Fremont Lake & Photographer’s Point, Wind River Range WY (8-29-12)

August 28-30, 2012, Days 21-23 of Lupe’s 2012 Dingo Vacation to the West Coast.

As soon as Lanis woke up; Lupe, Lanis and SPHP would hit the road again.  In the meantime, Lupe and SPHP took a little stroll.  For SPHP, it had been a restless night trying to sleep sitting up in the Element.  This car camping business was starting to get pretty old.  Lupe, of course, was always fresh as a daisy, since she could stretch out and relax on her mountain of pillows and blankets in the back of the Element.

Last night’s car camping was SPHP’s own fault for being so stubborn.  Lupe’s tiny house could have been set up back at the Farewell Bend State Recreation Area in Oregon.  Instead, SPHP got persnickety about bureaucracy and regulations, and had Lanis keep driving.  Lupe had made it as far as Boise, Idaho before stopping for the night.

Oh, well.  It didn’t matter now, the night was over.  On the bright side, SPHP had saved $18-22.  When Lupe and SPHP got back to the Element, a bleary-eyed Lanis was at least conscious.  He was soon pressed back into chauffer service driving SE on I-84.  Lupe, Lanis and SPHP left I-84 at Mountain Home taking Hwy 20.  Hwy 20 started out winding NE into the S end of a very dry looking mountain range.

The sky had been a little smoky in Boise, but along Hwy 20 the smoke was much thicker.  The smoke got denser and denser until it was like being in a fog.  Lanis started expecting to see the actual flames of a forest fire around any bend, but it didn’t happen.  Way back in the early days of Lupe’s 2012 Dingo Vacation, back at the Beartooth Mountains in Wyoming, the sky had been smoky then, too, but never this bad.  Apparently the fires in Idaho had been burning all this time.

Southern ID was hot, dry, barren and smoky. The skies weren't nearly so smoky, though, as Lupe started getting close to Craters of the Moon National Monument.
Southern ID was hot, dry, barren and smoky. The skies weren’t nearly so smoky, though, as Lupe started getting close to Craters of the Moon National Monument.

The skies were much clearer by the time Lupe reached Craters of the Moon National Monument.  Lupe, Lanis and SPHP stopped briefly near the visitor center.  Lanis went inside, and soon returned with the unsurprising news that Dingoes aren’t allowed on any of the trails.  Well, that was that!  Lupe made a few more stops at pullouts along Hwy 20 for photos, but she really didn’t get to do anything at Craters of the Moon.

Lava flow at Craters of the Moon National Monument.
Lava flow at Craters of the Moon National Monument.

Craters of the Moon NM, ID 8-28-12Craters of the Moon NP, ID 8-28-12Lupe continued on.  Idaho remained hot and parched until Lupe reached Idaho Falls.  E of Idaho Falls on Hwy 26, the scenery improved steadily.  It was much greener here near the high mountains.  By early evening, Lupe reached the fabulous Wind River Range near Pinedale, Wyoming.  Lupe, Lanis and SPHP took Skyline Drive up to Elkhart Park for a look around.

From viewpoints along Skyline Drive, Lupe saw two big lakes, Half Moon Lake and Freemont Lake, formed by the retreat of large glaciers ages ago.  Near Elkhart Park was a pullout along the road with a sweeping view of the central portion of the mighty Wind River Range.  SPHP recognized Fremont Peak (13,745 ft.), one of many visible along the Continental Divide.

Half Moon Lake from Skyline Drive near Pinedale, WY 8-28-12
Half Moon Lake from Skyline Drive near Pinedale, WY 8-28-12
Half Moon Lake
Half Moon Lake
Fremont Lake near Pinedale, WY from Skyline Drive. Photo looks S. At 8 or 9 miles long, Freemont Lake is the largest of a series of a series of big lakes along the S side of the Wind River Range left behind by the retreat of large glaciers.
Fremont Lake near Pinedale, WY from Skyline Drive. Photo looks S. At 8 or 9 miles long, Freemont Lake is the largest of a series of a series of big lakes along the S side of the Wind River Range left behind by the retreat of large glaciers.
Lanis near Skyline Drive above Fremont Lake. Although the S end of the lake extends well out of the mountains, the N end of the lake is nestled in among them. This photo looks NNW.
Lanis near Skyline Drive above Fremont Lake. Although the S end of the lake extends well out of the mountains, the N end of the lake is nestled in among them. This photo looks NNW.
Looking W across Fremont Lake.
Looking W across Fremont Lake.
Looking N at the Wind River Range in Wyoming from a viewpoint along Skyline Drive near Elkhart Park.
Looking N at the Wind River Range in Wyoming from a viewpoint along Skyline Drive near Elkhart Park.
Freemont Peak along the Continental Divide from a viewpoint along Skyline Drive near Elkhart Park. Photo looks NE.
Freemont Peak along the Continental Divide from a viewpoint along Skyline Drive near Elkhart Park. Photo looks NE.

After going up to Elkhart Park and back down again, Lanis and SPHP pitched Lupe’s tiny house at the Fremont Lake campground.  The campsite was some distance away from the lake.  Lanis and SPHP feasted on sandwiches after a quick run in to Subway in Pinedale.  Both Lanis and SPHP were feeling pretty tired, and looking forward to a night stretched out in Lupe’s tiny house.

Lupe wasn’t tired, though.  She’d spent most of the last two days and nights cooped up in the Element.  Lupe was bursting with energy!  She was very happy to be out sniffing every tree and bush around.  She was finally getting to do Dingo stuff again!  With great enthusiasm, she raised a ruckus over each and every squirrel.  Slowly the sun went down.  Twilight faded.  The squirrels went to bed.  It still took a lot of persuading from SPHP to get Lupe into the tiny house and settled down for the night.

SPHP woke up.  It was still early.  Like dark out with the stars still shining early.  SPHP had no idea what time it was, but felt better.  Lupe was instantly awake, too.  Lupe and SPHP stole out of her tiny house and into the night.  Fifteen minutes later, Lupe and SPHP reached the dock down by the boat ramp.  Fremont Lake sits at around 7,400 feet elevation.  Overhead, the Milky Way was blazing in a cloudless night sky.  The brightest stars reflected clearly in the still lake.

To the E, SPHP saw Sagittarius, Venus and just a hint of light.  Dawn was coming.  The night sky was gorgeous, but it was probably best to get a little more sleep.  Lupe and SPHP returned to rejoin Lanis in Lupe’s tiny house.  Well, at least SPHP did.  Lupe had other ideas.  She wouldn’t go in the tent.  SPHP tried to rest while listening for the tinkling sound of Lupe’s tag as she sniffed around outside.

It worked for a little while.  Lupe was sniffing around out there pretty close to the tiny house.  As it grew lighter though, the squirrels started waking up.  Sniffing became growling.  Pretty soon the growling was barking.  Just occasionally at first, but the barking sprees lengthened.  SPHP had to get up, or Lupe would succeed in getting evicted from the campground.

Lanis was pretty played out.  After successive long days driving, he was just plain zonked.  It was light out now.  The sun came up and rose high in the sky.  Lanis snoozed on.  Lupe and SPHP made a couple more trips down to Fremont Lake.  There was a little beach near the dock and boat ramp.  Lupe went wading.  SPHP watched minnows swimming near the shore.

Fremont Lake, Wind River Range, WY
Fremont Lake, Wind River Range, WY
Lupe wades in Fremont Lake.
Lupe wades in Fremont Lake.

It was almost lunch time when Lanis finally regained consciousness.  Lupe, Lanis and SPHP drove down to the Lakeside Lodge, Resort & Marina at the very S end of Fremont Lake.  The resort features a restaurant with both inside and outside dining available.  Next to Fremont Lake, there was a large deck with tables shaded by big umbrellas.  Beyond the lake was a gorgeous panoramic view of high peaks of the Wind River Range.

It was sort of busy.  The clientele looked upscale.  Lanis and SPHP were in rather disreputable condition.  There was an open table, though, at the far edge of the deck separated a little bit from the rest of the guests.  The wait staff was willing to serve mangy Lanis and SPHP.  Lupe was even allowed to rest on the deck at SPHP’s feet.  On Lupe’s entire 2012 Dingo Vacation, this was the only time Lupe, Lanis and SPHP actually got to eat at a restaurant.  It was wonderful!

Lanis and SPHP both ordered big burgers.  They were great!  SPHP stealthily slipped some burger down to Lupe.  Everyone was happy.  The scenery was magnificent.  It was a relaxing, beautiful time.

After the glorious lunch by Fremont Lake; Lupe, Lanis and SPHP went into Pinedale for a little while.  SPHP hoped to find a good map of the mountains to look at.  There was a USFS map posted outside a forest service office near the grocery store.  SPHP studied it for a few minutes while Lanis was in the grocery store.  Lupe was on a leash right there with SPHP.

Lupe and SPHP were both about ready to leave, when an overly helpful ranger came along.   The ranger almost insisted that SPHP come inside for more information, and a cheerful lecture on a blizzard of federal rules certain to enhance any wilderness experience.

Rule No. 1, of course, was that Dingoes couldn’t come in the building.  Why just the other day, some Grand Poo-Bah supervisor from the District of Bureaucracy had sent out an email on the importance of never allowing a Dingo to set paw in any forest service building.

Lanis was waiting at the Element by the time Lupe and SPHP extracted themselves from all the helpful assistance.  At least SPHP had seen enough of the map to have a pretty good idea where to go.  Since the day was off to a rather late start, the best day hike without a map to bring along with was probably to take the well-traveled Pole Creek trail up at Elkhart Park.

Lupe, Lanis and SPHP went back up to Elkhart Park.  The trailhead was already at 9,350 feet elevation, so Lupe was going to get to see some pretty high country.  The Pole Creek trail started off heading SE as it went up the Pole Creek drainage.  The trail was wide and well-worn.  It gained elevation steadily, but at a moderate pace.

The area was almost all forested.  There were squirrels in the trees.  Lupe got to run, and run, and run.  She had a fantastic time.  The trail eventually turned NE, and then gained elevation more slowly.  Lupe began to encounter clearings in the forest and little ponds.  Lupe, Lanis and SPHP made it as far as Photographer’s Point (10,400 ft.).  There was a huge panoramic view to the N.

Lupe reaches Photographer's Point in the Wind River Range with muddy paws from wading in a pond.
Lupe reaches Photographer’s Point in the Wind River Range with muddy paws from wading in a pond.
Looking NW at the Wind River Range from Photographer's Point. Wow, there's a lot of rock out there!
Looking NW at the Wind River Range from Photographer’s Point. Wow, there’s a lot of rock out there!
Looking NE from Photographer's Point. Fremont Peak is on the R. The lake partially in view is probably Gorge Lake.
Looking NE from Photographer’s Point. Fremont Peak is on the R. The lake partially in view is probably Gorge Lake.

The inspiring view from Photographer’s Point just made SPHP want to go farther. There were lakes nearby that SPHP had seen earlier on the map posted outside the forest service office in Pinedale.  Lupe is always game to do more, but Lanis was ready to call it a day.  However, even though Lanis really did need to get back to Indiana very soon, he did agree to spend another day in the Wind Rivers.

So Lupe didn’t go any farther into the Wind River range than Photographer’s Point.  With an earlier start the next day, she could, though!  After spending some time admiring the sweeping views; Lupe, Lanis and SPHP returned along the Pole Creek trail.

The sun was getting low in a cloudless sky, by the time Lupe reached the Element again back at Elkhart Park .  A little while later, Lanis and SPHP crawled into sleeping bags in Lupe’s tiny house near Fremont Lake.  Lupe curled up for a snooze, too.  Tomorrow was going to be an even bigger day spent in the spectacular Wind River range!

After midnight, there was a sound that Lupe, Lanis and SPHP had rarely heard on Lupe’s 2012 Dingo Vacation.  Raindrops on Lupe’s tiny house!  Not too many, but some.  SPHP took a look outside.  No stars in any direction.  The whole black sky must have been overcast.  Not good.  The tent was old, and had always leaked.  The raindrops came in little spurts.  No big deal, if it stayed like this.  Lupe, Lanis and SPHP tried to ignore it and go back to sleep.

