Where I am, that's what you may be asking? To awnser your question I am sitting somewhere inside the port of Seattle at an open ship yard. Why am I here you ask? to try and spot the northwestern or the wizard but after a few calls and some driving around no luck. I did however spot a few other vessels with names that sounded familiar "alaskan ocean", "Erla-n" and the "katie ann". Seattle has a good vibe to it and I don't know what all this talk about lousy weather is because I have been here for almost two days and the weather has been sunny and in the 70's. Yesterday I took some time to walk around pike's market and downtown. The city has a strong appeal about it and I can't help but to love all the downtown apartment complexes. The public market is quite busy and you can't help to admire the backdrop of the water that surrounds the city. It was funny after I got out of a bar I was walking and heard a bit off a hollar which was a guy body painted naked riding a bike through a very busy area of the city. I thought it was odd but was even more suprised when 25 of his friends came by clycling naked as well ehhh maybe it's the nice weather. I guess we are starting this one from the present and work our way back but no birthday wishes for me or FDR.
Last night I was debating hitting a few bars or driving 30 minutes North to the Tullip reservation, always a nive ring to an indian reservation so I decided to pay a visit and figured if things went bad I could always head back before 12. The casino wasn't too bad lil smoky and crowded but again on a saturday night that's what I expect ehhh smoke in some of these casino's is awful! Anyways I decided to go right to the card room got on the list and was playing within 20 minutes. My table was real blah and so were the cards some how I donated 50 and had one awful play with AK but decided to quit after the cards just kept spitting at me. I went over to the craps table and was able to win 40 and than lost it back in Roulette, its such an addicting game all you have to do is put the chips down and hope for the best! I spent about 2 hoours in the casino and then it came down to where I was going to sleep, I was debating driving back into Seattle because I was going to be headed south today and I also was thinking of getting a massage but for loss at the casino I don't believe a reward was due. I slept at the casino as I always find them and walmart parking lot's to be the best usually the casino's always have a few security people around and walmart has other travlers.
Is it me or nothing really interesting is happening to me on this trip? I mean I've seen some real kick ass places well I guess that's not tru I have met some unique people and have done alot but perhaps we can pick it up going into the second half. A crow has just joined me as I type and begin to tell my adventures to Mt. Rainer. This wasn't a planned stop as I was thinking of going straight into Seattle but I decicded to take a gander at the bump. It really isn't a bump, I remember I came around this point on the road and than it was right there in front of me. I was in awe and the sheer size of this mountain in front of me, it looked like an ice cold volcano which apparently it is. It was so massive and at first it had a snowy, icy glow to it but as I approaced the base you could see the clear cuts and CREVISES-b that define this massive landmark. I couldn't help but to keep snapping pictures, all around the mountain was blue sky but at the peak of rainor was a halo of clouds that would continue to intensify and diminish as time moved on. Unfortunatly by the time I got in the sun was going down but I decided to press on to the top. I snapped alot of pictures and as I zig zagged my way up the moutain it once again got better and better. I am just about 3 weeks into my trip and after Chicago its been all up hill and the ride just gets better every new mile. I eventually made it to the "base" of Rainier after driving by some impressive landscapes and close to the top I came across two lakes that were for the most part frozen over, really cool!. At the top which they call paradise is an area that is only open from early July to late September apparently after that the weather is questionalble and this point has one of the top snowfalls in the country. There were two main parking lots at the top and a few scattered buildings and several cars gearing up for an early climb. These climbers were no joke I'm talking huge packs, poles, ropes and helmets but I guess if they are going for the summit and nearly 14k you have to be prepared. At this point it was rather dark but you could still see the moutains all around you and I couldnt help but to get excited that this would probably be one of the best spots I would have the chance to sleep at all trip. As I sit in my car and gaze on to the sheer power of Rainer and watch the occasional head lamp gear up for the morning climb it got my adrenaline going. I must say it is very inspiring to think about tackling that summit and pushing yourself to achieve that goal of reaching the top, I can't imagine the rush! I had a pabst, shot a personal video because again the adrealine was flowing and settled in for a cold night. I awoke that morning fully realizing this was going to be one of the best spots I see as I roll over and step out of my car. It didn't dissapoint and I spent about an hour looking at Rainier in all its beauty as hikers and climbers went in.I than spent sometime backtracking the road I took the night before because again the sun was going down and it was worth it to get another look in the light of day.
