3 Years Around North America, Plus a Few More

Umnak

Adventurer
This! Plumb a hose to your propane compartment to remove the canister from the inside of your camper.
We have a 11lb tank in the LPG compartment that runs the Catalytic heater. The hose for the Baja Stove has an adapter for 1lb Coleman style containers. I considered513590 having another hose for the stove, but think this approach gives me more flexibility
 

Lucky j

Explorer
Is that an air tight closet? Or is it vented when the door is closed?


We have a 11lb tank in the LPG compartment that runs the Catalytic heater. The hose for the Baja Stove has an adapter for 1lb Coleman style containers. I consideredView attachment 513590 having another hose for the stove, but think this approach gives me more flexibility
 

Umnak

Adventurer
Olympic National Park. Lake Ozette and Heart of the Hills
A couple of days on the Coast and in the Forest.

Lake Ozette is a small campground on the Washington Coast. A 9 mile loop trail takes you to Cape Alava, the most western point in the contiguous U.S., then along the coast and back to camp. 517188

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Heart of the Hills Campground is near the entrance to the Olympic National Park along the road to Hurricane Ridge. A nice trail leads into old growth Douglas Fir and Cedar. Severe winter storms brought down a number of trees along the trail.
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Umnak

Adventurer
Deception Pass/North Cascades/Skagit River
Our Juneau friends came through here on their way north with their Truck Camper. We had hoped to travel with them for a week or so, but some other events got in the way. Instead, all of us did a slow start north with stops at Deception Pass, the strait separating Whidbey Island from Fidalgo Island in The Salish Sea. I had kayaked the pass a number of years ago, which is a lot of fun as during the ebb and flood the current reaches about 8 knots. This time it was just to watch the water run.
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It rained, but we set a couple of tarps and pretended to be in Southeast Alaska.
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The sailboat was going with the current, fast.

From Deception Pass we headed along Route 20 into the foothills of the North Cascades. Our campground was almost empty, the Skagit River close by for Eve to fish, and the rain held off.

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There are some nice trails along the river and to the town of Newhalem, which is a Seattle Light company town. 518687


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Nice few days with friends.
 

Umnak

Adventurer
Ozette is one of our favorite places to camp on the Olympic Peninsula. It's far off the main road (U.S. 101) and then another 20 miles off of the less traveled highway that leads to Neah Bay and Cape Flattery. The 9 mile loop that moves through the forest then onto the beach requires wilderness camping permits from the National Park if you want to spend the night. We've done so a few times over the past four years, and did so again recently to celebrate my 66th birthday.

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The car campground is at the northern edge of the lake and near the trails to the coast. We had a good view of the lake and a nice bit of privacy for the first night.

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Point Alava is the most farthest west point of land in the contiguous states. The 3 mile boardwalk/dirt passes through some old forest, "prairies" and across a couple of wetlands before putting you out on the rocky coast. Fog soaked everything we owned on the last trip out there, and this time was no different. A tarp was better than the tent used in the past, but still it was wet. Our camp was on a shelf above the beach, a few other sites have been cleared from the forest. We waited until just before bed to fluff our bivies and bags. 522204

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The petroglyphs are about a mile from Pt. Alava and two miles from the other trailhead at Sand Point. A low tide makes it easier to access the rocks and allows a few additional images to be seen.
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The leg of the hike from Wedding Rocks to Sand Point has fewer rocks and more sand and gravel that from Pt. Alava to the rock art, making it an easier walk.
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The final leg back to Ozette along the Sand Point trail has a lot of boardwalk, most of which is rough cut cedar planks.
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Ozette is a good place to spend a few days.
 

greg.potter

Adventurer
Over the last week I have read your blog (to this point), and have to commend you both on the fantastic photos and outstanding write-ups. My wife and I have done a lot of overland exploration vacations in the desert SW and have discussed doing something very similar to what you have once we retire. Very inspirational!
 

Umnak

Adventurer
Over the last week I have read your blog (to this point), and have to commend you both on the fantastic photos and outstanding write-ups. My wife and I have done a lot of overland exploration vacations in the desert SW and have discussed doing something very similar to what you have once we retire. Very inspirational!
Thank you for the nice comment. We've been in the northern Cascades most of the week --I'll post a summary soon -- and are now just back in cell service.
 

Umnak

Adventurer
A light weight and inexpensive screen door

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Keeping to our minimalist creed, I put together a screen for the door to the Cabin made of an inner liner for a curtain purchased at Target. It works well, and with a little work could look even better than it does stock.
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I folded the curtain in half, then pinned the open side with small brass safety pins we had purchased for another project. The double layer provides more protection from bugs as it added weight holds it close to the door. Four map pins hold the curtain close to the opening of the door. I had thought about a curtain rod to assist with passage, but that would have left the top open and an entry for bugs. A few bag clips on the sides and a shoe or two on the bottom make it very effective and allow much needed ventilation as temperatures around here cross the 70f line. Yes, we are still Alaskans.

