Pacific Northwest: Trip Summary

This trip was our last major trip for the season. While not solely a tour of the Pacific Northwest, we started in South Lake Tahoe where we met up with friends of the motorcycling persuasion. After consulting with the National Parks Passport book, we planned our route to pick up cancellations at Lava Beds National Monument and Crater Lake National Park.

The severity of the Western drought and the importance of fully researching park alerts before route planning were highlighted during this trip. Our first night was spent at Rockport State Park, along the Rockport Reservoir (Utah). This reservoir was easily 40 to 50 feet lower than its historic level; this translate to filled at 35% capacity and is dropping. Proper research was emphasized when we went to North Cascades National Park and discovered the campground closures due to fire and weekend only visitor center hours after we arrived. Whoops. Might have gone to visit Mount Rainier instead, but then we would have missed out on seeing Port Townsend, WA (absolutely charming town).

We really enjoyed visiting the coast. Alex, Dave, and the dogs loved the beaches. Jess enjoyed the beach, but mumbled grouchy things towards all the sand that was tracked into Abby. The major downside to the coast was the pervasive dampness (that and the lingering smell of fish in Abby). Nothing dried quickly. It was rather nice to return to a more arid climate.

This was an aggressive trip. On average, we drove 245 miles/day. Which is a minimum of 5 hours in Abby. We got to see a large number of attractions, but only in a superficial manner. For our next trip, our goal is to pick a major area of interest and some minor areas of interest for the route to and from. Drive in a rather direct fashion to our area of major interest and camp there for a week. This will allow us to do more exploring and hiking. Fortunately, we have all winter to choose a destination.

pacificnwroute
Our Pacific Northwest route.

Mileage and Fuel Consumption:

Total days: 17

Total miles: 4172.6

Total gallons diesel: 244.6

Average miles per gallon: 17.1

Best miles per gallon: 19.4

Worst miles per gallon: 13.8

Abby gave us a beautiful tank of 19.4 mpg as we came east across Wyoming. We may have had an aiding tail-wind, but we will take it.

Campgrounds:

For our campground summary post, follow this link.

  1. Rockport State Park, UT (1)
  2. Water Canyon Recreation Area (BLM), south of Winnemucca, NV (1)
  3. Campground by the Lake, South Lake Tahoe, CA (2)
  4. Lava Beds National Monument, CA (1)
  5. Steamboat Falls Campground, Umpqua National Forest, OR (1)

    img_20160919_184020863
    A heavily wooded campsite at Steamboat Falls. Watch out for poison oak in the sunnier sites!
  6. South Beach State Park, Newport, OR (1)
  7. Cape Disappointment State Park, Ilwaco, WA (1)

    Lighthouse at Cape Disappointment in Washington.
    Lighthouse at Cape Disappointment in Washington.
  8. Kalaloch Campground, Olympic National Park, WA (2)
  9. Fairholme Campground, Olympic National Park, WA (1)
  10. Heart O’ the Hills Campground, Olympic National Park, WA (1)
  11. Lone Fir Campground, Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, WA (1)
  12. Camp Coeur d’Alene, Coeur d’Alene, ID (1)
  13. Dispersed camping Harriet Lou Road, Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest, MT (1)
  14. Lewis Lake Campground, Yellowstone National Park, WY (1)
  15. Saratoga Lake Campground, Saratoga, WY (1)

Breweries

This is a rather short brewery list, considering we drove through the Pacific Northwest. Alas, timing thwarted our best intentions to visit breweries. It would be a lot easier if breweries would open up in National Forest campgrounds.

  1. The Brewery at Lake Tahoe
  2. Jack Russell Farm Brewery
  3. Rogue Ales & Spirits
  4. Next Door Gastropub – okay this isn’t really a brewery. Excellent food and regional beer selection, so it is getting listed anyway.

For more detail regarding our brewery visits, check out this post.

National Monuments/Historic Sites:

  1. Lava Beds National Monument – our experiences posted here.
  2. Crater Lake – for more information, click here.
  3. Lewis and Clark National Historic Park
  4. Olympic National Park – post of our experience is here.
  5. Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve
  6. North Cascades Park
  7. Big Hole National Battlefield – for more information, click here.
  8. Yellowstone National Park – for more information, click here.
  9. John D Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway
  10. Grand Teton National Park

Gallery: Oregon and Washington Coast

 

Pacific Northwest: Olympic National Park

What a park. From coastal bluffs to glacier peaks, this park is rich with diversity in all dimensions. Olympic National Park ecology is comprised of mountains, lakes, lowland forests, rivers, coast, and temperate rain forest. Mountain flora and fauna include glacier lilies, lupine, bistorts, tiger lilies, subalpine firs, and black tailed deer. At the coast, the tide pools are rich with sea anemones, sea urchins, sea stars, and limpits. The temperate rain forest receives more than 12 feet of rain a year, creating an environment for giant western hemlock, Douglas-fir, Sitka spruces, bigleaf maples, and a variety of mosses to thrive. Roosevelt elk and beers can also be found in the rain forest.

We started at the coast, camping at Kalaloch. We saw sand dollars and ctenophores on the beach. The salmon were running at the Salmon Cascades in the Sol Duc River to spawn (late September); they can also be seen in the Hoh River, but not until November/December. We hiked the Spruce Nature (1.2 miles – Alex walked the whole thing!) and the Hall of Mosses (0.8 miles) trails in the Hoh Rain Forest. The Spruce Nature trail had very little elevation change and was relative smooth. The Hall of Mosses had more of an elevation change, but after the initial climb, was relatively flat. There is even a trail to Blue Glacier (15 miles one-way); check out the elevation profile of this trail at the visitors center. We did not attempt the Blue Glacier trail. We saw Hurricane Ridge on a clear day, and it was gorgeous. Hurricane Ridge also serves a a squeegee for the moisture in the air. The west (windward) side has forests and is lush, while the east (leeward) side is arid and has few trees.

We could have easily spent two weeks here, hiking and exploring the area. The park has astronomy programs at Hurricane Ridge.

Gallery: