National Parks

Mount Saint Helens

Yesterday we visited Mount Saint Helens, during that fall storm of 2016. It was beautiful, the deciduous trees in yellow and orange, and the evergreens were green as ever. Our first stop was to the Silver Lake Visitors Center, and it is very worth the stop.  The movie they show of the eruption is actual video from 1980, and shows the amazing destruction of the blast and the aftermath.

the window

Johnston Ridge window

the road view

On the way to Johnston Ridge

colorful trees

colorful trees

some trees

some trees

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Forest Learning Center was closed, but is a great place to stop in the summer.

Nine miles from Johnston Ridge, we came across many waterfalls, and boy the water was gushing. The 2016 October storm brought so much rain, we were lucky to see the run-off with all its splendor. Once at Johnston Ridge, we got out of the SUV to find the wind much worse than we thought. The wind speed must have been 25-40 miles an hour; it literally blew us around as we walked up to the Visitors Center. Maybe they should put in a meter to measure wind speed when this happens, that would be fun!

Once inside, the winds were unnoticeable. The real tree trunk, photos, and interactive displays were intriguing, and let us get a full understanding of the destruction. This volcano, Mount Saint Helens, is still very active. Here at Johnston Ridge, they also had a movie, and it was more detailed using technology. They enhanced the actual footage from a photographer taken back in 1980, and give the viewer a deeper understanding of the entire landscape changes following the blast. My, it makes one think. Mount Saint Helens today was not visible, but that was okay, the rest was amazing!

The day from start to finish was 9 hours, with a nice relaxing hot lunch included.

I recommend this Mount Saint Helens trip late spring to mid fall, and you can get there with us, at Cheryl’s Northwest Tours LLC.  We offer private tours, and also group tours in our  SUV. If you have more than 6 guests, we also use a Mercedes Sprinter van or a motor coach, and if you have one arranged, we can simply join you with your group and take the work out of your day!

We offer a large variety of nearby and regional tours.  I invite you to visit our website http://www.cherylsnorthwesttours.com for more wonderful excursions that will enlighten and intrigue.

Ocean Beaches Tour- Long Beach Peninsula

New!  Ocean Beaches Tour to Long Beach Peninsula. This tour is loaded with activities, with the main background theme the Pacific Ocean.

This Northwest Adventure is one of the finest, and you’ll have 3 days and 2 nights, October 13-15, 2017 to relax and enjoy all the Washington Coast has to offer on the Long Beach Peninsula.  You really should book this tour!

Friday, beginning with the drive from Seattle to the ocean, you will stop for lunch midway in a great ale house, then continue to Long Beach, with time to relax before dinner.  Dinner is at a wonderful restaurant, then s’mores on the ocean beach. The hotel we’re staying is the Adrift Hotel and Spa.

Saturday, you’ll start the morning with razor clams and eggs at the famous 42nd Street Diner, and yes, you can choose something else.  Following breakfast, you’ll visit historic Oysterville for a tour of oyster farming followed by a visit to an art gallery.  Then to get a little more physical, you’ll go horseback riding on the beach, whether permitting. If unfavorable weather, you’ll instead visit the Cranberry Museum/Bogs area near Long Beach.  There’s time for rest before dinner and your day is not rushed at all.  The plan is to have fun and do some exploration.

Dinner is at the Shelburne Inn, on the National Historic Register, known for their creative 3-course meals, combining Northwest flavors with Old-World traditions and organic foods.

Sunday begins with breakfast at Cottage Bakery, then you’re off to Ilwaco, a fishing community, to visit the Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum and tour Ilwaco’s waterfront area.

This area is well known for being the end of the Lewis and Clark Expedition.  They found the ocean!  You’ll visit the very well done Interpretive Center, the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse, the National Park, and the Northhead Lighthouse today, then we have to head back.

This tour is all inclusive (except for 2 lunches).  Included in the price: Hotel accommodation, breakfasts, dinners, and entry to the Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum, Northhead lighthouse, Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center, the National Park, and the State Park. Price also includes costs for guest speaker at Oysterville, horse back riding, and Carriage Museum.