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Umnak

Adventurer
North Cascades

We spent the last few nights of June along Baker Lake in the North Cascades. It felt like late spring and made us think of Southeast Alaska. The mountains are close to the water and the forest is thick.
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The Forest Service Campground close to the north end of the lake, and the road, has well spaced campsites, a pump for water, which was cloudy but potable, and pit toilets.
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I set a tarp when we arrived having noted the weather report calling for afternoon showers. And indeed the rain did fall around 4 pm each day.

The Baker River Trail heads north along a crowded fern covered trail, then quickly opens into mature forest along the river. We walked to the end of the trail at Sulphide Creek, and out of the forest into the Park.
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Eve almost stepped on a black bear as she started across a log bridge. We stopped to watch it scramble over the trees scattered along the dry creek bed. A Park Biologist passed by and we were able to get some information about the lack of brown bears — almost as rare as a Sasquatch siting — in the Cascades. Blame it on B.C. clear cutting and the trans Canada Highway. The bear head up the bank and into the forest. We were to see him again on the return, much closer and less inclined to run off.
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Grilled steak and asparagus for dinner. We ate under the tarp as the rain reduced to showers by early evening.

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There is a grove of old growth Douglas Fir along the Baker Lake Road. We walked the easy trail and were impressed with the girth and height of the trees.

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Kulsan campground is sponsored by Puget Sound Power. It looked deserted when we first arrived. One guy with a lot of tarps and the host who spent most of his time in a truck in front of the rest rooms. Turns out he could get cell coverage there, but still he spent a lot of time parked in front of the toilets.
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We walked the lower end of the Baker Lake trail, which is part of the Pacific Northwest Trail. It offers large trees and good views of the lake. Mount Baker and Kulsan would also be visible if not for the low ceiling.
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The tarp went up as soon as we found a campsite — more people had arrived so it didn’t look like something out of a bad horror film — and were again treated to a thunderstorm and downpour at 4pm.
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The area gets crowded after the 4th of July, I wouldn’t want to be there when it did.
 

Umnak

Adventurer
High Desert/Hot Springs

Each fall over the past three years we’ve headed southwest for a hot springs and high desert trip. This time we began by visiting friends in Orofino, Idaho then moved south toward Steen’s Mountain, Alvord Desert, Sheldon Refuge (NV) and Hart Mountain Refuge before returning via Bend and the east side of the Cascades.
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We stopped coming and going along the Yakima River Canyon which has some nice options for camping and some decent opportunities for fishing and watching Big Horn Sheep.

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The Big Pines Campground is open year round and a bargain at $15/night. We paid the geezer rate of $7.50. On our way through we hiked the adjacent mountain for a view of the river and to get a better look at the small herd of High Horn Sheep that were working the east side of the road.


Crystal Crane Hot Springs east of Burns, OR has a few tipis with horse troughs inside that can be filled with water. We spent a night there before heading south to check out the impressive views of Harney County — yes, that Harney County made infamous by the Bundy Bros — including the Round Barn, Frenchglen and the Steen’s Mountain Loop. The latter provides access to a rugged wilderness that includes a canyon that wouldn’t be out of place in the high arctic. The 9,600’ overlook also gave us the first glimpse of the Alvord Desert, where we would travel to later that week.

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We spent three nights at the South Steens Campground which has a number of trailheads leading into the wilderness area. The High Indian Valley trail and the Riddle Brothers Ranch Trail were easy hikes. Hunters were moving in for the start of Mule Deer Season.
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I bought a 100 watt Renogy portable solar panel and controller before the tip so we could spend a third night at the same place without worrying about the house battery. It worked well and is a robust piece of equipment.

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It snowed the morning we left Steen’s campground. The Mustangs were along the side of the road looking somewhat confused by the early change in weather. And it continued to snow for the next few days. Not much accumulation where we were, but the mountains and passes west of us were covered. We spent a busy Saturday night at the Alvord Hot Springs. Interesting people and hot soaking are worth the parking lot camp sites. Next time we will park across the street in the less busy lot.

From Alvord we moved southwest to the Sheldon Antelope Refuge The Virgin Valley campground is free. There’s a shower in the bath house by the pond. Its constant flow is warmed from the adjacent spring. It’s worth a visit.
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The Gorge of 1000 Creeks would at least have a little sign in any other place in north america. It’s huge, and such a surprise to come upon after the long hike up the mesa. The entrance gives a hint of the height to be found at the top, but still that first glance down 1500’ is awe inspiring. The snow and hail shortened our stay and kept us away from being too close to the edge.

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We’ve been to the Hart Mountain Hot Springs before, and referred to it on this trip as the turnaround point. We didn’t spend the night. It was snowing and the temperature for the evening was going to be 0 Fahrenheit. We soaked and left, camping at the base of the mountain. Still, ice was 3” thick the next morning.


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After an evening in Bend at a hotel we started for home. The Oregon map shows a place near the blighted Christmas Valley called Crack in the Ground.. We took the poor road off the highway after seeing a small sign pointing north. It's a very cool place and worth the winding and rutted road.




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