Road trip down to Utah for 21 days to explore the 4 corners......had to come back home early due to a pet emergency so only 12 days. we got home from Green river Utah in 3 days:
  • Day3

    Emmigrant springs State park

    September 14, 2018 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 11 °C

    arrived late, you climb up into the Blue mountains after Pendleton on Hwy 84. arrived late at the campground and we were not clear if any sites were actually available. But the sign at the beginning had some sites listed as being reserved and others were not so we took one that looked like it was not reserved. Full hook ups $26/night. it was quite chilly as we were at a high elevation. 3,800 ft. Ate late again, but at least this time we had a microwave to heat up our chilli!

    This is near the summit of the Blue mountains were travellers on the Oregon trail coming from the east (1843) would have seen trees for the first time after months of sagebrush and grass. There is a spring here for them to get water. There is an original section of the old Oregon Trail, you can see Wagon Ruts at Deadmans Pass Rest area 7 miles NW on I-84. We didn't stop there on the way back.....maybe next time

    The wagon is quite skinny. I was suprised at how narrow they were when you consider that people had to carry so many supplies with them.

    There is a monument dedicated in 1923 to the Oregon Trail Pioneers. Ezra Meeker who had done the trail originally went back and redid the trail and marked all these different markers along the way so others would know the route for future generations. His markers are the plain basalt uprights. Ezra Meeker did this in 1906-1908. He did it again in 1910. in 1912 he retraced the trail in a 12 cylinder pathfinder called Schooner-mobile, to lobby congress for a highway along the emigration route. in 1925 he flew a biplane over the route. he was going to do another trip in 1928 in a "oxmobile' given to him by Henry ford, but he passed away at age of 97 before the trip started. - all this info from a sign in the park-

    Trees mixture of Doug fir, Larch, Ponderosa pine, true fir. we saw entact cones on the forrest floor of true firs which you don't ever see on the tree once they have ripened as True fir cones disintegrate on the tree and only the upright central stalk is left. Squirrels must have been harvesting the cones for winter.

    The blue berries are Blue elderberry.

    "Extensive day-use developments were made in the 1930's by the Civilian Conservation Corps. In the early 1950's, overnight camp facilities were added. In January 1812, trappers and traders of the Astor overland expedition, under the leadership of Wilson Price Hunt, crossed the Blue Mountains in this vicinity, thus establishing the route later used by Oregon Trail emigrants. In the 1880's, the trail was replaced by the Oregon Railway and Navigation Company (now Union Pacific) railroad, which reaches the mountain summit of Meacham a few miles to the south of the park. During the construction of I-84 in the 1950's, one could still find artifacts on the Oregon Trail in the gulch south of the park." --source Oregon state park website

    When we left we had to detour through Meacham due to highway repairs, our exit was closed. We ended up keeping pace with a bike touring group. I'm not sure if it was a race or what, but many many many cyclists along the old sections of the highway which was also the detour route for emigrant springs campers to get back on the highway eastbound.
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  • Day2

    towards Pendelton and the Blue Mountains

    September 13, 2018 in the United States ⋅ 🌙 18 °C

    Up on the Plateau where it is very flat. Highway 84 towards Pendelton


    Moon and a Jupiter, as we start the climb up through the Blue Mountains. an old geologically group of Mountains in Eastern Oregon. -old sediments penetrated by granites and covered in low places by basalt and very young valley filled deposits as per roadside geology of Oregon by David Alt and Donald Hyndman 1978 ed. -Read more

  • Day2

    coming up to the plateau along hwy 84

    September 13, 2018 in the United States ⋅ 🌙 18 °C

    not sure what is going on with the white layer. It even appeared in some spots that it was actually a cement put over top of a red layer of rock??

    wind turbine

    another white layer. I know in some places in BC that white layer is from ash from the eruption of Crater lake - mount mazama- one of the cascade volcanos 7,700 bp. but not sure if that is what is going on here though. Maybe it is one of the sediment layers from glacial lake misoula??Read more

  • Day2

    more of the gorge rocks and burn

    September 13, 2018 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 19 °C

    nice basaltic columns, and rock layers

    Deshcutes river park where you can see the burn and the yellow border. Below the yellow is the camping area.

    across the columbia river on the Washington side you see the many wind turbines. they are on the oregan side too, but you can't see them when you are down at river level.....eventually we will get to the top alone the plateau and you will see lots of them. It is very windy.Read more

  • Day2

    The Gorge rock formations

    September 13, 2018 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 21 °C

    as you travel along the river you pass into a drier climate and the sun comes out!

    you notice the change in vegetation from big conifers (doug firs, big leaf maples and hemlock) wet temperate rain forrest to the drier interior forests we see around Keremeous in BC. these forests are Ponderosa pine, bunchgrass forests (and some oregon white oak too quercus garryana according to wiki). This occurs around Hood River and The Dalles. Then you go into even drier territory with only the grassland and sage scrub......amazing such a transition in really such a short drive only around 100 miles. This is why it is so nice to vacation in Eastern Oregon. The temperature is always higher than Western Oregon and the sun tends to shine........However these days the down fall is there are way more fires and we saw lots and lots of evidence of brush fires that had burnt off the vegetation along the entire hillside on both sides of the river.

