Greetings from the Eastern Sierras in California!
Seeing as how we’re woefully behind in our blogging, I think it’s time for another Glee-like update. Since we visited North Cascades National Park in Washington and misadventured our way south toward Mount Rainier National Park in mid-August, here’s a quick run-down of what we’ve been up to:
-My parents flew in from North Carolina and joined us for 10 wonderful days in which we were thoroughly impressed by their ability to hike some tough, long trails at high altitudes while we explored Mount Rainier National Park (one of our favorite parks this year), Mount Saint Helens National Volcanic Monument, Olympic National Park and the greater peninsula area. It was a full, fun, great visit with nearly perfect weather (Mount Rainier was out for us all week!).
-Thanks to my parents, we learned a new game called Quirkle, which we’re enjoying mastering. It’s sort of like a less sophisticated version of Scrabble with colors and shapes (you know, like for 4 year-olds).
-We’ve been reading some great books, including The Measure of a Mountain: Beauty and Terror on Mount Rainier (Bruce Barcott), All the Light We Cannot See (Anthony Doerr), and The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics (Daniel James Brown). It’s been especially fun to read books set in places we’ve recently visited (e.g., Mount Rainier and Seattle/the Olympic Peninsula in Boys in the Boat).
-We got chased off the Washington coast by hurricane-like winds and rain. Literally, we got evacuated from our campground and then from a picnic area where we were trying to wait out the storm in an open area away from super tall, old trees. It wasn’t our best travel day.
-We thoroughly enjoyed a few weeks in Oregon. We visited and explored the beautiful northern OR coast, Mount Hood (who refused to show herself after many, many attempts) and the historic Timberline Lodge, the Columbia River Gorge, Portland where I got to see an old college friend, the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum where we celebrated Jason’s birthday, the cool town of Bend and surrounding outdoor recreational areas where we did some tough mountain biking and enjoyed the beauty, and Crater Lake National Park. Oregon was good to us.
-We spent a weekend in the Lake Tahoe area where we had fun watching hot air balloons from our campsite, eating overpriced Mexican food, and cheering on athletes at Ironman and 70.3 Lake Tahoe.
-We popped into Nevada from rural eastern CA to get the truck and trailer serviced. When the trailer had to spend the night in the shop, we were grateful to be in casino country where it’s possible to find a nice hotel room for $40/night.
-My sister and brother-in-law flew out from North Carolina and joined us for a week in Yosemite National Park and a quick trip to San Francisco to visit dear cousins. It was fabulous to spend time together, as we’ve missed them like crazy, and to hike up a storm with them in such a special place.
-We took a quick drive down part of Hwy. 1 in California and thoroughly enjoyed the beauty despite cool, rainy weather.
-We cruised back through Yosemite on our way east and got snowed on up on the high mountain passes. Gorgeous!
-We visited Death Valley National Park where we experienced flash flooding, lots of rain (a year’s worth in about 24 hours), and virtually unheard of cool temperatures and humidity. Despite many road closures due to the floods, we made the most of our time there and enjoyed feeling very small in the expansive desert surrounded by big skies, high mountains and canyons. We also met up with dear family friends whose travel path crossed ours.
-And now, we’re back in the eastern Sierra region finishing up our explorations of unexpected treasures like the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, Devils Postpile National Monument, Manzanar National Historic Site, the Alabama Hills, and Mount Whitney (the highest mountain peak in the lower 48) before heading to Joshua Tree National Park.
Whew! There’s your whirlwind update. We really do hope to return to more regular posting (and to posts that aren’t written in bullet-point format). In the meantime, don’t forget that you can follow us on Facebook and Instagram for more regular updates and lots more photos (links on the right). We also regularly update our Travel Log (Oh, the Places We’ve Been – link under “Pages” on the right) so that you can follow along in relative real-time.
As always, thanks so much for reading, following, and supporting our adventures!