The RV Goes to the Doctor

And Stays Overnight in the RV Hospital

The RV is just over 4-years-old now and has travelled over 32,000 miles.

Lots of little and not so little things have gone wrong and caused us concern and cost us a few pennies, like a seatbelt, a new door, 3 new locks, and 2 replaced slide toppers. We still need 2 new window screens, 2 puck lights, and 2 overhead lights that the manufacturer no longer makes.

So… We scheduled an appointment to get the lights and screens taken care of as well as an overall maintenance check on August 1st before heading to the Olympic Peninsula, Mt. Ranier, and Glacier National Park.

The nearest RV “doctor” is in Coos Bay, 50 miles north of Port Orford.

The RV needed new caulking which meant the old stuff had to be removed and replaced. The wrong sized puck lights were ordered so new ones had to be re-ordered. The overhead lights could not be replaced and Tony’s doesn’t do screens.

We made an appointment for September 17th hoping that the caulking and 2 puck lights would be an in-patient procedure and that our home would not have to stay overnight.

We spend the windy and wet day in Charleston, a quaint fishing village 8 miles from Coos Bay and North Bend.

Charleston is located just inside the entrance to the bay of Coos Bay. It is home to a large commercial fishing fleet and to some of the finest recreation and most beautiful scenery of the Northwest. (,  courtesy of Donna Smith

Cape Arago Highway leads to Shore Acres State Park…

Bastendorff Beach County Park…

Sunset Bay State Park…

And dead ends in a loop around Cape Arago State Park…

When we arrive at the tip of the loop, we attempt to walk out to the ocean view but are barely able to stand up! We are literally almost “blown away” by the wind. So, we lunch on the fish and chips special which includes a cup of chowder at Portside Restaurant in Charlestown.

The restaurant sends its own boats out to catch the fresh fish of the day.

Upon returning to Tony’s RV Service & Repair, we learn that the RV needs to spend the night. We can either drive back to Port Orford, 50 miles south, and return tomorrow or stay overnight in a motel.

We decide to find a room in Coos Bay instead of driving back and forth again.

The next morning we return to Charleston and revisit the Cape Arago Beach Loop. Much calmer now…

A whale arches it’s back.

And let’s off “steam”…

We have lunch at Sumin’s Asian Restaurant and Sushi Bar in Coos Bay., courtesy of Jenae Lien

Absolutely DELICIOUS!

After lunch we pick up the RV, pay the $850 for labor and materials, and head back to Port Orford. Once again, the wrong sized puck lights were ordered. Maybe next summer we’ll finally get the right size and have these 2 lights replaced! Meanwhile we will head down to Thousand Palms, California on the 24th of September to volunteer as hosts again on the Coachella Valley Preserve.

The Coast with the Most

Volunteering in Port Orford

Cape Blanco Lighthouse

Every Monday I take folks up to the top of the tower, aka lantern room, and explain the history of the Fresnel Lens continually operating in this historic lighthouse since December 20, 1887 when it was first lit.

The view from here is incredible…

On Thursday afternoons, Jeff is the cashier for the  Visitors’ Center…

Port Orford Library

This summer I assisted Cheryl, the Children’s Librarian with the summer programming. The theme was Outer Space in honor of the 50th Anniversary of the first time humankind walked on the moon.

Learning how to find which way is North…

Comparing the sizes of the planets…

Telling time with our sun clocks…

Making rockets…

The best part of Port Orford is the people!

Good Times in Port Orford

Fun, Friends, Food, Fishing, and a Fair…

The house of our good friends, Kenneth and Paulene…

The girls: Elmo, Big Bird, Fly Girl, and Paulene…

Paulene and I have a girls’ outing in Bandon…

A mini-golf tournament with Paulene, Faith, Allen, and Kenneth…

Sharing a meal…

Can you guess where these eggs came from?

The Ring Game, invented by Kenneth…

Kenneth takes Jeff fishing…

Celebrating Jeff’s 66th birthday…

When you purchase freshly frozen fish from the Food Co-op, you know when it was caught, how it was caught, by whom it was caught, and even the name of the vessel from which it was caught.

We always run into friends on Battle Rock Beach…

And finally, the second annual Street Fair organized by our  friends, Steve and Kathee Dahl. Unfortunately Jeff and I missed it this year because we spent August exploring Olympic National Park and Peninsula, Mt. Ranier, and Glacier National Park. Kathee is a local artist and Steve, Jeff and I volunteered at the Cape Blanco Lighthouse together last year.