For at least a couple of hours, the rain was sporadic and light.  Gradually the intensity was increasing, though.  Water started dripping inside Lupe’s tiny house.  SPHP remained hopeful that the rain would hold off until dawn, when it would be possible to get a good look at the sky and assess the outlook.  More rain came, harder too.  As the tent started leaking more, Lanis and SPHP sat up talking about what to do.  Stick it out and wait for dawn, or pack things up before everything got soaked?

Nature decided.  Suddenly there was a volley of intense rain, with big drops.  Lupe got hustled into the Element.  Lanis and SPHP scrambled to take down her tiny house for the last time.  Everything got pitched into the Element.  Very suddenly, Lupe’s grand 2012 Dingo Vacation to the West Coast was over.

The rain became light and steady as Lupe left Pinedale and the Wind River range behind her.  On the way to Farson, the first light of dawn appeared and began spreading along the E horizon.  Before reaching Farson, Lanis drove out of the rain.  Back to the NW, clouds still hung over the Wind River range.  The rain showers were likely just local.  Lupe could probably have gone back, and spent another day exploring the Winds.

The decision had already been made, though.  On the 23rd day of her first ever Dingo Vacation, after more than 5,000 miles, 5 states, and 3 weeks of adventures, Lupe was going home.

Dawn in Wyoming, 8-30-12
Dawn in Wyoming, 8-30-12

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Multnomah Falls, Oregon (8-27-12)

Day 20 of Lupe’s 2012 Dingo Vacation to the West Coast.

After leaving the Oregon coast the previous afternoon; Lupe, Lanis and SPHP had driven out of the rain, and made it as far as a motel on the E side of Portland near I-84 and some busy train tracks.  Trains rumbled by in the night, but the cheap motel was a real treat after many nights spent in Lupe’s tiny house or car camping in Lanis’ Honda Element.

In the morning; Lupe, Lanis and SPHP relaxed in the motel room in no real hurry to hit the road.  Lupe’s time on the West Coast was over, and she was headed home.  Lanis needed to get back to Indiana by September 1st, so Lupe was destined to spend much of the rest of her 2012 Dingo Vacation on the road.  Even so, there would still be time for at least a couple of adventures on the way.

It was still a cool morning, with blue sky and puffy white clouds, when Lupe, Lanis and SPHP finally got started heading E on I-84.  Lupe didn’t get very far before reaching Multnomah Falls, a beautiful, tall, thin waterfall spilling over the bluffs on the S side of the lush, green Columbia River Gorge.

The walkway to Multnomah Falls, Oregon from the parking lot along I-84.
The walkway to Multnomah Falls, Oregon from the parking lot along I-84.
Lupe and Lanis on their way to check out Multnomah Falls.
Lupe and Lanis on their way to check out Multnomah Falls.

Located right along I-84 in the Columbia River Gorge, Multnomah Falls is very accessible and a popular tourist stop.  The Multnomah Falls Lodge near the base of the falls offers lodging, a restaurant, and gift shop.  There were lots of people and a few other dogs around, when Lupe arrived to see the falls.

Multnomah Falls is actually two waterfalls.  The lower one is about 70 feet tall, but the upper falls, which is the main attraction, drops 540 feet.  A short paved trail goes up to several viewpoints, including Benson bridge, near the base of the upper falls.

The lower falls is beautiful as it drops into a large pool, but just doesn't get any respect compared to the much higher and more dramatic upper falls.
The lower falls is beautiful as it drops into a large pool, but just doesn’t get any respect compared to the much higher and more dramatic upper falls.
The Benson bridge over Multnomah creek is one of several excellent viewpoints for seeing the upper falls.
The Benson bridge over Multnomah creek is one of several excellent viewpoints for seeing the upper falls.
From Benson bridge, Multnomah Falls was so high, SPHP couldn't even get the entire falls in the photo.
From Benson bridge, Multnomah Falls was so high, SPHP couldn’t even get the entire falls in the photo.
Base of upper Multnomah Falls.
Base of upper Multnomah Falls.

After crossing Benson bridge, visitors may stop at another viewpoint very close to the base of the falls, or continue on a 1.1 mile paved trail all the way up to the top of Multnomah Falls.  Naturally, Lupe, Lanis and SPHP took the trail.  There were plenty of people on the trail, but it wasn’t nearly so crowded as down below.

The trail went up a series of long switchbacks on a steep, densely forested slope.  Now and then there were glimpses of the gorgeous Columbia River Gorge between the trees.  The trail climbed almost all the way.  It eventually went over a little ridge before dropping down to follow Multnomah Creek to the brink of the falls.

Looking N across the Columbia River from the trail to the top of Multnomah Falls.
Looking N across the Columbia River from the trail to the top of Multnomah Falls.
Looking NE.
Looking NE.
Multnomah Creek a short distance above upper Multnomah Falls.
Multnomah Creek a short distance above upper Multnomah Falls.
Multnomah Creek as it reaches the brink of the upper falls.
Multnomah Creek as it reaches the brink of the upper falls.

There was a nice viewing platform along Multnomah Creek next to the brink of upper Multnomah Falls.  The view down the Columbia River Gorge to the W was fantastic.  Looking over the edge, Lupe could see Multnomah Falls plummet over 500 feet down to the pool at the base of the falls.

Lupe looking pretty happy at having made it up to this viewing platform at the top of Multnomah Falls.
Lupe looking pretty happy at having made it up to this viewing platform at the top of Multnomah Falls.
Looking W down the Columbia River Gorge from the viewing platform at the top of Multnomah Falls.
Looking W down the Columbia River Gorge from the viewing platform at the top of Multnomah Falls.
The view from the brink of upper Multnomah Falls.
The view from the brink of upper Multnomah Falls.

Multnomah Falls was certainly worth seeing, but it was time for Lupe to start making tracks.  It was a long way home.  Lupe, Lanis and SPHP enjoyed the easy stroll back down to the base of Multnomah Falls, and then headed for the Element.  Soon Lupe was traveling E on I-84 again.

By the time Lupe reached The Dalles, the lush, green Columbia River gorge was behind her.  The huge, blue Columbia River was still near I-84, but the surrounding green forests had given way to much drier looking country.  The clouds and pleasant cool weather were gone, too.  Temperatures soared beneath a cloudless sky.

It was already lunch time.  E of The Dalles, Lanis pulled off I-84 to stop by at a McDonald’s.  An old man was sheltering a little brown dog at the busy off ramp.  He held up a sign saying “Just Hungry”.  There was too much traffic to stop, but at the McDonald’s, Lanis and SPHP bought a couple of extra cheeseburgers and a chocolate sundae.  While Lanis was getting the burgers, SPHP searched around the Element to see what else could be scrounged up for the old man and his little doggie.

There really wasn’t too much to scrounge.  This late in Lupe’s 2012 Dingo Vacation, most of the supplies were already used up.  For the old man, there was just some trail mix, an orange, almonds, and $9.00 in cash.  For his little brown doggie, SPHP found some Gravy Train, Canine Carry-Outs, a few other dog treats and a big rawhide stick.

On the way back to I-84, Lanis pulled the Element over at the side of the on ramp.  SPHP jumped out and ran across the busy intersection to the off ramp to deliver the cheeseburgers, chocolate sundae, and other meager assistance to the old man.  He was quite grateful.  He said he shared the same birthday with his little brown doggie, named Otis.  Otis was three years old.  The old man thanked SPHP, and said he and Otis would be OK.  That was about all SPHP learned about their situation, before running back to Lupe and Lanis waiting in the Element.

The farther E Lupe went, the hotter and drier it got.  I-84 eventually left the Columbia River and very gradually curved SE.  Lupe went over the Blue Mountains.  Looking at the maps late in the afternoon, SPHP thought it might be fun for Lupe to stay at the Farewell Bend State Recreation Area on the Snake River right across from Idaho.  Lanis turned off I-84 to drive through the campground.

The surrounding area looked like desert, but the campground featured lots of trees and reasonably green grass.  There were 90 RV sites, and about 30 tent sites.  All of the tent sites were far from the Snake River.  However, one of the RV loops sat on a small ridge a little distance away from the Snake.  These sites had the best views in the entire campground.  Every single one of them was vacant, except for a park ranger site.

In fact, almost all of the 120 total sites in the campground were vacant.  There were 5 sites occupied by park personnel, who currently outnumbered paying customers.  SPHP asked the ranger at the empty RV loop with the pleasant view of the Snake River, if it would be possible to rent one of the RV sites just for Lupe’s tiny house and pay the tenting rate of $18, instead of the $22 RV rate.

Nope!  Not possible.  Lupe could put up her tiny house at one of the RV sites, but despite the fact that it was late afternoon and the place was virtually deserted, and Lupe wouldn’t be using any of the RV amenities (dump station, electricity, etc.), SPHP would have to pay the full $22 for the site or go to the tenting area.  Oh, and by the way, there were all these rules for dogs in the park… blah, blah, blah.

The ranger was pleasant enough about it, but like so many in the Land of the Free these days, she was all about countless bureaucratic rules, regardless of the situation.  SPHP declined.  The ranger had a golf cart to drive around in enforcing the blizzard of rules.  Lupe, Lanis and SPHP would be her only targets to micro-manage in the entire loop.  No way!  Lupe and SPHP would rather car camp, even if it meant disappointing Lanis.

Instead of taking a site; Lupe, Lanis and SPHP went down for a brief exploration along the Snake River.  The edge of the river proved to be rather mucky and marshy.  The river was low this time of year.  On the mud, and among the reeds, flies swarmed around the rotten decaying carcasses of large dead carp.  Lupe was interested.  It really was time to get out of there!  Absolutely no more Dead Fish Dingo stunts permitted!  That was one rule both Lanis and SPHP were in full and complete agreement with!

Heading E on I-84 along through the Columbia River Gorge E of Multnomah Falls.
Heading E on I-84 along through the Columbia River Gorge E of Multnomah Falls.

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The Devil’s Punchbowl, Beverly Beach & Moolack Beach, Oregon Coast (8-25-12 & 8-26-12)

Days 18 & 19 of Lupe’s 2012 Dingo Vacation to the West Coast.

It was early when SPHP woke up.  Sleeping sitting up in Lanis’ Honda Element hadn’t been much fun.  Lupe was ready to get out, too.  Lupe and SPHP stretched their legs wandering around a little park near a bay of the ocean in Seaside, Oregon.  Well, just last night the little park had been near a bay of the ocean, but the ocean had disappeared!

Lupe and SPHP went down to a river that had been flowing into the ocean the evening before.  This time, SPHP made certain Lupe did NOT repeat her Dead Fish Dingo performance.  The river, which had been pretty wide the previous evening, was now only a tiny stream flowing over mud flats.  The entire bay the river had flowed into was now a mud flat, too.  The mud extended to the horizon.

The tide had gone out.  It had gone out so far, Lupe and SPHP couldn’t even see the ocean anymore!  It had followed the moon, and fled the scene.  Interesting.  Not the sort of thing one expects back in South Dakota, but no doubt an ordinary event for those used to living near the ocean.  It didn’t take Lupe and SPHP long to get bored staring at mud.  Lupe and SPHP left what was left of the river, and wandered through the rest of the little park.

The park was partially wooded with stands of trees separated by wide mowed pathways.  The previous evening, SPHP had seen a plaque on a rock back in the woods, but it had been too dark to read it.  Lupe and SPHP went to see what was written there.  The plaque said Lupe was at a 20 acre site dedicated to Rueben Snake, the 1st President of the American Indian Movement back in the early 1970’s.

Lupe and SPHP explored the most densely forested part of the park, and were surprised to find a grave.  A headstone indicated a Kathleen somebody, who had passed away in 2003, was buried there.   Finding a grave in a park also seemed rather odd, but it was the end of the oddities.  Lupe and SPHP returned to the Element.  Lanis was awake.

The plan for the day was to drive S along the Oregon coast as far as the Devil’s Punchbowl.  Lupe, Lanis and SPHP headed S on Hwy 101.  It was a beautiful sunny morning and a lovely drive.  Sometimes the Pacific Ocean was in view.  Lupe’s home in the Black Hills of South Dakota is a very long way from any ocean, so seeing the Pacific was a rare treat.

The Pacific Ocean along the Oregon coast.
The Pacific Ocean along the Oregon coast.

