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phoebus - The Amazing Adventures of Sid - Week 9
Glacier NP, Kalispell, Coeur d'Alene, Yakima, Mount Ranier NP, Mount St. Helens NP, Portland
West along Saint Mary Lake
Looking west along Saint Mary Lake, one of the park's two large lakes.
West along Saint Mary Lake
West along Saint Mary Lake again, this time a little further along and closer to the mountains.
East Flattop Mountain
East Flattop Mountain rising into the clouds.
I left St. Mary and drove into the visitor centre at the east entrance to Glacier National Park. I discovered that part of the road through the park is closed due to heavy snow, specifically several miles that cross the continental divide, so I decided to drive as far as I could (about 14 miles) and then go back around the park and enter at the west entrance. The Going-to-the-Sun Road, the main road through the park, follows a long lake, the Saint Mary Lake, about nine miles long, through the eastern side of the park. After leaving the lake it climbs the side of a couple of mountains and then goes over the Logan Pass through the continental divide. Most of the southern portion of the park's mountains are in the
Mountain from Going-to-the-Sun Road
One of the very jagged mountains flanking the Going-to-the-Sun Road.
Mountain from Going-to-the-Sun Road
And another.
Mountain from Going-to-the-Sun Road
And yet another, this time on the other side of the lake. I think this might be Mount Logan, which is around 9200ft high.
Lewis Range (named for the explorer, along with the Lewis and Clark National Forest to the southwest), while most of the mountains in the northern portion of the park are in the Livingston Range, explorer's names obviously being a favourite around here. The road was closed about five miles before the pass, but still provided an excellent view across the range of mountains next to it. Up at the top the temperature was much lower than at the entrance gate, about three degrees C and snowing a little. It was also incredibly windy all along the road - so much so that at one point I opened the door and it was nearly taken off its hinges. Having got back to the east
East along Saint Mary Lake
Looking east along Saint Mary Lake after turning around and heading back to the park entrance.
Rainbow over Rising Sun
The Rising Sun lodge, closed up now for winter, with a rainbow over its roof.
West through Park
Looking west back through the park just prior to exiting.
entrance, I turned south and followed US-89, which passes over the Hudson Bay Divide (another watershed divide defined on the map), down to route 49 and then down to US-2. The two watershed divides meet at the top of Triple Peak Divide - everything to the northeast of the divides empties into Hudson Bay, everything southeast to the Gulf of Mexico, and everything west to the Pacific. US-2 goes all the way around the southern border of the park and up to the western gate; it's a fantastic road, flanked by dense lodgepole pine and
West on US-2
Driving west along US-2 roughly half-way between the two entrances. To the right is the park and to the left is the Flathead National Forest.
West along Lake McDonald
Looking west along Lake McDonald, the park's other large lake, with the Apgar Mountains in the distance.
Lake McDonald & Stanton Mountain
Looking north across Lake McDonald with, I think, Stanton Mountain on the other side.
yellow aspen on both sides, with the Middle Fork Flathead River running along the right hand side.

The western side of the park, I discovered, is much less windy than the eastern side. The Going-to-the-Sun Road again follows a long lake, this time Lake McDonald, also nine miles long, and then rises up through the mountains before stopping two miles short of the Logan Pass. The view from the top was spectacular, opening out across a range of several
Range south of Going-to-the-Sun Road
Part of the mountain range south of the Going-to-the-Sun Road after climbing quite close to Logan Pass, with a textbook hanging valley between the two peaks in the foreground.
Range south of Going-to-the-Sun Road
More of the range, to the right of the last picture.
Road over Logan Pass
The closed-off portion of the Going-to-the-Sun Road heading up towards Logan Pass.
mountains, all snow-capped and topped with cloud. The snow was clearly evident at the end of the road and it was very thick beyond the stop-gate. It was also snowing fairly heavily all around, but the snow was like mini snowballs, about two or three millimetres across - almost like hail but crumbly like snow. The park is quite large - around 60 by 25 miles - with the top part in Alberta, Canada, but the main road only bisects it about two thirds of the way down, so there is plenty to explore by foot. I headed back down the road to the entrance and headed west on US-2 and after about an hour came to a town called Kalispell where I decided to stay, with time getting on. Kalispell is quite a large town, although
Range south of Going-to-the-Sun Road
Another picture of the range to the south of the road, this time from further along the road.
