Thursday, August 4, 2016

Westside Road Adventures: Lake George and Gobblers Knob Lookout



I said it would be an easy bike ride followed by a short and easy hike. I said we would see hardly any people. I said these things to entice my teenage siblings up the Westside Road of Mt. Rainier to the Gobblers Knob Lookout, and even believed them myself. As we pushed our bikes up the long hill to Round Pass we were passed by many swift and unencumbered hikers – yet again my rose-tinted planning glasses had let me down.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Gobblers Knob Historic Lookout Vandalized



A few days ago I visited the Gobblers Knob lookout. The view was amazing, but the experience was spoiled by the discovery of damage to the beautiful, historic lookout by malicious vandals.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Giant Old Growth Forest at Teal Slough



Tucked away in a quite corner of Willapa Bay may be found one of the last remnants of the titanic ancient forest that once blanketed the Pacific Northwest. It is a wonderful thing indeed that even this little grove of giant trees was saved, thanks to the efforts of local activists. Wander beneath these behemoths that have stood since before the dawn of the Roman empire, and imagine how it must have been to visit in the time of Lewis and Clark when there were trees like this everywhere.

The trail is only a half a mile long, with short side paths leading to each of these half dozen ancient cedars. Parking is extremely limited with room for no more than 3 or 4 cars.

If you're looking for more a a bigger adventure in Willapa National Wildlife Refuge, including a much larger grove of giant trees, then click here to read about backpacking on Long Island in Willapa Bay.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Ape Caves: An Abused Natural Wonder


This was going to be a typical trip report, replete with fanciful language describing the wonders of Ape Caves, a 3 mile long lava tube burrowing through the flanks of Mt. St. Helens. I would have described the feeling of descending into another world, of traversing natural train tunnels, towering Lovecraftian cathedrals, shining slabs, and twisting patterns in the rock. However, this ancient, hallowed cavern has been so badly defaced that to promote it without mention of its poor condition, and the need to remedy the circumstances that continue to degrade it, would be remiss in the extreme.