Bozeman, MT

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For a visit to Bozeman we parked at the Bear Canyon Campground a few miles east of town.  Bozeman has a rich history dating to the early 1960’s when the discovery of gold brought thousands of miners into the territory.  One of them, John Bozeman decided to lead immigrants to the gold fields via a series of old Indian trails, which soon became know as the Bozeman Trail.  Those who chose to forgo the mines settled in what became known as the town of Bozeman to establish farms and ranches.

When we visited Yellowstone National Park back in 2015 we explored almost all of the park but did not make it to the northernmost part, Mammoth Hot Springs.  From Bozeman it is a drive of about 1 1/2 hours to the town of Gallatin, MT, which is just outside the northern entrance to YNP. Continue reading

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Eatonville, WA–Mt. Rainier National Park

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Eatonville is a bit southeast of Seattle in the vicinity of Mt. Rainier National Park which was the major purpose for our visit.  We parked at Rainbow RV Resort which is located on picturesque Lake Tanwax.  On a clear day, which we were fortunate to experience, you can see the peak of Mt. Rainier from the RV park.

Mt. Rainier

At 14,410 feet, Mt. Rainier is the tallest volcano in the Cascade Mountain Range and the most glaciated peak in the continental United States with 26 named glaciers.  We entered the park at the Nisqually entrance which is in the southwest corner of the park.  Near the Longmire area we stopped for a hike that took us up to a spot with a nice view of Mt. Rainier.  We continued on the main road stopping to check out waterfalls and other viewpoints.  We went as far as the Paradise area which is the most popular spot in the park.  It takes you to about 5,400 feet in elevation.  The National Park Service says that “Paradise is the snowiest place on Earth where snowfall is measured regularly.”  It has an average of 671 inches of snowfall per year with 1,122 inches recorded during the winter of 1971/72.  Mt. Rainier NP is a little off the beaten path but well worth a more extensive visit.

Next stop:  Portland, OR

Anacortes, WA

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We parked here at the Swinomish Lodge and Casino RV park which is located a bit east of Anacortes and Whidbey Island.  During our car road trip in 2014 we spent a few days in nearby Oak Harbor.

Diablo Lake - North Cascades National Park

We took a day trip from here, heading east to North Cascades National Park.  This park contains some of America’s most beautiful mountain scenery.  The mountains are not the tallest but with jagged peaks, cascading waterfalls, glaciers and sheer-walled cliffs there is ample dramatic beauty.  We hiked the Thunder Knob Trail which afforded awesome views of Diablo Lake and the peaks beyond.

Coupeville, WA

On another day we drove out to Whidbey Island and re-visited Oak Harbor and Coupeville.  We had to treat ourselves to the steamed mussels at Toby’s Tavern in Coupeville.  These are Penn Cove mussels which are grown right here in Coupeville.

Next stop:  Hope, British Columbia

Alaska Cruise–Week 2

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This post is a continuation of Alaska Cruise – Week 1.

Byron Glacier - Anchorage

Day 8:  Anchorage, AK.  This is by far the largest city in Alaska and is the commercial and transportation center for the state.  Valerie’s cousin Prudence is working on a temporary assignment at a hospital in Anchorage.  We were able to meet up with her and she generously offered to drive us to see some of the natural beauty around Anchorage.  We drove south from the city along the coast of Turnagain Arm.  Our first stop was a brief hike in Chugach State Park, one of the largest state parks in the United States.  While hiking, Prudence spotted a moose with a calf at about 150 yards from the trail.  At a little further along the road we hiked to Byron Glacier and spotted a black bear at a comfortable distance.  Back to Anchorage we stopped briefly at the Earthquake Park which captures some of the impact from the massive 9.2 earthquake that hit Anchorage in 1964.  Near there we saw a young moose grazing on the side of the road.  Finally, after a quick stop at Point Woronzof for a classic view of Anchorage across Knik Arm, we stopped into 49th State Brewing before returning to the ship.  It was a good day with beautiful weather and we thank Prudence for showing us around. Continue reading

Gig Harbor, WA

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Gig Harbor is located on a small inlet near the southwestern portion of the Puget Sound.  We have previously visited the Seattle area on the eastern side of the sound but this was our first time on the west side in what’s known as the Olympic peninsula.  This is a huge tract of land bounded by the Pacific Ocean on the west, the Strait of Juan de Fuca on the north and the Puget Sound on the east.

Gig Harbor

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