Just a few miles before reaching the Devil’s Punchbowl, the sunny morning disappeared.  A dense fog bank rolled in, and the mood of the day changed completely.  Lupe, Lanis and SPHP went to see the Devil’s Punchbowl in the fog.

Fog rolled in just a few miles N of the Devil's Punchbowl, and changed the mood of the day completely.
Fog rolled in just a few miles N of the Devil’s Punchbowl, and changed the mood of the day completely.
The Devil's punchbowl seems to be a collapsed cave hollowed out by the sea. The sea washes in and out of the Punchbowl, with every wave. The Punchbowl is big enough to hold an awful lot of punch, especially since it would all leak out into the Pacific.
The Devil’s punchbowl seems to be a collapsed cave hollowed out by the sea. The sea washes in and out of the Punchbowl, with every wave. The Punchbowl is big enough to hold an awful lot of punch, especially since it would all leak out into the Pacific.

Devil's Punchbowl, Oregon 8-25-12Despite the fog, SPHP wanted to stay in the area.  One thing was for certain, neither Lanis nor SPHP wanted to spend another night sitting upright in the Element.  Lupe, Lanis and SPHP left the Devil’s Punchbowl to line up a place to set up Lupe’s tiny house.  The first place S of the Devil’s Punchbowl was Beverly Beach State Park.  There was a big forested campground there.  It looked pretty crowded with people, so it was probably a good idea to secure a campsite there right away.

There weren’t any vacancies.  Every site in the entire campground was occupied or reserved for the night.  Fortunately, a Mr. Toma came along while SPHP was still talking to the state park personnel.  He and his wife wanted to cancel their reservation and go elsewhere.  The park personnel refused to refund his prepaid reservation, but were perfectly fine with Mr. Toma making a separate deal with SPHP.

So, it all worked out great!  Mr. Toma and SPHP worked out a deal.  Lupe, Lanis and SPHP couldn’t actually take possession of Mr. Toma’s reserved site until the current occupant vacated the site at 1:30 PM, but that was OK.  With a place to stay secured for the evening, it was time to go back to the Devil’s Punchbowl.  Lupe was going to check out the beach just to the S!

A long set of stairs led down to the beach from the parking lot near the Devil’s Punchbowl.  It was still foggy out.  Lupe still wasn’t too used to the ocean.  She explored the mysterious foggy beach cautiously, at first.

Lupe explores the mysterious foggy beach just S of the Devil's Punchbowl on the Oregon coast.
Lupe explores the mysterious foggy beach just S of the Devil’s Punchbowl on the Oregon coast.

Lupe at the Pacific Ocean just S of the Devil's Punchbowl, Oregon 8-25-12Before long, Lupe was got brave enough to go wading in the ocean.  She didn’t go very far, and retreated from each incoming wave, but she was getting her paws wet.  SPHP waded with her.  Even though it was late August, the water was pretty cold.  It seemed even colder than up at Beach 4 in Washington.  No wonder the people out trying to surfboard on pathetically small waves were all wearing wet suits!

Lupe grew brave enough to wade in the Pacific Ocean, but was careful to stay in shallow water.
Lupe grew brave enough to wade in the Pacific Ocean, but was careful to stay in shallow water.

Lupe really started having fun when someone brought a Dalmatian dog down to the beach.  The Dalmatian wanted to play, and Lupe was soon having a blast with her new friend!

Lupe had a blast playing on the beach with her new Dalmatian friend.
Lupe had a blast playing on the beach with her new Dalmatian friend.

At 1:30 PM; Lupe, Lanis and SPHP returned to Beverly Beach State Park to take possession of site F15, which was the site Mr. Toma had reserved.  Soon Lanis and SPHP had Lupe’s tiny house pitched.

By now the fog had dissipated, and it was sunny out.  Like SPHP, Lanis hadn’t slept well sitting up in the Element last night, either.  He wanted to take a nap in Lupe’s tiny house.  Lupe stayed with Lanis, while SPHP enjoyed the luxury of a hot shower at Beverly Beach State Park’s nice facility.

After SPHP emerged all crisp and clean from the shower, Lupe and SPHP took a walk around the campground while Lanis snoozed.  Lupe soon discovered it was possible to go directly from the campground under a Hwy 101 bridge on down to the ocean.  Lupe and SPHP had a great stroll along the Pacific, heading N back towards the Devil’s Punchbowl.  Lupe and SPHP had fun wading in and out of the water, watching the waves and seagulls, and hearing the roar of the ocean.

By the time Lupe was 3/4 of the way to the Devil’s Punchbowl, it was time to go back and check on Lanis.  Lanis hadn’t slept well, even in Lupe’s tiny house.  The campground was just too crowded and noisy in the middle of the afternoon.  Lupe, Lanis and SPHP got in the Element and cruised S on Hwy 101.  At the first little town, Lanis and SPHP stopped to pick up some Chinese take-out.

After eating at a viewpoint over the Pacific, Lanis drove back to the Devil’s Punchbowl again.  SPHP was fine, but Lanis started feeling queasy.   He stayed in the Element while Lupe and SPHP went back down to the beach.  SPHP hoped to get some photos of a brilliant Pacific sunset, but it would be a while before then.  Lupe and SPHP played on the beach, wading in the water again, while heading S now toward Beverly Beach.

The beach where Lupe played between Devil's Punchbowl and Beverly Beach State Park. Photo looks S.
The beach where Lupe played between Devil’s Punchbowl and Beverly Beach State Park. Photo looks S.

Lupe came to some guys who were digging a big pit in the sand.  They were stacking up driftwood for a bonfire.  Eventually they tried lighting the bonfire, but it was slow to take.  Sometimes there were other dogs to go sniff with.  Lupe ran around having a great time.

The bonfire smokes before really getting going.
The bonfire smokes before really getting going.

Lupe discovered a new ocean beach sport!  She started racing along the beach at top speed beneath seagulls flying overhead.  She barked enthusiastically at them with her head tilted up to see where they were flying.  However, Lupe couldn’t really see where SHE was going doing this.

Sometimes the seagulls flew out over the ocean.  Often this caused an unsuspecting Lupe to dash at top speed smack into an ocean wave, from which a completely drenched and surprised Carolina Dog emerged a moment later.  Her spirits weren’t dampened, though.  Lupe was really beginning to like the ocean!

Having fun on the beach.
Having fun on the beach.

The brilliant red, orange and gold sunset SPHP was hoping for never developed.  Instead, it became clear the sun was going to sink into a cloud bank.  As the sun went down, everything was all silvery, black and white.  It was still a beautiful way to end the day.  Lupe and SPHP stayed on the beach until the sun was down.

Sunset near the Devil's Punchbowl on the Oregon Coast.
Sunset near the Devil’s Punchbowl on the Oregon Coast.

Sunset S of Devil's Punchbowl, Oregon 8-25-12Sunset at Devil's Punchbowl, Oregon 8-25-12The next morning, Lupe and SPHP were up early.  Lanis was finally sleeping soundly, so Lupe and SPHP slipped off back down to the beach to enjoy the ocean again.  This time Lupe and SPHP made it all the way to the end of the beach next to the Devil’s Punchbowl.

A couple with two Labrador retrievers were throwing tennis balls into the ocean for their dogs to retrieve.  Lupe stole a tennis ball to get into the game.  The Labs gave chase, but Lupe was much faster.  She zoomed around zig-zagging this way and that.  The Labs couldn’t catch her.

Eventually Lupe dropped the ball, and chased the Labs while they ran with it.  That game was too easy, though.  Lupe had no problem catching them.  The Labs wore out, and gave up on catching or escaping from Lupe.  They returned to retrieving tennis balls from the ocean, and the game was over.

SPHP and Lupe made the long trek back to Beverly Beach State Park to check on Lanis.  He was up and feeling much better.  There wasn’t really a plan yet for the rest of the day, so Lanis and Lupe packed up Lupe’s tiny house just to provide freedom of action.

After checking out of Beverly Beach State Park.  Lanis drove up to the Devil’s Punchbowl once again.  Right next to the Devil’s Punchbowl is Mo’s West restaurant, which was going to open up in just a few minutes at 11:00 AM.  Lanis wound up getting Mo’s Clam Chowder Bread Bowl, and SPHP got Mo’s World Famous Clam Chowder.  Both Lanis and SPHP really thought it was delicious!

Lupe had another opinion.  As it turns out, Carolina Dogs don’t like seafood.  At least they don’t like anything with clams in it.  Lupe wouldn’t touch the stuff.  Oh, well!  Lanis and SPHP were happy with that.  It just left more for them.

While Lanis and SPHP were enjoying the food from Mo’s, the weather outside the Element was deteriorating.  It had been kind of a dark and cloudy morning before, but now the wind started blowing and it started to mist.  Lanis played with his phone, SPHP watched the tide going out, and Lupe snoozed while waiting for the weather to improve again.

It didn’t.  It was a good thing Lanis and SPHP had packed up Lupe’s tiny house.  It wasn’t tenting weather any more.  SPHP began to realize the weather wasn’t going to improve.  It was time to leave the Pacific Ocean.  SPHP realized it might be a very long time before Lupe ever got to see the ocean again.  Despite the weather, before leaving, Lupe was going to get one more chance to enjoy the magnificent Pacific Ocean.

Lupe, Lanis and SPHP left the Devil’s Punchbowl for the last time.  Lanis drove a few miles S on Hwy 101 to Moolack Beach.  There was hardly anyone else on Moolack Beach.  The wind was blustery, and the waves were getting bigger.  The mist became rain.  Lupe, Lanis and SPHP went wading in the ocean and wandering along the shore.  The water felt colder than ever.

Lupe enjoyed her seagull chasing, and crashing into the big waves.  As it started to rain harder and the waves grew bigger, the beach started to feel like a remote and lonely place.  The power of the ocean grew.  Lupe ran far down the beach, until she was just a tiny brown speck next to the crashing waves.  SPHP began to get concerned for her.  The waves looked huge compared to the tiny Dingo.  SPHP yelled for Lupe to come back, even though she was so far away, even with big Dingo ears she couldn’t have heard SPHP over the roar of the ocean.

A minute or two later, the tiny brown and white speck started streaking toward SPHP.  She never stays away long, no matter how much fun she’s having.  SPHP realized Lupe was having her last run as a young doggie along the mighty ocean.  It was fun to watch her.  She arrived panting hard, soaking wet from ears to tail, with a gigantic grin on her face.  The ocean was soooo much fun!

SPHP was glad she had enjoyed it, but with the weather deteriorating, the ocean might get pretty dangerous, too.  It was raining harder all the time.  Time to leave the ocean.

So, reluctantly, Lupe, Lanis and SPHP said goodbye to the glorious Pacific Ocean.  As a young American Dingo, Lupe really had made it all the way to the West Coast on her 2012 Dingo Vacation!  She’d had marvelous adventures on the Washington and Oregon coasts she would always remember.  Now it was time to start heading home.

Lupe explores the mysterious foggy beach just S of the Devil's Punchbowl on the Oregon coast.

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Mt. St. Helens, Dismal Nitch, & the Dead Fish Dingo, Washington (8-24-12)

Day 17 of Lupe’s 2012 Dingo Vacation to the West Coast.

Once again, Lupe and SPHP were up before Lanis.  Lupe soon found the Loop Trail, which runs entirely around the Iron Creek campground, NE of Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument.  Iron Creek campground is located in an amazing mossy forest of huge Douglas firs.  Before it was time to head to Mt. St. Helens, Lupe and SPHP wanted to explore the Loop Trail, and see it all.

Iron Creek campground, Washington state.
Iron Creek campground, Washington state.

The trail was in good condition.  Lupe, as always, was an enthusiastic explorer.  She sniffed ferns, and jumped up on giant mossy logs laying on forest floor, using the logs as her own private green-cushioned Dingo trails.  If there were any squirrels, Lupe wasn’t finding them.  They may have been up in the stratosphere of the towering tree tops.

The N and NE sides of the Loop Trail went along a lovely blue river, the Cispus.  The water of the Cispus sparkled in the morning light.  Not far from the Cispus, on the W side of the Loop Trail, were signs next to two huge Douglas firs.  The little tree was 280 feet high, had an 8 foot diameter trunk, and was 600 years old.  The biggest one was 285 feet high, had an 8 foot 2 inch diameter trunk, and was also 600 years old.