There’s so much packed into this ocean beach tour, and we hope you’ll join us!  You can find booking access at http://cherylsnorthwesttours.com/seasonal-tours.php scroll down to Long Beach Peninsula.  For more information, contact us at cheryl@cherylsnwtours.com.

beach logs

beach logs and lighthouse

Lighthouse

Lighthouse

Long Beach

Long Beach

oysters

oysters

view from lighthouse

view from lighthouse

longest beach sign

longest beach sign

Mount Saint Helens Cave Tour

Mount  Saint Helens Cave is very worth the time to visit, and we’ve developed a new tour that covers a LOT around Mount Saint Helens with several different view points. Let me share with you what we are doing!

We begin with a visit to Ape Cave, the Mount Saint Helens Cave formed by a gas bubble that flowed into the earth below the mountain approximately 1900 years ago. Using flashlights and lanterns, we walk into the cavern and down into the earth, for approximately 30 minutes one way. The cave gets smaller as you go, and when it is too small to go any further, we turn around and returned to the place we entered.

Next we go to the Trail of Two Forests. A boardwalk over a fantastic historic lava flow site, you see what is left of volcanic flow that covered living trees and earth. The trees died and burned up, leaving the lava there, looking like a cement chimney it their place. Hard to discribe, you need to see to appreciate. New growth of mosses and trees are starting the next generation and new forest.

Turning East and North, we go the longer way back -and more scenic- and you see Mount Saint Helens from the back side of the 1980 eruption; you see the whole mountain, as if nothing has happened. What a sight it is, with glaciers and emence beauty.

A full, long day, it is worth the time to see these mountain scenes and sights via our Mount Saint Helens Cave Tour.  You definitely can’t see this from visiting the National Monument of Johnson Ridge.

We hope you’ll come with us, it’s a super interesting, Northwest experience you’ll always remember.

Book your tour with us at www.cherylsnwtours.com.Boardwalk Cave leaving HQ Kid going in Opening top Trail ferns Trunk chimney2

Private Mount Rainier Tour

Our Private Mount Rainier Tour from Seattle covers all you can ask for and more for a mountain tour!  You get to see all sides of Mount Rainier as you travel all the way around it, we don’t go up and back the same way.

Trail hikes, waterfall trails, a canyon, and fast-flowing rivers will get your spirit active.  We provide a map and trail suggestions, and the Visitors Center can provide even more trail ideas, maps, gift shop, mountain animals to look for, geology, and more to help coordinate your time at Paradise.  Box canyon, near remnants of lava, are showcased along-side the trail, easy to see, get to, and enjoy.  Even a view of Mount Adams can be seen on a clear day.  Some waterfalls are right by the parking area, so no walking at all.

We offer tours for both hikers and non athletic visitors on our Private Mount Rainier tour; anyone who wishes to see the beauty and grandeur of our Cascade Mountains.  We modify the tour as we go along just to keep you having fun, and often make wow! stops for photos.

We also make several brief stops on our Private Mount Rainier tour to see unusual and interesting sights along the way (you’ll love it!) and to stretch our legs during the drive to and from the actual mountain roads. You ask, we stop.

Lunch is included at a restaurant along the way, unless you want more time on the trails.  In that case you’ll eat at the Visitors Center or we’ll pick up sandwiches and chips to eat on the way.

Can’t wait to meet you!  Call Cheryl’s Northwest Tours LLC at 206 353-3330 or book on line at cherylsnwtours.com.  We have limited availability due to these being private tours, but we’ll watch for you!

tunnels

tunnels

rocks

rocks

main mtn shot

main mtn shot

Narada top

Narada

Christine Falls

Falls

long waterfall

long waterfall

Rainier meadow

Rainier meadow

Gondola Ride Mountain Tour

Our Gondola Ride Mountain tour in the Pacific Northwest is a great trip to the Crystal Mountain summit and restaurant in the summer, and a wonderful ski lift in the winter.  In the Cascade Mountain Range, the view at the summit is a perfect top-of-the-world experience to see active and not-so-active volcanos in their own back yard.  Mount Adams and Mount Rainier seem almost close enough to hit with a rock.

Our tour takes you by motor coach through farms, valleys, meadows with flowers, hay and grasses, rivers, horses and barns, then into the woods and forest we go, with alpine meadows and trees.  We sometimes see eagles, deer and fox during our drive.

The Gondola Ride Mountain tour Departs at 9:00am sharp downtown Seattle at Denny and Fairview Streets, and returns at 4:00pm.

$109 per person, this fully inclusive tour includes the Gondola Ride, transportation, on-board-guide, lunch, 1 adult beverage or soft drink, bottled water en route, and taxes too.

