Little Adventures

Cascades and Beyond!  Seattle, etc. 2015

This is some info about and photos of our trip around the Northwest USA and B.C., Canada, June 3- July 9, 2015.

For more exciting photos (really, way more beautiful than mine) of everything here, go to Colin’s website.  But please be patient; though some photos are already up, it will take a few months before he’s fully published everything.  Here  is the gallery spefic to this trip. 

Other photos by Colin D. Young:

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Look what I found in the forest!  A Colin-based mosquito trap!

By the way, if anyone knows how to use Sandvox better than I do and can give me some tips for making this website look better, please let me know.  Using this software is definitely sticking in my craw!

June  3 – Seattle, WA, Motel 6 Pacific Hwy S.

Stayed at Motel 6 Everett.  Decent, also offers a discount at iHop across the street, near QDoba  and Trader Jo’s. 

Stocked up at Trader Jo’s.  Tip:  You’re not supposed to bring most fruits over the border (anything with a pit plus berries).  We knew about chicken and eggs, but hadn’t heard about fruit, despite reasearching on the web.  Got away with most of it but trashed 5 sumptious Fuji apples, after stuffing one down.

Canadian Visitor center at border has bathrooms and lots of maps, etc.

4,5 – Vancouver, B.C.  AirBnB Place,  East 7th Avenue 

Cool neighborhood.  Lots of shops and microbreweries.  You’re supposed to walk around with your “growler” and have it filled.  Walked to Steel Toad for a really lovely and unique dinner, big, bright space with high ceilings, huge TV screens with sports (volume off) and great service. 

Next day took 19 bus (stop 2 blocks away) to Stanley Park.  Saw the totems and took in some lovely views.  Not much at the visitor center.  Couldn’t find the native village.

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Gas-powered clock in Gastown, Vancouver

Got back on the bus, hopped off near Gastown.  Shopped at a local (legal) pot store, walked to the steam clock (neat engineering and cool looking) and took in some art.

Walked to Chinatown, had great and over-plentiful dinner at Phnom Penh.  Busy place with lots of local Asian families there, so it must be the place to be.  Took half our food home.

Hopped back on the 19 bus for a ride up the hill (Main Street.)

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                                                           View from the roof of our AirBnb place in Vancouver

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View from Cygnet Cove

6,7,8 – Ucluelet, B.C.  Cygnet Cove Suites on Sunset Point Road, Naomie and Jeff Swann  

Restaurants tend to close early in this part of the world.  Managed to get some surprisingly good food “downtown” Ucluelet at Norwoods, open late-ish.

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Cygnet Cove from the back - rental units are side by side on the bottom floor, owners live upstairs.

Cygnet Cove is very special – the owners built much of it themselves and there are spectacular views right from the porch.  Colin got some lovely night shots from the property.   View across the bay to lighthouse point, private beach (lots of stairs down, only went once), our own grill, hosts gave us salmon their kids caught on the beach to put on it.  Views from hot tub are lovely.  Shared kitchen access if you ask for it and it’s possible, otherwise rooms have fridge and microwave.  

Did I mention the eagle nest right across the road?   Check with Colin for eagle shots.

Hiked the Lighthouse Loop (Colin did part of it twice) and it’s the perfect trail – bathrooms at beginning and middle, views every 5 minutes and regular benches.  Pine forest on one side and spectacular beach vistas the other.  Can’t lose, even if it’s a little foggy.

We met our friends Charles and Lynette here.  They were taking a "Honeymoon on our 10th Anniversary" trip.

Went into Tofino for dinner one night – a little more developed & touristy.  Stopped on the way at this beach and associated Vistor Center, where Niki took a nap.

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Anniversary feast with salmon caught in the back yard by our host’s kids

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One of dozens of similar views from 

the easy Lighthouse trail, Ucluelet

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Charles discovers his inner crab 

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Trail at Cathedral Grove

9,10,11 – Nanaimo, B.C.   - Exchange through Intervac

On the way, stopped at Cathedral Grove – so great we went back.  Beautiful old growth trees, easy paths and photo opps.


Charles and Lynette kayaked from “home” to the nearby island and saw a purple starfish.  Eagles nest just up the beach and Colin chased them around for a while.


Good tip from our host – park in the Thrifty grocery store parking lot and walk down to the bay for dinner.  Many places closed at 8 but we found one place open and enjoyed the sunset view.  Gelato, coffee and souveniers also available.