These trees were already 80 years old when Columbus set sail for America!  It was hard to imagine they had been standing here all that time.  Both trees were still alive, and looked to be in good condition.  The forest was full of Douglas firs that looked almost as huge and ancient as these two.  Iron Creek campground was a pretty amazing place!

Lupe and SPHP completed their journey around the entire Loop Trail.  Lanis was up, when Lupe arrived back at her tiny house.  It was time to leave for Mt. St. Helens (8,333 ft.)!  A long, winding paved road took Lupe up through a dense forest to the E entrance of Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument.  Lanis parked the Element at the first overlook in the monument with a view toward Mt. St. Helens.

Lupe, sporting big soft Dingo ears, with Lanis at the first overlook in Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument.
Lupe, sporting big soft Dingo ears, with Lanis at the first overlook in Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument.
Mt. St. Helens is poking up in the distance. Yeah, thinking maybe Lanis would look better sporting big soft Dingo ears, too! They'd probably be useful for his music, too.
Mt. St. Helens is poking up in the distance. Yeah, thinking maybe Lanis would look better sporting big soft Dingo ears, too! They’d probably be useful for his music, too.
From the first viewpoint using a telephoto lens.
From the first viewpoint using a telephoto lens.

Lanis and SPHP started reading some plaques at the overlook showing pictures of the eruption of Mt. St. Helens on May 18, 1980.  Amazingly, the man who took those very photos, Gary Rosenquist, showed up while Lupe was at the overlook!

Gary Rosenquist, Lanis and Lupe. Gary had taken the photos of Mt. St. Helens' cataclysmic eruption on May 18, 1980 featured on the plaques Lanis and SPHP had been reading!
Gary Rosenquist, Lanis and Lupe. Gary had taken the photos of Mt. St. Helens’ cataclysmic eruption on May 18, 1980 featured on the plaques Lanis and SPHP had been reading!

Lupe got to meet Mr. Rosenquist.  Lanis and SPHP got to chat with him for a while about his experience photographing the Mt. St. Helens eruption, and then fleeing for his life from the falling ash.  Mr. Rosenquist said he still likes to visit Mt. St. Helens fairly frequently.

Lupe, Lanis and SPHP continued on the road toward viewpoints closer to Mt. St. Helens.  From one of them, there were some great views of Spirit Lake.  The 1980 eruption of Mt. St. Helens was so powerful, it created a wave of water from Spirit Lake that went as high as 850 feet up the mountains on the N side of the lake.  Debris blocked the outlet to the lake, and the water level rose about 200 feet above its prior elevation.  The surface area of Spirit Lake is now about 2,200 acres compared to only 1,300 acres before.

Getting closer to Mt. St. Helens.
Getting closer to Mt. St. Helens.
Spirit Lake is N of Mt. St. Helens. The outlet from the lake was blocked by debris from the collapsed mountainside. The water level was stabilized by engineers at a level 200 feet higher than before the May, 1980 eruption.
Spirit Lake is N of Mt. St. Helens. The outlet from the lake was blocked by debris from the collapsed mountainside. The water level was stabilized by engineers at a level 200 feet higher than before the May, 1980 eruption.
The eruption of Mt. St. Helens stripped away 230 square miles of forest. Many thousands of trees were flung into Spirit Lake. More than 32 years later, thousands of tree trunks were still floating in giant mats on the lake.
The eruption of Mt. St. Helens stripped away 230 square miles of forest. Many thousands of trees were flung into Spirit Lake. More than 32 years later, thousands of tree trunks were still floating in giant mats on the lake.

The road ended at a final viewpoint, still quite a distance from the volcano.  From here it was possible to get a very good view of the huge debris flow extending down to Spirit Lake formed by the collapse of the former N slopes of Mt. St. Helens as the volcano erupted.

Shown here is the debris flow that blocked Spirit Lake at the part of the lake closest to the mountain.
Shown here is the debris flow that blocked Spirit Lake at the part of the lake closest to the mountain.
Mt. St. Helens as seen from the last viewpoint at the end of the road coming in from the E side of the national monument. The May 18, 1980 volcanic eruption reduced the elevation of Mt. St. Helen's summit from 9,677 feet to 8,363 feet when the N side of the mountain collapsed.
Mt. St. Helens as seen from the last viewpoint at the end of the road coming in from the E side of the national monument. The May 18, 1980 volcanic eruption reduced the elevation of Mt. St. Helen’s summit from 9,677 feet to 8,363 feet when the N side of the mountain collapsed.

At the last viewpoint, there was a set of stairs climbing up a steep hill above the parking area.  Lupe, Lanis and SPHP went up to the top of the hill for a better view.

From the hill, it was possible to get a better look not only at Mt. St. Helens, but also see Mt. Adams (12,276 ft.) and Mt. Hood (11,239 ft.) in the distance.  Lupe even got to see Mt. Rainier (14,411 ft.), after all, despite having missed seeing it due to cloud cover the day before.  The summit of Mt. Rainier was peaking up over the ridge beyond Spirit Lake.

Mt. St. Helens from the hill above the parking lot at the last viewpoint.
Mt. St. Helens from the hill above the parking lot at the last viewpoint.
Mt. Adams, seen here, is 34 miles E of Mt. St. Helens. Mt. Hood is 60 miles SSE. Lupe could see Mt. Hood, but it was too far away to show up well in a photograph under the prevailing light conditions while Lupe was near Mt. St. Helens.
Mt. Adams, seen here, is 34 miles E of Mt. St. Helens. Mt. Hood is 60 miles SSE. Lupe could see Mt. Hood, but it was too far away to show up well in a photograph.
Mt. Adams with the telephoto lens.
Mt. Adams with the telephoto lens.
Lupe did get to see the summit of Mt. Rainier after all! Here it is poking above the mountain ridges beyond Spirit Lake.
Lupe did get to see the summit of Mt. Rainier, after all! Here it is poking above the mountain ridges beyond Spirit Lake.

At the top of the hill above the final viewpoint, there was a trail leading one mile back to the best viewpoint over Spirit Lake.  The trail was high up on the side of the mountain facing Spirit Lake, so it was bound to be a very scenic path.  Lanis didn’t feel like taking the trail, but Lupe and SPHP did.

The one mile trail was very scenic, and did have great views of Spirit Lake, but at one point there was a stretch of trail a few hundred feet long that was a bit scary.  The trail was very narrow with cliffs directly above, and a very steep slope leading to more cliffs below.  Lupe and SPHP made it through easily enough, but it sure wouldn’t be a place to take little kids.

Lanis was waiting with the Element at the best Spirit Lake viewpoint along the road at the other end of the trail.  Lanis said there had been signs saying the trail was for experts or advanced hikers only.  SPHP had not noticed them.

Going back down the paved road heading back out of St. Helens National Volcanic Monument was interesting, too.  There were some pretty big drops off the side of the road, and no guardrails.

More concerning was that the road itself was cracking, and in many places had already slumped creating troughs in the road several feet deep.  The pavement was still smooth, these weren’t abrupt cracks, but after seeing a whole mountain that had collapsed, it was easy to envision a 50 or 100 foot section of the road failing, and plunging down the cliff!

Looking back at Mt. St. Helens as Lupe leaves the area.
Looking back at Mt. St. Helens as Lupe leaves the area.

Of course, nothing actually happened; the road did not fail.  (Some day it will!)  Lupe, Lanis and SPHP left Mt. St. Helens behind.

Lupe was heading back to the West Coast!  She traveled through the little towns of Cougar, Yale and Ariel on the way back to I-5.  She turned N on I-5, and then W on Hwy 4, which followed the N bank of the Columbia River.  Along Hwy 401, Lupe, Lanis and SPHP stopped at Dismal Nitch, a cove along the Columbia River.

It was beautiful at Dismal Nitch!  The Columbia River is almost to the Pacific Ocean by the time it reaches Dismal Nitch.  The river was so wide, it was hard to tell if it was still even a river, or a bay of the ocean.  Seagulls were swirling around over the river.  The long bridge over to Astoria, on the Oregon side of the Columbia, could be seen just a few miles ahead.

Lupe & Lanis at Dismal Nitch on the N bank of the huge Columbia River, at this point almost as much ocean as river.
Lupe & Lanis at Dismal Nitch on the N bank of the huge Columbia River, at this point almost as much ocean as river.

Lupe & Lanis at Dismal Nitch, WA 8-24-12Lupe had just missed seeing Lewis & Clark!  Well, not quite “just” missed.  Lewis & Clark first reached Dismal Nitch on November 10, 1805, so Lupe was 206 years, 9 months and 14 days late.  It was a good thing, really.  Lewis & Clark had taken shelter here from a severe winter storm.  The storm forced them off the river for 6 days, causing them to miss their supply boat.  It was Captain William Clark who had named the place, calling it in his journals “that dismal little nitch”.

It was getting late enough in the day to start thinking about finding a place to camp.  Lupe, Lanis and SPHP left Dismal Nitch, and continued W on Hwys 401 & 101 all the way to the Pacific Ocean at Cape Disappointment.

Cape Disappointment is located at the very SW tip of Washington state on the N bank of the Columbia River.  It was named by a British fur trader, John Meares, who had been sailing S in search of trade and the Columbia.  On April 12, 1788, he sighted Cape Disappointment, but had to turn his ship around due to a storm, thereby failing to discover the mouth of the Columbia.  Lupe, Lanis and SPHP were also disappointed – the campground at the Lewis & Clark State Park was full.

Lupe saw the Pacific Ocean here, just N of Cape Disappointment in Lewis & Clark State Park, WA. Lupe was disappointed, too. The campground was full.
Lupe saw the Pacific Ocean here, just N of Cape Disappointment in Lewis & Clark State Park, WA. Lupe was disappointed, too. The campground was full.

Lupe, Lanis and SPHP drove all around the general area, stopping at all the campgrounds.  Every one was full.  People were flocking to the area for some kind of big kite flying contest.  SPHP’s road atlas did show a “World Kite Museum & Hall of Fame” on the coast a little way N of Cape Disappointment State Park.  Well, no problem.  Lupe would just take the Astoria bridge over the Columbia River to Oregon, and find a place to stay over there.

When Lupe crossed the bridge, Oregon became the 6th Lupe state to join her Dingo Nation!  Unfortunately, the story was both different and the same in Oregon.  Just like in Washington, all the campgrounds were full.  So were all the motel rooms, except for a few luxury suites priced well beyond budget.  The reason was different, though.  People were flocking here for a big Mt. Hood to Seaside relay running event that was in progress.

Lupe, Lanis, and SPHP gave up finding a place to stay in Astoria.  Lanis drove S on Hwy 101 towards Seaside.  Suddenly, Lanis spotted a black lab on the very busy 4 lane highway.  The black lab was clearly lost.  He was running back and forth right on the highway looking at each car as it whizzed by, hoping to find his owner.  The poor black lab was doomed to cause an accident, and die within minutes doing this!

Lanis stopped the Element.  Lanis and SPHP intended to rescue the black lab, but time was of the essence.  Fortunately, someone else in a pickup truck also saw the dog’s plight, and stopped closer to where the dog had run to.  In just seconds, he had the dog safely in his truck.  The black lab was saved!

At Seaside, unsurprisingly, it soon became clear there were no campground vacancies here, either.  However, there was a little park right along the highway, and a large pullout parking lot for it.  The park had a big open field, with scattered stands of trees.  Beyond the field was a view of a bay of the ocean.  No tents allowed.  It wasn’t dark yet, but it soon would be.  Looked like car camping in the Element again.

As twilight was fading, SPHP and Lupe went for a walk through the park down to a little river flowing into the bay.  Very high, thick, coarse grass grew next to the river.  Lupe sniffed around in the grass forest, while SPHP gazed out over the river down to the ocean bay.  SPHP didn’t notice anything was wrong until getting into the Element for the night.

Within a few seconds, the Element just reeked.  The source of the stench was quickly identified as Lupe.  She must have found some dead fish along the shore of the river, and rolled in them.  Dogs, even Dingoes, sometimes love to roll in the nastiest, most awful things.  An instinctive way of hiding their scent from prey?  Well, it was true no sensible prey animal would likely suspect it was being added to the menu by an extraordinarily obnoxious dead fish.

