The Cascades Continued

Mount Rainier, a peak being monitored for possible eruption, is the tallest of The Cascades at 14,409 feet.  The National Park Service calls it “an active volcano” ringed by subalpine wildflower meadows. Indeed, an exceptional mountain experience awaits up there, for now, in 5 developed areas that range from basic campground to rustic lodge.  Longmire, 6 1/2 miles from the Nisqually Entrance, has a historic National Park administration building now serving as a museum. There are 2 hotels in the park, Paradise and National Park Inns, with a total of 146 guest rooms.  For high summer, book really early.  Crystal Mountain, Rainier’s outside-the park ski area, operates a gondola daily from mid-June to mid-September. Rising 2,500 feet, it affords dramatic views of Mount Rainier to the west. Most of the Park’s roads are closed in winter.

Mount Adams is called The Cascades’ Forgotten Giant.  Lewis and Clark thought it was Mount Saint Helens when they passed.  There are no paved roads anywhere near its summit but lots of hiking trails.  We’ve gone up Adams and were turned back by a wall of snow in late spring.  But in full summer, when 12 types of huckleberries attract pickers, it’s sunny and pristine up there.  Morel and chanterelle mushroom gathering is popular too. Adams spreads over 230 square miles and is visible 155 miles away.  It’s entire eastern half is on the Yakama Reservation and off-limits.  It’s easy to feel alone on Adams.

Mount Hood (pictured above) is just the opposite.  Everybody goes there. In winter, skiers abound.  In summer, historic Timberline Lodge, a Depression Era WPA project, fills with vacationers drinking homemade root beer and looking out upon mesmeric scenery.   One time we tried to book rooms during the Christmas  season and found out that the Lodge was book 2 years in advance.  Be warned.  But even if you don’t stay there as you visit the Northwest, a day trip to Hood, especially in summer, is both easy and essential.

Further south, the Three Sisters all top 10,000 feet and cluster beautifully together in an area so remote that they’re accessible for only a few months each year.  The closest road to them, highway 242, is closed all winter and sometimes doesn’t open until mid-summer.   The Three Sisters are Cascades but Sisters is a popular, year-round, tourist-centered town about 20 miles northwest of Bend, Oregon.

Lewis and Clark called them the Western Mountains and probably only saw 2 major peaks, Hood and Helens, in addition to misnamed Adams as they floated down The Columbia.  Not the controlled river it is today, the fearsome Columbia  was then full of falls, rich with rapids, and its shores meant thieving natives.  When William Clark wrote, “Ocian in view!!! The joy,” it was probably with as much relief as excitement.  You, on the other hand, will and should visit the area to exclaim, “Mountain in view!!!  The joy.”

Hank

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About roadsrus

Since the beginning, I've had to avoid writing about the downside of travel in order to sell more than 100 articles. Just because something negative happened doesn't mean your trip was ruined. But tell that to publishers who are into 5-star cruise and tropical beach fantasies. I want to tell what happened on my way to the beach, and it may not have been all that pleasant. My number one rule of the road is...today's disaster is tomorrow's great story. My travel experiences have appeared in about twenty magazines and newspapers. I've been in all 50 states more than once and more than 50 countries. Ruth and I love to travel internationally--Japan, Canada, China, Argentina, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, etc. Within the next 2 years we will have visited all of the European countries. But our favorite destination is Australia. Ruth and I have been there 9 times. I've written a book about Australia's Outback, ALONE NEAR ALICE, which is available through both Amazon & Barnes & Noble. My first fictional work, MOVING FORWARD, GETTING NOWHERE, has recently been posted on Amazon. It's a contemporary, hopefully funny re-telling of The Odyssey. View all posts by roadsrus

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