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AdventureTaco - turbodb's build and adventures

Discussion in '1st Gen. Builds (1995-2004)' started by turbodb, Apr 4, 2017.

  1. Oct 18, 2020 at 7:15 AM
    #3641
    Arctic Taco

    Arctic Taco Serenity-the Arctic Taco, another slow build

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    Nice area, on my someday list, I did most of my early wheeling up in the Absarokas and the Wind River range. Range was limited with my 52 CJ2A during the high school days...
     
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  2. Oct 19, 2020 at 12:07 PM
    #3642
    turbodb

    turbodb [OP] AdventureTaco

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    The Naches Trail - Roaming Around Rainier #3

    With a our picture-frame like view of Mt. Rainier, and a reasonably clear night, I'd setup the camera to take a series of photos that I could use to generate a time-lapse star trail. And, as a bonus, I hoped to catch the head lamps of early morning climbers on their way up to the summit. And, since I knew that I'd need more time than one battery would afford, I got up every three hours during the night to switch out batteries, using my 175W inverter to charge them while we slept.

    Unfortunately, my ISO settings on the camera were too low, resulting in images that were too dark to recover. :pout:

    On the positive side however, the camera clicked away through the morning hours and captured the scene as the sun streaked over the horizon, illuminating the mountain and little else.

    [​IMG]

    Yes, I'll take "waking up here" any time.

    [​IMG]

    Picturesque.

    As with the previous morning, and already tasty breakfast was only helped by the view. We sat out on the edge of the scree field as the sun rose and the light drifted further down into the valley. We were in no real rush, running the Naches Trail our only plan for the day. "Only," ha!

    After getting everything packed up, we started back toward the highway - along a different route than we'd taken in the night before - and before long we were distracted by a fork in the road that seemed like it might lead down to the river. Well, as always, we contemplated whether we should investigate, and then couldn't help ourselves but to take the unknown and check the situation out.

    [​IMG]

    What's that peaking out above the trees?

    It was a great decision. A nice little camp site right next to the river would be great for us in the future with @mini.turbodb - though we'd likely have to show up mid-week to have any hope of finding it unoccupied.

    [​IMG]

    Our little detour a success, we headed back the way we'd come as the sun rose higher in the sky, the air clearer than either of the two days prior. What a great time to be exploring our home state!

    [​IMG]

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    We explored a few more little side roads - again, we thought that Naches would be an hour-or-two ordeal at this point - before returning to WA-410, stumbling upon this interesting contraption along the way.

    [​IMG]

    Initially I thought it was some sort of radio antenna, but further showed the lines to be simple ropes, so I have no idea what it is. I'd love to hear any ideas in the comments below!

    We also happened upon a woman in a Subaru who was outside her car, peering at her passenger front wheel as we pulled up to ask if she was OK, and if she needed any help. Clearly distraught, her request was for a "Ride back to the highway," because "Something is terribly wrong with my wheel - it's making a really horrible screeching noise." We were happy to oblige, but I was pretty sure I knew what the problem was, so I suggested that she first move her car into a wide spot along the side of the road. I had her do this by first backing up, and then pulling forward into the spot. As she did, I let her know that her problem was fixed, and she could carry on. A little unsure, she continued forward a little ways and the noise was gone. She was thrilled!

    It's always nice when the "horrible problem" is just a rock caught in a brake dust shield. :thumbsup:

    [​IMG]

    * Not the actual Subaru.

    It was mid-morning when we finally made it to FS-70, the access road to Naches, and we were greeted with perhaps the best road sign I've ever seen - even better than those signs that say, "High Clearance 4WD Required."

    [​IMG]

    You read that right - no a**holes allowed.

    FS-70 was paved quite a bit further than I'd expected, but that was just fine - because as we eventually approached the entrance to Naches, it was clear that any semblance of road maintenance was going to be a thing of the past - at least for the foreseeable future.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Here, the maintenance was different - it was trail maintenance - as in, do the minimum necessary to make the trail passable by narrow, high clearance, 4WD, armored vehicles. Much of the trail was worn 5 feet below the original forest floor - rocks, roots, and fallen trees encroaching into the rutted channels.

    Within the first half mile, we were already three-wheeling it in the easy sections.

