Big Trip (Days 25-29)

We finally had the honor of experiencing the forever drenched feeling of being in the Pacific Northwest. Our tent has had so many close calls with drying out, only to have it downpour in the middle of the night. As amusing as it is to watch Evan’s frustration rise (the crazy eyes get real), he’s got nothing on me when I hit my wall. So, I guess you could say this part of the trip is where we broke.
Day 25:

We finally got the remnants of Evan’s hulk mode fixed at an auto glass place in Portland before we hit up Mount Saint Helens. As soon as we got there, we saw three school buses crowding the parking lot. Kids were screaming, dogs were barking and simply utter chaos surrounded us. Luckily, by the time it took us to find our gear in the thrown-together backseat of our tiny car, the kids were back to school. Evan and I are officially cavers now that we’ve hiked the complete darkness of Ape Caves. It was wonderful how quiet and peaceful it was if you muted Evan talking about the “cave snakes.” 


After a few scrapes on my ungraceful self, we left for Mount Rainier National Park. But as we approached the time to find a campsite, Evan kept having me turn around and backtrack because we couldn’t find the campsite he had seen as we drove in. At that moment, I was deep into the state of hangriness. My stomach was screaming and my face was scowled. To add to my lovely mood of the night, we had wifi that reached to our tent which meant Evan decided to go through all of his Instagram captions. “Can I please just go to bed?” I asked over and over again only to be met with “No! See, this caption here is funny because…” Someone please tell me he’s not as funny as he thinks he is. 

Day 26:

I woke in a good mood, but Evan was brooding while standing out in the rain, staring at the drenched tent. We wadded up the dripping tent and left for Mount Rainier, which happened to be rainy as well. 


So, with Evan being slightly sick (probably of me), we only drove around since the combination of cold and rainy would not be optimal for him. From there, we decided to be civilized humans and head to Seattle to take a look out of the Space Needle, watch the Penguins play and catch up with some local friends. Yes, I have friends–they’re not all Evan’s friends. 

Day 27:

We drove up to Olympic National Park and stopped at a visitor’s center. A nice old couple running the place gave us a list of all their favorite spots. They also nonchalantly dropped in the fact that the husband had once flung a woman over his back potato sack style on the beach to show her around. Ok. 

We drove up to Hurricane Ridge and were socked in with fog, but we got snowed on. You could see Evan jumping around just like a husky does in snow. Moving on to more pop-culture relevant moments in our trip, we stayed in La Push that evening. Hello, Twilight fans. I know you’re still out there. As you enter the town, they had a sign mentioning the treaty line and that there was a vampire threat. Quaking in our boots for sure. 


Hearing no werewolf howls, we figured we were safe to camp on Second Beach in La Push. Evan scrambled up a rock to get a better view after we set up the tent. I didn’t see how he had gotten up, so I asked and trusted him when he pointed to the almost completely vertical, crumbly looking rock face. I’m carefully placing my hands and feet all the way up to the top. As soon as I let a breath out and take in the view, Evan goes, “I didn’t go that way.” He then showed me the side that was basically a ramp. He didn’t even have to use his hands. He said, “I figured where you went would be doable.”  Thanks, Evan. 


We watched the sun set behind the large rock formations on the beach and retreated to our now nearly dry tent. As we were being lulled to sleep by the sound of crashing waves, we heard the slow start to an eventually steady rain. I promise that with each drip, Evan’s eye twitched. 

Day 28:

When we arose from our tent in the morning, we found that high tide was much higher than expected. We were lucky to not have been dragged out to sea like a raft. 


This day was slightly uneventful with merely a short stroll through the Hoh Rainforest (which was cool), eating at a restaurant called Restaurant and attempting to refill medication at the CVS with a woman who definitely had too much coffee that morning. All good and easy until I hit my wall. Usually I do tend to get slaphappy and laugh a bit when I’m tired, but this was another level. 


It all started with finding our dinner place for the evening that tooted its horn for having “great vegarian” food. Intrigued yet confused, we waltzed into the restaurant. There was some tasty food, but all of a sudden I couldn’t stop thinking about how the sign said “great vegarian.” I was almost immediately crying from laughter, and I couldn’t contain myself for the entire span of dinner. I could barely see out of my eyes. Luckily, Evan was the designated driver for the evening. He tried telling me I should have a beer to calm myself down, but I figured I was under enough of my own influence that I shouldn’t stir the pot. 

