Alder Lake Camping and Mt Rainier Hike

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Over Memorial Day weekend we camped at Alder Lake, one of Tacoma Power’s three campgrounds, and did some hikes around Rainier.

The park was really busy so we went in by Longmire then got up early and walked the Westside road.

The road was originally built in 1926 but never finished. It’s great for biking and walking.

Nisqually River
Violets
Rushing snow melt.
Calypso Orchid
Prius camping
A fresh cougar track
Our destination was Gobbler’s Knob but the snow was still deep so we just went in a little way.
A rustic bike rack.
Fitting that we found the Marine Memorial on Memorial Day. 32 marines died in a 1946 plane crash into the mountainside.
Waterfalls of snow melt.

Ballard Locks Kayak Trip!

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I’ve always wanted to try going through the locks from fresh to salt water. There is something about walking out the front door and paddling to the sea that still seems impossible to this Arizona girl. But possible it is! This trip I went there and back but next time would like to camp and explore the beach more before returning.

Trip started at the rowing center heading north towards Mt Baker Beach.
A heron at the Arboretum.
Through the Montlake Cut!
Gasworks park
Seaplane taking off from Lake Union.
Some of the many houseboats on the lake.
The locks filling with water. A strange sensation to rise up.
Into the ocean! Sea lions and Ray’s restaurant were waiting.
On the way home saw this from one of the crew teams painted on the Montlake Cut.

A Wedding in Iowa

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Stepping out of the car in Coon Rapids, Iowa the enveloping warm humid air, smell of manure, sound of birds and deep green rolling hills took me back forty years to detasseling corn, bean roguing and cattle AI-ing.

“Iowa is a faded photograph” said my cousin. Here are some vibrant ones to show the beauty of this place.

Airport greeting
Climate change is resulting in pounding rains.

The family pooled their land to form White Rock Conservancy. This preserves a beautiful stretch of the Raccoon River, prairie and classic farm houses. You can float the river, camp and walk the miles of trails.

You can stay at River House.
A dance barn nearby.
Trails by the river.
Garst farm house
Info on Whiterock
Oak trees
Fireworks at the wedding.
A mason bee palace.
Good soil from a rye cover crop and a no-till approach. This helps prevent soil loss, increases nutrients and withstands heavy rain without crop loss.
Hi tech farm equipment enables precision planting to maximize yields.
Happy worms growing in hay and apple cider mash.

Quartz Creek

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A quick trip up the Middle Fork of the Snoqualmie for a lovely hike.

Trillium
View from Garfield Ledges trail. A short climb from the parking lot at the end of the Snoqualmie Middlefork road.
Salmon berry
Snow and fog

Kayaking the Green River – Green River Trailhead to Fort Dent

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We left one car at Star Fire Sports Complex (Fort Dent) then parked the second car here. The put in is across the bike path. Total distance was about 10 miles.
The log jam was no problem early April but might be rough with lower water levels.
Beautiful scenery!
Lots of picturesque foot bridges.
A nice beach for lunch.
This is the bridge right next to Star Fire. It’s steep but doable.

Duwamish River Paddle

Seattle

We put the Oru kayak together and paddled down the Duwamish from the Star Fire Sports Complex to Diagonal Park; about ten miles.

We zipped right along with a good current for the first third then the river widened and the incoming tide slowed the flow.

There were submerged trees and a few areas with strong eddies but we had no mishaps and enjoyed the day.

A pair of bald eagles next to their nest.
Footbridge
We saw seagulls, blue herons, eagles and many different ducks.
Passing under I-5
Bridge at South Park

Corps of Discovery-ish

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With one week to explore the lands around the mouth of the Columbia we listened to stories of the Lewis and Clark expedition, tried to learn the verses to “Roll on Columbia”, hiked, paddled and had a great time.

Mt St Helens, Johnston Ridge
Silver Lake near Seaquest State Park
Mt Hood
Sacajawea Park, Longview
Blackberries
Julia Butler Hansen Columbia Refuge for the White Tailed Deer
Astoria
Dr Forsstrom’s parrot at the Flavel House
North Head lighthouse, Cape Disappointment State Park
Fort Canby at the mouth of the Columbia
Lewis and Clark River near Fort Clatsop
Tallow candle demo at the Lewis and Clark National Historical Park. The crew spent the winter of 1805 – 1806 here.
Cannon Beach, we didn’t find a whale carcass like Lewis and Clark but we did see this!
Tualatin River