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USA West Coast Road Trip Part 4

On leaving Port Angeles and the Olympic Peninsula I realise I’ve already visited somewhere that I fully intend to come back to for its incredible diversity of ecosystems and beautiful scenery.

 

0160 Whale skeleton at the coast heading south from Olympic NP to Astoria in Oregon 0161 Cool picnic seating on the beach 0162 The Astoria–Megler Bridge, 4.1 miles long, spans the Columbia River which divides Washington from Oregon

 

The drive south for the day ends in Astoria, OR, the last part being the drive across the Astoria–Megler Bridge, 4.1 miles long, it spans the Columbia River which divides Washington from Oregon.

 

0163 Built in 1926, the Astoria Column stands 125ft atop Coxcomb Hill 0164 Fort George Pub & Brewery - good burgers, great beer! 0165 Early start, down the coast to Rockaway Beach

 

Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites ($455, 2nghts) was the very expensive accommodation used.

 

0166 Rockaway Beach 0168 Nehalem Bay 0169 Cannon Beach

 

With an early start, Rockaway Beach, Nehalem Bay and Cannon Beach were visited in the morning.

 

0171 Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach 0172 Beach houses at Cannon Beach 0173 Seaside

 

Haystack Rock off Cannon Beach is a popular place, the local area has many beach properties, the grey tiles are ubiquitous. Lunch is found at the appropriately named Seaside.

 

0176 Hiking in Saddle Mountain State Park 0177 Hiking in Saddle Mountain State Park 0178 Hiking in Saddle Mountain State Park

 

The afternoon is spent hiking in Saddle Mountain State Park, where I see my first snake, it was only a little one, lying in the sun and I didn’t notice it until I practically stepped on it at which point it quickly slithered off into the undergrowth before I could snap a pic!

 

0179 Astoria-Megler Bridge from the Astoria Column 0180 View from atop Astoria Column, the column was completed in 1926 0181 Astoria Column depicts triumphs, conflicts and turning points from frontier times

 

Before leaving town I visit the Astoria Column which allows limited views in the misty morning conditions.

 

0182 Mt St Helens last errupted in 1980 0183 A long twisty road leads to Windy Ridge, which in mid-July was aptly named as a freezing gale was blowing! 0184 The top of Mt St Helens shows what's left after the lateral blast of 1980

 

From Astoria I drive up to Mount St Helens stopping a couple of times to take in the views and let slow cars continue up the mountain ahead, the drive up and down is excellent, with drop offs at the side of the road and many steep curves and corners it’s a great road to speed down.

0185 Spirit Lake is still littered with dead trees from the blast 32 years ago, they are slowly sinking to the bottom of the lake

Mount St Helens is an active volcano and last erupted as recently as 1980, with deadly consequences, the previously symmetrical cone (9,600ft) blew out from the side, removing the upper 1,300ft of the summit, leaving a horseshoe shaped crater and barren wasteland. Spirit Lake, adjacent to Mount St Helens, still contains thousands of trees floating on its surface as remnants of this eruption.

 

0186 Hiking in the Columbia River Gorge to tunnel falls 0187 Hiking in the Columbia River Gorge to tunnel falls 0188 Hiking in the Columbia River Gorge to tunnel falls - Loowit Falls

 

From Mount St Helens I head down to the city of Portland, staying at Best Western Pony Soldier Inn ($326, 4nghts). On the first day I hike the 12 miles trail to, and back from, Tunnel Falls, it’s my first proper hike of any distance and my legs feel it the next day…

 

0190 Hiking in the Columbia River Gorge to tunnel falls - Tunnel Falls 0191 Hiking in the Columbia River Gorge to tunnel falls - Tunnel Falls 0193 Hiking in the Columbia River Gorge to tunnel falls - Tunnel Falls

 

So having completed some exercise I have “Doughnut Day” in Portland, which involves buying 3 doughnuts from Voodoo Doughnuts, a highly anticipated destination having seen it on the excellent Man vs Food tv show.

 

The sign of Voodoo Doughnuts in Portland 0199 Brekkie = Bacon Maple Bar 0200 Mid-morning snack = Powdered Sugar Lemon Jelly

 

Breakfast is the Bacon Maple Bar obviously, around lunchtime I have the Powdered Sugar Lemon Jelly (part of my five a day!) and mid-afternoon I scoff down the classic raspberry jelly filled Voodoo Doll.

 

0202 Afternoon snack = Voodoo Doll 0201 Relaxing wander round Portland Japanese Garden 0203 Colourful Portland homes

 

Some great beers from local breweries in Portland and had a particularly interesting burger at Deschutes Brewery, tasty burger topped with pork belly, goat cheese & jalapeno pesto! It wasn’t all unhealthy food whilst in Portland though, I visited the excellent Japanese Garden, the Rose Garden and did some shopping, in particular at the fantastic huge Columbia store, having tried on many different brands of shirts I love the Columbia stuff. The variety of outdoor clothing shops in the Pacific Northwest and the huge range of clothes stocked within them is brilliant, REI in Seattle is worthy of joint top spot along side the Columbia store in Portland as far as my shopping was concerned.

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