This is the Best of Port Orford!

I’m F-A-L-L-L-L-L-L-I-NG

Multnomah Falls

Back in Oregon, we rest for a couple of days in Troutdale and revisit the Columbia Gorge before returning to Port Orford for several weeks and then heading down to Thousand Palms, California.

Today we head to Multnomah Falls, a 611-foot-tall double tiered cascade just off Interstate 84.

Millions of years ago, volcanoes, glaciers, floods, and the uplifting Cascade Mountains formed the Columbia River Gorge. Massive floods from the last Ice Age scoured out the Gorge, creating the Multnomah Falls which were literally left hanging there. (plaque at Falls)

As liquid basalt from volcanoes transformed into rock, the resulting rock formations were dependent upon their environment and cooling rate.  Three types of basalt can be found in the rock layers behind the Falls.

Pillow Basalt results from the encounter of basalt flows with water which causes immediate solidification and creates “bubbles” or “pillows” of various sized rocks. (plaque at Falls)

Entablature Basalt is the result of relatively fast cooling lava that fractures into irregular patterns and joints. (plaque at Falls)

Columnar Basalt forms when lava cools slowly and fractures to create 5-6-sided crystals. It is usually found underneath entabulature basalt. (plaque at Falls) The picture below shows examples of columnar basalt behind Latourell Falls in the Columbia Gorge.

The powerful cascading waters constantly erode the softer layers of rock below and behind the Multnomah Falls, creating a plunge pool and cave. The upper tier recedes faster than the lower falls.

A short walk from the parking area leads to the best view of the Falls.

Another several hundred feet up a paved trail takes you to Benson Bridge which spans the first tier’s misty base. Looking up you can see the full 542-foot height of the top tier. Looking down you overlook the 69-foot drop of the lower tier. (

Benson Bridge is named for Simon Benson, a Portland businessman who owned the Falls in the early 1900s. Upon his death he bequeathed the Falls to the City of Portland which later transferred ownership to the USDA Forest Service. (

A trail continues past the 45-foot-long bridge for another mile to ascend an elevation of another 785 feet to reach yet another incline 100 feet above the Falls. The trail then descends to an observation deck overlooking the edge of the Falls. (

This is as close as I could get to the falling water. There’s no view of the drop, so I have to admit I was somewhat disappointed. Gee, if I had known this before trudging up a mile of 14 switchbacks, I might have reconsidered the hike! Not really…

But our plan was to hike further for another .8 miles to visit 3 more falls before turning back.

This small cascade slightly upstream from the upper tier of the Falls is called Little Multnomah.

From the observation deck you get a bird’s eye view of the Columbia River and across from it, Washington State.

As we ascend the trail from the observation deck, I am fascinated by these tree roots.

Instead of heading back and returning to Benson Bridge and the base of the Falls, we continue along the southeast trail beyond.

We encounter these examples of Entablature Basalt rocks beside us as we walk along the trail. Relatively fast cooling lava fractures into irregular patterns and joints forming entablature basalt.

We cross the scenic Multnomah Creek.

We continue hiking parallel to the Creek.

We encounter Dutchman Falls, the colloquial name for this waterfall that dashes down a wide basalt ledge of Multnomah Creek. (


This is an interesting stretch on the trail.

After researching the name for Dutchman Falls, I discover that this precarious basalt overhang just upstream from the Falls is called Dutchman Tunnel.

Multnomah Creek washed out a large semicircular cave from underneath a lava flow. In 1915 trail builders constructed a stone-walled trail through this cave.

A plaque honoring Forest Service Ranger Albert Wiesendanger rests on a wall of the overhang.

Next, we arrive at Wiesendanger Falls named after Albert Wiesendanger who lived from 1893-1989. For more than 71 years he worked in professional forestry and fire prevention jobs that spanned a lifetime career.  Albert worked 39 years with the USDA Forest Service in the Portland, Oregon regional office and in the Mt. Hood National Forest. He then “retired” to another 32 years as executive secretary for Keep Oregon Green Association, a privately funded organization with the objective of preventing people-caused fires in this timber state. (

The trail ascends onto 4 switchbacks.  But first I turn around and take this picture.

Less than 10 minutes later we pass Ecola Falls.