Valley southwest of Going-to-the-Sun Road
The valley to the right of the range in the last pictures, with the road I drove along next to the river.
like many other towns, it mainly seems to consist of car lots, fast-food joints and motels, with a small business district. I found a Motel 6 (the cheapest yet - only $30!) and checked in for the night.
South through Paradise
The town of Paradise on route 200. One of the least apt place names I've seen.
North along Clark Fork River
Looking north along the Clark Fork River.
I left the motel and headed south out of Kalispell on US-93, which follows the western shore of the Flathead Lake - a huge lake just south of Kalispell described as the "largest natural freshwater lake west of the Mississippi" and on which there seems to be an enormous amount of water sport activities (although mainly during the summer). The lake is about 30 miles long and 15
South along Clark Fork River
South along the Clark Fork River.
miles at its widest point and surrounded by dense forest, for the most part, and large hills and mountains. I turned off US-93 onto route 28 at the lake's western tip and headed through the Salish Mountains, a large range of tree covered mountains into which the road steeply climbed. The road then turns south and after another couple of shorter roads,
West from Lookout Pass
Looking west from Lookout Pass over the border into Idaho.
South across Coeur d'Alene Lake
South across Coeur d'Alene Lake from the town. On the far right you can see the wing of a private aeroplane. Obviously a lake for the rich.
routes 200 and 135, both of which follow the Clark Fork River (a very wide and fast flowing river through a deep gorge), I ended up on I-90. I stayed on I-90 west, which went very steeply through the Coeur d'Alene Mountains - another large range, this time with snow-capped peaks - and over the border into the Idaho panhandle at Lookout Pass. Incidentally,
East along Sherman Avenue
Looking east along Sherman Avenue in Coeur d'Alene. A very pretty little town.
Idaho seems to be famous for one thing: potatoes, and on all the Idaho car number plates is the rather amusing claim, "famous potatoes". Shortly after the border I saw a nice little town to the south called Wallace that seemed to consist entirely of small wooden slatted houses and churches nestling neatly within a large depression of a mountain and
Southeast along Northwest Boulevard
Looking southeast along Northwest Boulevard near the lake shoreline. Sherman Avenue stretches off to the left.
surrounded by trees. The town looked very friendly and quiet, the sort of place where the perfect Christmas could be portrayed, but for the fact that the I-90 was elevated over the northern part, reducing its festive qualities somewhat. I continued on the interstate through several more towns, one notably called Kellogg, until reaching Coeur d'Alene (locally pronounced cor-LEEN) where I stopped to look around the town since it seemed quite nice. The town is situated on the shore of the Coeur d'Alene Lake, 20 miles long with several large arms, around which are a number of vast shore-front properties. The main street, Sherman Avenue, is, like many towns, tree-lined and has lots of small independently owned shops and boutiques (along with four all-year Christmas stores). Obviously a nice place to spend a summer, the streets were practically deserted. I bought a few things in a couple of shops (and almost spent $1500 on a new camera lens, but saw the error of my ways in time) and then headed out to book into a motel for the night.
South along Columbia River from Wanapum Vista
The view north along the Columbia River from the Wanapum Vista. In the distance on the right bank of the river you can see the old highway sinking into water from before Wanapum Dam was installed.
North along Columbia River from Wanapum Vista
The view south along the river from the same viewpoint, with the I-90 bridge in the middle-distance.
I left the motel and headed straight back onto I-90 west towards Washington. I continued over the border and through Spokane as the rain started coming in with a vengeance. Spokane is a large city, with a central area of skyscrapers, although I didn't really have time to stop and look around so I just drove straight past it and onwards. The trip was relatively
I-90 Bridge across Columbia River
The I-90 bridge across the Columbia River.
uneventful, with a few small towns but mostly farmland and the occasional range of large hills and mountains. Whilst on the interstate I kept my eye out for signs to an area called Hanford Reach National Monument but didn't see any, and it only seems to exist on a few maps, while others have the area down as Department of Energy land, so I didn't bother trying to find it on the off chance that it might exist. Eventually I-90 met up with the Columbia River and tracked it to the south until crossing it at Vantage to continue west. Just before the bridge I stopped at the Wanapum Vista, to see the gorge cut by the river, which was very large and covered with basalt rocks jumbled around everywhere. On the banks of
West from Manastash Ridge
Looking west from the Manastash Ridge View Point. In the distance is Umtanum Ridge.
