Mount Rainier and the Columbia Gorge

Made my way down to Portland last week and did a nice road trip with Jammies through Mount Rainier, Yakima and the Columbia Gorge, getting some well needed time together on the road.

Sunlight in the trees on Tamanos Mountain.

I got into Portland last Tuesday night, and had a nice evening with Deborah after a month on the road.  We took a day trip out to Oswald West State Park the next morning, with a hike in the trees and a stop at the Tillamook Cheese Factory, before burgers and pizza at Grand Lodge and a soak at the Kennedy School pool back in Portland.  I fiddled around in the van Thursday and Friday in Milwaukee while she worked, doing laundry, putting some things in storage, and running errands in town.  Friday night we drove off to Mount Rainier in rain, camping in the van near Chinook Pass.

Saturday morning, Deborah and I climbed Tamanos Mountain with a Mazama group.  Tamanos is in Mount Rainier N.P. and we had good views of the mountain while we were climbing.  There were some cool people in our Mazama group, old school climbers and backpackers, who had done some nice trips through Peru, Nepal and Alaska, so she and I collected some useful information for future adventures.  Later that evening we found an excellent camp site just outside of the park, and had re-hydrated pho noodles and seaweed for dinner.

Sunday morning we drove up to Sunrise, and did a short hike in light snow on Sourdough Ridge, before driving over White Pass on Hwy 12 toward Clear Lake in Eastern Washington.  I had not driven that end of Hwy 12, and was impressed with how pretty White Pass was.  I’d like to come back and photograph more of Hwy 12 for a future trip report.  We camped next to a creek that night at the Bake Oven Campground near Clear Lake.

Monday morning was cold and damp, so we hung out in the van, driving the rest of the Hwy 12 stretch to Yakima where we found coffee, gas and a few groceries.  Continued on to Prossor, Richland, Pasco and Umatilla for the afternoon, trying to dodge the rain passing through the area.  We checked out Stonehenge on the Columbia, before checking in at the Columbia Hills Campground that evening.

We had a break in the weather Tuesday morning, making some tasty eggs, bacon and coffee for breakfast at camp.  There is an excellent display of petroglyphs at the campground, so we goofed around for a while there, taking pictures and checking out the interpretive signs.  That afternoon, we did  a side trip up Hwy 141 toward Troutlake, stopping in at the Conboy Lake National Wildlife Refuge for lunch.  Later in the day, we made our way back to Portland, checking in at the Edgefield, where we had a reservation for the night.

The Edgefield was really nice and we pampered ourselves pretty well.  We had dinner at the Powerhouse, bought a bottle of wine at the Winery, and drank it in the soaking pool.  It was also nice to sleep in a real bed and take long hot showers.  We’ve been fans of the other McMenamins soaking pools around Portland so it was cool to hang out in the grand daddy out in Gresham.  It was definitely a nice way to wind down a nice week together.

Overall a great week and some quality together time with Deborah.  Gonna miss that girl while I’m out on the road.  Getting ready to head south from here though, and looking forward to seeing some friends and family down in California next.