    On our route home we camped at Deschutes River State Park, where we have camped quite a few times before. Lovely spot on the river, nice bike trail along an old railway bed behind the campground that goes into the deschutes river canyon......this year it was black from the campground back. Apparently there had been a fire here july 2 2018 and it burned both sides of the canyon back 20 miles...... This river is a popular fishing river, but the fishing guides think the fish are ok as the grassland at the edges of the river did not get burnt. There were lots of fishermen in the campsite when we were there, so I hope the fishing is still good.

    You can see lots and lots of the Columnar Basaltic rocks all along the gorge. These are the columnar rocks created when thick magma cools. They are the same sort of rocks from the Giant Causway in Ireland. see here for a cool video of how basalt columns form: ( )

    This fellow Nick has a huge series of videos about geology. Very interesting if you want to delve into the Gorge's geology. You have the base rock of Columnar basalts and many lava floods over the years. (17.5 MYA) -Columbia river basalt group - This is why so many layers -these basalts formed from lava from cracks (fissures) in the continental crust that are now over in Wyoming, (yellowstone). But on top of that you have 2 huge Glacial Lakes. One called Lake Bonneville, that covered Utah and Idaho and today the remnant of this lake is the Great Salt Lake in Utah. It gave way 17000 yrs BP, one time only. And a 2nd glacial lake called Glacial lake Missoula in Montana, that gave way in the Pliestocene (glacial times 12,000 bp) over 100 times.

    Lake Bonneville reached capacity when the Bear river from Wyoming changed direction and started flowing into lake Bonnevile rather than going into the Snake river. eventually the rock damming the lake at Red rock pass eroded and the lake gave way. It happened one time and took about 6 weeks to empty. The amount of water was twice that of Glacial lake Missoula, but the flow rate was less. it was constricted at Red Rock pass. It carried many large Basalt boulders with it, which it had carved from the canyon walls, and you can see these in the rock layers along the corridors where they are exposed in the Bonneville layer. Sediment mixed with large boulders. You also seen them in the Snake river canyon in Idaho, in the farmers fields they call them "Melon Gravel". Huge boulders of basalt that were dropped as the waters energy lessened.... We will see these later in our road trip as we basically follow the path of the Snake river and then the flood through Red Rock pass to get to the Great Salt lake in Utah

    For Glacial Lake Missoula, the ice dam broke, and a huge amount of water came flowing down the ancestral Columbia came down very quickly with a lot of force and a lot of water so carved out the channels deeper and deeper is my understanding. It also backed up at certain choke points - Wallula gap- and gave rise to other glacial lakes such as Lake Lewis in Eastern Washington. Lake Missoula emptied over 100 times in the pliestocene (glacial times) and took a day to empty.

    Bonnevile broke only once and took 6 weeks to flow out (1700 BP) , Missoula broke many times (1200 BP ) and reformed but gushed out in days.

    another cool u tube video regarding this from nick: ( )
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  • Day2

    Multnomuth falls

    September 13, 2018 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 16 °C

    A bad picture from a moving car, but this is Multnomuth falls. We did hike up to the top of it in 2016 spring time. Lovely view, and nice clear pool at the top, but you can't swim in it. Danger of going over the falls.

    They are doing a lot of repair work to the old highway around here and there looked like there had been a forrest fire recently through the area. On the way back home I did goggle that and sure enough there was a fire sept 2017 that didn't get put out till nov 2017. The Eagle Creek Fire. It was started by some young kids letting off fireworks on the labour day long weekend. A15 year old was charged and is to make 35 million dollars repayment......a bit much for a stupid thing that a 15 year old did. ( see here for article ( )

    Forests around here, as everywhere along the west coast, have been allowed to over grow and have way too much fuel in the undergrowth. Prior to soooo many people living in the region there would be periodic fires go through. Mostly caused by lightening. But for the past 100 years, any fires would be suppressed by the forrest service. We have the same issues in Canada in BC, Alberta, Northern BC, Saskatchewan etc. When the forests get such a big fuel load, and these days, with climate change and changes in the jet stream leading to longer and drier summers; it doesn't take much for forrest fires to get really big really quick. The gorge is known for its winds and any fire in this area just spreads very quickly. Luckily no one was killed in the 2017 fire, but there was one structure lost. Remarkable for such a densely populated area and such a wind.