South from Manastash Ridge
View south from Manastash Ridge. A sign of the weather to come.
the river an Indian tribe called the Wanapums used to live and fish. A very peaceful and religious people, they lived on venison, fish and berries. Having never fought any wars,
West from I-82
Looking west from I-82 before entering Yakima.
when whites came they were easily overcome and so never signed any treaties, meaning that they ended up with no land of their own. Once numbering in their thousands, the Wanapums are now virtually extinct. A rather sad story, I thought. The interstate continued through more farmland until I turned south onto I-82 to go through the Manastash and Umtanum Ridges - both through which the road climbed to a pass and back down again. Having passed through the hilliest area I got to a town called Yakima (pronounced YAK-a-mah) where I decided to call it a night. It was a large town, but since the centre was distinctly uninteresting I stayed just outside with easy access to the interstate for tomorrow's journey.
West along Rimrock Lake
Looking west along Rimrock Lake.
East along Rimrock Lake Shoreline
Looking east along Rimrock Lake shoreline.
Rotated Falls near Rimrock
The falls near Rimrock that required clambering about on loose rock for an effective picture.
I left Yakima and headed west along US-12 towards Mount Rainier National Park. The terrain slowly became more rugged and eventually ended up in a rocky gorge, carved through the Cowiche Mountains, through which the road and the very fast moving Tieton River were snaking their way around the tight curves. The Tieton ended at the Tieton Dam (or rather started - I was going upstream) behind which was the large Rimrock Lake. A little further upstream was a series of high waterfalls, which required a little clambering around on
Valley towards Rimrock
A view of the valley towards Rimrock from above the falls.
Valley towards Rimrock
The valley again but with more sky. The intention was to make a tall picture out of the two but the difference in exposures was insurmountable.
North along Box Canyon from Lookout
Looking north along Box Canyon from the lookout point at the road bridge.
rocks to get into a decent position for photographing. The road was slowly climbing in altitude and by the waterfalls I was above the first line of clouds, which gave a rather eerie view of the valley behind. The road continued on through a town called White Pass, a small skiing village with a couple of chairlifts disappearing into the clouds, where it was incredibly windy with all sorts of debris flying across the road (you know: cows, tractors and the like). I turned off US-12 a little further down onto highway 123, which curved
Tunnel by Box Canyon
The tunnel near Box Canyon, taken from the bridge. Some of these pictures are a little blurred due to a lack of light.
South on Trail around Box Canyon
The nice little scenic trail around the canyon north of the road. On the left is the slick-rock carved by glaciers...
Rotated Panorama North along Box Canyon from Bridge
A vertical panorama! Taken from the bridge on the trail.
north and into the southeastern corner of Mount Rainier National Park, entering near the Ohanapecosh Visitor Centre, which was closed (as are most things around here at this time of year). After a little while I took another road to the west (entering the park proper at the Stevens Canyon Entrance), which runs along the southern area of the park, occasionally climbing up mountains and dipping into valleys. The road began as a very densely forested area and slowly opened out as it climbed to traverse the Backbone Ridge.
Slope next to Box Canyon
...like this. Slippery stuff.
West along Stevens Canyon
Looking west along Stevens Canyon prior to driving along it. To the north (right) is Stevens Ridge and to the south (left) is the Tatoosh Range.
I stopped after a while at a viewpoint over Box Canyon, a deep canyon cut by the Muddy Fork of the Cowlitz River. The Muddy Fork is runoff from the Cowlitz Glacier and so milky white in appearance; it was also extremely fast moving and making quite a noise even though the canyon floor was 180 feet below the road. I walked along a short trail that went along the canyon on one side and then crossed over it on a little wooden bridge and back up the other side. All around the trail were the rock faces left from the carving of the glacier in its headier days - slopes of rock polished smooth with horizontal scars cut into them. After Box Canyon the road went along the northern slope of the Stevens Canyon - a vast U-shaped valley with a tiny river, Stevens Creek, at the bottom. The road curved around one end of the canyon and back along the other side, climbing as it did so. After a
East along Stevens Canyon
Looking east along Stevens Canyon having driven along the north side (as shown by the road), around the end and back up part of the south side.
