Our last stop on the way to Michigan was the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore which is on the southern edge of Lake Michigan. There is also the Indiana Sand Dunes State Park in the middle of the national park. It is not a contiguous park as there are several parts that are separated from the main section. This park encompasses a variety of habitats to see and learn about. The eco systems represented here are: lakes, beach, dunes, interdunal, marsh, swamp, savanna, prairie, rivers, bogs and fens.
As Bev mentioned in the last post, we decided to revisit the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve in Strong City, Kansas on our way back east. The first time we visited was in July 2017. The grasses were only about 2 feet high. So, like many, we asked the rangers, “Where’s the Tallgrass?” They patiently explained (seems everyone asks that question) that the grass grows during the summer months and reaches its full height during the September/October timeframe. Then you can see the grass at around 5-6 feet depending on the amount of rainfall during the summer. Continue reading “There Be Tallgrass in Them There Hills”
Finally, after 6 weeks in the beautiful state of Washington, we made our way to the last stop, Mount Rainier National Park. It lived up to its fame.
“Of all the fire mountains which like beacons, once blazed along the Pacific Coast, Mount Rainier is the noblest.” – John Muir
Here are some more (better) pictures from Bev on Mount Saint Helens National Volcanic Monument. Her Nikon takes much better pictures than my cellphone. ….
The devastation brought about by lahars and the pyroclastic flow was extensive. Besides the 230 square miles of forest destroyed, animals were also killed in large numbers. It is estimated that 1,500 Roosevelt elk, 5,000 deer, hundreds of bears, coyotes, bobcats, rabbits, etc. were killed that day. The monument was made into a very large observatory to examine how nature recovers from such a disaster. Where they could, the mountain and surrounding areas were left as they had been after the explosion in 1980.
The day after arriving in Castle Rock, we hopped into the car for a drive to Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument. We wanted to take a look at the mountain that blew its top in 1980. As we drove along, we kept expecting to see the mountain. We stopped in at a few viewpoints and visitor centers, but still no view of the mountain. It was hiding in a low cloud bank. The devastation was easily visible in the valley below us, but not that mountain. We finally decided to turn around and return another day to take it in.
After our visit to Seattle and the Klondike, we headed further west to the Olympic Peninsula for a visit to Olympic National Park. We set up base camp outside the little town of Sequim (pronounced “Sqwim”). The day after we got there, we drove to the main visitor center in Port Angeles. But first, we stopped at a small local restaurant called Nourish! for lunch. What a great lunch. Best we have had in quite awhile. Continue reading “Wandering Through Washington, Part IV”