Come join the fun on this local excursion to visit a wonderful local ski resort and ascend on the Gondola Ride to view Mount Rainier, the 14,410 foot, 25 glacier mountain in Washington State.

Gondola flyer 2015

Gondola flyer 2015

For more tour suggestions, visit www.cherylsnwtours.com or email Cheryl herself, at cheryl@cherylsnwtours.com.

Gondola View

Gondola view

Gondola

Gondola

Mt. Adams

Mt. Adams

Mt. Rainier

Mt. Rainier

Mt. Rainier stream

Mt. Rainier stream

Alpine Inn Restaurant

Alpine Inn Restaurant

Mount Saint Helens – Mount Rainier

Mount Saint Helens – Mount Rainier in the same day!  Not common, since Mount Saint Helens – Mount Rainier are both a few hours from everywhere, but we managed it simply and without a lot of driving at one time.  This tour is perfect for those traveling from Portland, OR or Seattle, WA. It is not a day trip, it is a two night 3 day trip with time to relax, enjoy, and take the time at each stop to learn the mighty power of the volcanoes and how the landscapes became what they are.

a Rainier valley

Rainier valley

Rainier viewpoint

Rainier viewpoint

the Mountain

the Mountain

Day 1, we travel into the Pacific Northwest mountains to Mount Saint Helens – Mount Rainier and stay in a small town just 45 minutes from our first trail.  Driving through beautiful lush mountain foothills, meadows and valleys, we enjoyed seeing horses, cows and alpacas on our way to the first stop.  Arriving, we checked into our hotel and had dinner next door in a cute, quaint restaurant that had steamed clams on the menu!  The chicken fried steak was very tasty.

Day 2, the hotel provided a continental breakfast, then we were on our way to Longmire for an easy 30 minute trail hike among Douglas Fir and Wester Red Cedar trees.  The museums are enlightening here.  Onward to Paradise for lunch in the Lodge and then time to wander the trails and visit waterfalls, the trails are paved quite a ways out before switching to dirt.   The movie in the visitor center is worth seeing.

stream at Rainier

Mountain and stream

We then made our way down Mount Rainier and through beautiful farms, fields, and small towns including Mossyrock and Morton.  Our next stop was Patty’s Place for lunch just short of mile marker 19 on the road to Mount Saint Helens, Johnston Ridge.  Wow, what a difference from Mount Rainier!  Weyerhauser planted 16,400,000 trees to replace those blasted by the explosion on May 18, 1980.  Before they planted, they cleared out 480 truckloads of downed trees per day.  So what we saw were small, 30-35 year old trees, mainly Douglas fir and Noble fir.  The Noble fir are very different in look than the Douglas fir, with their branches horizontal rather than more vertical. In contrast, Mount Rainier has 100-700+ year old trees!  We stayed in a simple but nice motel along I-5 (with indoor swimming pool) where we had a variety of choices  nearby for dinner.

Cheryl St. Helens

Cheryl and Mount St. Helens

landscape Helens

Landscape around Mount St. Helens

Day 3, after another good continental breakfast, we begin our trek back to Seattle, 2 hours away.  We stop at the Mount Saint Helens visitors center at Silver Lake for one last movie and another trail excursion, then home bound.

This trip is a great way to explore some great Pacific Northwest Volcanoes and see some amazingly beautiful Pacific Northwest mountains and landscapes.

We  hope you’ll join us sometime for one of our tours!  visit www.cherylsnwtours.com for an extensive list of Northwest excursions.

Olympic National Park

We visited the Olympic National Park twice in the past month through, visiting the Hoh Temperate Rain Forest.  It was dry both times!

We begin in Seattle and travel across a Washington State Ferry then on to Lake Crescent for our first hike, a mild 30 minute trail to Marymere Falls.  The Olympic Park is beautiful!  There are 3 rain forests inside the Olympic National Park, we visit the grandest of them all, the Hoh rain forest, a temperate rain forest.  We continue on to Forks for lunch, then enter the Hoh Rain Forest.  You really must come here, the moss-draped maple trees are spectacular on the Hall of Mosses trail.  And the fern beds along the Spruce Trail are very picturesque.  A calm fills you and peace is all around.  The quiet is also of curious notice.

Hoh fern bed2 Hoh trail on the trail

After taking 2 trails in Hoh,  we’re off again, now to the great Pacific Ocean to walk the sandy beach and explore the tide pools and sea stacks along the shore.  At Ruby beach, the rocks along the driftwood line are surprisingly symmetrical.  Got pics to show.

