Road Trip(s)!

Thursday, October 18, 2018

map to troutdale

So you were thinking that volunteering at the Bonneville Fish hatchery is all work and no play, eh? Not so! We’ve taken several day trips and lucky you, this is the post where I’ll catch you up on the majority of them.

We’ve gone on a few reconnaissance missions in the last week or two. We went back to Trout Lake on a relatively clear day with the desire to see Mt. Adams. No, we didn’t travel any gravel roads this time, we took a more direct route. That recon mission was successful as the big volcanic peak was out in plain view.

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12,281 Foot Mt. Adams
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Another View of Mt. Adams

We also took a 90 mile trip in hopes of catching Mt. St. Helens with her pants, er, clouds down. It’s a beautiful drive through the northwest forest, the road initially following the Wind River valley out of Carson, WA.

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We stopped at the closed for the season (October 1) Paradise Creek Campground operated by the U.S. National Forest Service to stretch our legs and let the mutzos sniff. While it offered no amenities other than vault toilets and a fresh water spigot each site was paved, many large enough for a motorhome and toad or a 5th wheel and tow vehicle. And talk about beautiful- tall old growth cedars, fir, alder and maple make this shady campground drop dead gorgeous.

map to northwoods

We turn left on Curly Creek Road, leaving the Wind River Canyon. Curly Creek road is another good road, a windy mountain road but it’s in good condition. When we arrived at the Mount St. Helens overlook there she was in all her glory.

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View of Mt. St. Helens Looking Northwest from Curly Creek Road Overlook

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The weather was almost perfect the exception being some haze. This is our second trip to this viewing area and we’ve been lucky to see the mountain both times. We spend some time drinking in the view before continuing on.

Curly Creek Road tees into NF90 and brings one to make a decision. Turn right and drive into what I perceive as oblivion, not knowing where the heck it goes……. or turn left and head downhill to the establishment of Northwoods. Northwoods consists of a convenience store and a bunch of cabins know as Swift Forest Camp, most lining the beautiful Swift Reservoir.

We stop at the Eagle Cliff Store and purchase a bite to eat. The proprietor states that today is perfect for viewing from the Mt. St. Helens and Spirit Lake overlook from Windy Ridge. Jil and I make a joint command decision- we don’t feel the urge to travel an additional 94 miles round trip up and back on a windy national forest road so we pass. While here we walk the mutzos through the Eagle Cliff campground. Boy, do they love all the smells the forest has to offer!

The lure of the Swift River beckons. We ford the river (just kidding), drive past the ranger station and drive through the cabins toward the Swift Reservoir. Swift Forest Camp is a PacifiCorp campground. It is located on the same spur road that leads to a picnic area and boat launch. This campground was also closed for the season except for a few sites located outside the closed gates. Boy, the second drop dead gorgeous campground that we’ve seen today!

Our fun meter is pegged out so off towards the barn we go. Over mountain, down the valley and through the gorge, over the bridge and into the hatchery we go- just in time to walk the dogs- again!

map to multnomah

On another Columbia Gorge-ous day we chose to go to historic downtown Troutdale (15,000 souls) and have lunch at the General Store. The hot dogs are delicious! Troutdale serves as the western gateway to the Historic Columbia River Highway (completed in 1929), the Columbia River Gorge, and the Mount Hood Scenic Highway. The Columbia and Sandy Rivers are nearby. It would certainly be a shame if one was in the area and didn’t visit Troutdale. More of a shame is not to take the time to drive the Old Historic Columbia River Highway.

Vista House at Crown Point

That’s Vista House……. Way Over There!

The Historic Columbia River Highway was completed around 1929. The west end does not follow the river bottom very closely but it does traverse cliffs and forest glens while passing several beautiful waterfalls. One can’t be in a hurry on this road as it is very narrow (built during the Model T era) with more twists and turns than a woven rope. Vista House on Crown Point was built to take advantage of the beautiful panorama of the Columbia Gorge that this overlook 730′ above the Columbia River offers.

We’ve been itching to visit the ever popular Multnomah Falls. Every time we go by the huge parking lot is full- signs flash “Parking Lot Full”. Hey, this isn’t during the prime summer months for gosh sakes, this is FALL! We took a chance arriving at the falls parking lot before 9 a.m. and found it not full for a change.

Walking towards the falls we notice quite a few hombres dislodging tree logs and rocks from up high on a steep slope. Their work was necessitated by the Eagle Creek Fire- the fire has killed a lot of trees and loosened the soil that used to retain those boulders. P1060960big So the workmen are using safety gear for themselves and lowering logs and boulders to a place where they can safely drop them down to this closed section of the old highway. From there the debris is removed for disposal at a remote site. A several mile section of the old highway will remain closed until the time all the hazardous timber and boulders are removed.

Multnomah Falls is one of the most spectacular falls that we have ever visited. The fall drops twice for a total of some 620′. The lodge and footpaths is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. One can enjoy a great lunch at the lodge, then hike up to the top of the falls if one desires. This fella doesn’t desire, but Jil and I and the mutzos have walked up the trail to that bridge.

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Jil and Doyle Enjoy Multnomah Falls

So that’s the extent of our day trips up to this point in time. More adventures to come……

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