Lupe was very happy curled up in the Element wearing her Eau-du-Dead Fish perfume, and wondered what all the fuss was about?  Lanis and SPHP were far less thrilled.  The smell was horrid and overwhelming.  Lanis refused to stay.  He took a sleeping bag outside, and tried to sleep on the ground next to the Element.  The air was much better, but the traffic roaring by on the highway did not bring sweet dreams.

After Lanis had suffered outside, and SPHP had suffered inside, for about an hour, neither could take it anymore.  Take your pick – traffic noise, or the stench of a Dead Fish Dingo – it was impossible to sleep.  Lupe, Lanis and SPHP went for a long walk in the darkness, just wandering around Seaside.

The walk helped.  By the time Lupe, Lanis and SPHP returned to the Element, it had aired out somewhat.  Somehow, Lupe had, too.  She was still no rose garden, but the worst was clearly over.  For Lanis and SPHP, sleeping in the Element still wasn’t going to be a treat.  With the back loaded with gear, the front seats didn’t recline.  Sleeping in the Element always meant sleeping sitting up.

High up on her pile of blankets and pillows, Lupe curled up and drifted peacefully off to sleep, soothed by the aromatherapy of the hint of Eau-du-Dead Fish she was still wearing.

Pacific Ocean
Pacific Ocean

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Lake Quinault on the Olympic Peninsula & Iron Creek Campground, Washington (8-23-12)

Day 16 of Lupe’s 2012 Dingo Vacation to the West Coast.

After Lupe’s first day at the Pacific Ocean on the Washington coast, when she had visited both Rialto Beach and Beach 4; Lupe, Lanis and SPHP had ended up camping near the end of the day at Lake Quinault.  Lake Quinault is a fairly large lake some distance inland from the ocean.  The lake is partly sandwiched between the Quinault Indian Reservation, and the south border of Olympic National Park.

The SE side of Lake Quinault is in the Olympic National Forest.  Lupe had spent the night with Lanis and SPHP in her tiny house at the Falls Creek campground.  In the morning, Lupe and SPHP were up before Lanis.  Lupe and SPHP started out the day sharing the remaining corned beef hash left over from the previous evening.  SPHP then did some camp chores.  Lanis still wasn’t up by the time they were done, so Lupe and SPHP used the opportunity to do a bit of exploring.

Naturally, the first thing to go look at was Lake Quinault itself.  Lupe and SPHP followed a trail through the heavily forested campground down to the lake.  Soon Lupe arrived near a beach where people could rent kayaks or canoes.

Lake Quinault. Photo looks NNE.
Lake Quinault. Photo looks NNE.
A pontoon boat went by. Photo looks W.
A pontoon boat went by. Photo looks W.
Kayakers on Lake Quinault.
Kayakers on Lake Quinault.

From the beach, a broad park-like lawn led up a hill to the Lake Quinault Lodge.  Near the lodge were bushes featuring striking large flower clusters.  The flower clusters came in either light blue or lavender.  Lupe and SPHP had never seen flowers like these before.  SPHP had no idea what kind of flowers these were, but they were really pretty.

Lake Quinault Lodge.
Lake Quinault Lodge.
Large flower clusters like these bloomed in impressive profusion near Lake Quinault Lodge. Some of the bushes had light blue flowers, like those shown here, others had lavender blossoms.
Large flower clusters like these bloomed in impressive profusion near Lake Quinault Lodge. Some of the bushes had light blue flowers, like those shown here, others had lavender blossoms.

Flowers near Lake Quinault, Olypmic Peninsula, WA 8-23-12Across the main road going by the Lake Quinault Lodge, Lupe and SPHP found a trail.  There was a great deal of heavy undergrowth on both sides of the first part of the trail, almost as if it was lined by hedges.  To Lupe, the trail was kind of like a path in a maze.  The undergrowth was so dense, she couldn’t leave the trail, and so tall, she couldn’t see over it.

At first, the trail switch-backed repeatedly up a hillside.  Farther on, the trail leveled out.  Lupe passed a couple of small waterfalls.  The trail then entered what signs said was a cedar bog.  The bog wasn’t very wet, due to drought and the late August season, but it was full of moss and ferns.  Tall cedar trees shaded most of the area.

Lupe came to a point where there was a sign that indicated she had come 1.7 miles from the road.  The trail went on, and Lupe and SPHP would have liked to explore further, but it was probably time to be getting back to see if Lanis was up.

When Lupe reached the road again, instead of going past Lake Quinault Lodge, she took a different trail through Falls Creek campground back to her tiny house.  On the way, Lupe and SPHP saw some pretty neat campsites.  The best one was close to a beautiful pool of water at the base of a small waterfall.  Other campsites were near a creek.  There were some interesting footbridges crossing the creek, too.

This awesome forested trail went right through the Falls Creek campground near Lake Quinault.
This awesome forested trail went right through the Falls Creek campground near Lake Quinault.
Footbridge in the Falls Creek campground.
Footbridge in the Falls Creek campground.
This sweet little waterfall and clear pool were right next to one of the campsites in the Falls Creek campground at Lake Quinault.
This sweet little waterfall and clear pool were right next to one of the campsites in the Falls Creek campground at Lake Quinault.

Lanis was up, when Lupe and SPHP returned.  He was ready to continue his duties as Lupe’s chauffeur!  SPHP was glad that Lupe had gotten to see Lake Quinault and go to the cedar bog.  It wouldn’t have been right to leave this pretty place without having a look around.  As it was, though, more adventures were awaiting Lupe elsewhere.  SPHP planned to take Lupe to see Mt. Rainier next!

As soon as everything was packed back up in the Honda Element; Lupe, Lanis and SPHP headed out.  Lupe went S to Hoquiam, and then turned E.  By the time she reached Olympia, the capitol of Washington state, she had almost completely circumnavigated the Olympic Peninsula since leaving Tacoma just 2 days before.

While Lupe was traveling from Seattle on the way to Tacoma a few days ago, SPHP had spotted Mt. Rainier in the distance.  The snow-capped peak had looked huge and most impressive.  SPHP wanted Lupe to get to see it.  From Olympia; Lupe, Lanis and SPHP headed ESE on a series of small highways all the way to Elbe.

Lupe didn’t get to see Mt. Rainier.  A big cloud bank hung over the area where Mt. Rainier was supposed to be.  It was disappointing, to say the least.  The small town of Elbe was as close to Mt. Rainier as Lupe got.  SPHP had Lanis just turn S at Elbe, instead of continuing on to Mt. Rainier National Park.  Since Lupe wasn’t going to get to see Mt. Rainier, SPHP at least had another destination in mind.

By the time Lupe, Lanis and SPHP reached the Iron Creek campground S of Randle, Lanis had done a lot of chauffeuring.  It was getting late in the day, and time to stop.  The campground was large and had a lot of loops.  There were quite a few open campsites.  Lanis and SPHP were able to find an open site well away from other campers.

Lupe’s tiny house was soon set up in a forest different from any others she had visited so far.  Iron Creek campground is situated in a forest of Douglas firs.  A few of the trees were ancient and gigantic.  In some places, huge ferns grew on the forest floor.  Moss was everywhere, and clung to everything.  In the fading light; Lupe, Lanis and SPHP explored around a little bit near Lupe’s tiny house.  This place was going to be worth seeing more of in the morning!

Iron Creek campground, Washington state.
Iron Creek campground, Washington state.

Iron Creek CG, NE of Mt. St. Helens, WA 8-23-12It was Lanis that suggested making a campfire.  In all the camping Lupe had done, SPHP had rarely, if ever, made a campfire for her.  Tonight it happened.

After dinner, Lupe lay beneath the picnic table watching the flickering flames light up the deep darkening forest.  Lanis and SPHP chatted, and played cards.  Who knows what thoughts went through the American Dingo’s mind, as darkness closed in on the dying embers in that primeval place?Iron Creek Campground, NE of Mt. St. Helens, WA 8-23-12

Want more Lupe adventures?  Choose from Lupe’s 2012 West Coast Adventure IndexDingo Vacations Adventure Index or Master Adventure Index.  Or subscribe free to new Lupe adventures.

Rialto Beach, the Hoh Rain Forest fiasco & Beach 4, Olympic Peninsula, Washington (8-22-12)

Day 15 of Lupe’s 2012 Dingo Vacation to the West Coast.

After breaking camp at the Klahowya campground on the Olympic Peninsula; Lupe, Lanis and SPHP headed SW on Hwy 101 to the town of Forks.  There was a U.S. National Park Service Recreation Information Center in Forks, and SPHP wanted to stop in briefly to see if there was ANY place in Olympic National Park where Lupe could go on a trail.

As expected, the news wasn’t good.  Dogs are not allowed on any trails in Olympic National Park.  However, there was one place dogs could go, provided they were on a leash.  Dogs were allowed on Rialto Beach, from the parking lot N about a mile to Ellen Creek.  That sounded great!  Since Rialto Beach wasn’t too far away; Lupe, Lanis and SPHP were on their way.

The Olympic Peninsula was turning out to be a far more dangerous place than SPHP had ever imagined.  On the way to Rialto Beach, there were signs warning about vampires!  Just yesterday, Lupe had battled Big Paw, and now vampires?!

No, vampires beyond this point!? Since when do vampires obey regulations?
No, vampires beyond this point!? Since when do vampires obey regulations?
The vampire threat level was Code Red!
The vampire threat level was Code Red!

If Lanis and SPHP were concerned, Lupe wasn’t.  It was a bright and beautiful morning.  Sundown wouldn’t be for many hours.  Lanis and SPHP could just chill for the time being.  Vampires never saunter around in broad daylight – everyone knows that!

Rialto Beach was wonderful!  Lupe, Lanis and SPHP headed N along the shore.  It was great to see the Pacific Ocean, see and hear the crashing waves, and smell the salty air.  The white bleached trunks of huge dead trees were scattered along the high tide line, looking like the bones of dinosaurs.  Lupe didn’t quite know what to make of it all.  She had seen the ocean at Puget Sound just a couple of days ago, but this was the first time she had ever been right on the beach and seen the endless expanse of the open ocean.

Lupe and Lanis at Rialto Beach in Olympic National Park. Lupe had never seen the broad expanse of the open ocean before.
Lupe and Lanis at Rialto Beach in Olympic National Park. Lupe had never seen the broad expanse of the open ocean before.
Near the high tide line were numerous dead tree trunks, bleached white by the sun and sea.
Near the high tide line were numerous dead tree trunks, bleached white by the sun and sea.

Lupe stayed up on the beach.  She was a little afraid of the waves.  Even though the waves were quite small for the ocean, they were bigger than any waves she had ever seen before.  Lupe got close to the ocean, but she didn’t go in it at all.  She retreated ahead of each incoming wave.  She enjoyed trotting along the wet sand, and sniffing all the very strange scents.  To Lupe, Rialto Beach was a very beautiful, but also a very strange and exotic place.

Lanis became engrossed with shells, rocks and creatures he was finding on the beach, or in tidal pools.  Lupe and SPHP continued N alone, thoroughly enjoying the stroll next to the Pacific Ocean.  Rialto Beach was the farthest W that Lupe had ever been.  She had reached the North American continent’s edge.  She could go no further W.

Pacific Ocean from Rialto Beach.
Pacific Ocean from Rialto Beach.

Pacific Ocean from Rialto Beach, Olympic National Park, WA 8-22-12Lupe couldn’t go any farther N, either.  As Lupe and SPHP approached a towering upright rock near the shore, suddenly a park ranger came running up.  Lupe couldn’t be here.  Lupe and SPHP had transgressed by crossing Ellen Creek.  Lupe was almost all the way to Split Rock, which just wasn’t allowed.

As it turned out, Ellen Creek was just a little trickle of water coming out of the sand 10 feet from the ocean.  Upstream, it had disappeared underground long before reaching the beach.  The ranger wasn’t upset; she said Ellen Creek is 20 feet wide in the spring, but there was a drought going on.  Now that it was late August, Ellen Creek had almost completely dried up.  The ranger wasn’t surprised SPHP had missed it, but Lupe still had to go back.

