Friday, July 7, 2017

Crater Lake

Corrie and I headed south on I-5 after our sunset tour of Mt St Helens, and spent a remarkably restful night just south of Portland at the busiest rest area I have ever seen. From there we cut across Oregon to Crater Lake and spent two nights camping next to the snow because they received 48' of snow last winter.
The top of a mountain is an odd place for the deepest (1943 ft) lake in the United States, but a caldera filled with rain and snow melt makes a pretty amazing lake. Water is now evaporating and seeping out through the sides at the same rate as it collects so the surface level is relatively stable.
Snow blocked the trail about two thrirds of the way up Garfield peak.
These flowers reminded me of crocuses in Alaska except they are white instead of purple.  
Mt Shasta from above the visitor center on the rim.
Corrie taking pictures from the rim.
Wizard Island on our second morning while the lake was still.
Wait there's an Air Crane flying over the lake?
We stopped to watch the park service fly this boat down to the lake. There are no roads into the crater, so this is the only way to get a boat down there. One of the rangers told us it's been 10 years since they last flew a boat down. The video below requires flash. 

video


The east rim drive was still closed to cars, but Corrie and I hiked the five miles around to the trail down to the lake edge.
Another view from the North rim.
Road closed for snow... One advantage of the closed road is that we mostly had the trail to ourselves.
The view from the lake edge. The water was almost as cold as it was clear, but we went for a swim anyway. 
Corrie cooking dinner back on the south side 
Mt Shasta from the south east as we drove around it on the way to visit the Wassons.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Washington

We spent four days in Washington visiting my brother, Tony, and exploring a couple of the state's awesome mountains. This post is mostly photos of mountains...

My brother sent me a pin for where to camp. Google auto corrected his location and then led us up a logging road that was closed, but the caption on the photo led us here. A very nice spot, but still not the right one.

Found it on the third attempt after getting turn by turn directions directly from the source. Definitely a spot worth finding. 

Pretty good view from inside the camper too.

Sunsetting on Mt Shuksan

Roasted string cheese by the fire.  

One of the main advantages of staying in a National Forest is that Tony could bring his Australian Shepherd Loki

It seemed a little odd to leave Alaska in summer to tour massive snow fields in Washington, but it's a lot of fun hiking through 20 feet of snow when it's sunny and 75 degrees out. 

Corrie in front of Mt Baker at the top of our climb. 

The other side of Shuksan.

Loki was a little skeptical of crossing this pond.

He's a pretty smart dog...

Another clear night at the base of Mt Shuksan
 We had good light for our evening tour of Mt Saint Helens:






Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The Alcan and Cassiar

We've driven about 1400 miles since the last post. Neither Corrie or I had driven the Cassiar Highway before, so we took a right turn about 250 miles southeast of Whitehorse and found a scenic winding road with little traffic and no lane lines.
Our route so far (blue) and my traditional route (grey) down the Alcan.
Looking up the valley from Kluane Lake in the Yukon.
Looking across Kluane Lake at the Kluane Lake NP and Preserve which border the Wrangell St Elias NP in Alaska. Nearly 100,000 sq km of wilderness lies between here and the end of the road in Nebesna. 
Lots of mountains and no road lines. The Cassiar is my kind of highway. 

Kinaskan Lake where we stopped for dinner and coffee.
Late evening rain in the mountains.
We saw 10 black bears yesterday.
We saw several cubs, but they didn't cooperate for pictures as well.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Ready for our summer adventure

Corrie and I arrived in Tok tonight and are heading down the Alcan tomorrow for our summer tour of western national parks. We have both been busier than usual for the last six weeks and it's good to be on the road. 

I had some extra design time in March and started designing a platform for the truck topper with a six foot drawer for our camping stuff. Five versions later I had designed a complete insulated camper shell. I also had lots of new billable work to do.

I dialed the design back down to just a platform and I started looking for taller shell on Craigslist. I found this micro camper instead.
It's an A-frame design and is more than 7 ft tall in the center when it's open.
Corrie and I took it our for a test run Memorial Day weekend. We found a quite spot along a random creek for the first test night. The wind was blowing pretty hard and the temperature dropped below freezing, but stayed warm enough inside.

We decided to explore the Nebesna road in the Wrangell St Elias National park since neither of us had driven it before.
The road is scenic and mostly gravel. It was originally built to access a gold mine on this mountain and this is as far as you can drive in without an ATV now.
We hiked in the rest of the way to the mine. This is looking across the valley from the side of the hill.
One of the old mine shafts near the base of the mine.
Corrie took this cool picture reflecting off the glass of the mining cabin. 
There isn't a lot to see, but it would be interesting to tour with someone who knows more about old mines. 

We camped the second night next to a lake that was still half frozen. It's the only official camp ground on the road and quite nice. There were also a few unofficial places that looked nice. I don't think we will see another national park this empty all summer. 

Sunset on the lake. 

In the morning we found a lot of cranberries from last summer which are much tastier after a winter under the snow. We shared some with a couple from Texas who were launching their canoe into the half frozen lake.

Having a convenient lunch break anywhere is another of the perks I'm hoping for with the camper.

About 10 days ago I took the camper on a second test trip to go dipnetting on the Copper River. I didn't take a photo of the camper in the blowing dust and high winds, but I was really happy not to be in a tent. The weather was much nice at 4:30 the next morning when we got up to go fish. 
It was a beautiful day, but the fish just weren't really running. We sat on the rock above 12 hours and caught 8 fish worth filleting when we got done.
The Sea Gulls just hang out here waiting for the fish to be cleaned.

Looking up the Copper River on the way out.
Only in Alaska... We were in Girdwood for a conference Corrie was attending and someone left dog food in the back of their truck next to the Fit. A bear climbed in to eat the food and then fell onto the car when it got spooked. I'm thankful the damage is minor> I have no idea how to explain "a bear fell onto the car" to the insurance company... 



It's still a couple days before solstice, but since we are heading south tomorrow today is the longest day of our summe! I think we made the most of it. If I hurry I can get three hours sleep before the sun comes up again.