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View from our Intervac Exchange place in Nanaimo, B.C. (it is also available on VRBO.)  

We missed appearances by whales  here in Departure bay by a few days on either end. 

I always miss the whales!  

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 Ferry from Victoria, B.C. to Port Angeles, WA.                Victoria, B.C. from the Ferry

13,14,15,16 – Port Angeles, Super 8 (360) 452-8401  Colin’s workshop begins.

 Super 8 – pretty nice, fridge, microwave, 2 beds and friendly service.  Dinner next door very handy.

Trails right around the Hurricane Ridge visitor center are easy and spectacular.  Drive about 45 minutes uphill from town, several easy trails from visitor center – some overlook the opposite side of the mountain & paved.  Spectacular vistas, small café, restrooms and… tip:  open all night.

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  Hurricane Ridge

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Lavender Farm near Port Angeles

Several restaurants in town, all very good food.  Thai restaurant almost on water had unforgettable coconut soup!

17,18,19 – Forks, Forks Motel (360) 374-6243

Forks Hotel is comfortable – 2 beds, microwave, frige, pool (heated but still too cold outside for much swimming.)  Provided a restaurant list but little of the food in town was terribly tasty.  Best bet was Mexican and Pizza.

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Walk to Marymere Falls…just looking at this photo makes me inhale deeply.

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Shots from Ruby beach, near Forks, WA

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These are from a short hike in the Hoh Rainforest called “Hall of Mosses"

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20 – Ilwaco, Heidi’s Inn 

 Can’t really recommend Heidi’s – new owners seem on top of some issues, but 1st room we were shown (1st floor) smelled so mildewy we asked for another, and got the last available (2nd floor) which was somewhat better.  Other issues included water pressure and temp issues, clogged sink, no way to shut out bright light from walkway, and no screens on windows.  All for about $98.  Still, very popular, and they had a ramp to the 2nd floor.

Ilwaco has much to offer – huge beaches.  Adrift (?) restaurant had vistas of beach a few miles North of Ilwaco, (with diving, swarming Cormorants in the thousands,) and super delish food.

Stopped at the Lous and Clark Expedition Visitor Center, which is worth the visit just for the views of the Columbia River bay below.  And yes, I have a greater appreciation for the whole enterprise now.

On way to Portland stopped in Seaside for lunch, which is just as you’d imagine if you go down to the sea – a walk lined with businesses, people playing soccer and street performers, very popular place on a Saturday.


21,22,23,24 – Portland, OR, AirBnB on Southwest Madison Court 

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Niki saw a dentist (our host, Sibyl happens to be one), massage therapist (Mandy L. Kruger, highly recommend both) and Michelle, who drove in all the way from Cloverdale (mom’s BnB) with son and dog.  So happy to see them!


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Conveyor belt sushi

Spent an evening wandering around downtown.  Nicholas (Lebanese food) was delicious, with many leftovers.  Shopped at Whole Foods.


Colin did a day of waterfalls in the Columbia River valley (Multumnah, Horsetail, and several on the Eagle Creek trail, which was incredibly crowded, especially at Punch Bowl falls, which would make a lovely gorge photo in the morning.  He also did an evening trip to Cannon Beach, and Ecola Pt & Indian Beach for sunset.  Cannon Beach was a lovely, upscale beach town.  Indian Beach was a nice spot, but the sunset was lacking.  Did get some OK shots of Tillamook lighthouse with the telephoto.


25,26,27,28 – Mt. Rainier, Paradise Inn 360 569 2275


Room is two twin beds with shower down the hall and bathrooms around the corner from there.  Not ideal, but the cheapest available at $117/night + tax.   No internet, no cell service - we went dark.

Also Hot!  Got one of only 3 fans in the joint.  Other issues included bright lights in the hallway and long walk to bathroom.  If we can afford it, next time we would stay in the annex and BYOB (Bring Your Own Box fans); rooms are bigger, include a bathroom and have two windows, thus more air circulation.  Who knew June at Mt, Rainier could be this hot?  This historic builidng was not built to vent.

But…right at the base of several AMAZING trails, ranger- led hikes every day at 1:30 (great time for Niki - I’m up!)  Also nightly sky-watching and other lectures, etc. to catch.    Ideal location for us to each hike at our own level and meet up when convenient.

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Colin on the deck at the Mt. Rainier Lodge.  Tatoosh Mountains behind.