Split Rock at Rialto Beach, where the park ranger said Lupe couldn't be. Lupe and SPHP had to turn back.
Split Rock at Rialto Beach, where the park ranger said Lupe couldn’t be. Lupe and SPHP had to turn back.

Reluctantly, Lupe and SPHP returned S looking for Lanis.  Lanis was still busy looking at rocks and crab shells, but he was ready to go when Lupe found him.  Lupe, Lanis and SPHP left Rialto Beach, and headed back to Forks for Subway sandwiches and ice cream bars.  Lupe liked both, but clearly favored the ice cream.

SPHP thought it would be fun to take Lupe to the Hoh Rain Forest.  SE of Forks, off Hwy 101, is a turn to the E on Upper Hoh Road.  Upper Hoh Road enters Olympic National Park, and ends at the Hoh Rain Forest Visitor Center.

It made no sense, though, to pay the park entrance fee, just so Lupe could sit in the Element.  SPHP came up with the bright idea of taking a different road to South Fork campground, instead.  South Fork campground isn’t in Olympic National Park, but is pretty close to it.  In fact, it’s not even very far from the Hoh Rain Forest Visitor Center.  Lupe could probably experience the Hoh Rain Forest just as easily at South Fork, and avoid the dog restrictions.

The turn to South Fork campground was a little farther S on Hwy 101, past the turn for Upper Hoh Road.  The South Fork road wasn’t bad, although it was narrow and winding.  After a while, Lupe, Lanis and SPHP found themselves high up on a mountainside.  The little road went on and on.  This couldn’t be right!  South Fork campground was supposed to be down on the South Fork of the Hoh River, not up on a mountain.

Some miles back, the road had divided.  SPHP must have told Lanis to take the wrong fork.  There was nothing to do, but turn around.  It wasn’t going to be easy up here.  Lanis slowly, and very carefully, turned the Element around on the narrow road.  Success!  Lupe, Lanis and SPHP went back down the mountain the way they had come up.

This time, Lanis took the other fork in the road.  Sure enough, it eventually led to South Fork campground, but the road went on even farther from there.  Lupe, Lanis and SPHP went all the way to the end of the road.  At the end was a place that looked like some kind of small defunct rock quarry.

Lanis and the Element at the sort of rock quarry place at the end of the road beyond South Fork campground. So, now what?
Lanis and the Element at the sort of rock quarry place at the end of the road beyond South Fork campground. So, now what?

Lanis, Lupe and SPHP got out of the Element.  Hmm.  No one else was around.  Was this a trailhead?  There didn’t seem to be any trail.  The rock quarry, if that was what it ever was, didn’t look too promising.  It was surrounded by forest, but the forest didn’t look like anything special.  The forest back at Klahowya campground, where Lupe had spent the previous evening, looked much more like a rain forest than this did.

SPHP didn’t give up.  Looking around, SPHP spied what looked like an old abandoned road or trail heading into the forest.  Lupe, Lanis and SPHP set off to explore it.  They didn’t get far.  A stream coming down the mountain had washed out, and completely exposed, a giant culvert.  A 50-100 foot wide section of the mountainside had collapsed, too, taking the trail with it.  The trail did continue beyond the huge gap, but there was no reasonable way forward to get to it.

So, that was it.  The whole Hoh Rain Forest episode was just another of SPHP’s adventure fiascoes.  A lot of time had been lost winding around on little roads to get nowhere.  Even SPHP was ready to give up.  Lupe came all this way to see the ocean, not a bunch of trees!  There were trees back home, different types, but they were still trees.  It was time to return to the Pacific Ocean!

Back at Hwy 101 again, Lanis turned S.  Hwy 101 curved SW, and followed the Hoh River.  At the coast, Hwy 101 curved S again.  The highway was now at some height above the ocean, but not far from it.  Lupe, Lanis and SPHP stopped at a parking lot for Beach 4.  A trail led down a steep little hillside to the ocean.

This was what Lupe had come all the way to the West Coast for!  Beach 4 was marvelous.  Lanis, SPHP, and even Lupe went wading in the Pacific Ocean.  For a few minutes, the cold water felt good.  Then it was time to warm paws and feet up again on the dry sand.  Back and forth, in and out of the sea, again and again.  Lupe, Lanis and SPHP wandered N along the beach.  Waves crashed against rocks sending spray from the collisions skyward.  The sea, the sea, the beautiful sea!

Lupe and Lanis at Beach 4.
Lupe and Lanis at Beach 4.
Beach 4, Olympic Peninsula.
Beach 4, Olympic Peninsula.
At Beach 4, Lupe went wading in the Pacific Ocean for the very first time.
At Beach 4, Lupe went wading in the Pacific Ocean for the very first time.

Lupe wading at Beach 4, Pacific Ocean, Olympic Peninsula, WA 8-22-12

Full of deep meaning and profound significance, this what-cha-ma-call-it was at Beach 4. SPHP suspects it may have been built by a tribe of modern Lanis.
Full of deep meaning and profound significance, this what-cha-ma-call-it was at Beach 4. SPHP suspects it may have been built by a tribe of modern Lanis.

The Oregon coast has a reputation for the most beautiful scenery along the Pacific Ocean in the lower 48 states, but Washington state’s Beach 4, where she waded in the sea for the first time, was a place of wonder for Lupe.  Lupe, Lanis, and SPHP lingered at Beach 4 enjoying the beauty of the ocean, as the sun began slipping from the sky.

And that’s where this post leaves them, until another post by and by.Beach 4, Olympic Peninsula, WA 8-22-12Lupe at Beach 4, Olympic Peninsula, WA 8-22-12

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Klahowya Campground, the Sol Duc River & the Battle with Big Paw, Olympic Peninsula, Washington (8-21-12)

Day 14 of Lupe’s 2012 Dingo Vacation to the West Coast.

Lupe’s day began uneventfully enough.  She woke up on a soft bed at a motel in Tacoma.  Before checking out, SPHP gave her a bath.  Afterwards, Lupe and SPHP spent part of the morning at the same park where Lupe had played Frisbee the evening before.  Next was a boring stop at a laundromat.  When the clothes were all clean, the interesting part of the day began.  Lupe, Lanis and SPHP left Tacoma on Hwy 16, and headed for the Olympic Peninsula.

It had been sunny and warm out in Tacoma, but by the time Lupe was crossing the Hood Canal on Hwy 104, the sky was overcast.  After a while, a light mist began, but it was intermittent and didn’t amount to much.  The Olympic Peninsula is mountainous, but between the clouds and the tall forest that lined both sides of the highway, there wasn’t much to be seen.

From the Port Angeles vicinity, there were views of the ocean off to the NE.  SPHP had been looking forward to taking Hwy 112 W along the N shore of the Olympic Peninsula, but Hwy 112 was closed due to road construction.  Instead, Hwy 101 took Lupe into the N end of Olympic National Park.  After Yellowstone and Glacier, Lanis and SPHP now knew better than to bother stopping anywhere in a U.S. National Park.  Dingoes just weren’t allowed in the backcountry.

Lupe, though, knew this place was different.  For here, in the towering old rain forests of the misty mountains, is the home of a creature from a forgotten age.  Seldom spoken of by American Dingoes and Carolina Dogs, and even then just in low growls and whines, is a race of ancestral Dingoes known only as Big Paw!  U.S. National Park or not, no human has ever been able to find, capture or record Big Paw.

Hwy 101 left Olympic National Park and entered the Olympic National Forest.  In the national forest, Lupe would be less restricted.  Lanis and SPHP started looking for a place to camp, and soon arrived at the Klahowya campground.  Klahowya campground was in a forest full of ferns and moss.  It had a real jungle look to it.  There were plenty of open sites in the campground, too, some of them next to the Sol Duc river.

Lupe's campsite at the Klahowya campground in the Olympic National Forest looked like a real jungle.
Lupe’s campsite at the Klahowya campground in the Olympic National Forest looked like a real jungle.

Lanis and SPHP selected a site, and set up Lupe’s tiny house.  Lupe was still sitting in the Honda Element.  She wasn’t so sure about things.  What if Big Paw was lurking somewhere out there?

Lupe in the safety of Lanis' Honda Element, but still on the alert for Big Paw!
Lupe in the safety of Lanis’ Honda Element, but still on the alert for Big Paw!

Eventually, Lupe came out of the Element to inspect the campsite.  Klahowya campground really was a very impressive place.  Lupe’s tiny house was set up in a jungle setting unlike any place Lupe had ever camped before.  Lupe, Lanis and SPHP took a short walk through the jungle down to the Sol Duc river.

From the size of the exposed rocky riverbed, it was easy to see that even though there was a fair amount of water in the Sol Duc now, normally it was a much larger river.  However, a dry spell and the late August season meant the river was quite low.   Lupe sniffed around in the bushes and young trees growing near the rocky riverbed.  She was having a good time exploring.

The Element parked in the Klahowya CG.
The Element parked in the Klahowya CG.

Element and tent at Klahowya CG, WA 8-21-12

Lupe's tiny house at Klahowya CG.
Lupe’s tiny house at Klahowya CG.
Lupe arrives to inspect the campsite.
Lupe arrives to inspect the campsite.

After spending a little time down along the Sol Duc river; Lupe, Lanis and SPHP returned to the campsite for a picnic.  When the meal was done, Lanis and SPHP thought it might be fun to find a trail.  Everyone got back into the Element.  Lanis drove back to Hwy 101, and turned W.  In just a few miles, there was a side road to the N that looked promising.

The side road wound around in the woods.  It emerged from the forest at a large clearing where there were some old abandoned buildings.  The road went past the buildings, and soon ended at a trailhead.  No other vehicles were there.  Lanis parked the Element.  A very wide, level trail led Lupe, Lanis and SPHP into a dense forest.  Perhaps 30 – 50 feet down a steep embankment to the right, flowed the Sol Duc river.

The wide level trail. It turned out this trail was an old roadbed mostly hidden beneath the leaves of the undergrowth on both sides of the apparent trail.
The wide level trail. It turned out this trail was an old roadbed mostly hidden beneath the leaves of the undergrowth on both sides of the apparent trail.

After a little while, SPHP realized the wide trail was actually an abandoned road.  Under the leaves on the trail was a layer of pavement, occasionally exposed at the edges where the where the old road was starting to crumble away.  From the left, small streams trickled down a mountainside.  Lupe, Lanis and SPHP came to a single track trail that led up the mountain.  A sign said it led to Snider Peak, elevation 3,055 ft.

Lupe, Lanis and SPHP took the single track trail, although how far it was to Snider Peak, no one knew.  The trail switch-backed up the mountainside until it was out of view of the abandoned road below.  Although the trail was in seemingly good condition, no one else at all appeared.  Lupe was having fun exploring the forest, but Lanis and SPHP eventually decided Lupe had gone far enough.  It was time to return.

Back down at the old abandoned road, it was still early enough out so Lupe, Lanis and SPHP continued farther along the abandoned road instead of returning to the Element.  Through the trees were glimpses of the Sol Duc river down the embankment on the right, which was steeper and higher here than before.  The river was now 50 – 100 feet below the road.

The river curved away from the old road, and the road began to climb through an exceptionally shady and gloomy portion of the forest.  At the top of the rise, the road leveled out at the edge of a clearing.  On the opposite side of the clearing was a decaying old mobile home, and some dilapidated outbuildings.  No one was around, but a flag was flying – a black flag with the skull and crossbones on it.  Lupe had come to a pirate hideout!

Lanis and SPHP didn’t think it wise to tangle with pirates, and retreated back through the gloomy forest down the wide trail to the bend in the Sol Duc river.  There was no sign of pursuing pirates, but the hair on Lupe’s haunches was up.  She was staring down the abandoned road ahead.  On the side of the trail opposite the river, up on the mountainside, a dark form was moving at high speed through the trees – and coming closer.

Lupe growled deeply.  Suddenly, out of the forest and onto the abandoned road ahead, leaped the approaching menace.

It was huge, as tall as either Lanis or SPHP!  Its long, shaggy fur was mostly dark gray with silver streaks, but where Lupe sports a beautiful white vest on her chest, the creature had a vest of ebony.  A huge curly tail arched high over its back.  The creature’s large soft ears were flattened against its head.  Its gray eyes glowed with a distinctly reddish hue.  Saliva dripped from its fangs and gigantic pink tongue.  Big Paw!