We covered all this in one day. And although a very long day, it was so exciting! Come join us sometime, for an Inside Look at the Pacific Northwest.

fern bed

fern bed

fern trail

trail

foot bridge

foot bridge

Lake Crescent

Lake Crescent

Beach trees

beach trees

Ruby Beach

seastacks at Ruby Beach 2

 

Mount Rainier Tour

We traveled to Mount Rainier in early September on a Mount Rainier Tour, and boy, it was great!  It must have been the clearest, bluest day I have ever experienced on the mountain!

We left Seattle, near Seatac International Airport at 8:30am and returned by 6:00pm.  We traveled via I-5, Highway 18, 410, 161, 7, and 706.

We made a pit-stop in Elbe, then traveled through the Nisqually entrance.  Our first destination was Longmire.  Did you know Longmire is a National Historic Site?  Originally the homestead of James Longmire and his family in 1888, it became Mount Rainier National Park’s first headquarters building when this National Park,the 5th in America, opened in 1899.

In Longmire, we visited a couple of museums, the general store/gift shop, the original headquarters building, and then took a 30 minute stroll on the Trail of the Shadows around a small lake, enjoying the large Douglas Fir and Western Red Cedar trees and stopping at the natural spring that James Longmire thought was medicinal.

The next stop was Paradise.  We had pre-arranged reservations at the hotel’s restaurant, and lunch was delicious.  Then we spent time exploring.  I personally took the trail up the Alta Vista Trail, and another to a waterfall.  Both trails were paved, though parts were steep.   I was surprised how many people were there!  Others enjoyed the Visitor’s Center.

We also made a stop at Narada Falls.  A must! if you go up to Paradise.  You can’t see it from the road, but it’s so close, and right next to the parking lot.

Mount Rainier was originally called Tahoma by the Native Americans, which means Big Mountain.  It was renamed by Captain George Vancouver in 1792, who had a crew member on his ship with that last name.  Locals rallied to change it back, but you can see, it is still Mount Rainier.  Mount Rainier is 14,410 feet tall with 25 glaciers, and is the tallest of 5 volcanoes in Washington State.

Paradise

Glaciers on Mount Rainier

Paradise viewpoint

View from parking lot

Myrtle /falls

Myrtle Falls

yours truly

Cheryl

blue flowers

Blue Flowers

stream at Rainier

Mountain and stream

to Camp Muir!

The trail

Valley

Mount Rainier Valley

To go to Mount Rainier and other fun interesting places in the Pacific Northwest, visit our website www.cherylsnwtours.com and book a tour.  Groups get you lower rates per person, and we also take individuals and couples on tours.  So come on, get an inside look at the Pacific Northwest.

Cheryl's Northwest Tours, LLC  206 353-3330

www.cherylsnwtours.com

 

 

RAIN FOREST at Quinault 2014

We visited the Rain Forest at Quinault April 21-22, 2014 and WOW, what a great place!  There are three rain forests on the Olympic Peninsula: Lake Quinault is in one of them.  Queets and Hoh are the other two.

We stayed at the Lake Quinault Lodge, and, it has beautiful grounds.  Across the street are walking/hiking trails that are not difficult with a slight incline and very worth the trek to see the falls.

We traveled from Seattle on Monday, April 21, arriving in about 3.5 hours.  And we were STILL able to see 3 waterfalls before dinner.

Waterfalls:  There are an abundance of beautiful waterfalls nearby.  The furthest one we visited was .6 miles of wonderfully groomed trails, and the trails themselves are in abundance too, so you can walk all over the rain forest.  Two of the waterfalls are at the road, you just park your car and there they are.

We also saw the WORLDS LARGEST SPRUCE tree, estimated at 1000 years old.  Look at my photo included in this blog, it’s huge!

We also visited the Rain Forest Resort, just up the road from the Lake Quinault Lodge, and I must say, we will be staying there next time!  Rustic and more modern cabins, with kitchens or without, the lake views are better and more to my liking with privacy, cozy surroundings, and nostalgia.  The Management is what sets this place apart and above the neighbors: Friendly, helpful, and personable.  Plus a great restaurant and actual lounge with animal heads on the walls.  It was a good, happy experience at the Rain Forest Resort.

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This tour was one of our DISCOVERY tours.  We offer them all year, along with our other tours and festival trips.  We suggest you check out our website and join us sometime.  www.cherylsnorthwesttours.com.