    [​IMG]

    In addition to the terror, the beauty of the trail was immediately apparent. The thick canopy made photos difficult, but allowed sunlight to sprinkle down, casting a warm yellow glow onto the trail. We enjoyed it when we weren't focused on keeping the body panels away from obstacles.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Now, I'm probably making everything sound a little more dramatic than necessary, but I will say that this trail is probably one of the tougher that I've run from a narrowness-and-body-damage-potential perspective. It is not however a dangerous or scary trail - there's no risk of falling off a cliff as there might be on something like Radical Hill. I can see it being extremely fun in a vehicle that's already a little banged up, where you're less concerned about bumping into things that protrude onto the trail.

    A mile or so up - and just before another 45° hill climb - we passed a group of hikers on their way to Government Meadows, and obviously incredulous that we'd be driving a trail that they were using hiking poles to navigate.

    Thanking them for letting us by, we pointed the truck up the 45° slope and eased into what may have been the trickiest section of the entire trail. See, about halfway up, there is a stump on the right and the trail is off-camber. Pulling in the passenger mirror, we got as close to that stump as possible - I'm talking about fractions of inches. If you try and stay left which is what your brain is saying, gravity will bring you crashing into the stump - a fate that had clearly befallen several before us. I can only imagine this section of trail when it's wet - it must be pure disaster. The climb ends at a blind turn over a rocky ledge - a place I had to climb out to get a look at where the road even went!

    [​IMG]

    Now on a ridge, a few clearings and meadows made for peek-a-boo views of the landmark to our west.

    [​IMG]

    We'd spent a couple hours on the trail by this point, and made it a sum total of about four bumpy miles, maybe four and a quarter. At any rate, as we came upon the parking area for Government Meadows and the crossing of the Pacific Crest Trail, it was the perfect spot to get out, stretch our legs, and give our butts a rest.

    [​IMG]

    "Government Meadow - In the fall of 1815, the people of the Longmire Wagon Train spent two days in this meadow resting and preparing for their descent down the west side into the Puget Sound area"

    There are a couple cabins here, and the first one we saw was not the one we were looking for. The second, however, was the perfect place for us to eat our sandwiches and chips ... and enjoy the warmth of the mid-day sun. Oh, and we brought out the two avocados that were travelling with us as well - still not quite ripe, and necessary for dinner! :rofl:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    After lunch, we carefully packed the guacamole fruit back in it's place and climbed back into the truck, just as the group we'd passed an hour earlier started to arrive. Perfect timing, really.

    Almost immediately, we came to one of the few elements of the trail that I'd been expecting - some wooden boardwalks. See, back when I was just getting into this whole go exploring all the time thing, I'd read a bunch of trip reports from folks who were already out doing this. It'd turn out that those folks would end up becoming good friends, but at the time I simply viewed the stories inspirationally. At any rate, I remembered seeing Frankenstein on these boardwalks, and so had been looking forward to seeing them myself.

    [​IMG]

    Tight squeeze.

    [​IMG]

    Easy peasy.

    There were - as it turned out - several of the boardwalks, many of them a little worse for wear - entire boards missing from their platforms. Some careful maneuvering and a little spotting from @mrs.turbodb were enough to get us through, and we continued on to the apex of the trail at Naches Pass.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    From this point on, the trail was reasonably easy - at least comparatively. Sure, there were narrow sections, some rocks, roots, and rutting - but it was nothing like what we'd experienced on the west end of the trail. We made good time until we reached what was nearly the end of the trail, where we ran into a Jeep, blocking our path.

    [​IMG]

    He'd already been there for 27 hours when we showed up.

    [​IMG]

    LOL - his grumpy look matches his grumpy grill!

    We chatted for a moment just to see if we could help, as it was initially unclear what exactly the problem was. Unfortunately, it wasn't as simple as pulling him out from a deep hole or around a tree. Nope, he'd somehow managed to strip a gear in the steering box, and he'd already arranged for a replacement part to be delivered the next day. With less than half a mile to go on the trail, we decided to call it good, and headed back to the nearest graded Forest Service road, which would loop us around - all the way back to the trailhead.

    And along the way - views.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Our mental energy spent for the day, we were glad that our camp site - or at least, a location I'd found on Google Earth that I hoped would be good - wasn't all that far away. Our biggest concern, really, was that if it was as good, that it would be occupied.