According to, the most prominent feature of this waterfall is the ambiguity of its name. At first Ecola Falls were grouped with the downstream Wiesendanger Falls and listed as one waterfall, often called Double Falls. Later publications listed Ecola as Hidden Falls because of it’s hard to see position and the fact that the Forest Service had recently placed a plaque marking Wiesendanger Falls by name in the late 1990s. Today the Forest Service officially recognizes these falls as Ecola, the Chinook word for whale.

We continue hiking along the Multnomah Creek.

We reach another switchback and these trail signs, after hiking more than .75 miles from the top of Multnomah Falls. It’s time to turn back.

The views on the way back…

As we return to the base of Multnomah Falls, I am half tempted to tell people that the best views of the Falls are from below.

As we make our final descent back to the viewing area at the base of the Multnomah Falls, I look up and capture the blue sky peeking through this umbrella of leaves branching off its trunk hugged by moss.

One Hike, Three Waterfalls

Glacier National Park

We find a space for our car at the Sunrift Gorge parking area and head across the Going-to-the-Sun Road to start the 5.4 mile out and back hike to Baring, St. Mary, and Virginia Falls. Actually, we find out later, we didn’t have to cross the street. A set of stairs leads down to the trail from the southern side of the road.

But I’m glad we did because we encounter the rushing waters of Baring Creek plunging down the steep and narrow canyon of Sunrift Gorge.

The gorge flattens out into shallow waters that polish the rocks with a brilliant shine.

Meanwhile, above the creek, gray clouds and the scorched remains of once-green trees dominate the landscape, the yellow-greens of the forest floor adding a welcome contrast.

Another sign reminds us that we are encroaching upon grizzly territory. This is no walk in the park.

Baring Creek guides us along the trail.

We arrive at the junction of Sun Point and Baring Falls Trails and veer to the right toward the falls.

Almost 1/3 mile later, we arrive at the footbridge crossing Baring Creek. Can you find it in the picture below?

We cross the narrow bridge over Baring Creek…

…And behold Baring Falls, a 25 foot high waterfall.

Baring Creek flows another 100 yards or so before spilling into St. Mary Lake.

We pass the small boat dock used by Glacier Park Boat Tours, a company that’s been running lake excursions on their wooden boats since 1938.

We continue walking along the southwestern bank of St. Mary Lake.

There has been a fire in Glacier National Park almost every year of its existence. The year with the most fires was 1936 with a total of 64. So far the only year with no fire on record was 1964. The summer of 2003 was the most significant fire season in the history of the park. Approximately 136,000 acres burned. (

It’s cloudy and gray but the colors surrounding us from the mountains, lake, and vegetation along the trail do not disappoint.

At the junction with the St. Mary Falls Shuttle Stop we keep left.

This plant with the spiky serrated leaves and cluster of blue berries looks like Oregon Grape.

Fire has painted this picture on a tree trunk. It reminds me of the surrealist style of Salvador Dali.

As we reach the St. Mary River, we hear the thunderous roar of water crashing down rocks.

The footbridge crosses the river where we stop for a view of St. Mary Falls in all directions.

St. Mary Falls drops a total of 35 feet in 3 separate tiers.

Once past the bridge, the trail continues for another 1.8 miles to Virginia Falls.

We follow Virginia Creek and encounter 2 more series of cascades. After hiking 1.2 miles from St. Mary Falls we reach the first series and discover 4 tiers of falling waters.

Back on the trail…

…We stop again after another .25 miles to enjoy the second series of cascades.

Ten minutes later we come to a side spur leading to a viewpoint for Virginia Falls. We decide to take the spur later, after heading up another 1/10th mile to the footbridge leading to the base of the 50 foot main fall.

Here’s a view looking down at the secondary chute that leads to a short cascade at the bottom…

…And a view of the landscape on top of Virginia Falls…

We cross the footbridge again and descend back down the trail to the side spur we missed before.

It’s time to retrace our steps and head back to our car tucked in the Sunrift Gorge parking area.

The trail in this direction offers more photo opts.

Do you see the tiny white streak in the middle of the picture below? That’s Virginia Falls!

I cannot identify this flower.

Aspen tree berries?…

My photo doesn’t capture the silver color of this tree trunk. I kid you not, these trunks look like they have been spray painted with silver!

