rivers below and the other hugging the mountain mother. Wide and long vehicles prohibited… with good reason! As we expected there was a healthy dose of traffic (both ways) with pull-offs to stop and read an exhibit sign, take a short (or long) walk/hike, or simply take in the view. We traveled the Going to the Sun Road twice. The second time was this morning at 7:00 when traffic is predicted to be minimal and more wildlife is likely to be out and about. We weren’t disappointed with the wildlife because we saw a half dozen big horn sheep in the parking lot of the visitors’ center at Logan’s Pass.

Yesterday (Saturday) we hiked 2 miles in to Avalanche Lake. Fed by snow and glacier melt, the lake is surrounded by a flank of towering peaks. In unison, the peaks shed their winter coats in the form of many towering waterfalls that thunder over edge upon edge until they reach the lake. The lake feeds Avalanche Creek which feeds McDonald Lake which eventually feeds the Pacific (seeing how it’s all about the Great Divide). I probably don’t need to tell you that the water is cold, but I will. The water is cold.

More to come as we head through Yellowstone National Park and on to Grand Teton National Park – Dan20120729-105920.jpg20120729-110007.jpg20120729-110040.jpg20120729-110124.jpg20120729-110203.jpg20120729-110436.jpg20120729-110953.jpg20120729-111004.jpg20120729-111030.jpg

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Heading to Glacier National Park

Spent the night near Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, just east of Spokane, Washington, in a nicely run Narional Forest camp ground on Coeur d’Alene Lake.

We’re currently on our way to Glacier National Park. We’ll need to cross the northern reaches of the Bitterroot Range and head into the Rockies. Should be in Glacier by the early afternoon. Really looking forward to the Going to the Sun Road. Our plan is to do that early in the morning as more wildlife is out, good light for photos, and less traffic.

On a side note, not sure where the time zone change is. Should look into that pretty quick.

Stay tuned! – Dan

Seattle: Make It Stop!

Hoo Boy! Seattle is a great place. When I say, “Make it stop!” I mean that in a good way!

The people here are a nice bunch, public transport is great, especially the ferry rides. Riding from Bainbridge (BI) to Seattle is free. Heading back to BI you pay a fare ($7.70). Car with passenger is less than $15. Not bad. The ferry is huge (carries hundreds of people) and very comfortable. The seats are way better than movie theater seats and many folks take advantage of that by snoozing on the 35 minute trip. Triple deckers, you can walk around mid-deck inside, climb up to the upper deck for some sun and wind, or hang out in your car on the lower deck. There’s a cavernous snack bar on board and weary commuters can even buy a pint of great local craft beer (Pike Brewing’s Golden Ale is… Nirvana [reference intended] ) to smooth the waters. Bicycling here is big and it’s always fun to watch the cyclists, both young and old, get first dibs leaving the ramp. Motorcycles are next and then autos.

After leaving the ferry, we hopped on a bus to the Olympic Sculpture Garden along the waterfront. The Sculpture Garden starts with a boardwalk along the harbor. It was a pleasant day to be out and the walk heightened the experience. We enjoyed viewing the permanent installations as we continued to meander our way to an outdoor amphitheater adjacent to a large building that served as a gathering place for artists. While there, a number of folks, under the watchful eye of an instructor, were working with charcoal. Expression in action, it sums up not only the Olympic Sculpture Garden, but the city of Seattle itself.

We headed uphill to Westlake Station and traveled the 1962 World’s Fair Monorail to Seattle Center where the Chihuly exhibit is located as well as the Space Needle, the Experience Music Project, as well as a few other venues. The trip up the elevators of the Space Needle was a bit eye-opening for me. One second you’re in a dark elevator and the next you’re flooded with light and rocketing skyward. The view from the observation area was awesome. Not a perfectly clear day, but the sky was indeed blue; a rare treat for Seattle. I heard one local refer to the previous day’s overcast gray as “Seattle blue.” :- )

We spent some time at the Experience Music Project learning about and listening to the lives and music of such greats as Jimi Hendrix, Nirvana, The Rolling Stones, and others. There was a lot to take in and even more to experience. I dabbled in the interactive Sound Lab, but Ali jumped in a bit more than me. Seattle rocks, but it was obvious to me that Ali rocked a bit more on this day.