Trader Jos Wine

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Main room at the lodge

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Are the falls decoration for Mt. Rainier, or the other way around?

Bad news for the planet and wildfire situation but good news for us; 

wildflowers in bloom months early

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Do you hear a Who?

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Historic Mt. Rainier Lodge

25th – Procured chicken salad and wrap at the little grill restaurant near the visitor center in Ashford, about 40 minutes to Paradise Inn.  35 to vista for Narada falls (.1mile hike down to bigger view, didn’t take – Colin took later – was lovely)  Ate dinner on the patio (front desk provided wine bottle opener for the Trader Jo’s red) in back of the hotel, tables, striking sunset view of Tatoosh Mountains.

Found internet at the Visitor Center, and a few restaurants advertise it.  One is right before the park entrance and advertises espresso, as well.  Another – Cherry something or other- offers Himalyan food.

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Weather is unusually hot:  + = flowers as they would be in July, full bloom.  – running a fan in hotel room and still pretty stuffy, some hot hiking.  High of 78 posted on sign, but feels quite a bit hotter in the sun.

26th – Colin did sunrise photos at Reflection Lakes and hike to Myrtle Falls.  Both took ranger-led hike to Nisqually Vista Loop. Dinner was soup and sandwich at Paradise Inn Café.

Nora the Ranger explains snowfall becoming glaciers with Play-Dough and water

Ranger Nora explains how snowfall becomes glaciers, using play-dough.

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Oh man did my feet need this...


27th – Colin did Skyline Trail (trailhead at hotel) starting at 7am, counter-clockwise, took 7 hours for 7 miles.  Niki started Skyline, did some and then part of Golden Gate (picture with lots of stairs above).  Wins Most Spectacular Hike award, with mountain flowers in full bloom, waterfalls, streams, and almost always a view of volcanic Mt. Rainier.  Pee spots are tough to come by, however, with clear valley views and dozens of people around, just a few trees and all sorts of signs asking one to stay on the trail.  (and rangers, or “Meadow Police” as the photo book calls them)


High was supposed to be 84, felt very damned hot in the sun.

Found dinner and internet down in Ashford, at the Highlander.     Coffee at Whittakers.


28th – More flower hiking.  Just lovely.  We were pleased to be entertained by a real mountain thunderstorm – the only rain Niki experienced in our 5-week trip (Colin was sprinkled on one other time).  It kept Colin awake but soothed away a bit of the heat, and was a pretty awesome sight from the empty great room of lodge.

29 – Chelan, WA, Apple Inn 509 682 4044

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Mt. Rainier awash with a foreground of mountain flowers

Colin thinks this place reminds him of Lake George.


30 – Winthrop, Abbey Inn 509 996 3100

Really loved the cute, Western themed town with upscale shops, including a decent outdoor store with cross country ski rentals.  In retrospect, would have spent more time here.  Took evening hike to Rainy Lake, with seasonal waterfalls and clear water.  Sunset at Washington Pass overlook.   Winthrop also brags the larges Nordic Ski area in North America.  Future vacation rental home spot???

Short hikes to Rainy Lake, with its seasonal waterfall, and Washington Pass Overlook in Northern Cascades National Park, maybe 45 minutes from Winthrop.

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Rainy Lake

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Washington Pass Overlook

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Washington Pass Overlook

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 Colin captures another waterfall.  Niki tries to outsmart the local ground squirrels.

July 1- Marblemount, Totem Trail Motel 360 873 4345

Beautiful day taking our time driving across the Northern Cascade National Park.  Stops included Diablo Lake (caught presentation from exuberant ranger) Gardens near the dam and waterfalls, and several overlooks.

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Niki & Lake Diablo

Here is where our trip took a turn.  We arrived at the Totem Trail Motel to discover - Oops – no air conditioning.  When we made these plans two months ago, it didn’t even occur to us to ask about A/C.  Temps are supposed to range 50’s to 70’s this time of year, not low 90’s!  Host was lovely and helpful (and maybe stoned).  She had sent us a hand-written, 2 page confirmation – does not use computers at all.  She was very accommodating, saying would not obligate us - she’d re-rent it in 5 minutes if she put the vacancy sign back out (“Or maybe I won’t, less work for me…”) and making some phone calls for us.