Day 29:

Waking up in North Cascades National Park, we got the chance to check it out. We hit up Diablo lake which was a gorgeous view of “The American Alps.” 


From there, we drove up to Vancouver, British Columbia and found a bar to watch the Penguins win the Stanley Cup. After their win, the bartender said “I knew they’d do it, but two in a row is excessive.” I don’t know how being awesome can get old, but we’ll go with it. 


At the bar, Evan and I looked up campsites nearby. There were very few, so we hit up the first one we found. It ended up being on a hill in the suburbs of Vancouver. It also happened to just be a parking lot with two other people sleeping in their cars. As we rolled up, we spotted a bear right next to our car. Not feeling like being torn apart by baby bear in the dark of night, we slept in our car and tried not to venture outside. Since we were nervous about the bear and it was getting late, I used my GoGirl for only the second time (it meant I wouldn’t have to be cheeks out and vulnerable in the bear’s lair). Not a great idea if you’re nervous about bears apparently. I guess since I was looking around to check for predators (hello, cat-like instincts), I didn’t fully have the GoGirl in the “locked position.” In my rush, I dribbled all over my pants like a four year old in a diaper. Evan was dying laughing at me, but it’s not like I’ve had years of experience with the thing! I quickly threw off my pants, took a baby wipe shower and snuggled into my sweats. 


Mosquito update: that night, Evan swore he heard a mosquito buzzing in our car, and was trying to find and kill it like he was a head hunter on a mission. I think he’s definitely cracking. 

Clearly our mental stability is a bit nonexistent right now, but neither of us has yet to throw the other out of the car. I think that’s a win in my book right now–that silver lining is key. Check back in a bit for what’s next: weird coincidences, Glacier National Park, Yellowstone and the Tetons. 

Bruh, Volcanoes

Authored by Not Wanderlust’s head geologist: Evan Dismukes
I should have prefaced my previous post with this, but I didn’t and now it’s even more relevant the further north we get. All volcanic activity on the west coast is a result of the Pacific Continental Plate being subducted underneath the North American Plate. This interaction is also what causes the earthquakes that occur from Argentina all the way to Alaska. I know I mentioned the possibility for tsunamis before when I was talking about Lake Tahoe, but when you see tsunami evacuation routes along the coast, that doesn’t mean “let the surfers have the best wave of their lives” it genuinely means “I hope you brought your floaties.”
Our first stop for this post was Lassen Volcanic National Park. The most interesting things we did there was compare the snowbanks to our height and pitch a tent on the snow. I’m not saying it was boring, that’s just all we did because there was so much snow you couldn’t drive past the visitor’s center. We did walk up to the first stop which had a couple steam vents, a mud pit and the distinct overpowering smell of sulfur. We could see a couple peaks from this spot which are the remnants of the caldera collapse that occurred in the area. That was cool and all, but it was getting dark and we decided we should probably pitch our tent on top of the snow to help keep us from being too cold that night.

Then, we made our way over to the coast starting by Trinidad on our way to Redwoods. Most of the geology here is getting back to sandstones, shale and cheer which helps build the fertile ground to support the redwood trees that cover the area. This also means that you really can’t see any of the geology because you have all these stupid trees in the way, but there were elk, so that was cool.

To continue our trend of being inhibited by an epic snowfall year, we arrived at Crater Lake. Only 1 mile of the perimeter road was open, but that was enough to get some photos for mom and attend a presentation by one of the rangers. The crater started out as a shield volcano (think Hawaii) called Mount Mazama. The last time it erupted, it collapsed in on itself forming the caldera that has since been filled with snowmelt. After we left the lake, then decided to continue our trend of camping in fun, new environments so we camped in a mosquito nest.