    As we pulled in, the view was everything I'd hoped. I mean, I guess it would have been nice to have a little shade somewhere, but with temps in the mid-70°F's, even the lack of shade wasn't that big a deal at all. And the view - well, I'd say it was acceptable. ::D:

    [​IMG]

    Only 4:30pm or so when we parked in our spot, I opened the tent immediately and we climbed up for a well deserved nap before making dinner - taco-rritos with lots of guac just before the sun started to settle towards the horizon. There weren't a ton of clouds, but the color over the next half hour or so was still quite pleasing to the eye, and before long, it was time for bed.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    We fell asleep that night, content - each of us thinking of the excitement of the day, but also of what awaited us on the next. We both enjoy hiking in beautiful places, and I had a lead on a lookout that was apparently "not to be missed." And boy, did that end up being an understatement...
     
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  3. Oct 19, 2020 at 12:25 PM
    #3643
    redrock95

    redrock95 Well-Known Member

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    The ropes you are unsure about look like part of an avalanche mitigation plan. Hand charges with fuses are tied into the ropes above the slope and then detonated above the surface to achieve maximum percussive force. It looks like a pretty steep slope based on the picture you presented and If there are roads below the area of odd ropes or other vital infrastructure that'd be my best guess.
     
    Shadowhunter and turbodb [OP] like this.
  4. Oct 19, 2020 at 12:29 PM
    #3644
    ian408

    ian408 Well-Known Member

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    Do you think the ropes could have been used to haul logs up slope?
     
    turbodb [OP] likes this.
  5. Oct 19, 2020 at 12:30 PM
    #3645
    ian408

    ian408 Well-Known Member

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    I like this idea but wonder if the ropes would still be there after detonation?
     
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  6. Oct 19, 2020 at 4:17 PM
    #3646
    turbodb

    turbodb [OP] AdventureTaco

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    Interesting - never heard of this before. I could understand it with more substantial anchors and cables, but it sure seems like it might get blown to bits with an explosion meant to cause an avalanche. But again, I'm no avalanche expert, so perhaps this is what it's for! :notsure:

    Definitely not strong enough, and as you can see, tied to the top of a reasonably small tree. Any force on that would quickly the tree over, so :notsure:.
     
  7. Oct 19, 2020 at 4:59 PM
    #3647
    BKinzey

    BKinzey Well-Known Member

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    It's a tether for hang gliding. :bananadead:
     
  8. Oct 19, 2020 at 6:37 PM
    #3648
    redrock95

    redrock95 Well-Known Member

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    Charges are suspended on sacrificial cordage below the hang line. It's how it's done at a lot of ski resorts.
     
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  9. Oct 19, 2020 at 6:44 PM
    #3649
    redrock95

    redrock95 Well-Known Member

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    Sacrificial cordage is used to support the charge below the main hang line. While hand charges produce a significant concussive force it won't have much force against objects that lack generous surface area and a solid mount point. Hence the small tree and light cordage. Here in Utah at Alta the ski patrol uses 1/4 inch polypropylene rope and it typically works very well and is in use from season to season with lots of avalanche mitigation use occuring throughout the ski season. This method is typically used when hand charges could slide down the slope to undesirable locations.
     
    turbodb [OP] likes this.
  10. Oct 19, 2020 at 7:11 PM
    #3650
    ian408

    ian408 Well-Known Member

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    I always thought it was ski patrollers tossing from up slope or from da choppa. I've never seen rope used-first time for everything!
     
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  11. Oct 19, 2020 at 7:44 PM
    #3651
    redrock95

    redrock95 Well-Known Member

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    It's one of many avalanche mitigation strategies! You gotta be creative when trying to fight mother nature.
     
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  12. Oct 20, 2020 at 4:35 AM
    #3652
    CowboyTaco

    CowboyTaco $20 is $20

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    good thing @turbodb didn't try to climb to the middle....that just doesn't seem safe to have in a location where a person could try to grab/play with/tamper. Especially if there were no signs.
     
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  13. Oct 20, 2020 at 9:04 AM
    #3653
    turbodb

    turbodb [OP] AdventureTaco

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    Not sure if I should be proud or offended that my reputation of climbing things led you to that opinion. :D :rofl:
     
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  14. Oct 20, 2020 at 9:05 AM
    #3654
    gkomo

    gkomo Well-Known Member

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    I was thinking the ropes could be someone tying their trash/food up off the ground during a nights sleep so bears or other animals couldn't get into it. But the avalanche explosives holder sounds more plausible.
     
  15. Oct 20, 2020 at 9:21 AM
    #3655
    Blackdawg

    Blackdawg Dr. Frankenstein

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    ALL OF THEM!...Then some more.
    awww look at ole Frankenstein.
     
