Mount Hood National Forest: Timberline Lodge


Welcome back to National Parks & other public lands with T! If you are seeing this on Twitter or Facebook, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking the link.


We took a day trip with Sea to Summit Tours & Adventures that traveled the Columbia River highway stopping at numerous waterfalls, vista point, a dam and salmon ladder, an orchard and other picturesque places, culminating with a stop at the Timberline Lodge on Mount Hood.


Timberline Lodge was built during the Great Depression by the Works Progress Administration. It sits on the south side of Mount Hood, within Mount Hood National Forest. The lodge was dedicated in 1937 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.


Timberline Lodge is publicly owned and privately operated. We briefly looked around inside the historic hotel which has some museum-type displays. The lodge was the setting for The Shining and you can ask at the concierge desk to see the ax supposedly wielded by Jack Nicholson.


We skipped that and used our short time before heading back to Portland to explore the outdoors. Mount Hood National forest is one of the most visited National Forests in the US. It contains many developed recreational sites, including Timberline.


We were there in August and people were skiing! Mount Hood is Oregon’s highest point at over eleven thousand feet and is home to 12 glaciers. I believe the one we could see from the back of the lodge is the Palmer Glacier.


Mount Hood is a potentially active volcano and is considered the Oregon volcano most likely to erupt. This made us a little nervous, hearing that as we approached the mountain, though the odds of an explosive eruption happening within the next 30 years is actually pretty low. Scientists estimate it at a 3-7% chance.


Mount Hood is in the Cascade Range. From the patio of Timberline Lodge, we could see several other mountains in the distance.


Location: 27500 E Timberline Road, Government Camp, OR 97028

Designation: National Forest, National Historic Landmark

Date designation declared: 7/1/1908, 12/22/1977

Date of my visit: August 2016


Fort Vancouver National Historic Site: McLoughlin House


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John McLoughlin was the Chief Factor at Fort Vancouver from 1825-1845. To see my post on Fort Vancouver, click here.


Though his mission was to make money for the Hudson Bay Trading Company, McLoughlin had a soft spot for the starving immigrants arriving in the territory via the Oregon Trail and often assisted them with goods from the Fort Vancouver Mercantile to help get them started with their new lives.


He purchased a plot of land by the Willamette River in 1844 and named it Oregon City. The charter was granted in December of that year. Oregon City is the oldest incorporated city West of the Missouri.


He was forced into retirement and settled with his family by the Willamette Falls in 1846. A trained physician, he was known in Oregon City as The Doctor.


He became an American citizen in 1851 and worked towards developing the prosperity of the Oregon Territory. Known for his generosity in support of the community, he served as the mayor of Oregon City.


In 1909, the McLoughin home was saved from destruction and moved from its spot by the falls by the McLoughlin Memorial Association. The park ranger showed us photos of the house being pulled on rollers by horses uphill to its present location next to the Barclay house.


The McLoughlin House, along with the Barclay House which houses the Visitors Center,  was consolidated into the Fort Vancouver NPS unit in 2003. It is only open a few days a week, so we timed our visit to take the ranger-led tour of the house.


The site is also listed as a stop on the Oregon National Historic Trail. The Oregon Trail brought over 200 thousand settlers to the area in covered wagons. For those who made it as far as the Oregon Territory, John McLoughlin played a pivotal role in their success and has come to be known as ‘The Father of Oregon.’


Location: 713 Center St, Oregon City, OR 97045

Designation: National Historic Site

Date designation declared: 1941

Date of my visit: 8/26/2016


Wildlife Images Rehabilitation and Education Center


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Wildlife Images Rehabilitation and Education Center has been rescuing sick, injured and orphaned wildlife in Oregon for nearly 40 years. Established as a non-profit organization in 1981 by David Siddon, his work continues today under the leadership of his son and hundreds of volunteers.


The center rehabilitates and releases an average of 50% of the animals it takes in each year which is higher than the national average of 33%


Those animals that cannot be released into the wild become educational ambassadors or permanent residents. While staying in the Grant’s Pass area, we took the 90 minute guided tour of the facility.


We saw all sorts of birds of prey, river otters (in an actual river habitat built through the center of the park), some wolf-dog hybrids, a cougar and two Kodiak bears. The bears are no longer native to Oregon, but came to the center from Alaska when they could not be released into the wild.


The center is adjacent to the National Wild and Scenic Rogue River which we toured later that day on a Hellgate boat excursion. You can see my post about that here.


Location: 11845 Lower River Rd, Grants Pass, OR 97526

Designation: Non-profit wildlife rescue

Date designated or established: 2004

Date of my visit: 8/25/2016


Crater Lake National Park: Happy 117th birthday!



Welcome back to National Parks & other public lands with T! If you are seeing this on Twitter or Facebook, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking the link.


One hundred seventeen years ago, on May 22, 1902, President Theodore Roosevelt signed the bill establishing Crater Lake in Oregon as a National Park. This park protects the brilliant blue volcanic lake which is the deepest in the U.S. at 1,943 feet.


Millenia ago,  Mount Mazama (an ancient volcano) collapsed forming Crater Lake in its caldera. There are no rivers feeding into the lake or underground water sources…the water is replenished only by rain and snow. The purity of the water combined with the depth of the lake create the vivid blue color.



