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JOMEL Adventures Positivity (def): "Anything other than being in the office."

Columbia River, Mt Hood, Eagle Creek and Seattle

USA | Wednesday, 4 June 2008 | Views [819]

After leaving Banks we drove north to the Columbia River on the Oregon/Washington border and set out to find the Wind River Hotsprings. There were a few things I had on my "list" to do during this trip: learn to play a new instrument, go white water rafting, and visit some natural hotsprings. Wind River Hotsprings was meant to be as natural as they come- John had told me about it and given us directions. After a couple hours drive and couple hours hike, including traversing a suspension bridge with many "do not cross!" warnings we found the hotsprings. Unfortunately with all the rain and the time of year it was there was only 1 of the 3 hotsprings still in operation- the others were flooded. Aand the one that was running had two nude old men in it. Unbelievable! We'd come so far and now couldn't even take a dip. We said our polite hellos and made a lame excuse about not getting in and then departed. Well, in reality I did the talking while Jo stood uncomfortably several metres away. While leaving one of the guys jumped out and came after us to give us some more info on one of the flooded hotspinrgs, thankfully he wrapped a towel around himself. Dissappointing but we were proud to have at least found them.
We had planned on camping that night, 4th June, but as it was raining, hard, we only managed to drive in to the campground (along the Columbia River) and find a quick excuse to splurge on a cheap hotel. So we stayed in motel that night in Cascade Locks- and felt royally treated having a tv- something we didn't really notice we missed. I continued my sad attempts at knitting- without much success.
Next day was raining but we wanted to do a hike along Eagle river off the Columbia River (there is a tonne of great hikes around there). Eagle River has some spectacular waterfalls along it. It rained a bit though so we brought out the dodgy poncho's I bought at Walmart. That night it was still raining and cold- so we ditched camping again and splurged on another hotel, this time in the snow at the top of Mount Hood. The snow was beautiful and it was wierd being in a ski town with no people there. As much as I was hating the cold it was beautiful watching the snow fall and got us pumped for the winter we had ahead of us.
Next day was Friday 6th June and we visited some different hotsprings that TJ had told us about; Bagby hotsprings. They were awesome!  It was cold and raining and we thought no one would be there- but they were still so popular! We were lucky to get there in the morning because by early afternoon there was a queue. Bagby had 6 private rooms which were great as I am still not that comfortable with public nudity. Each room had its own tub and then there was also a much bigger public bath house near by. The entire bathhouse was made out of cedar, tubs, pipes and all. It was aweseom and gave you a natural, relaxing feeling. Even the rain was relaxing, it was just a shame that we could hear the couple next door to us and the group of men the other side of us.
Next stop was Portland again to catch up with Lan and his girlfriend Jen. We crashed at Jen's place which was awesome. Jen took us out and showed us around Portland which was really cool. Portalnd is a very chic city- we loved it. There's some really cool bars, restaurants and lots of things to do. We were only there one night and had to leave after breakfast next morning (Sat 7th June) to pick up Renault who was staying with Emily and drive to Seattle. It was a shame we had to leave because Jen and her mates were heading on a massive pubcrawl that arvo and then on a winetour the next day. It sounded like a lot of fun and I love wine tours.
We dropped Renault off at his back packers in down town Seattle and headed to our accommodation for the night. Tis was our first time couchsurfing. Kendra had told us about it at Kings Valley Gardens and it sounded like an awesome way to travel cheap, comfortably, and meet some cool people. And it was awesome. We hooked up with Allen and Angie who had a great apartment near the Space Needle. Our first couching surfing experience was awesome. Angie and Allen were so cool and we got along well. We did a little grocery shopping, cooked dinner at their place and just chatted the night away. They were planning a huge trip in the next year so we had a lot to talk about and information to share. And it was so much more comfortable than camping, comfrtable double mattress, hot showers, and heating! We definitely will be couchsurfing again! We didn't really check anything out in Seattle- it was more just along our route to Alaska.
Next day, Sunday 8th June we drove to Port Angeles to catch out first car ferry for the trip and leave the US for Canada! It was such a nice change from driving- a lot more cruisy and less stressful. We docked in Victoria, on Vancouver at about 6pm and then we had to get through customs. A few things made that a little more difficult than it shoudl have been:
1. We had to get our official working holiday permits in our passports.
2. Jo had a BB gun which goes 750 feet per second and thus in Canada has to be registered as a firearm.
3. We had firewood in the car which we shouldn't have had and we stressed about them searching the car!
Anyway we finally made it through after a fair bit of paperwork, but one of the customs guys pointed me in the right direction for our campground that night: Thetis lake. It did rain again that night, but we managed to cook dinner and set up camp before it came.
Next day we checked out Victoria. It was raining a lot, which kind of limited what we could do but I did have some awesome eggs benedict at a cafe while we used their wireless internet for a while. Then we walked around to the fishermans wharf and watched the tourists feeding a couple of fat seals who must get fed a lot by tourists! Then we walked back in the rain and hid in the tourist information centre from the rain- but a lot of tourists were doing the same thing! It's a very beautiful city with enormous old government buildings, but nothing is really all that enjoyable in the rain. On we drove to Nanaimo! We couldn't camp in the pouring rain so stayed at St Nichol hostel where we were the only guests and enjoyed having a house to ourselves with heating, a kitchen, free wireless internet and hot showers!

Tags: bagby, columbia gorge, hot springs, mt hood, oregon, waterfalls


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