After me breaking our windshield, we headed to Mount Hood to get my postseason days on snow to eclipse my regular season days on snow. Mount Hood, a volcano, has 12 glaciers covering it which is why it is able to be open 12 months of the year for skiing. When it comes to glaciers, while ample snowfall is important, what’s really key to their existence is very mild weather during the summer. Luckily the Pacific Northwest climate does exactly that combined with indescribably heavy annual snowfalls; the perfect environment for 5-year-olds who wanna do triple corks and 25-year-olds who just wanna ski and live out of their vans. The downside to this volcano is that it is listed by the USGS as the “most likely volcano in Oregon to erupt.” When Hood erupts, it does not explode like the recent Mount Saint Helens or Mount Pinatubo eruptions. It mostly spits out a bunch of ash, which depending on the situation causes two things: if the heated ash interacts with enough snow, it melts the snow and forms Lahars (large mudflows) or if the ash stays hot and there are enough gasses in it to keep the cloud light, it will form Pyroclastic Flows (like an avalanche of dry superheated rock). Both would suck a lot more than being stuck in a snow avalanche because neither your AvaLung nor your AirBag will save you. 

Now we’re prepping for our move north into Washington and hanging out with some more friends in Seattle. From there, we can only hope that our passports will suffice to let us cross the US/Canada border since our PA licenses are now officially not federally recognized as valid IDs. I am a legal natural born citizen. Your move Trump.

Big Trip (Days 19-24)

Surprise! Our legs found more ski slopes this week, but skiing wasn’t the only time we were on the snow. Our three-season tent had the honor of experiencing season four. Likewise, Evan has made some new jumps: he adopted a giant slug and smashed our windshield with his mighty fist. 
Day 19 (continued):

Little did we know, when I posted last, that we’d be snow camping in Lassen Volcanic National Park. We rolled up to a nearly empty and closed park, but still had the fabulous opportunity of being assaulted by the delicious smell of the sulfur springs. 

With two other tents set up, we threw down our tent on the snow which had been a result of a 200% more than average snowfall. That night, I couldn’t tell if Evan was hotboxing the tent with his farts or if it was the sulfur–I prefer to use Evan as my scapegoat.  

Day 20:

Leaving Lassen Volcanic, we stopped in Weaverville for Mama Llama food. As an avid wannabe llama owner (I just recently found out therapy llamas might be a thing), I was stoked to eat at this place. It felt like a thrown-together townie lunch spot which only enhanced the NorCal hippie vibe and delicious food. 
Evan and I stopped at Houda Point and Trinidad, California on our way to the Redwood National Park and happened to fall head over heels for the colder volcanic rock beach. Not equipped with a wetsuit (or surfboard), we merely froze our feet off as we ran into the water. Bonus, though, we got to make friends with starfish clinging to exposed rocks and embark on a tiny cave adventure. We walked around like kids in a candy shop. 

The best part was finding the seals on some rocks not too far off the beach. We were about to leave when we heard them barking. I immediately looked at Evan, yell “seals!” and start running toward the sound. Three seals were hanging out fighting about who was allowed to stay on the rock. It was quite the drama–nearly as juicy as watching The Bachelor. 


Leaving my people (the seals) behind, we made it to Redwood National Park. It was beautiful with more of that cold coast, but was probably the most confusing national park we’ve visited. There are a couple national forests mixed around the national park and there’s not an ideal road to take straight through the park. 


For some direction, we started talking to a ranger who happened to be putting on a stargazing even on in the park that night. So, we snagged a camp site for the night (where Evan adopted this massive slug) and arrived awkwardly early for the event on the Bald Hills. 


All of us plopped down in the field atop the mountain in hopes that the massive amounts of fog would lift and show us the constellations, but we ended up taking for three hours before giving up. To be honest, I felt like I was in a horror movie the entire time. The ranger kept mentioning she was worried about bears around, and she even told us that the rangers’ tracking of mountain lions showed that the cats enjoy sitting around trails and watching people pass. Now, we were in a field surrounded by thick woods and socked in by fog. I was on the edge of the circle which means I’d be the first to go. It’s always the one who’s easiest to pick off that gets claimed first. It was very tense and you could hear the frantic violins in the background as we looked for animals waiting to strike. Pretty sure everyone else was calm, but my mind obviously ran a bit wild. 