Crater Lake posts:



Location: Crater Lake, OR

Designation: National Park

Date designated or established: 5/22/1902

Date of my visit: 8/25/2016


Wild and Scenic Rogue River: Hellgate Canyon


Welcome back to National Parks & other public lands with T! If you are seeing this on Twitter or Facebook, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking the link


The Rogue River in Oregon is one of the eight rivers designated a Wild and Scenic River by Congress in 1968. Parts of it are managed by the National Forest Service and the rest is managed by the Bureau of Land Management. To see my earlier post on the Natural Bridge in National Forest Service, click here.


We explored the BLM-managed section while staying in Grants Pass with a four hour dinner tour through Hellgate Jetboat Excursions. Our excursion departed from the landing by the Caveman Bridge in Grants Pass. This bridge is named for its proximity to the Oregon Caves National Monument.


We motored about 20 miles up river while our guide told stories and directed us to any wildlife sightings. We saw some turtles and a bald eagle.


Every so often, the guide would warn us to stow our phones and cameras in a plastic bag and the driver would speed up, do a a spin-out and get us all wet. It was a hot summer day, so this was welcome, except for the few ladies with fancy hair and makeup who obviously hadn’t read the disclaimers (you WILL get wet) prior to signing up.


Then we arrived at historic Hellgate Canyon with 100-foot-high cliffs on either side.  Several movies have been filmed here including Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and  River Wild.


A few minutes downriver from the canyon, we disembarked at the Hellgate River Lodge. We ate a barbecue meal on the homestead’s patio high above the Rogue River. We took a few pictures of the black-tailed deer hanging out nearby and then climbed back aboard the boat to return to Grants Pass.

Location: 966 SW 6th St, Grants Pass, OR 97526

Designation: Wild and Scenic River

Date designation declared: October 1968

Date of my visit: 8/24/2016


Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area

Day2-DSCN0022Welcome back to National Parks & other public lands with T! If you are seeing this on Twitter or Facebook, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking the link.


The Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area is a National Recreation Area contained within the Siuslaw National Forest and so is a unit of the US Forest Service, not the NPS. Back in my post on Flathead National Forest, I talked briefly about the Forest Service’s mission of managed conservation vs. the National Park Service’s goal of preservation. As a result of this different ‘prime directive’, you are likely to find more commercial recreational opportunities in National Forest lands.


Oregon Dunes is a 40 mile stretch along the southern Oregon coastline of temperate sand dunes intermingled with forested land. We stopped in a few sections of this park on our drive down Highway 101 to Redwoods National Park.


Our first stop was in the northern section in Florence, Oregon. We took a sandrail tour with Sandland Adventures, giving us our first glimpse of these sand mountains.


Our driver and tour guide was Ben. We took the thirty minute tour and it was a wild, thrilling ride around the dunes with some scenic interludes while we caught our breath. There is a calmer ride available on a sort of dune bus for those with motion sickness issues.


The dunes themselves are the result of millions of years of wind erosion. Some of them are 500 feet above sea level. Here and there you will find a forested oasis in the middle of all that sand.


As we traveled south the dunes were visible from the highway in some sections. Our next stop was in Reedsport where we found the park’s Visitor Center was closed. So we had lunch across the street at the Harbor Light Family Restaurant.


This is a small place, frequented by locals. We did have to wait 15 minutes for a table to open up, but it was worth the wait. They source many of their ingredients locally. Two of us had the chicken pot pie. They have a smoker and use the tender smoked chicken in the pot pie. Yum!


After lunch, we visited Umpqua Lighthouse State Park. This park is centered within Oregon Dunes National Recreational Area. Though the dunes here are not as dramatic as in the Northern section, there is a beautiful ocean vista, a historic lighthouse (circa 1894) and a small museum.


Location: 855 U.S. 101, Reedsport, OR 97467

Designation: National Forest, National Recreation Area

Date designation declared: 3/23/1972

Date of my visit: 8/20/2016


Travelling south over the Conde McCullough Memorial/Coos Bay Bridge as we left the Oregon Dunes NRA behind. This bridge was built in 1936 and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Top 10 Posts of 2018


Welcome back to National Parks & other public lands with T! As 2018 draws to a close, I’d like to do a year-in-review post. It’s been a great inaugural year here on the blog, with 113 posts, over 5000 visitors and over 600 people following along on the journey. I am grateful for and humbled by your support.

Here are the top ten most popular posts from 2018 (you can click on each title to go to the original post):

10: Great Smoky Mountains National Park – Clingman’s Dome (Tennessee/North Carolina)DSC05739

9: Montezuma Castle National Monument (Arizona)IMG_5657

8: Muir Woods National Monument (California)F-_2012_2012-08-11-San-Francisco_DSC02511

7: Crater Lake National Park – Garfield Peak (Oregon)Day7-IMG_6122

6: Bryce Canyon National Park (Utah)DSCN0953

5: Flathead National Forest – Whitefish Mountain (Montana)IMG_1677

4: Acadia National Park – Loop Road Highlights (Maine)IMG_1355

3: Acadia National Park – Jordan Pond and the Bubbles (Maine)2007_0527(009)

2: Glacier National Park – Running Eagle Falls (Montana)IMG_1792

And the most popular post of 2018….Capitol Reef National Park – Cathedral Valley (Utah)IMG_8712

Happy New Year everyone and here’s to happy exploring ahead for 2019!