Lake Diablo


As it turns out, she did re-rent it, and we know this because Colin accidentally kept the key in his pocket from when we went to “feel” the room, discovering it 45 minutes down the road in Sedro-Wolley.  We called the proprietress and were relived to hear not only was it not her only key, but she already had other guests in the room.  Mailed it back the next day. 


Our would-be host helped us find a place in Sedro-Wooley for the night, at the Three Rivers hotel.  A/C was dicey but eventually worked.  Though tempting, we passed up the Loggerodeo, which includes things like wood carving and beard contests; overall family fun.

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Hydroelectric plant in Northern Cascades National Park - three of these produce 20% of the electricity used in Seattle

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Beetle Art

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Ho, hum another gorgeous waterfall

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Must have a shot of that one, too(BTW this is Colins Holden Caulfield look)

Shoulda stayed in Winthrop.  Maybe…


July 2,3,4,5,6,7 – Glacier, WA, Snowater Condos Resort, found through VRBO 

July 2nd - Original plan called for going back into the park today, but now that we just drove 45 minutes in the opposite direction to find A/C, the park is kind of out of the way.  Our host in Glacier graciously offered to let us go in and see how it feels in her condo; we can stay starting two days early (at the alarmingly low rate of 20 bucks per night), or cancel.  Yet another very laid-back Washington host. 


Third hardware store we tried in Sedro-Wolley had fans.  Got a delivery in that morning and would be sold out by afternoon.  The entire state of Washington is reportedly sold out of air conditioners, and fans are a hot item.  We hear people are driving hours from Seattle to get A/Cs.


We enter the unit with some anxiety, thinking if it’s 95 degrees in here we really don’t have a plan B formulated.  It was 85, and that with drapes open and no fans on.  Here, temps are still getting down in the 50’s at night, so with the additional fans…we can make this work.


Dinner at Chair 9, right up the road and pretty awesome.  (Good thing, too, because pretty much everything else recommended in the condo materials is closed.)


July 3- We’re getting happier by the minute that fate brought us to Snowater early.  There are two clubhouse/rec center buildings, complete with pools, hot tubs, tennis, racquet and squash ball courts, pool and ping-pong tables, etc.  Separate children adult hours at one.  There is even a historic log cabin (with wi-fi - very historic) offered for adult hanging.


July 4- Artist Point in Snoqualme National Forest is about a 45 minute drive (though usually not accessible until July – another way the heat brought us luck to our small world, if not for the larger). From this point one is surrounded by mountains – Mt. baker and Mt. Shuksan among them.  We both hiked Artist Ridge, a 2mile round trip relatively easy trail with views the entire way.  Colin hiked back for sunset photos.  Note:  the restroom facilities up there smell AWful!  Pee in the woods if you can.


July 5 – Chill day!  Multiple forest fires making conditions hazy for photography, anyway.  Niki lounged in pool, hot tub and deck, making for the first few nearly pain-free hours in recent memory.  We hear the biggest fire is up in B.C. and air quality in Vancouver is poor.  Tried to go to the local Vineyard for wine tasting but they were closed (damnit, people, keep your websites up to date!)

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Oh, look, there’s a legal Pot Shop!


July 6 – Colin hiked Heliotrope Ridge.  Niki explored the local trail behind Snowater a little more.

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Picture Lake, about 45 minutes from Glacier, WA

Artist Point

Not usually accessible until mid to late summer, Artist point, in Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, is a parking lot with million dollar, 360 degree panoramic views.

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Colin contemplates sunset shots. 

Why does food taste so much better at altitude?  Best tuna sandwich, ever!

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I thought this looked like a Jeep Commercial

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Sunset Clouds a few steps from Artist Point

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Mt. Shuksan, view from Artist Ridge trail

7,8Seattle, AirBnB place

Construction/lack of A/C at our Seattle AirBnB place caused us to cancel and stay a 6th night in Glacier.  Airport Super 8 on 8th.

We managed to meet my elementary school friend, Sharon Chen, on our way to the (very musty) airport Super 8 in Seattle.  So excited to see her, and meet her fiance to boot!

How did they afford it?

Those who know we are not loaded may be asking yourselves if we steeped ourselves in credit card debt, or what.  Truth is, subletting our apartment in Brooklyn (legally!) paid for all but the rental car ($1023, picked up off-airport) and food (and we’d need to eat anyway.)  We traveled with a collapsable cooler, which helped, but we probably still wasted some food we wouldn’t have at home, and ate out a bit more than we normally would, but overall food costs stayed under control.

© Niki Naeve 2015