For those curious: it’s ok, we made it out alive. 
Day 21:

Today would initiate the downfall of our windshield, but our innocent selves began a beautiful day eating breakfast in Crescent Point. Evan was way too excited about having three different kinds of fresh seafood in his omelette. Clearly the day started out too well, and we were doomed. An incident had to occur. 

We blissfully arrived at a snowy Crater Lake National Park on a fabulous bluebird day. We threw some snowballs and slid down a pre-made butt slide. My new Marmot shorts we even waterproof enough that I didn’t get ice burn or have a wet butt while walking around. (Too good, right?) Also, Evan got the chance to show Linda his sick sliding skills so she’d “break up with her boyfriend for sure” -Horgasm, a Love Story (it’s a ski movie that you won’t regret watching). 


In the lodge, I asked a worker where we could catch the Penguins game and he directed me to Diamond Lake. Initially, i through the had sent us on a wild goose chase considering the lake was mostly a camping spot, but we found the bar and got to watch our team blow it (we lost 5-1). The downfall had to happen at some point. 

From there, we quickly snagged a spot in the national forest. This time it was actually inside of the woods, but also in a nest of mosquitos. It was like having a school of fish following you, but ready to suck your blood. I went to the bathroom and got at least 20 bug bites in places I would rather not. The hatred for these pests slowly grew overnight. Evan was flicking them off our tent from the inside as he grumbled about the nerve they have for swarming us. 
Day 22:

We looked at one another. “Ready?” I said. Evan nodded, and we flew out of the tent, shoved it inside the bag and flailed our arms as we booked it to the car. As I drove, Evan began killing all of the mosquitos that has decided to hitch a ride with us. With a war cry and incredible accuracy, he slapped down the final mosquito. As soon as his hand hit the windshield for the kill, his watch slapped the glass and it cracked. See carnage here:


With our sad windshield in tow, we headed to Corvallis to stay with another of Evan’s friend. We arrived extremely early so we walked around town and wandered into an outdoors store, Peak. With greasy hair, smelly bodies and grungy third-day clothes, the guy working there mistook us for Corvallis locals. Hey, at least we didn’t have to feel bad about being disgusting for once. Our local-looking selves spent the evening hanging out at Sky High Brewing on their rooftop bar eating the best tater tots. 

When we finally got to the friend’s place, his fiancé was talking about how, as a geologist, Evan’s friend continually makes them pull of the road to point out cool rock formations. I laughed because that’s exactly what Evan does, and he now shares it with all of you through his articles on here. Geologists, man. What are you gonna do. 
Day 23:

Prying Evan away from a fellow geologist, we headed to test out our summer ski legs at Mount Hood Timberline. The snow was great and the runs were long. Our legs were feeling the burn, but so were our arms since shorts and t-shirts were the way to go. We did get to watch all of the mountaineers walking toward the top of Hood and gaze at the beauty of a crevasse while on the lifts. The mountain closed at 2 p.m., so we checked out the shop to snag a sticker for our dad. I also bought a shirt since I had absolutely no clean shirts left–wups. 

We drove to Hood River to stay with our friends, talk about embarrassing stories and go out for some great pizza. 
Day 24:

We spent the morning calling to see if auto glass repair shops could get us in as soon as possible. The only place that had a Golf windshield ready by tomorrow was in Portland, so we headed to the city with the warning from our friends that the people watching would be on another level (like watching-some-dude-swim-across-grass another level). 


We didn’t really know where to go in the city, so we headed up to Rocky Butte to get almost a bird’s eyes view of the city and see Mount Saint Helen’s and Mount Hood from a distance. With the mental picture of an olympic grass swimmer, we hung out in a park in Vancouver, Washington before staying at our mom’s friend’s house nearby. 


I put on my “nice” outfit, aka Chacos and slim-fit hiking pants, to go eat at an awesome restaurant on a dock. It was kind of relaxing to float and eat at the same time–we do tend to be power multitaskers. Unfortunately, we were not able to coax out any college stories about our mom as we previously had the chance to do in Huntington Beach. 


For the first night since we started this trip, we got to sleep in beds like normal people. The cushy life left us refreshed and ready to take on the next leg of our trip. We’re off to Mount Saint Helen’s, Seattle, Olympic National Park, Mount Rainier National Park and Canada (for some Whistler skiing and Banff National Park).