POSTCARD: From California

California Dreaming Graphic |

Just the three of us again — for a little while anyway. Ryan’s brother and his family hit the road (in a camper too!) this week and we’ll be meeting up with them in California in a couple days. Until then, we’re giving our livers a break and visiting some really pretty places. 

Washington | Mt Rainier and Mt. St. Helens

Rainier is downright majestic. I don’t know the numbers, but I bet you can see it from a whole heck of a lot of miles away. You can see it from Seattle anyway, and that’s roughly 60 miles. We stayed in a campground about 40 minutes from the national park, and could see it clear as day and basically just followed the peak all the way to the park’s entrance. 

Mount Rainier, Washington |

Rainier is officially my favorite of the national parks (currently - always subject to change.) It’s gorgeous, duh, but it’s also roughly 1/1,000,000 as busy as the other parks. Plenty of turnouts with picnic tables and stunning views that you don’t have to share with anyone else. Also, actual phone service is SUCH a luxury. 

Mount St. Helens, Washington |

If you want to laugh, follow us to Mount St. Helens. As a quick history refresher, if high school was a hot minute ago for you too, MSH is a volcano that erupted in 1980 which feels pretty dang recent in the grand scheme of volcanic eruptions. It blasted off the front of the mountain and is now a horseshoe shaped peak with VERY interesting plant life in its basin. Apparently (I read this, so I’m very currently in the know, in case a Jeopardy question ever comes up about this), the blast knocked the trees right off their feet and most of them just flat fell over like toothpicks (I'm linking some pictures here), but some survived the blast. I mean, they didn’t, they died, but they didn’t fall over. After the blast, plants and trees were planted to help the area recover, and so there are giant dead trees that tower over the new growth. I mean, the new growth is 40 years old, so they’re pretty good sized too. Anyway, it just looks so wild and cool. 

Anyway, to follow up on the laugh. We cruised up to MSH around 6pm, looking for a campsite for the night and kept commenting on how empty the place was. I mean - empty. No cars. Nothing. Well, we get to the peak and find out why — it’s not a freakin’ thru road. We had to turn around and go all the way back (2-ish hours or so?) We parked on the side of the road and called it a night. Deal with that problem tomorrow (also known as my basic life philosophy). 

Oregon | Crater Lake National Park

Justin and Sara + their girls got from Michigan to California in what feels like a record 2.5 days and actually, we had a full day of driving ourselves when we realized they’d get into Cali a day earlier than we expected. Oregon was beautiful (and hot!), but we basically blasted right through it.  Protests in Portland, Bend asking visitors to stay away. We stopped for gas a couple times, but sadly it was a quick drive-thru. 

We did make a planned stop at Crater Lake National Park. Much like Diablo Lake and Kootenai Falls and Mt. Rainier, I’m going to let them photos illustrate here without me muddying up the waters with words, because it really just looks like this here and that’s enough. 

Crater Lake National Park |

Crater Lake National Park |

Old Station, California | Lasson Volcanic National Park 

So from there, we just crush the miles to get to our meeting spot in California, Old Station. We landed on a great dispersed camping spot on Hat Creek with tons of room and people flying by on quads to torment George. Duke had a lovely time whining forever when we went on a 3 mile hike (but flat, even gravel made it a walk more than a hike) to check out Bumpass Hell, which is literally bubbling pits of mud, boiling from the earth. We kept telling him that persevering would make him stronger and LOL forever, we got back to the campsite and he showed me the muscles he gained from that trip. He feels powerful, he says. 

Lasson Volcanic National Park |

Hat Creek, California |

Hodges Party |

Emerald Lake, California |


Currently en-route to The Redwoods National Forest. We'll catch ya in the land of giants soon!

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