We left Sunday the 19th at the crack of dawn headed for Seattle. After a brief layover in St. Louis we arrived in Seattle at noon and picked up our luggage and the car and struck right out on the road towards Montana. We grabbed a quick Mexican lunch in Bellevue and then Jason did some serious driving, getting us to Troy, Montana by about 9 PM in time to catch the second half of the rehearsal "dinner" aka party.
We stayed in a log cabin named "Bill" with Jason’s cousin Laura, her husband Jeff, and her little girl Gracie. After a hearty breakfast we ventured out in the morning with several relatives to visit the hanging bridge and falls on the Kootenai river. We just had time to clean up and head out to the wedding.
It was a very interesting wedding between Jason’s cousin Vince and his new wife Krys with the ceremony performed by a Cherokee medicine man. Vince and Krys live in a yurt with their little daughter and her son and several friends live in yurts or tents in the shared property. There was a fiddle/guitar combo who played music all afternoon and caterers grilled bison, chicken and salmon for dinner.
Monday we visited Glacier National Park and drove the "Going to the Sun" road, stopping now and then for pictures or hiking. I think the nicest hike was the waterfall which had some wildflowers on the way- recommended by Jason’s parents who’d been there earlier in the week. We saw a lone mountain goat on the road posing for pictures and then we saw a trio when we stopped at Logan pass to eat lunch and check out the visitor center. The visitor center is right on the continental divide. We stayed at the Many Glacier park lodge on Swiftcurrent Lake and enjoyed a delicious dinner of whitefish and local trout with an appetizer of elk and bison sausages.
All of Wednesday was spent driving from Glacier National Park to Ashford, Washington and the Inn at Mount Rainier. We made one brief stop at Ginkgo State Park where they’ve found over 30 types of petrified wood, that’s more than anywhere else in the world. This is the view from across the river looking down on the park.
On Thursday we spent a lovely day at Mount Rainier exploring Paradise Valley. We hiked several miles of trails with an increase in elevation of about 2000 feet. We saw several black tailed deer, some chipmunks, a marmot and quite a few interesting birds. Much of the trail meandered through meadows of wildflowers just coming into bloom and it’ll be even more spectacular in a few weeks when those really pop. We hiked up relatively near one of the glaciers and could just hear it popping. We sat for awhile watching the mountain climbers heading across the glacier and up the side of the mountain. I think this was my favorite of the three national parks we visited this trip.
We left early Friday morning for the island of San Juan in the strait of Juan de Fuca. We did some hiking in the American and English Camp parks and whale watching at Lime Kiln Point state park. We visited an alpaca farm and the fabulous Pelindaba lavender farm. I used to work in the Friday Harbor labs some summers and it was really lovely to visit the island as a tourist.
Our final stop in this points west trek was the Olympic peninsula where we visited the Hoh rain forest as well as Jason’s friend Jeff and his family. We spent Monday tramping about the rain forest and had an excellent dinner in Port Angeles after where I finally was able to get some wonderful Dungeness crab. I think I could have eaten ten!
We didn’t come home without a few mementos and items of local interest. I even managed to find a yarn shop and a great deal on some coconut shell buttons that would be fantastic for sweaters. We took something over 400 pictures and although I have them all trimmed and ready for the web there are too many to post the whole lot of them just yet. They don’t quite fit in my allotted web space! As soon as I sort something out I’ll post a link to the whole monstrous lot of them.