Monday, August 26
After a quick, goodbye visit to the Tieton River bank, the crew and I hit the road! We stop at Silver Beach RV Resort on Rimrock Lake to dump tanks and fill the fresh water tank ($7). The lake is drained to a low level. The geese like it!
On the way to White Pass I pull into a “viewing area” which is Clear Creek Falls. This waterfall spills a delicate “veil” over the rocks which I didn’t quite capture in this photo. Oh well . . .You get the idea.
The drive up and through White Pass is not difficult when going east to west. It looks like a steeper climb driving in the opposite direction. I’m enjoying the drive. It’s very scenic but there are few places to stop for photos.
I pull into another viewpoint and notice three people staring.Heh-heh. They’re looking at my rig and the solar panel, I bet. I get out of the PTV and put on a long-sleeved shirt over my tee shirt. It’s colder at this elevation.
The man, woman, and another woman (who probably is the mother of one of the other two) ask many questions about my set-up which I’m happy to answer, aka brag about.
Mt. Ranier is visible from this look-out on any day other than the one in which I’m here. Clouds totally obscure the mountain, much as the fog did when I drove A THOUSAND MILES to see the Pacific.
Moving right along . . .
I discover the Packwood Ranger Station no longer exists. I can see from the many RVs, cargo trailers, flea market tents, concessionaires, hustle and bustle, etc. that I need to keep going.
At Randle I visit the Gifford-Pinchot National Forest Station.
The ranger ladies give me a pretty good idea where I can’t disperse camp. My impression is that they’re being negative. However, when I get on Forest Road 23 I can see the difficulty in finding boondocks. They weren’t being negative, just realistic.
This is FOREST.
We’re talking dense forest, as in rainforest. Moss that grows on anything not moving (so keep active here!), ferns with big fronds like palm tree fronds, trees so enormous if you try to hug them your arms won’t go halfway around and the tops are in the clouds. You don’t want to know about the size of the slug I saw sliding along on its own slime. . . ewwww!
Welcome to the Pacific Northwest!
Beautiful forest, but, man, hard to find boondocks.
The words of the rangers ring in my head.
“If you go down the spur roads, you won’t be able to turn your trailer around. People camp with tents, mostly that they carry in.”
Since I have to leave the BLT by itself on Friday when I drive to Morton to pick up the registrations which will have arrived (being positive here!), I probably should camp in a campground anyway. That’s a substantial trip and I don’t feel good about leaving the BLT in this forest. Don’t ask me why — just a feeling. Maybe that slug spooked me.
At Randle we head south on Forest Road 23.
I drive about 15 miles, give or take, up a winding, paved road to North Fork Campground. Long before we reach the campground sign, I realize we’re out of internet signal territory.
If you’re looking at a map of our travels, you may wonder why we aren’t boondocking along the Cowlitz River, which, by the way, is a broad, slow-moving, and very green river that meanders through a wide valley. Well, it’s all private land, that’s why not.
North Fork Campground is small.
All the sites ($18 regular/$9 senior pass) are reserved for Labor Day Weekend, starting September 29th. Well, that’s a problem to deal with later. Right now we need to find a site for tonight.
I love the anticipation of a new camp. This is what one sees upon entering the campground. Not many campers here today.
It’s a small, pull-through site with three great features. It has its own water spigot of delicious water, it receives some sunshine, and it has a path to the North Fork! (More about the campsite in a future post.)
“Yeah, Spike! We have a creek in our back yard! Come along. You can soak later.”
“You like it here, don’t you, Spikey!”
Note: Once again we’re without internet signal. I won’t be able to respond to comments although eventually I will read and enjoy every one of them. I love to read your comments!
RVSUE SHOPPERS, I APPRECIATE YOUR AMAZON ORDERS!
THANK YOU VERY MUCH!