An up-close look at charred trees, silver trunks, and scatters of slate rock shards…

A very yellow caterpillar…

Back at the car, we decide to continue east to St. Mary and take a different route back to Coram where our RV awaits us.

We take 89 South and 2 West along the southern boundaries of Glacier National Park.

Gray clouds crown the mountains overlooking the conifer forest as we drive away.

But then the traffic stops for 20 minutes for street rebuilding. After the construction area we travel unpaved roads for miles. Whose bright idea was it to take a different route home?

Johns Lake Loop Trail

Glacier National Park

The Johns Lake Loop is about 2 miles long but it is surrounded by a network of other trails.

We are lucky to find a spot to park as the parking area is quite small and only has room for 7-8 cars.

We learn from the plaque at the trailhead that Johns Lake is actually a pond encircled by a forest of western red cedar and hemlock.

It’s an overcast  day when we set out in a counterclockwise direction through the old growth forest. We are the only people on the trail and the only noise we hear comes from our own haunting footsteps. The trees tower over us like gaunt skeletal creatures warning us to beware of unpleasant surprises ahead.

About 1/3 of a mile in we come to a junction that is marked with a confusing sign. If we go left we will hike toward McDonald Lake. If we choose right we will be on our way to Avalanche Creek. And of course we have no map to guide us, it’s just a short loop  trail.

So, we decide to take the left route as we already know that Lake McDonald is on the opposite end of the trailhead. Off we go, for awhile, until we realize that we are on a horse path that is rutted and not very interesting. As we turn back, we notice another couple behind us, so the 4 of us collectively decide that we need to take the trail leading right. The woman even has a booklet describing all the hikes in the Park, and she was still confused!

Later we find out that the horse path has a name, the McDonald Creek Cutoff. I still manage to find redeeming qualities on our detour though. A very unique tree sculpture…

And a slate rock gathering moss…

About 1/3 of a mile later, we catch a glimpse of shimmering light through the trees. And there is Johns Lake. A side trail leads down to the boggy shore but we prefer to stay on higher ground to enjoy the lake sprinkled with water lilies and wetland grasses.

Stanton Mountain and Mount Vought tower over Johns Lake. I’m not sure which one is in the picture below.

Trees bulldozed by avalanches look like a pile of “pick-up-sticks”, a game I used to play when I was a child.

Soon we are heading out of the forest and across the Going-to-the- Sun Road. Look closely to the left of the slanted slate rock touching the trail on the lower left of the picture below. You can see the trail descending into a grove of trees. The gray light peeking through is the road.

Johns Lake Loop Trail leads down onto a crosswalk that takes us to the other side of the road where we encounter what we think is McDonald Falls.

A footbridge crosses the creek of the same name.

These are the pictures I take, but I think this is really Sacred Dancing Cascade.

After gazing into and enjoying the water sliding down the rocks, we come to another junction on the other side of the creek. The rest of Johns Lake Loop Trail heads left along McDonald Creek, to the right an unmarked trail runs parallel to the creek in the other direction.

We choose to detour away from the Loop Trail in search of another waterfall and footbridge.

Here are the highlights from our out and back detour:

After hiking for 15-20 minutes, we lose the creek and head away from it.

So, we decide to turn back.

And we are now back on the Johns Lake Loop Trail.

Woodpeckers have tagged their graffiti on this tree trunk.

The tunnel across the creek is part of an old horse trail.

This stretch of the forest is exactly how I pictured the one from the Hansel and Gretel fairytale. I imagine I am throwing breadcrumbs along the path.

Old McDonald had a creek e-i-e-i-o… And on that creek there was some whitewater e-i-e-i-o… With a swoosh-swoosh here, and a swoosh-swoosh there, here a swoosh, there a swoosh, everywhere a swoosh-swoosh… Old McDonald had a creek e-i-e-i-o…

Speaking of fairytales, these trees remind me of a game of Pick-Up-Sticks played by the giant in Jack and the Beanstalk…

Maybe these are the McDonald Falls?…

How do you explain this?

We reach a gravel path escorting us out of the forest…

The forest leads to McDonald Road where the ghost beard hang from the trees like tinsel at Christmas.

A footbridge crosses the creek as it empties into Lake McDonald.

The wildflowers along McDonald Road make up for the lack of forest trail.

