Tag Archives: Washington

SACAJAWEA HERITAGE TRAIL IN THE TRI-CITIES

It has been pretty hot here in the Pasco area. We have been wanting to do the Sacajawea Heritage Trail (SHT lol) since we first came to this area on March 26th to take possession of our new Arctic Fox FW. However, weather (too cold and windy during our first visit and too hot now, end of June), and “TO DO LISTS” kept us from exploring the trail. Finally the other day, we got up early enough to escape the mid-day heat, loaded the bicycles into the truck, and drove to Chiawana Park, Pasco, on the north side of the Columbia River. We headed west, the sun at our backs.

Chiawana Park

Starting out!

The trail as it passes through Chiawana Park.

The trail is 19 miles. No sooner had we started than we spotted a pelican, standing on a rock in the river, close to shore. We had to stop and take pics. In the process we met an elderly gentleman (a 30 year resident of the area) who said that 10 years ago there were no pelicans here. It’s just in the past 10 years or so that they have moved into the area. They are such ungainly creatures but so powerful and graceful in flight; serene-looking as they float in groups down the river.

We continued on, heading west, along the river. On this side of the river, the trail often stayed beside the river offering spectacular views but in places turned inland a bit to pass behind gated mansions perched riverside. We crossed the river over the 182 bridge and continued by the river in an easterly direction, the sun now on our faces.

On this side, we stopped often to take pics or just to admire the scenes.

Heading east along the south side of the river after crossing the bridge.

A short stop for a rest, a snack on some cherries (’tis the season after all), and to watch the river go by.

A “goose crossing” sign. Now I’ve seen them all….flamingo, camel, donkey, ostrich, frogs ….

…and here’s the reason for the sign….a waterfowl refuge with flocks of geese, both white and grey, all honking at each other; a goose cacophony ….  protecting their young? territory? food? who knows?

Continuing eastwards towards (and under) the blue bridge.

Continuing east towards the cable bridge which we crossed to get back to the north side of the Columbia River.

On the north side getting ready to pass underneath the cable bridge, looking for a place to stop and have our lunch.

Heading back under the Blue Bridge to Chiawana Park, our starting point.

This is the route we took:

… and this is the map we used and some more info about the trail:

 

OLYMPIA & THE NISQUALLY WILDLIFE REFUGE

Packed up and ready to leave by 10, we headed out of our spot….oh so carefully….I watched while Mike pulled out….all A-Okay! No encounters with trees. I hopped back in the truck and we headed down the road to “dump our load” at the sani-station before hitting the open road. As we were driving on the main road out of the park, we heard a funny noise. I barely heard it; sounded like the splash of water hitting the road. I thought it was water from the roof, or maybe elsewhere, that was set in motion with the driving. Mike thought it was the bikes but we kept on going until a car driving behind us flashed its lights. The driver told us a tree had reached out and grabbed our antenna. It pulled it right out by the roots and let it fall to the pavement where bits and pieces of plastic broke off. Thankfully the park rangers happened on the scene and drove back to get the antenna while Mike drove to the sani-station, fuming with anger at Arctic Fox and their major design flaw. I was upset too, not angry….but then….I wasn’t the one that would have to fix it. It had started to rain again which didn’t make the fixing job any more pleasant for Mike. While he got busy fixing, I gave our contact details to the rangers who promised to fill out an incident report for their own purposes as well as ours, for insurance purposes.

By the time we got going it was 1130. Once again on this drive, I was another “Nervous Nellie” until we hit I5. The new Rand McNally GPS made major mistakes twice!! First in Longview and then again nearer Olympia where it took us past where we should have exited and had us take the next exit, go over the I 5 and then right back on the I5 heading south again. After that though, we had no problems finding the Landyacht Harbor RV Park, where they were very friendly and welcoming. It’s a great park and very quiet while we were there. The only problem was that all of the connections were at the back of the trailer which meant the electrical cord had to stretch all the way out – first time for that….and the black/grey water hose was stretched to the max. Thankfully we had an extra section of hose.

The next day we met Mike’s cousin at the Nisqually Wildlife Refuge which was the highlight of our visit. Beautiful! Spectacular! Phenomenal! We walked, took pics, talked, met a photographer who had taken some great pics of the baby great horned owls (it took him 8 hours of sitting patiently waiting but his shot was well worth it) and who showed us the tree where the owlets were (they didn’t appear for us). He also pointed out a peregrine falcon, and a nest that looked like a weaver bird and a hummingbird nest. He was very quick to spot birds.

Goose IN a nest!

Goose ON a barn roof!

Goose IN a tree!

Goose ON a tree!

Colorful lichens.

We were up early the next morning as it was a travel day….a BIG travel day in our perceptions as we had to drive from Olympia through Tacoma, Seatac, and Seattle. We had everything ready and were on the road by 915.

The first part of the trip, there wasn’t too much traffic but through Tacoma it was heavy but then thinned out again. Not for long. Soon, we were caught up in bumper to bumper traffic pretty much until after Mercer Street in downtown Seattle when it at least started to flow a bit faster. We’d been inching along for a long ways.

The border crossing was a bit hairy but only because of our size and trying to fit through the gates. They asked a few questions but before long we were on our way. No sooner had we gotten back on HWY 99 and we had to turn on 2nd Ave. That turned out to be the “Fast Track” for the commercial trucks. Our turn came right after. Reached the park easily, registered and got into our site, a pull-through. Nice park but we are very close to one another….can almost see into the windows of the rig beside us and behind us. The best thing about this park was its proximity to a splendid little bar called Bennett’s Pub….a five minute walk!