West along Stevens Canyon
West along Stevens Canyon again, but from further up. On the right is the road before it climbs up the side and if it was clear you'd be able to see Mount Rainier in the distance.
East along Road
The road getting snowy as I climb Mount Rainier towards Paradise.
while patches of snow started to appear along the roadside and a few minutes later it was a few inches thick all around. I eventually made it to the town of Paradise at an altitude of 5500 feet; unfortunately it wasn't as its name suggests as everything was closed and the entire place was shrouded in thick fog - so thick that when I entered a car park I could see nothing all around me except a few feet of tarmac - a very strange experience. To exit the car park I had to find the edge of the tarmac and follow it all the way around until I discovered the exit. I headed back out of Paradise and continued west towards Longmire, the next town. The fog slowly
Along Snowy Road to Paradise
Conditions worsening as I get closer to Paradise...
Paradise Car Park
...until I emerge in the car park. I'm still only about 5400ft up and Rainier is 14410ft. The camera has managed to pick up more than I could see at the time.
lifted and was replaced by heavy rain and by the time I was in Longmire the rain had also gone, whereupon I checked into the National Park Inn for the night.
Route 504 Bridge
The bridge on route 504, marking the edge of the blast zone.
Mt St Helens & North Fork Toutle River Valley
The view over the North Fork Toutle River Valley, with Mount St. Helens in the distance. The entirety of this landscape is new after the eruption.
I left the National Park Inn and headed west towards the Nisqually Entrance in the southwest corner of the park. Having exited the park I continued west along route 706 (an official volcano evacuation route) until it met up with route 7, whereupon I headed south towards route US-12, which I took west. US-12 met up with I-5 and I drove south for one exit before coming off again and driving east towards Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument on route 505. About three quarters of the way along the 35-mile road to the park entrance, I stopped
Mt St Helens from Coldwater Ridge VC
The view from Coldwater Ridge Visitor Centre, with the edge of Coldwater Lake to the left.
off at a viewpoint that looked out over a bridge that had been built in the wake of the eruption of Mount St. Helens in 1980. I had no idea that its effects extended to such a distance and in fact the beginning of the bridge marked the edge of the blast zone, inside of which everything was completely destroyed, including the bridge. All around the area was relatively new tree growth that had been planted over the last 23 years. As I neared the mountain, the road gradually climbed in altitude and there were several other viewpoints to stop at and view the result of the destruction. The monument borders a large area surrounding the mountain, inside of which the government has declared no restoration of the land can take place, allowing it to restore naturally, but outside the land is owned by a massive logging company so the hillsides are entirely covered by new growth. To be fair, the company lost many employees, a large numbers of trucks, equipment and property, and many hundreds of millions of board feet of trees (enough to build a hundred thousand 3-bedroom
Coldwater Lake from Coldwater Ridge VC
Coldwater Lake, taken from the Coldwater Ridge Visitor Centre. Prior to the eruption, this lake didn't exist.
North Fork Toutle River Valley from Coldwater Ridge VC
The North Fork Toutle River Valley taken from the Coldwater Ridge Visitor Centre.
houses) that was all destroyed by the eruption. As a result it has invested over $9 million into restoring the area - an investment it won't be able to retrieve until 2010 when the forest will be ready for thinning. The mountain was shrouded in cloud for the most part but slowly clearing, so I continued into the monument hoping for clearer skies. The road enters the monument at the Coldwater Ridge Visitor Centre and since the Forest Service, not the National Parks Service, runs it I had to pay, but at $6 I didn't mind. The visitor
Mt St Helens from Johnston Ridge Observatory
Mount St Helens from the Johnston Ridge Observatory, named after a geologist who died in the eruption. The greenery is quite new and prior to its growth the landscape resembled that of the moon.
centre had a lookout at 3250 feet, about nine miles from the northwest of the mountain and several good displays on the eruption, but wanting to get closer and higher I continued on the road towards the Johnston Ridge Observatory, which is almost directly north of the mountain (the northern face being the one that collapsed and erupted) and much higher at 4314 feet and six miles from the mountain. The visitor centre there was excellent and had a huge model of the surrounding area into which were set thousands of tiny lights in different colours so that they could show where things were happening as the recorded voice explained the events during the eruption. There was also a tree trunk four feet in diameter that had been splintered by the blast and was dented and scratched by flying rock.