Scouler’s Woollyweed or Hairy Arnica maybe?…

Wandering Fleabane or Howell’s Fleabane maybe?…

White Campion and Woolly Mullein

White Campion

McDonald Road leads into a side trail that runs parallel to the Going-to-the-Sun Road and we take this back to the trailhead.

Indian Pipe

We return to our car and head to Sacred Dancers Cascades. We think… It looks suspiciously like the Falls we crossed further downstream on McDonald Creek.

Except for the confusion with the trail markers and the names of the waterfalls, this was a lovely hike!

A Haiku Through the Forest

Glacier National Park

We get up early and head to the Park before 8:30 so that we can get a place to park for 2 popular trails that link together.

The Trail of the Cedars is a 1 mile loop on the eastern edge of the Pacific Northwest oceanic climate. This means, if you arrived here blindfolded and looked at your surroundings after you removed the blindfold, you would think you were on the northern Pacific Coast where lush green ferns and velvety mosses grow along the forest floor.

It also marks the extreme  eastern limits for western hemlocks and red cedars. The humidity in the Lake McDonald valley allows the cedars to grow up to 100 feet tall with diameters of 4-7 feet. Some of these trees are estimated to be more than 500 years old.

But another unique feature of the Trail of the Cedars is the poetry written on the plaques describing the boardwalk section of the trail…


Write a short syllabic poem

Count the beats with me                                                                                                                                             

That’s right, this part of the trail is lined in Haiku verse!

Except for this one…

You are among the ancients here. Some of these trees were young when Peter the Great ruled Russia, Mozart dazzled the courts of Europe, Thomas Jefferson crafted the Declaration of Independence, Sacagawea helped guide Lewis and Clark to the Pacific, the United States fought its civil war, and the Wright brothers took to the air above Kitty Hawk.

Throughout time the Kootenai and Salish peoples have revered this as a sacred place with special qualities, qualities that still remain for you to discover, as you walk among these silent titans. What stories these trees could tell. (plaque on Trail of the Cedars)

The Trail of the Cedars crosses Avalanche Creek from the road.

We decide to head out in a counterclockwise direction so we proceed through the edge of the Avalanche Creek Campground.

Suddenly, a snow shoe hare hops by with those long narrow feet. I take his picture when he lands, but unfortunately his feet are hidden.

Tree sculptures adorn this area of open forest.

We take a short spur to the creek bed.

And we arrive at the junction to the Avalanche Lake Trail, an out and back hike of roughly 4 miles.

We interrupt our Trail of the Cedars hike here and take a detour to Avalanche.

Avalanche Lake Trail… Out

We turn right, exit the Trail of the Cedars, and immediately encounter a short, but steep climb into a dense forest on one side and a narrow gorge of rushing glacial waters.

The trail delights us as it runs along Avalanche Creek.

Eventually the trail departs from the Creek but the sound of cascading water lets us know we are still following its course.

Downed trees are the result of recent avalanches.

Right before reaching Avalanche Lake we share the trail with a whitetail deer.

Avalanche Lake Trail… Arriving at the Lake

The lake is surrounded by the Rocky Mountains and borders Bearhat Mountain and Sperry Glacier (not pictured here).

Several cascading waterfalls, meltwater from Sperry Glacier, flow into the lake.

Hikers can continue along the trail as it follows along the western shoreline to the head of the lake.

The next 2 photos are of the eastern cliffs above the lake…

According to, this area of Glacier National Park was named by Dr. Lyman Sperry. In June of 1895, while he was exploring the basin, he saw and heard several avalanches thundering down the surrounding mountains. He and his hiking party agreed that Avalanche Basin would be a suitable name for this place. Later that same summer Sperry discovered the glacier that now shares his name.

Avalanche Lake Trail… Back

We ascend up from the beach…

…and back on the trail…

I capture new perspectives in this direction.

Another deer… This one doesn’t flinch as we walk by. He or she is too busy munching on a tasty green leaf.

Lots of new views I missed before…

Some kind of red berries among Devil’s Club

Trail of the Cedars… Resumed

We descend the trail and finish the Trail of the Cedars loop.

A footbridge leads over the creek and provides spectacular views of the lower Avalanche Gorge.

We arrive at the boardwalk portion of the trail and cross another stream. The clear glacier waters appear as a shiny coating of shellac covering a mosaic of colorful rocks.

We hike along reading the rest of the haikus that take us back to where we started.

It’s all up to us

Step lightly on precious ground

Save our Mother Earth