    The forrest is regrowing this year and highways is repairing the old highway. The parking lot at Multnomuth was super busy so it hasn't stopped the tourists from visiting!
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  • Day2

    Crossing the Columbia River

    September 13, 2018 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 18 °C

    Driving down towards Oregon the weather has been cloudy.

    First pic is around Longview Washington where you look across the Columbia river into Oregon.
    Next picture is crossing the Columbia river on HWY 205, to bypass Portland. You can see a lot of silt from all the dams further upstream..... and maybe some of the sand from the tidal bar at Astoria where the Columbia empties into the Pacific. This tidal bar had made it virtually impossible for the Early European explorers to find this river. I'm thinking George Vancouver 1792. In fact David Thompson's task was to map the Columbia river overland from the Rockies because it had been so hard for the Sea Fairing navigators to chart it. Unfortunatley Thompson took a bit too long, he was travelling with his wife and 9 kids and a large first nations entourage, he also took lots of notes, and had some difficulties with some unfriendly Peigan natives. 1810. Because of his lateness the Americans beat the Brits to the delta and this lead to Astoria being in possession of the John Jacob Astor Fur Company.. at least for a bit, they actually ended up selling it to the North West Company, but then the war of 1812 broke out and through one thing or another it ended up back in American possession. The Oregon territory was disputed territory between the American, Brits, a bit of the Spanish and Russians too early on. Eventually in 1846 it was settled that territory above the 49th parallel was British and below was American, but there was a time when The Columbia river was possibly going to be the border between the 2 countries. The settlers at Champoeg Oregon, a lot of former HBC employes had a slogan "54 40 or fight" this was for the establishment of the 54th Parallel to be part of America.

    Last pic is of the lookout on the gorge - Vista House-. We have yet to visit this. We did a road trip through the gorge in 2016 in the spring, but we went along the Washington side of the river at that point. You can barely see the roof line of Vista House. It was built in 1917. Lots of history here: ( ). Samual Lancaster was the engineer of Multnomoth county in 1913 when this vision was first thought of.

    When we did the Oregon coast a few years ago with Keegan there was lots of information about the difficulties of the highways and the dreams of those engineers who built it and how they were inspired by the Italian Rivera. The many bridges along the Oregon coast are 1920's art deco, inspired by Conde B McCulough 1919-1935 engineer of bridges in Oregon. see here for more info: ( )
    Right now they are revamping the old Gorge Highway and make it a bike route. Lots and lots of biking in Oregon!
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  • Day2


    September 13, 2018 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 14 °C

    This state park was made by the CCC, Civilian Conservation Corps, by hand, in 1935. You can see all the old stone work and large timbers so typical of many Pacific North West USA state parks. It was a make work project during the depression by President Franklin Roosevelt, part o this new deal to put unmarried young men to work.

    The park is in Old Growth Cedar and Doug Fir, on the shores of Deep Lake. Good fishing.

    The park was originally called Millers Glade by the millers family who once owned the property, they changed the name to Millersylvania meaning 'wooded glade.' 842 acres was homesteaded by Squire Lathum in 1855 before being sold to John Miller. The Millers gave the property to the state in 1921 with the stipulation it be a park forever.

    There is an old narrow gauge railroad, several Skid roads used in the late 1800's by the logging industry. Many stumps with the old Springboard Notch scars. (source for above was the pamphlet and map for the park)

    There is an old 1920's cottage on the site that you can rent too. It has been refurbished.
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  • Day1

    Overnight Millersylvania State park.

    September 12, 2018 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 12 °C

    after the hold up at Tacoma we are on our way again, but now is dark and we want to find a camp spot. We tried to locate the Olympia Campground where we have stayed before, but no luck. It is dark and we must have gone past it after the turnoff.

    I do have GPS directions for Millersylvania State park though so after heading back 3-4 miles to get back on the I-5 we start again. This time we find the park. It is dark so we find an available site and pay $30 american, no hook ups......Washington state parks are on the pricey side. after a instant noodle dinner and a walk around the campsite we realize there are hook ups also for $30, but into the middle not in the trees like we are.

    We go for a walk next morning and it is lovely. Lots of marshland, birds and a small lake for boating and swimming. Far enough off the highway that you don't hear traffic, but the trains.....anywhere you camp you seem to hear the trains!!
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  • Day1

    leaving home around 3 pm

    September 12, 2018 in Canada ⋅ ⛅ 16 °C

    Left vancouver late as usual. Missed the tunnel rush hour traffic and got through the border no problem. Got through Seattle ok as it was now after their rush hour around 7 pm......only to have issues after Seattle. Took us 1 hour to go 10 miles due to a collision at the intersection of the I5 and hwy 16 (just after Tacoma).

    Weather was sunny leaving Vancouver, but grey into the East and reports of thunder and lightening, showers in the Valley. The west was clear. Same conditions all the way tll seattle with clear skys in the west and grey thunder clouds in the east.
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