With a low, snarling growl, Big Paw bounded to the attack!  There was no escape.  Lanis and SPHP faced certain doom.  A brown and white flash streaked toward Big Paw.  It was Lupe, barking wildly!  Big Paw paused to consider this noisy, tiny Carolina Dog for only a moment.  Big Paw lunged at Lupe, but she was too fast.

Lupe circled around and around Big Paw, biting his heels and harassing him.  Big Paw snapped at her again and again.  At times Lupe dashed into the trees to get away, with Big Paw hot on her tail.  Lupe barely escaped.  Once, Big Paw was so close, his slavering jaws snapped shut on the upper end of her tail, ripping her fur there away.

Lupe darted between the trees like lightning.  Big Paw crashed into several of them trying to catch her.  Finally, Big Paw hit one of the trees so hard, it leaned and then plummeted down to the Sol Duc river below.  As its roots tore away from under the old abandoned road, a big chunk of the road gave way.  It too, went crashing down into the Sol Duc river.  Lupe and Big Paw almost fell with it, but both managed to scramble back away from the crumbling bank.

Lupe was panting hard.  She had put up a valiant fight, but Big Paw was too fast and strong.  Only Lupe’s agility was saving her, but her energy was fading with each daring escape from Big Paw’s jaws.  Finally Big Paw had her cornered.  He snarled and lunged, but Lupe lunged first.  Her fangs sank into Big Paw’s neck.  She clamped her jaws shut, and hung on tightly.

Blood streaked Big Paw’s fur.  He howled with rage and pain.  Big Paw shook his head violently, but the little Carolina Dog dangling from his neck refused to let go.  Big Paw couldn’t shake himself free of Lupe!

Big Paw took off into the forest, retreating back up Snider Peak, howling in pain the entire time.  Lupe hung on.  For how long she didn’t know.  It seemed like an eternity, but may have been for just a minute or two, if that.  Big Paw made a mighty leap over a giant old tree trunk laying horizontal on the forest floor.  As he did, Lupe crashed into the tree trunk, smashed between Big Paw and giant tree.  She lost her grip and fell dazed to the ground.

When Lupe woke up, Big Paw was gone.  She was alone in the terrifying forest.  Big Paw might return hunting her at any moment!  Suddenly, she heard voices rising faintly up the mountainside.  Lanis and SPHP were calling her, and looking for her.  Lupe staggered to her paws, and took off running down the mountain.

Soon Lupe was back with Lanis and SPHP.  Both shouted with joy at seeing her alive.  They petted her, and hugged her, and kept congratulating her on her most stupendous victory ever in all of American Dingo or Carolina Dog history!  SPHP promised her endless treats, steak and ice cream.  Lanis said he had captured her entire battle with Big Paw on film.  She was going to be rich and famous!

Hmm? Did I doze off? Was I dreaming? Uh, yeah guys, you just go ahead and sleep in the tiny house without me. Think I want to stay here in the Honda Element tonight. Mind locking the doors for me, Lanis, before you turn in? In fact, leave me the keys if you would, please! And maybe pull the blankie back over my head before you go?
Hmm? Did I doze off? Was I dreaming? Uh, yeah guys, you just go ahead and sleep in the tiny house without me. Think I want to stay here in the Honda Element tonight. Mind locking the doors for me, Lanis, before you turn in? In fact, leave me the keys if you would, please! And maybe pull the blankie back over my head before you go?

It doesn’t happen often in that distant land of mist, but on the night of the full moon, when the wind is right and blows the clouds clear away from the mountains, as the pale light filters through the ancient rain forest, if you go to the old abandoned road above the bank of the Sol Duc river, and follow it to the start of the single track trail to Snider Peak, then there the Dingoes say, you can still hear Big Paw howling with rage far up the mountain.

And, if you continue on in the moonlight, on the abandoned old road, you will come to a wide open view of a curve in the Sol Duc river where the road and forested bank caved in during the Battle of Big Paw.  But unless you are looking for trouble, don’t continue on the road up to the pirate hideout, or worse yet, go up the single track trail to Snider Peak.

And, if you ever meet Lupe, the American Dingo, you will know why the fur on the top of the tip of her curly tail is missing to this day.Klahowya CG, Olympic NF, WA 8-21-12

Want more Lupe adventures?  Choose from Lupe’s 2012 West Coast Adventure Index, Dingo Tales Index or Master Adventure Index.  Or subscribe free to new Lupe adventures.

Seattle & Puget Sound, Washington (8-20-12)

Day 13 of Lupe’s 2012 Dingo Vacation to the West Coast.

Today, Lupe was going to see the ocean for the first time ever!  Well, not the broad expanse of the open sea, but she was at least going to see Puget Sound in Seattle.  Lupe was nearly to Seattle already!

First things first, though.  Lupe’s day started with a visit to a dog park along the Cedar River in Renton, WA just to get some exercise and sniff the morning air.  The dog park turned out to be long and narrow, as it followed the Cedar River.  There wasn’t any access to the river itself, which flowed down in a steep narrow gorge.  A bike path went through the park.  Lupe had to be careful.  Bikers whizzed silently by with some frequency.

Even though the dog park was in the city, it was cool, shady and not too crowded.  Trees and blackberry bushes grew along the bike path.  There were grassy areas where Lupe could run.  Lupe searched the trees for squirrels with some success.  In the meantime, Lanis and SPHP discussed where to go next.  Lanis was interested in seeing the Washington Park Arboretum in Seattle.

Seattle, WA - a different type of wilderness than Lupe is used to.
Seattle, WA – a different type of wilderness than Lupe is used to.

The Washington Park Arboretum covers 230 acres.  A wide variety of trees, bushes, flowers and plants of all types were growing in great profusion.  Lupe, Lanis and SPHP wandered the pathways looking at the displays.  It wasn’t long before SPHP noticed that Lupe was stopping frequently to lick her left front paw.  On examination, there was a little round circle on her biggest pad.  Lupe had stepped on a blackberry thorn back at the dog park in Renton.

Washington Park Arboretum in Seattle.
Washington Park Arboretum in Seattle.

Washington Park Arboretum, Seattle, WA 8-20-12

The Washington Park Arboretum had many beautiful plants and flowers.
The Washington Park Arboretum features many beautiful plants and flowers.

Washington Park Arboretum, Seattle, WA 8-20-12Lupe’s sore paw put an end to touring the Washington Park Arboretum.  Lupe needed help getting that blackberry thorn out of her paw!  At a Safeway store, SPHP bought tweezers and a set of needles.  SPHP operated on Lupe’s paw.  Lupe was very cooperative.  She clearly understood that SPHP was trying to help her.  Unfortunately, at first SPHP didn’t seem to be making any progress removing the thorn.

Suddenly, with a little flick of the needle, the blackberry thorn popped out.  It came out all in one piece, leaving a small round hole in Lupe’s pad.  Her paw wasn’t sore anymore.  She quit licking it, and forgot all about it.  A few days later, when SPHP examined her paw, there was no sign of the hole where the thorn had been.

Once the painful blackberry thorn was removed, it was time to go see Puget Sound.  Lupe saw the ocean for the first time at Golden Gardens Park.

Lupe saw the ocean for the first time ever at Golden Gardens Park in Seattle, where she had a great view of Puget Sound.
Lupe saw the ocean for the first time ever at Golden Gardens Park in Seattle, where she had a great view of Puget Sound.
There was a nice beach at Golden Gardens Park, but no dogs were allowed on it. Lupe saw the ocean, but she didn't get to swim or wade in it, or even run along the beach.
There was a nice beach at Golden Gardens Park, but no dogs were allowed on it. Lupe saw the ocean, but she didn’t get to swim or wade in it, or even run along the beach.

Ravens were flying around looking for tidbits on the lawn near the parking area where the Element was parked.  Lanis became interested in feeding them.  The ravens seemed to like graham crackers.  Lanis’ flock of ravens grew rapidly.  Seagulls noticed the action and started joining in.

Ravens and seagulls wander the lawn near Lanis' Honda Element looking for tidbits.
Ravens and seagulls wander the lawn near Lanis’ Honda Element looking for tidbits.
Lanis started feeding the ravens graham crackers.
Lanis started feeding the ravens graham crackers.
Lanis' flock started growing rapidly.
Lanis’ flock started growing rapidly.

Seagull near Puget Sound, WA 8-20-12The decimation of Lanis’ graham cracker supply led to a loss of interest by his flock of followers, which soon abandoned him.  Although Lupe hadn’t been allowed on the beach, she had at least seen the ocean.  Lupe had to be content with that for the time being.  Maybe it was time to check out the Space Needle?

Lupe saw the Space Needle, but there wasn’t any open parking nearby.  Lanis was ambivalent about paying to go up in the Space Needle, anyway.  Carolina Dogs aren’t generally that interested architecture, although Lupe would have liked the view from the top.  SPHP was pretty certain the view would have been fabulous.  However, since Lupe probably would have been prohibited from going, and there didn’t seem to be any place to park the Element, Lanis drove on.

It had been 5 days since Lupe’s first experience with the luxury of motel life back in Bozeman, MT.  Lanis and SPHP both needed to get cleaned up, and were looking forward to soft beds again.  Lupe certainly wasn’t going to object!  Soon Lupe was checked into a motel in Tacoma.  Now that she had a better idea what to expect, Lupe acted like living in a motel was the most natural thing in the world.

In the evening, Lupe, Lanis and SPHP went to a park.  There was a big pond, trees fully equipped with squirrels, and a very spacious lawn for Lupe to race around on.  The park was a popular place.  Lots of people and other dogs were around.  Lupe played Frisbee with Lanis and SPHP.  Sometimes Lupe invited herself to play Frisbee with other people when their Frisbees strayed conveniently close.  The sun set.  It grew dark.  Time to head back to the motel for a long luxurious snooze.

Puget Sound
Puget Sound

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Dry Falls & Crossing the Columbia River, WA (8-19-12)

Day 12 of Lupe’s 2012 Dingo Vacation to the West Coast.

Lupe and SPHP went down to Howard Lake early in the morning before Lanis was up.  The lake was calm and quiet.  Even the fishermen weren’t up yet.  Perfect!  Lupe and SPHP took the single track trail heading S along the E shore.

Lupe saw ducks floating peacefully on the lake.  She crossed a tiny inlet stream.  Near the S end of the lake, the trail left the shoreline and went back into the cedar forest.  A large crane was spooked by SPHP’s approach, and flew away with a great flapping of wings.  Lupe found a few early-rising squirrels.  SPHP did as much as possible to discourage her from barking at this early hour.

Looking back to the N, it was possible to see some of the higher mountains to the NW Lupe had seen the evening before on the mysterious Great Northern Mountain Trail No. 117.  At the very S end of the lake, Lupe crossed another small inlet stream, shortly before reaching the broad cedar-lined trail on the W side of the lake.

By the time Lupe and SPHP had completed their circumnavigation of Howard Lake, Lanis was stirring.  It was time to break camp, and continue W.  Lupe was soon on her way.  NW of Libby, a huge beautiful river, the Kootenai, flowed NW paralleling Hwy 2.  Near Troy; Lanis, Lupe and SPHP turned S on Hwy 56 in order to go see the Ross Creek Scenic Area Giant Cedars.

The turn for the Giant Cedars off Hwy 56 was 0.5 mile S of Bull Lake.  The side road ended at a trailhead 4 miles from the highway.  Lupe, Lanis and SPHP all took the 1 mile loop trail through the towering forest.  A small creek meandered through the area, and the trail crossed it several times.  The ancient western red cedars had huge trunks.  Ferns and moss grew between the monstrous trees.  The forest felt prehistoric, like a dinosaur could come crashing along at any time.  Lupe hadn’t been allowed to go on the Trail of the Cedars in Glacier National Park, but the Ross Creek Scenic Area Giant Cedars had to be just as impressive.

