This was our first attempt at visiting Mount Rainier and the day was stormy and the cloudy sky made it impossible to view the mountain. After some discussion on where to go first, we decided to visit Mowich Lake but didn’t realize it was going to be an 18 mile adventure on a very rutted, dirt road to get there. It was a long and dusty drive but it was well worth it when we arrived. Callie, Michael and I went out for a short hike but had to turn around because of signs posted which read–NO PETS ALLOWED ON TRAIL. I can understand keeping the area wild and free of dogs, but a cat in a pack? We almost ventured out anyway but decided against it. There is a partial trail right off the road and we were able to explore a section of the lake but had to turn around due to overgrowth. Callie was eager to explore more but we didn’t want to cause any trouble. Having decided that we had seen all that we could see, we headed back the way we had come to check out more of the sites of the national park. On the way back to the main road we were notified of tire pressure failure and had to spend the rest of the day locating someone who could fix a flat tire. We must have hit a sharp rock but it was a slow enough leak that we were able to rush over to Les Scwab in Enumclaw and they fixed the tire for free. A difficult situation turned pleasant by the way we were treated at Les Swab. We were very grateful and appreciative of the wonderful service they provided and I would highly recommend them for any of your tire needs. By the time we were finished repairing the leak, we had to call it a day for Mount Rainier. It was getting too late to appreciate the park and all it had to offer. After an hour or so drive, we checked into a motel in Tacoma, Washington. When I reached back to pick up Callie, I noticed that she was curled up in a tight ball on the seat of the car, sound asleep…All the excitement was just too much for her! There is nothing quite as sweet as an exhausted cat… On reflection, this was a day of give and take, one step forward and one step back. In spite of all the detours we experienced, I felt that it was a wonderful day and the beauty of the lake and the drive through the endless forest far surpassed the inconvienence and hassle of a flat tire and trails not allowed to travel because of a pet.
It is so much fun to witness the joy and wonderment that Callie feels while riding in the car. At first the wind frightened her but as she got use to it she would ask to lean out of the window more and more often… We had the Rolling Stones blasting and the evergreen scent of the forest was intoxicating! For long stretches at a time, Callie would hang out as far as she was allowed and let the scene whip by in a blur of ecstasy. Hold on Callie!
It was an awesome drive up to Hurricane Ridge. There were a couple lightning fires from a storm that had passed through several nights before, but the skies were still clear and the flora and fauna absolutely amazing. The higher we got in elevation, the further out Callie wanted to hang from the window. By the time we got to the top, she was ready for a big walk adventure. Her curiosity was so strong that she ignored everyone that came up to greet her so that she could get up close to a white tailed deer that was grazing off the walkway. She drew quite a crowd of admirers and it was at this time that I had the idea to start a travel blog. People love her and want to pet her and take photographs. She is not shy at all and wants to be petted and adored.
The second week was a blur of activity and lush landscape. Port Angeles is as far west as you can go in the state of Washington. Pudget Sound and its dramatic tidal change is stark and wild and the pine forest goes on for miles. We stopped by Clear Lake on one of our outings and the lake lived up to its name. It was a beautiful deep blue and you could see clear to the bottom. Callie enjoyed walking on her leash and resting in the shade on top of a picnic table while Michael explored the boat dock.
The Columbia Gorge is ancient and has so many waterfalls flowing into the Columbia River that it is close to impossible to view in one day. We left Callie at the motel passed out in her bed. It took her a couple days to recover from all of the excitement at Trillium Lake and off-roading. We had a fabulous time exploring and ended up at a famous historical fish hatchery at Bonneville Dam.
Trillium Lake was gorgeous and has a breathtaking view of Mount Hood. You can take a lovely walk around the lake and there are picnic sites and viewing platforms for taking photographs. At one point you enter a wood plank walkway that allows you to explore a wet marshland without damaging the terrain. At the end of our hike we had a lovely picnic and Callie was able to rest and watch people fish and swim.
The Mckenzie River and its gorgeous series of waterfalls is a must see if you are ever visiting Bend Oregon. We spent a day meandering through lush mature evergreens with moss and mist dripping off the trees. The path is well defined and eventually leads to a reservoir. Once again, Callie chose to spend the hot day chilling in the motel room. It seemed like every third day of travel or so would be too much for her. Whenever she sleeps all day, we have hell to pay when we go to bed in the evening. She is always very polite and cheerful about waking you up, but it is still an unpleasant experience… Particularly when you are exhausted after a long day of hiking.