We ended day two in Seattle a bit weary but upbeat. The trip back to BI started with jumping on the Monorail, walking 6 blocks to Pike’s Brewing near Pike St. and 1st. There we had a wonderful Pike’s Anniversary Golden Ale from the tap. Another 4 block walk to the Ferry Terminal, the trip across Elliott Bay, a walk to the parking lot, and then a three minute ride to the hotel.

Can’t wait to come back. – Dan

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Seattle by storm

We left our campsite early this morning aiming the Mazda at Bainbridge Island where we’d booked a hotel for a couple of nights, at a rate that only raised my eyebrows slightly.

We checked in, dumped our bags and headed to the ferry terminal for the ride to Seattle. We enjoyed a nice view of the city as we approached, but were denied views of the mountains by the grey, overcast skies. Once in Seattle we headed for Pike Market, then on to the Seattle Library to see the cool building that houses the library. It was amazing.

After that, a trip up to the top of the Columbia Tower for views of the city from the building’s observation deck on the 73 rd floor. It was a great way to orient ourselves to the city, although it made distance places appear deceptively nearby.

We ended the day with a trip to the Chihuly Garden and Glass Exhibit. it was stunning. We went late in the day to take advantage of the exhibits lighting as the sun set. It was fabulous. The sculptures look animate, as if when you aren’t looking they might just move. It was a busy day we are now sitting on the ferry on what should be called the pooped deck, heading to the hotel for the night.  A few photos from the iPhones are below, check out the Flicker site for more and better shots.

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Campsite Rituals

Tent camping is not all fun and games as you might be thinking. There’s unpacking the car, setting up the tent, getting the bedding all ready to go, setting up the “kitchen” and… as Ali is oft heard expressing, “There’s no rest for the wicked.”

Wicked as we may be, a little bit of fun must find its way into the itinerary, so on this trip we recently purchased a water soaker to add to the rituals list. Let me explain.

In general there are chipmunks, squirrels, and the occasional raccoon scouting about the campsite doing what they do best. A majority of the darting through chair legs and picnic tables involves the never ending hunt for food.

Most of these critters are pleased to come across a crumb or two left by a child who simply can’t eat with their mouth closed. OK, you got me, those kids leave almost whole meals, but the point is, the resident wildlife benefit. We just don’t want them doing it in our campsite, thank you very much!

Anyway, we wait these poor unsuspecting critters out and play Soak the Rodent. The small creatures get warning shots. The raccoons, they get the full treatment. One coon was so bold at the site next door that it grabbed the bag of marshmallows left by the fire and took off with the entire bag!

No harm comes from our little game and the little beggars learn to hit up the campsite next door instead of ours. Oh, we know, BTW that raccoons are not rodents. In fact they are distantly related to bears as I wrote a few years ago on Henbogle

Dan

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Urban Art: Yarnstorming

Port Angeles, as Ali has written, seems to place priority on spiffing up the city proper with a hefty dose of public art. Graffiti (aka Urban Art) tends to lean to the permanent defacing of private and public property and there is no evidence of it here. But, there’s a new form of urban art that requires hours of planning and execution and that is here.

We were taking in the sites of Port Angeles on our first day here and came upon this piece of public art covered with someone’s knitting project.

It’s known as yarnstorming. (Also know as yarnbombing, but I prefer the non-violent, yet acceptable term of yarn storming.)

Yarnstorming is catching on as an acceptable form of urban art. It’s creative, fun, and it keeps the knitting community busy planning their next project. You know how counter-culture knitters can be! (Sorry Mom, Nina, Jackie, and of course Bets!)

Anyway, it was fun to finally see yarnstorming in action. I’d heard of it but not actually seen any evidence. Gosh, this trip is packed with firsts!

Visit Port Angeles’ Cable Art Studio’s link to learn more about this recent yarnstorming event at: http://www.cabledfiberstudio.com/Yarnbombing.html

Be sure to view the video of London’s experience with yarnstorming and how they take the urban art form in stride without getting their knickers in a twist. – Dan

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