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  16. Oct 20, 2020 at 9:24 AM
    #3656
    turbodb

    turbodb [OP] AdventureTaco

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    @mrs.turbodb's only comment about this write up was, "They are all truck pictures, except for Mike." and I was like, "Mike wasn't even on the trip." She didn't notice Frank. LOL.
     
  17. Oct 20, 2020 at 9:25 AM
    #3657
    Blackdawg

    Blackdawg Dr. Frankenstein

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    :rofl:

    Hard to miss even in that shot hahaha
     
  18. Oct 20, 2020 at 9:51 PM
    #3658
    Tacoma1997White4x4

    Tacoma1997White4x4 America First

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    The best thing about this thread is that picture when you bought it looks so 90’s, cool write up man.
     
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  19. Oct 20, 2020 at 10:01 PM
    #3659
    turbodb

    turbodb [OP] AdventureTaco

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    I know, right? That was such a proud day for me.

    Shoulda bought two.
     
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  20. Oct 22, 2020 at 10:22 AM
    #3660
    turbodb

    turbodb [OP] AdventureTaco

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    Climbing Kelly Butte - Roaming Around Rainier #4

    Well, I've got to say, we could really get used to this whole, "camping in perfect weather with great views" thing that we had going on. For the third night in a row, it was somewhere in the high 50°Fs to low 60s, with only a slight breeze, clear skies, and well, Mt. Rainier in the distance.

    With no clouds to our east and Mt. Rainier to our west, I didn't really see any need to pull myself out of bed for the pre-sunrise time where an orange glow on the horizon can turn into a fiery sky. Instead, I set my alarm for a few minutes before the sun hit the horizon, and was rewarded with that nice pre-sunrise glow that seems to melt over the land.

    [​IMG]

    And then, the sun came up.

    [​IMG]

    Unlike the previous few days, our plan for the day was to get in a nice hike - to the top of Kelly Butte, and the fire lookout located there - and then to drive over to the northwest side of The Mountain in order to see if we could find a camp site with a little different perspective than we'd had so far. That meant higher speeds on reasonably graded Forest Service roads - and that earned a a big :thumbsup: from @mrs.turbodb.

    First though, we ate breakfast and broke down camp, and watched as few guys get on the next hill got ready to head out on their dirt bikes. Each one of them had brought their own bike, the most interesting being the bike mounted on the rear bumper of the Mercedes sedan. Smooth operator.

    [​IMG]

    As we were putting away camp, a pet peeve of mine finally overwhelmed me. It'd been bothering me since we'd parked the night before, but I'd been successful in ignoring it, but after finding a live round, I just couldn't let it go.

    [​IMG]

    Why am I picking up after you? Show a little respect.

    After deciding we were done and taking a photo, we ended up collecting about the same number of shells again from this one camp site - 6lbs in total when I got home and weighed them after removing the dirt inside.

    That dampened our mood a bit, but we felt better for leaving the site cleaner - at least for a while - than it'd been when we arrived. And, we knew that a beautiful hike was in front of us, so we pulled out of camp and pointed the truck north for the few miles it'd take to get to the trailhead. There, I setup the solar panel - mostly because it was a new toy to play with - and we set off up the trail.

    [​IMG]

    The hike up Kelly Butte to the old fire lookout is 3.4 miles roundtrip with the first half mile or so being super easy and along an old logging road. This section terminates at a logging platform with tremendous views of Mt. Rainier.

    [​IMG]

    You may wonder - as we did - why the drivable road doesn't go all the way to this platform, since even a standard clearance vehicle would surely make it. I wondered about this for much of the hike, and finally realized that it likely has to do with keeping that platform "nice" for those who want to enjoy the hike, and avoid folks who might "forget" to pick up their shells after using it as a shooting platform. So yeah, thank you trail planners!

    From the logging platform, the trail to Kelly Butte changes dramatically. Short switchbacks lead up the steep hillside, some of them more of a scramble than a trail. Of course, those same steep drop offs made for more spectacular views much on the way up, and we paused several times to soak them in.

    [​IMG]

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    Stop the presses, both of us and no trucks in a photo!

    [​IMG]

    After a mile of up, the switchbacks stop and the trail climbs through a series of mountain meadows, their floors covered with thousands of huckleberry bushes. We ate a a few - though not nearly enough - on our way up, as chipmunks scampered here and there.

