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Yesterday summer arrived! It took its own sweet time this year. Temperatures in the valley rose above 90 but up high, they were in the 70’s – perfect hiking weather.

The girls and I made the long drive up to and beyond Harts Pass to walk up to the lookout at Slate Peak. From there we had a 360 degree view of the North Cascades! Seeing the peaks and basins, I could choose where we were going to go hiking and I chose my favorite – the stretch of the Pacific Crest Trail that goes towards Grasshopper Pass. Since we’d already been enjoying the day, it was a bit of a late start on the hike and we only made it just past Tatie Peak. Still, a wonderful outing full of grand vistas and charming wildflowers and a few animals too.

The girls and I, along with Red Molly went out on a new road the other day. It’s always fun to explore new places. It was good timing because the wildflowers were still quite nice. Of course, the mosquitoes were still quite numerous and hungry. A person just can’t stand still for long.

We stayed two nights at Fort Stevens. After an evening at the beach, we were driving back to camp and were lucky enough to see a herd of eleven Roosevelt elk. They were all bulls with velvet-covered antlers. We had seen them near Warrenton outside of Astoria, before going to the park and Ken had seen one from the beach. Some of them were grazing on Scotch broom, a nasty yellow-flowered invasive weed in the Pacific NW.

Just before we left Oregon, we went to see the wreck of the Peter Iredale. It crashed into the sand in 1906. The ship was 287 feet long and 30 feet wide. Only a small portion of it remains visible in the sand. The area surrounding the mouth of the Columbia River is knows as the graveyard of the Pacific in regards to shipping disasters.

For the second half of our camping trip, we went to Fort Stevens State Park in Oregon. It is also at the mouth of the Columbia River but on the south side. It is an enormous park with lots and lots of paved bike trails and miles and miles of beach. Much of the beach is open to driving which decreases the wild nature of the place but there weren’t too many cars on the sand while we were there. The tracks were evident though.

The campground is a long ways from the beaches so we drove to them with the dogs. Some beaches are much less popular due to a high dune to cross to access the water. And the campgrounds cram a lot of people into a small space so they were noisy and crowded. We probably won’t go back to Fort Stevens. Oregon has lots of other nice state parks on the coast. This park is good for families and people that bring their bicycles.

The dogs had fun at the beach.

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