Lupe’s travels continued.  Hwy 200 took her W into Idaho for the 1st time.  Idaho became the 4th Lupe state!  Soon huge Lake Pend Oreille was in view SW of the highway.  At the N end of Pend Oreille, 3 bears ran across the road, right in broad daylight.  They were gone in a flash.  At Sandpoint, Lupe got back on Hwy 2 again.  Washington became the 5th Lupe state.  The American Dingo’s empire was expanding rapidly!

Hwy 2 took Lupe through Spokane, and then out onto barren plains in eastern Washington state.  The area is probably quite pretty at other times of the year, but in late August it felt like a desert.  It had been 95°F back in Sandpoint, ID, and it wasn’t any less out here.  The sun beat down mercilessly.

The Element was air conditioned, of course.  Lupe rode in comfort past yellow wheat fields, and many black fields that had burned or been plowed under.  Dust devils whirled across the desolate landscape.  Far to the N, mountains were on the horizon.  To the S, there was nothing.

SPHP had bought a fried chicken at Safeway in Spokane.  The plan had been to eat it at a city park in one of the little towns along the way.  However, there didn’t seem to be any parks.  Lupe passed through Deep Creek, Reardon and Davenport, and found nothing.  On the way to Creston, there was a forlorn rest area with a couple of picnic tables.  Lupe, Lanis and SPHP devoured the chicken there, but there wasn’t a green blade of grass anywhere.  The place was like an oven.

Of course, at Creston there was a pretty nice little park, but with the chicken already gone, there was no longer a reason to stop.  Lupe continued W.  Past Coulee City, Lanis turned SW on Hwy 17.  Soon Lupe came to a most amazing sight – Dry Falls.  Lanis and SPHP had never even heard of Dry Falls before, but there was a parking area and a little visitor center right next to Hwy 17.  Lupe, Lanis and SPHP stopped to take in the scene.

Dry Falls is thought by some to have been the site of the mightiest waterfall ever known. At the end of the last ice age, it is estimated there were recurring floods here with a volume of water 10 times that of all the rivers in the world combined!
Dry Falls is thought by some to have been the site of the mightiest waterfall ever known. At the end of the last ice age, it is estimated there were recurring floods here with a volume of water 10 times that of all the rivers in the world combined!

On the opposite side of a chain link fence were sheer 400 foot cliffs down to a broad canyon below.  As the name implies, there is no giant waterfall at Dry Falls now, but the huge canyon downstream is thought to have been carved by recurring flooding on a cataclysmic scale at the end of the last ice age.  A volume of water 10 times that of all the rivers now in the world combined plunged over a precipice 5 times as wide as Niagara Falls.

The canyon below Dry Falls.
The canyon below Dry Falls.

Hwy 17 eventually sloped down into the canyon several miles downstream of Dry Falls, and went past a series of lakes.  At Sun Lakes State Park, lots of people were actively boating, swimming and camping.  Of all the lakes, Lenore Lake was the largest.  Hwy 17 went for miles along its E shore.

Lenore Lake is the largest lake in the Dry Falls canyon, but is miles downstream from the falls. This photo looks back upstream toward the N.
Lenore Lake is the largest lake in the Dry Falls canyon, but is miles downstream from the falls. This photo looks back upstream toward the N.
Lenore Lake in the canyon downstream of Dry Falls. Photo looks S (downstream).
Lenore Lake in the canyon downstream of Dry Falls. Photo looks S (downstream).

The entire canyon below Dry Falls was close to 20 miles long.  Along the way, the canyon walls slowly became less impressive, gradually fading away completely before reaching Soap Lake.

From Soap Lake; Lupe, Lanis and SPHP took Hwy 283 SW to I-90.  Pretty soon, Lupe came to another river gorge, that of the mighty Columbia River.

Lupe crossed the Columbia River on this I-90 bridge.
Lupe crossed the Columbia River on this I-90 bridge.
The Columbia River.
The Columbia River.

The light started slowly fading as Lupe, Lanis and SPHP rolled on W of the Columbia River.  Suddenly it didn’t feel like it was too much farther to Puget Sound and Seattle.  Off to the N of I-90, an impressive mountain came into view in the distance.  SPHP figured it was probably Mt. Stuart.

The bright searing heat of eastern Washington state was gone.  Clouds hung over the Wenatchee mountains ahead.  It was much cooler and foggy as Lupe went over 3,022 ft. Snoqualmie Pass.  Darkness fell.  Near Lake Sammamish State Park; Lupe, Lanis and SPHP stopped for the night.  Lupe was almost to Seattle.  Tomorrow, Lupe would see the ocean!

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Glacier National Park to Howard Lake, MT (8-18-12)

Day 11 of Lupe’s 2012 Dingo Vacation to the West Coast.

When Lupe set out on her 2012 Dingo Vacation, SPHP had hoped she might make it as far as the west coast to see the Pacific Ocean.  It hadn’t been certain, though.  An alternate plan had been to just go as far as Glacier National Park in Montana.  Lupe woke up on Day 11 of her 2012 Dingo Vacation at the Sprague Creek campground along Lake McDonald in Glacier National Park, having arrived the previous day.

The prior day’s events had changed everything, however.  SPHP had finally realized that U.S. National Parks are not dog friendly.  Glacier National Park was full of great trails to spectacular mountains, lakes, streams, and even a few remaining glaciers, but regulations prohibited Lupe from going on any of the trails.  Dogs weren’t permitted, even on a leash.

So, Lupe was going to leave.  Before she did, she was going to see the Trail of the Cedars nature trail.  The evening before, a ranger up at Logan Pass had told SPHP that the Trail of the Cedars nature trail was the only trail in Glacier National Park where dogs were allowed.

Except they weren’t.  When Lupe, Lanis and SPHP arrived at the start of the Trail of the Cedars, there were no pets signs – just like everywhere else.  The ranger had been wrong.  Lupe wasn’t even allowed here.  Nearby, on the opposite side of Going-to-the-Sun Road, there was an observation deck with a view of McDonald Creek.  The rushing creek was very clear and pretty.  The observation deck was as far as Lupe got to explore in Glacier National Park.

Lanis on the Trail of the Cedars. Lupe wasn't allowed on it, and Lanis didn't go very far.
Lanis on the Trail of the Cedars. Lupe wasn’t allowed on it, and Lanis didn’t go very far.
McDonald Creek was a wonderful clear blue-green color.
McDonald Creek was a wonderful clear blue-green color.
Dancing with Dingoes: Lanis and Lupe dance on the McDonald Creek observation deck. SPHP cut in for a couple dances with Lupe shortly afterward.
Lanis and Lupe dance on the McDonald Creek observation deck. SPHP cut in for a couple dances with Lupe, too.

McDonald Creek, Glacier NP, 8-18-12McDonald Creek, Glacier NP, 8-18-12Lupe & Lanis at McDonald Creek, Glacier NP, 8-18-12McDonald Creek, Glacier NP, 8-18-12And that was it for Lupe in Glacier National Park.  Since she couldn’t do much of anything here, it was time to start heading farther W!  Due to the park regulations, it was settled – Lupe was going to see the Pacific Ocean!

Lupe, Lanis and SPHP were soon heading W out of Glacier National Park.  In Kalispell, Lanis stopped at a gas station.  SPHP gassed up the Element.  Lanis spent a frantic 20 minutes looking for his cell phone, only to discover that SPHP had been sitting on it.  Next was a stop (one of many on Lupe’s 2012 Dingo Vacation) at the local McDonald’s.  From the Dollar Menu, Lanis got a giant soft drink, Lupe got a chocolate sundae, and SPHP got a caramel sundae.

As usual, SPHP spoon fed Lupe her chocolate sundae, as Lanis drove W out of Kalispell on Hwy 2.  Lupe always had to devour them rather quickly, since the chocolate sundaes tended to melt fast in the summer heat.  Fortunately, Lupe was consistently willing to apply herself to the task at paw.  The sundaes never really had a chance.

Once both sundaes were gone, SPHP checked the road atlas.  In the Cabinet Mountains of NW Montana, there was a lake shown S of the town of Libby.  The lake was back in the Kootenai National Forest along a gravel loop road W of Hwy 2.  The lake wasn’t a very big one, but it still looked like it might be interesting.  There was a campground shown, too.  Maybe Lupe could have some fun there?

Six miles in on the gravel loop road, there was a side road going to the Lake Creek campground.  A mile off the main loop, the side road ended at a rather nice level campground with a big open area.  There was no lake, but there was a stream.  This was the rather confusingly named Lake Creek.  Lake Creek looked like it sometimes had a lot of water in it.  There was some water in it now, too, but most of the creek bed was dry.

Lupe, Lanis and SPHP had lunch at the Lake Creek campground, and did a little exploring along Lake Creek.  Even though there wasn’t any lake, this campground was pretty nice.  It felt quiet and remote.  Only two spots were taken.  For a little while, Lanis and SPHP debated whether or not to skip looking for the lake and just stay here.  Lupe was busy sniffing around.  She seemed happy enough at Lake Creek.

In the end, Lanis and SPHP decided to move on and continue looking for the lake.  By now, signs had revealed that the lake Lupe was looking for was Howard Lake.  The main loop road went on and on.   A black bear ran across the road, and quickly disappeared into the forest again.  It was an exciting moment!  This was the first bear Lupe had seen on her 2012 Dingo Vacation, despite all the warning signs about bears back in the Beartooths, Yellowstone and Glacier.

After some confusion and needless backtracking, Lanis and SPHP finally found Howard Lake.  By now it was late enough to camp, so a site was selected.  Lupe’s tiny house was set up again.  Howard Lake was only 33 acres in size.  It seemed to be a favorite of the locals.  It was a fishing lake, and there were a number of small boats with people fishing in them.

Howard Lake was only 33 acres. It was a popular fishing lake for locals. Lupe cooled off swimming and wading at this small beach.
Howard Lake was only 33 acres. It was a popular fishing lake for locals. Lupe cooled off swimming and wading at this small beach.

Although only one picture still survives from Lupe’s time at Howard Lake, she did have a number of adventures there.  She cooled off swimming and wading at the small beach.  She went with Lanis and SPHP following a wide trail (which apparently used to be the old road) through a tall cedar forest on the W side of the lake.  Lupe was thrilled to find that the cedar forest was full of squirrels.

Later, while Lanis spent some time resting in Lupe’s tiny house after all the driving he’d been doing, Lupe and SPHP went and explored part way along a mysterious trail that climbed into the forest W of the lake.  A sign said this was Great Northern Mountain Trail No. 117, but neither Lupe nor SPHP knew where it went.

The trail gained elevation, and then leveled out.  Up here there were quite a few dead trees in the forest.  Some had fallen across the trail.  Lupe and SPHP worked their way around them.  Some higher mountains came into view to the N.  The trail turned and went into a dense part of the forest.  By now, the sun was starting to get low.  The cedar forest became darker, denser and progressively more mysterious.  Lupe and SPHP met no one.

Finally, Great Northern Mountain Trail No. 117 came to a junction.  There was a sign, but nothing on the sign meant anything to SPHP.  Lupe and SPHP took the left branch of the trail for a little way, but it was going to be dark soon.  SPHP hadn’t brought a flashlight.  It was time for Lupe to turn back.  On the return trip, she had fun barking at squirrels.  By the time Lupe arrived back at Howard Lake, it was already pretty dark.

As soon as Lupe reached the campground, a big German Shepherd spotted her.  Lupe snarled at him and fled.  The German Shepherd gave chase.  Lupe raced in circles between the trees, frequently zig-zagging and doubling back desperate to escape.  She is very fast for her size, but the German Shepherd was young, huge, and had much longer legs.  Lupe was too agile for the German Shepherd to catch her, but he was keeping up a hot pursuit, and frequently getting very close.

SPHP called to Lupe.  She came running.  SPHP picked her up and carried her to the safety of the Honda Element.  When the German Shepherd finally realized the game was over, it went away.  Lupe could come out of the Element again.  Lanis and SPHP were cooking beef stew.  Carolina Dogs love beef stew!

Dancing with Dingoes: Lanis and Lupe dance on the McDonald Creek observation deck. SPHP cut in for a couple dances with Lupe shortly afterward.
Dances with Dingoes, Glacier National Park.

Want more Lupe adventures?  Choose from Lupe’s 2012 West Coast Adventure IndexDingo Vacations Adventure Index or Master Adventure Index.  Or subscribe free to new Lupe adventures.