Rainer was powerful but I have to say that Glacier Wins. After speaking it over with my boulder team and hearing so many good things about Montana it was an easy choice to head north to what is suppose to be one of the top national parks in the country. Glacier lived up to it's reputation from upon entering you are just taken back by the beauty of the landscape and are struck by the water. The water in Glacier has this greenish turqoise look to it and is unlike any other water I have ever seen, as you look at it you can't help to notice how clean and pure it looks. As I was debating which camp to stay at I soon realized that Glacier is a Hiker's paradise and is much less developed than parks such as YS and Teton. Alot of the trails to the Glaciers can be turned into 2-3 day hikes which camps along the way and most of the camp sites can not be reached by roads. There is only a few main roads that cut through the park the main one being Sun View. I got into the park about 7 and it being the fourth I decided that I would have a barbeque. I bought some hotdogs and beer early and took sometime to try and contruct a "grill" over my single propane burner out of 2 whisks. I enjoyed the challenge and had a nice box/cross pattern but it did not work as well as planned and retreated to the pan. After my meal I decided I would go south towards the entrance and go for a walk along this river I passed on the way in. I had good intentions here but after walking 20 yards into the trail and seeing the mountain lion/bear signs I decided I would wait to the morning for a hike. Another thing about Glacier is the forrest like Rainer is very thick, I mean when your driving along the road at times you can't see but 10 yards into the forrest. I went back to the campsite had another beer listened to some music than went to sleep. I awoke in the morning to a brisk chill in the air but was soon warmed up by the sun shining through the trees and my stove cooking some pancakes. I suppose in my blogs I don't have to write about everything but again I do need to catch up. I finished breakfast packed up the car and headed to the Avalanche Lake hike which was a popular hike about 4 miles. The hike was good and for the most part it was going straight through the forrest ending up at a huge bowl shape moutain that had 3 waterfalls cascading down into a clear lake. I spent about 35 minute at the lakes edge looking at the waterfalls wondering what it may look like from the top of the peaks around me and just took some time to take in peace and quiet of my surroundings. After the hike I decided to take the road to the eastside of the park and have lunch and than venture back.
Now I have to say this road it's sun view something was by far the best stretch of road I have ever been on, if I paid to just drive this road it be well worth the ticket price. As you climb the moutain you are surrounded by peaks, waterfalls, snow, flowers, valleys its just an unbelievable stretch of road. At the top which I think is about 10k feet there is alot of snow and I even got to see a few moutain goats which was cool. There are some parts where you are so high up and you drive around a rock face that has waterfalls puring down on the road that are an arm lengths away from touching, some cars actually decided to go for a rinse. That stretch again was unbelievable and I am glad I took so many pics and video's. I got to the bottom made a few more hot dogs and once again found myself eating lunch wondering how I got to such a great site. I did another short hike in the afternoon to St. Marys Waterfall. I took alot of shots at the water in Glacier because I was always so amazed of the color and clarity. Although the falls were small they were very powerful and standing at the edge I must say it was tempting to go for a jump but it's glacier water that is frigid not to mention the force of the water. I left glacier that night with a different feeling from the rest of the parks and that feeling was wanting more. The trails to some of the glaciers that have camps along the way would definetly be something I would like to do in the future. Rolling solo has its up and downs but in regards to tackling some of the trails in the glacier it would have certainly been better to be camping with other people but hey maybe one day i'll be back! I have been to several of the national parks and I don't think any of them will take over the number 1 spot that Glacier has obtained. It is truly one of the best national parks I've been to and I like the fact that it is not as developed as some of the others and that it is a bit more rustic. Glacier was one of those places like arches where you just have to go Montana is a beautiful state especially in the western part. Some say it's gods country and with the vast size of it spanning 700 miles of big sky country with places like glacier inside of you can't help to wonder.
What next? that's the good thing about the trip.... you don't know. I could spend another hour staring at this harbor or shoot out to the coast and watch the waves crash, so it's about that time to look and the map while I cook up some lunch. Love the smell of the ocean!!