Teardrop Soapbox

like having a teardrop trailer. Clarence, my MyPod, is absolutely adorable.

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Glacier

 

That being said, I’m not a big fan of paying big-rig prices for full hookups when all I need is a little heat at night. Most campsites have a flat rate regardless of the type of camper you have. It seems silly for me to pay the same amount as an energy-guzzling RV that could swallow 10 Clarences whole.

I understand that owning an RV park is a complicated business. I also think that people should start becoming more teardrop-aware of this growing minimalist trend of just needing a little electricity to stay warm (or cool) at night.

have run into places that offered cheaper prices for just electric, or who charged based on the amount of electricity used. Kudos to you.

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North Cascades

In the meantime, Clarence and I will continue spreading the word that bigger is not always better. In fact, smaller should mean cheaper.

Everywhere I Looked…

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…there was majesty.

Words are inadequate to describe my experience in Glacier. Even glancing back over the pictures I took, I was reminded how nothing quite beats the multi-sensory engagement of actually being in a stunning natural place.

Everything was alive. Even the glacial lakes themselves seemed to breathe in and out, the water moving benevolently away from the mountains. The sun’s warmth coupled with the sweet breeze made my body relax; my eyes did the work, taking in all the sights.

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McDonald Creek

There were simply so many layers of beauty.

The best part was I had to work for it.

You see, I dislike what I call the “park and click” places where accessing the gorgeous surroundings require little to no effort on behalf of the visitors. Avalanche Trail was an easy, yet rewarding, 4-mile round trip adventure that placed me right at the edge of a phenomenal scene.

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Avalanche Lake

And on the other side of the park, I viewed three waterfalls, reveling in the fact that I had to move my legs to get there. It was magnificent just being in a mountain-clad utopia interacting with the environment in such an authentic way.

I didn’t even have to use my bear spray!

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The view from my car entering the east side of Glacier

North Cascades Recap

Countdown:

  • 6 more parks to go!
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Stopping to smell the flowers…

Length of Stay:

  • 1 day, 1 night

High:

  • The fascinating emerald green lakes
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The glacial silt turns the lakes a unique color

Low:

  • Dam power lines obscuring the landscape
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One of the old power plants in the park

Favorite Hike:

  • Thunder Knob Trail
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The view from Thunder Knob.  This is why the North Cascades are known as the “American Alps”.

Favorite Treat:

  • Smoked salmon

I Almost Ran Over a Bear

True story.

Not even kidding.

I was driving the speed limit on my way into North Cascades national park. I had just come from the ranger station back in town, armed with maps and ready to hit up some nifty hiking trails in the mountains.

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Getting ready to head out for the day (but taking a moment to appreciate the crazy-looking sky)

The weather wasn’t playing nice; it was drizzling and icky out, meaning the roads were slick. I was looking out for the sign indicating I was officially in the park, when I saw this animal out of the corner of my eye. Its fur was jet black, soaked from the rain and fluttering absentmindedly in the wind.

My brain registered it was a black bear.

I slammed on the brakes and leaned backwards, subconsciously believing that my body weight might be able to slow down the car’s (and MyPod’s) momentum. The stuff in the back seat fell to the floor in a crescendo of motion and sound.

The bear lumbered gracefully across the highway, never once looking at me. I was certain that my car would clip it, but then he sped up at the last moment, putting a little extra effort into his gallop.

At this point my tires were screeching noisily and my heart rate had kicked up a notch. Without ever so much as a backwards glance, the bear disappeared into the brush on the other side of the road. The last I saw was his bum.

And then I laughed.

I had encountered nature in all its wild and primitive glory, and, once again, came out unscathed. I was relieved that I hadn’t caused any harm to my ursus americanus friend. The black bear truly was beautiful – probably just a teenager out for an early morning exploration. He probably told his friends a narrative about the crazy lady and her red camper that almost gunned him down.

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A very full river I explored right after the bear/car incident

A Visit to the Motherland

Canada was so close. It had been almost four years since I had lasted visited my country of birth, so I figured it was high-time to cross the border and enjoy a butter tart or Nanaimo bar.

I left Clarence the teardrop trailer with a babysitter and hopped on a ferry to take me across the strait to Victoria, a very architecturally pretty city. With the Olympic peninsula behind me, I looked forward to a weekend dedicated to getting caught up with my ensemble of childhood friends. I couldn’t wait to reminisce, laugh, and relax with some ladies who have known me since I was a wee child in corduroy pants and Velcro sneakers.

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Victoria Harbour/Harbor

 

British Columbia is an absolutely beautiful province. It’s landscape is very different from Ontario, where I grew up, but the general Canadian-ness was still the same. People said “sore-y” when accidentally bumped into, just like I fondly remember.

The gals and I hung out at Mystic Beach one day, reveling in the sunshine and gorgeous backdrop of evergreen trees. A mini-waterfall sprayed behind us, while the ocean waves crashed in a soothing rhythm. We talked for hours, enjoying being outside and getting reacquainted with the happenings in each of our lives.

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Mystic Beach

One evening, I saw bioluminescent bacteria trickling around the shore of an inlet. I placed my hand in the water, swished it around, and watched green lights sparkling about. It was special – something I thought only happened in remote, exotic places in the world.

When I return to the good ol’ U.S. of A., I’ll be on the final leg of my journey. With 2,927 miles separating me and home, I’m eager to begin my final push east.

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Pretty lil’ waterfall

So long Motherland.

So long Pacific Coast.

Hello to the last handful of parks.

Olympic Recap

Countdown:

  • 7 more parks to go!
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A hike with cascading water is always an A+ in my book

Length of Stay:

  • 3 days, 2 nights

High:

  • Exploring the tide pools
  • Mountain vistas
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The view from Hurricane Ridge – about 5,000 feet higher than the rainforest

Low:

  • Mud – the kind that grips your shoes, suctions your feet as you walk, and feels like it’s going to swallow you whole

Favorite Hike:

  • Sol Duc Falls
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Three waterfalls for the price of one (Sol Duc)

Favorite Treat:

  • Famous clam chowder from Pike Place Chowder in nearby Seattle
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Scrumdiddilyumptious