Mount Rainier National Park – Ice on Top and Fire Inside

Mount Rainier National Park, Washington.

Rising some 14,410 feet (4,392 m) above sea level, this active volcano is “the most glaciated peak in the contiguous U.S.A., spawning five major rivers…” according to the National Park Service’s website. Our visit to the park on a beautiful October day afforded me an entire collection of views of the still-active volcano. Probably my favorite view of the mountain is from the Reflections Lakes scenic area. There are a couple of lakes here, and the parking area provides an interesting view of the mountain, but take a short walk to the east where there is a smaller lake that is part of the group known as Reflections Lakes. I found it to have a better reflection of the mountain. That is the viewpoint in my opening image. Continue reading

Yakima Scenic Byway – State Highway 821

Yakima Valley, Washington.

There are several scenic highways connecting parts of the beautiful Yakima Valley. For this post, my camera is focused on a 25-mile (40 km) stretch of highway paralleling the Yakima River. That highway is known as State Route 821. The road winds through the valley right along the river’s edge when the valley floor is wide enough, and high on the valley when the level plain narrows to the point of having no more room for anything more than the river itself and the railroad track that was placed there first. In the opening image, both levels of the roadway are visible from this scenic pullout. In the distance on the valley floor, you can spot the highway near the water level. Continue reading

North Cascades Scenic Byway

North Cascades National Park, Washington.

On our way to the North Cascades, we picked up the scenic byway at Twisp. This 140-mile (225 km) byway leads to the mountain range often considered to be the North American Alps. The opening photo features a view of the byway as it winds up the side of a mountain on our journey. There are pull-offs aplenty and lots of opportunity for photography. This post and gallery are but a small sampling of the images I gathered on the way to and through the park. Continue reading

Hoffstadt Creek Bridge – Second Highest Bridge in Washington State

Toutle, Washington.

The best access to the blast area defined by the eruption of Mount Saint Helens is via State Route 504, also known as the Spirit Lake Highway. Built to replace the original highway destroyed by the eruption, this 52-mile (84 km) highway contains 14 bridges that span the valleys west of the mountain. The tallest bridge on the highway spans a deep valley where some 370 feet (113 m) below, Hoffstadt Creek winds its way west toward the Toutle River. Continue reading

Mount Saint Helens National Volcanic Monument

Mount Saint Helens National Monument, Washington.

May 18, 2020, marked the 40th anniversary of the eruption of Mount Saint Helens. It would seem that there was plenty of warning that something big was going to happen on that Spring day in 1980. After all, there were a couple of months of earthquakes and small eruptions. According to the USGS, however, advances in technology in the last 40 years might have allowed for reduced risk and earlier notification. But those advances were the result of the catastrophic eruption that “fed a towering plume of ash for more than nine hours, and winds carried the ash hundreds of miles away. Lahars (volcanic mudflows) carried large boulders and logs, which destroyed forests, bridges, roads and buildings.” Continue reading

Power to the People – Dams on the Columbia River

Columbia River, Washington.

Washington state depends upon its many rivers for both irrigation and electrical generation. There are over 1100 dams in Washington, mostly small, under 50 feet (15 m) tall, earthen, and used for irrigation. According to Wikipedia, there are 49 dams in the state that are hydroelectric, mostly operated by Public Utility Districts (PUD). In addition to electric generation, many PUDs also provide other community services such as communications, water, sewer, and other typical utilities. The PUDs serve about a million residents of the state in 26 counties. My opening image this week features the Rocky Reach Dam on the Columbia River. Continue reading

Cellpic Sunday – 17 January 2021

Gifford Pinchot National Forest, Washington.

Coldwater Lake is located in the shadow of Mount Saint Helens and owes its existence to the cataclysmic eruption of the volcano on May 18, 1980. The valley, known as Coldwater Valley due to the creek of the same name that meanders there, was blocked and the creek dammed by material thrown from the volcano during the eruption. Continue reading

Dronie Sunday – 10 January 2021

Ellensburg, Washington.

The Yakima Scenic Byway is a popular detour from the Interstate highway system in central Washington state. Highway 821 and the drive through this beautiful river valley will be featured in an upcoming Travel Tuesday here. For now, here’s a teaser, an image from my drone of a section of the valley near the city of Ellensburg. Continue reading

Cellpic Sunday – 29 November 2020

Whidbey Island, Washington.

Between the mainland and Whidbey Island, there is a narrow strip of water that separates Puget Sound from Possession Sound. There is a ferry that travels that passage with terminals at Clinton and Mukilteo. On a cloudy morning, we found ourselves on that ferry. It was the first time I’ve ever been on a “drive-on” ferry. I found the entire process interesting. Continue reading

Cellpic Sunday – 15 November 2020

Quincy, Washington.

This is my third (and final) Cellpic Sunday from the rest area near Quincy. If the photo looks familiar, you may be remembering the image of the lake with the Interstate bridge from a few weeks ago. That image is one-third of three captured in a sequence that shows the entire lake view of Wanapum Lake as seen from that high vantage point. Continue reading