Top 10 Pages on Anne’s Travels in 2014

Spray Park - which, social media mentions wise, was the most popular hike! Mt. Rainier National Park, Washington

Spray Park – which, social media mentions wise, was the most popular hike!

So I thought I’d post the pages on Annestravels.net that were most-visited during 2014.  I know, I know, it’s not even 2015 yet.  But considering the numbers, I don’t think much will change in the next week and a half :-)

 

So here they are – from most visited to lesser visited.  Enjoy!

 

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#1: DIY Bug Screens for Your Van, Car, Jeep, Etc. …Read More

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(Accidentally) Visiting Nooksack Falls

Nooksack Falls, Mt. Baker National Forest, Washington

Nooksack Falls

We wanted a place to eat lunch.  Really, that’s all we were looking for.  A convenient dirt side road appeared as we drove along the Mt. Baker Highway, so we took it, figuring we could, at the very least, pull over in the pines and make sandwiches (not to mention get the homemade jelly out of the cooler – yum!)  That’s how we stumbled into the parking area for Nooksack Falls.  After lunch we couldn’t very well just leave, so we took the short trail to see the falls.

 

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Now that instills confidence...actually, it's a lot safer than many waterfalls I've visited.  These are the signs at the beginning of the trail.  Nooksack Falls, Mt. Baker National Forest, Washington

Now that instills confidence…actually, it’s a lot safer than many waterfalls I’ve visited. These are the signs at the beginning of the trail.

In all, I think the “walk” was about 0.3 miles, so it’s not a …Read More

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Sunset on the Plymouth Jetty

The Plymouth Jetty, Plymouth, MA

The Plymouth Jetty

One of my hiking companions has always wanted to walk the Plymouth Jetty.  When he first visited Plymouth, MA some 45 years ago as a kid, he wanted to do it…but it didn’t pan out.  A couple weeks ago, some wonderful friends invited us to visit them and took us to Plymouth again.  High on our list was to walk out on the Jetty…and we finally did it!

 

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Views over Plymouth Harbor from the Plymouth Jetty, Plymouth, MA

Views over Plymouth Harbor

We parked in the public parking area near the Plymouth Jetty (aka the Plymouth …Read More

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12 Places Worth Visiting at Least 10 miles Down a Dirt Road

The rough Potash Road in Utah, Canyonlands National Park

The rough Potash Road in Utah

I can’t say I travel to get to the dirt roads.  But when that’s all that is between me and a lovely I hike I want to take, let’s just say I’m very willing to tackle the road.  Some are short – an access road to a trailhead – while others stretch on for mile after mile of bone-jarring, jolting potholes and washboard.  My waterloo?  4×4 roads.  The van has non-slip (which has gotten us out of more than one scrape, in the desert and on snow), but it balks at sand, mud, and drops that were never intended for a 2×4 vehicle.  Anyway, I thought I’d put together a list of some of the sights I think are worth seeing but that are quite a ways down a dirt road…more than 10 miles, in fact!

 

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One of the nicer sections of the River Road in Big Bend National Park, Texas

One of the nicer sections of the River Road in Big Bend National Park

Some of these 10-miles-down-a-dirt-road are little worse than a poor blacktop road, but others you might want to think twice about if you value …Read More

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Lovely Mt. Rainier Views from Spray Park

One of the best views of Mt. Rainier in Spray Park, Mt. Rainier National Park, Washington

One of the best views of Mt. Rainier in Spray Park

Often, the reason the lesser-known parts of national parks are lesser-known is because they aren’t worth seeing.  Or at least, they’re not as nice as the better-known parts.  But that simply isn’t true of the northwest section of Mt. Rainier National Park.  I wish I’d had more time to explore it, but the road into the area and Spray Park were out-of-this-world beautiful.  Beyond Mt. Rainier – which was just stunning – the nearby peaks were also nice, and the meadows full of wildflowers added to the beauty.  There was still a fair amount of snow in early August (and that after a warmer than average summer), but it didn’t stop us from tramping up the trail to the best view of Rainier – right as the clouds covered the summit!  Still, I’d highly recommend the trail and the views to anyone in the area who can make it through some rougher terrain on a decent trail.