    [​IMG]

    And then, a little over a mile-and-a-half into the hike, we got our first view of the lookout. Perched at the apex of the butte, it's no longer in service; and while it was a bit of a bummer to not see inside, we still enjoyed the exterior and it's surroundings as we approached.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    But the real reveal came once we got past the lookout and were able to look back. Then, with Mt. Rainier rising in the distance, we really got a sense of how amazing it must have been to be a staffer in this location. Even though it would require a bit more of a trek than some of the other lookouts we've visited, waking up to a view like this ever morning was probably worth it!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Perhaps because it was reasonably early on a Thursday morning, we had the place to ourselves, and so spent a few minutes just sitting around taking the whole thing in. We weren't alone in that regard - a family (?) of chipmunks sprinkled around the lookout were also quite attentive to their surroundings.

    [​IMG]

    Alvin.

    [​IMG]

    Simon.

    [​IMG]

    Theodore. Do, Do, Do-do-do-do.

    I'm not sure what I was doing, exactly - perhaps capturing the chipmunks - but at some point, @mrs.turbodb called be over to show me a heaping handful of huckleberries that she'd plucked off of a single plant. Big and juicy, I was lucky enough to get half of them, and I stuffed the entire bunch in my mouth at once!

    [​IMG]

    It was - as far as I can remember - the first time I ever ate an entire handful of huckleberries at once, and it was sublime. Seeing my reaction, @mrs.turbodb did the same, and was similarly thrilled by the experience. As a result, we spent the next 20 minutes or so picking handfuls of the little purple flavor explosions and stuffing our faces. It was a hand-to-mouth operation.

    We probably could have stayed there quite a bit longer, but it was getting on to lunch time and we made our way back to the trailhead - most notably passing a woman who was schlepping her pet rabbit up the trail in her backpack. :rofl:

    Once back, climbed back in the truck and drove a total of about 500 yards before finding a great spot to pull over and enjoy a third day of tuna sandwiches and jalapeño chips - a lunch that is sure to become a staple on our trips in the future.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    And from there, we made our way back out of the hills and down to WA-410, where we pointed west for a couple hours to the town of Wilkeson, and the head of FS-7710 where we hoped to find our closest site to Mt. Rainier of the trip. First though, we made a quick stop at the Wilkeson Coke Ovens.

    [​IMG]

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    The ovens reminded me of miniature versions of the Charcoal Kilns that I've seen in Death Valley, and the history of them was quite intriguing.

    The ovens themselves aren't in great shape anymore, so we spent only a few minutes in the park before airing down and getting on our way. Even making good time on the maze of Forest Service roads, the nearest possible camp site was over 30 miles away, and would take us about an hour to reach. That is, assuming we didn't end up like this guy.

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    We checked, and there was no one in need of help here.

    After about 45 minutes of reasonably boring pothole dodging, and about one mile from what I'd scoped as being a reasonably promising site, we turned onto the final road and were greeted by disappointment.

    [​IMG]

    Par for the course when it comes to exploration.

    With nothing we could do about it, we grumbled a bit and then reassessed the situation. There were still two more possible sites I'd marked on the map, but before heading back to those, we decided to investigate the main road we'd been following a bit more - because there was a chance that it might pop out to some pretty amazing views itself.

    Initially, things looked good, Cedar Lake sparkling below us.

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    Even as we approached the end of the road on the map, we had high hopes - it looked like it might end with a fantastic view of Mt. Rainier. But then, as we pulled into the camp site, time - and tree growth - proved to be our undoing.

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    So tantalizing. "It's just a little chainsaw work," I joked to @mrs.turbodb.

    Stymied, we headed back the hour or so to the fork in the road that would take us to the second set of sites I'd marked, hoping that our luck would be a little better the second time around.

    It was, but not in the way we'd imagined. Rather, we were stopped in our tracks within about three-quarters of a mile.

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    Now, at 4:45pm in the afternoon, we were in a bit of a quandary. With both of the areas we'd hoped to camp blocked off, it was time to decide where we wanted to sleep. Had we been somewhere else, we'd have likely headed out to find something that would just work. But here, we had another option - it was only about a two hour drive home - we could just head that direction and sleep in our bed after a nice shower.

    So yeah, that's what we did. It meant one less night with a view of The Mountain, but we'd had a great time, and some of the best weather we could hope for. Not only that, but the entire trip was basically smoke free - something that cannot be said for the entire west coast, even as I write this story.

    And, the view as we made our way home wasn't too shabby either!

    [​IMG]

    Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed the trip! By all means, check out some more and find your inspiration!
     
    NWBoon, jubei, D-FENS and 16 others like this.

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