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16 augustus 2009

Summer Vacation 2009 - Oregon

This vacation started the best possible way. The day before our planned departure date I (Bas) started getting an increasingly painful toothache. Fortunately our dentist had time for me at 8am the next day.

Three hours later (!) I was as good as new and we where on our way....

We had planned a round trip of just over two weeks starting in Vancouver, down to Oregon and then visit the coast, vulcanic area in the center and hells canyon in the east. The initial plan was to start in Hells Canyon and work our way to the coast.

But with a heat wave in Oregon we decided it would be better to start at the coast hoping it would cool down before heading inland (or just delay going inland).

First day brought us close to the Oregon border so we would get to Cannon Beach early next day. Cannon Beach is probably the most photographed/visited location on the Oregon coast and since we did not reserve any campsites, we thought it would be a good idea to arrive early. Worked out OK and we found a nice commercial campground close to Cannon Beach.

Cannon Beach is a typical "badplaats", quite nice but very busy.. The good thing is that the beach is massive, so on the beach it's not as crowded as in Europe. We obviously had to see the famous landmark "Haystack Rock", a pointy rock (a remnant of the basalt flows of ~ 300k years ago) maybe 50 meters out in the water.



We explored some of the other beaches (there are many!), hardly anybody around and some neat things. Kids had a lot of fun (what a surprise):



After two day we drove down to Florence (OR) to see it's famous sand dunes. We camped at a very nice State Park in the actual Dunes area. A short hike away we climbed one of the higher dunes:



It was still a few days until Robin's birthday, but we got him a kite that he put to good use on the dunes :)

After Florence we headed east for the Newberry National Vulcanic Monument a large area with vulcanic remnants. Some of lava flows where relatively recent (~1300 years old) with very little vegatation on them. Most impressive was the "obsidian flow" where an amazing amount of obsidian was deposited in a fairly large area. Obsidian is an absolutely amazing material that we took a lot of photo's off. The obsidian was interspersed with pumis ("puimsteen"), Robin had a lot of fun finding piece that were super light.



Just before closing time we also visited an impressively long lava tunnel (1588 meter)

This tunnel has no electric lighting, you can either rent a gas lantern or bring you own light. This was very, very cool. Jamie was not entirely happy, but we (and Robin) loved it. We where turned around just before the end because it was closing time. I really wanted to take some nice pictures, so we decided to come back the next morning exactly at opening time.

We where the firsts ones in that morning:

The last 200 meters required crawling to get to the real end. Jamie refused to go any further the last 10 meters. Ge-an and Robin made it to the end (Robin would tell everybody we saw on the way back out we where the first ones in, and made it to the end ;)

Getting a good picture was tricky:

Sometimes it's not much fun being our children, for example when we take them into a very cold cave in shorts and sandals and cary them so they get even colder, and only realize this after we get out from the cave. The picture below shows how happy Jamie was:


We went for hot chocolate afterwards (did we mention the heatwave had disappeared between us leaving Vancouver and arriving in Oregon).

We drove thru a desert where we planned to see some fossils (John Day fossil bed). But we had so much rain (!!!) that we decided to move on:

(Picture not from desert area, but same crappy weather. As you can obviously see this was a viewpoint along the route :)

Our last stop in Oregon was the Hells Canyon region. The Hells Canyon was less impressive then expected, but the campsite in Joseph was really nice (in retrospect we should have stayed, because the weather was great as well).

Since this was Robin's real birthday he also got another present:


Jamie was so disappointed that he decided to beat Robin up with a big stick (beating each other up is actually a favorite pass time of them)


On the way back Ge-an really wanted to see Mount Saint Helens:

I guess we will have to go back (it's not that far from Vancouver).

We stayed another two nights on a nice Forest Services campground in Snowqualmy county about 4 hrs drive from Vancouver:


If you wonder why we have the clothes over the fire... Jamie had not been cold for a while so we threw him in the river (or maybe he just fell in trying to catch a fish):


The next day we had some fun following a hike where the river had taken out the bridge that provided access to the trailhead:


The tree in the background was used as a bridge to cross the main river.

And now back to work tomorrow

Posted by Brijn at 09:30 pm | Comments (0)