Since my story telling skills leave a little to be desired, Wikipedia has a good description of the eruption.

Mt St Helens from Johnston Ridge Observatory
A close-up of the mountain, again from the Johnston Ridge Observatory. You can quite clearly see the new lava-dome in the centre of the crater.
Mt St Helens Model
The excellent model of the surrounding area in the Observatory. Different sets of lights lit up to represent the various aspects of the eruption.
In the aftermath of the eruption the following was summarised: 1300 feet of the summit had vanished taking it to 8366 feet and leaving in place a crater 1.2 miles wide by 2.4 miles long by 2000 feet deep; a debris avalanche of more than half a cubic mile in volume; a quarter of a cubic mile of ash, some of which had travelled more than 950 miles to the east; 235 square miles of land north of the mountain destroyed by the
Mt St Helens at Sunset
Looking back at the mountain during sunset.
blast and covered in hot volcanic debris; 57 people dead or missing; 5000 black-tailed deer, 1500 elk, 300 black bears, 15 mountain goats and countless small animals and birds killed; many miles of roads and a number of bridges and homes destroyed.

Over the last 23 years since the eruption a lava dome has been slowly building in the centre of the crater. It now measures 1000 feet in height and over 4000 feet in diameter and is still growing. This was all encompassed in an excellent video presentation in the theatre at the visitor centre and at the end of it the screen rose to give a view of the mountain through a huge window. The cloud had cleared and the mountain could now be seen in its full stunted glory, so I took a few photos and headed back out of the monument.

Route 504 met back up with I-5 and I drove south towards Portland, hitting a massive traffic jam just north of Vancouver (Washington, not B.C.) and spent half an hour trundling along the road before crossing the mighty Columbia River into Portland and finding a motel just outside town.
Today was mainly car swap day so I drove to Portland airport, dropped the nice car off and picked up a horrid one as a replacement. It wasn't intentional, but the only vehicle they had that could be taken into Canada was a Ford Winstar minivan, which isn't too bad except that this one seemed a little well-driven and a few years old. It's certainly not as comfortable as the Nissan, although it is nice to be sitting up out of the traffic. As I pulled onto I-84 east prior to dropping the car off, I realised that this was the completion of a giant 5000-mile circle I had started 34 days ago when I drove towards Gresham with the intention of going to Idaho and coming back. That's the nice thing about not having a plan. After picking up the new vehicle I drove into downtown in search of a camera shop to replace my ailing midrange zoom lens with the sticky barrel. Portland seems to be split into half with each half either side of the Willamette River. The river is quite wide and so there are a number of large bridges to take you from one side to the other, some of them double-decker and the rest single. On the western side of the river is the downtown area with all the main shopping areas, the financial district and other districts such as Chinatown, Historic Waterfront (naturally), Stadium and University. It also contains the large Washington Park, all of this within about four square miles. On the eastern side are the residential areas (both nice and unpleasant, depending on whether you are close to or far away from the river, respectively) and the large, covered shopping malls for the masses. Having found only one camera store, which was boarded-up, I decided to head back to the motel as it was getting late in the afternoon and everything was beginning to close. On the way back up I-5 (which is on the eastern shore) I noticed a sign for the Lloyd Centre, one of the large shopping malls, and missing the turning, came off at the next exit and proceeded to drive around for half-an-hour before finding it. The place was enormous with well over 200 shops, but the two cameras stores in there both suggested I find one in downtown (according to the address they gave me I had driven past it twice), so I called it a day and drove back to the motel.

No pictures today as car-swapping and shop-missing are not particularly photogenic.

Mileage when dropping the car off: 8370.
I drove into downtown to have a proper look around and parked the car in one of the many car parks in the area. The town has a large shopping area, with the usual requisite supply of chain stores, restaurants and fast-food joints, but also a number of independent shops, which looked quite interesting. I ended up in a large camera store and bought an absolutely superb new lens for my camera (it was expensive, but still much cheaper than it would have been in England) and a tripod for those dusky evenings. Having made my rather large purchase and stopped off for lunch I picked up a couple of supplies and headed back over the bridge towards the motel. Laundry once again presented itself as a necessity so I spent the rest of the day doing that and attempting to rectify my lacklustre journal uploading.

No pictures again I'm afraid as I forgot to take my camera with me.
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