 

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A set of stairs in Spray Park, Mt. Rainier National Park, Washington

A set of stairs in Spray Park

My biggest hesitation about visiting Spray Park was – of all things – that I …Read More

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Location Review: The Hobo Pool, A Great Free Hot Spring in Wyoming

The Not So Hot Pool at the Hobo Pool, Saratoga, Wyoming

The Not So Hot Pool at the Hobo Pool

What?  Another free hot spring, complete with showers, in Wyoming?  And it’s only 20 minutes off of I-80?  Why haven’t I heard of it before!?!  The Hobo Pool in Saratoga, WY isn’t particularly well-known, but it sure is nice.  Two pools for soaking (different temperatures) sit, warm and peaceful, next to an almost-new bath house and steps away from the cold water of the Platte River.  Although it was a bit difficult to find, it was well worth the time off the highway and worth the stop!

 

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I’d originally found out about the Hobo Pool while looking for …Read More

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10 Things I Take on a Hike

Usually we don't take rocks with us on a hike...but this little guy decided it would be a good idea!

Usually we don’t take rocks with us on a hike…but this little guy decided it would be a good idea!

There are just some things I wouldn’t hike without.  Most items change depending on the weather, the trail, etc., but here are the top 10 things I rarely hike without.

 

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Canyon Ridge Trail – “Peak” into Canada

Wildflowers on Canyon Ridge, with the Canadian Cascades beyond...the boundary runs along the nearby hills.  Canyon Ridge Trail, Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Washington

Wildflowers on Canyon Ridge, with the Canadian Cascades beyond…the boundary runs along the nearby hills

There are two really good things I can say about the Canyon Ridge Trail: 1) it wasn’t too terribly difficult, and 2) it gave a very different view than the other hikes around Mt. Baker (into the Canadian Cascades).  Add to that the fact that the wildflowers were nearly in full bloom (just past peak, I’d say) and it really was a pretty hike, even if it couldn’t compete with the grandeur of the hikes that include Mt. Baker and / or Mt. Shuksan in their views.  (There are actually some views of Mt. Baker, but mostly the view is of the surrounding peaks.)  In all, we hiked 6.3 miles, which got us up to a very nice viewpoint just before the trail dipped back down into the trees.  (Actually, in all honesty, if we hadn’t just done the Ptarmigan Ridge Trail and then done Skyline Divide (review coming soon!) the next day, we would have called this trail “spectacular”…but as it was it was just “nice” in comparison!)

 

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Mt. Baker is also visible from the Canyon Ridge Trail, Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Washington

Mt. Baker is also visible from the trail

I had actually planned to hike up to Excelsior Pass via the Damfino Lakes Trail …Read More

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Sunrise on Mt. Hood at the Cloud Cap Inn

The sun rises though the dead trees around the Cloud Cap Inn for a stunning presentation, Mt. Hood National Forest, Oregon

The sun rises though the dead trees around the Cloud Cap Inn for a stunning presentation

What’s worth getting up very early in the morning for?  A sight worth seeing, I’d say.  A sight that can only be seen early in the morning or that take so long to get to, you’ll have to get an early start.  I usually don’t mind getting up early (like, before 7am Eastern Time) for a trail or really good view like hiking Horseshoe Mesa in the Grand Canyon or Mt. Elbert in Colorado.  At the Cloud Camp Campground on the side of Mt. Hood, though, I didn’t expect to get up “early”.  I knew we were heading home and so we’d probably get up as normal, have breakfast, and hit the road.  So I was a little surprised when one of my group members woke everyone up with a simple statement:  “If anyone wants to see the sunrise on Mt. Hood, now’s the time to do it.”

 

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Mt. Hood in the predawn from the Cloud Cap Campground, Mt. Hood National Forest, Oregon

Mt. Hood in the predawn

The van literally came alive.  Sleeping bags, blankets, and pillows went flying as …Read More

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DIY Shelving Unit for The Back of a Van or other Vehicle

The shelving unit, ready for boxes of camping supplies and the cooler

The shelving unit, ready for boxes of camping supplies and the cooler

We’ve always packed in boxes.  They’re so much efficient when it comes to space.  But lifting and moving the boxes every time you need to get to something underneath was a bit of a pain.  So when we moved from traveling in a station wagon to a van (one of the best moves we’ve ever made, I think) one of the first things we did was to build a shelving unit in the cargo space (behind the back seat) so we wouldn’t have to move so many boxes.  Four boxes can fit on each shelf, so we only ever have to move a maximum of two boxes (the ones in front) to get to the one we you want.  There’s also space for the cooler, and the sleeping bags all hang out on the very top shelf.  Pretty cool, huh?

 

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What you’ll need to make your own:

Angle iron, pipe, or pieces from an old shelving unit for uprights – something strong enough to hold up the shelves and steady enough to do so without the shelf collapsing.  Pre-made holes are a plus (and make the shelves more adjustable), but aren’t vital. …Read More

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