Great Trip in Northwestern U.S.
If you haven’t had an Oregon and North California vacation, pack your suitcases and begin a wonderful vacation. I was able to combine a few days of vacation with a business seminar. I had a wonderful week of travel with my husband, then he left to go back home while I attended the seminar. I stayed in Portland for my business seminar and enjoyed the city.
As for Portland, I found the people to be friendly, lodging in Oregon hotels or motels is no problem, and the salmon is delicious. I did a lot of walking in the city, which is relatively safe. I do not know if it is still as safe. Considering Portland is the rainiest city in the USA, I never saw a drop!
On Saturday I skipped a morning conference and went to the Saturday art market, which had everything you can think of from common foods to all types of artisan's work. It was a wonderful second week that I still considered part of my vacation.
Portland Saturday Market
Columbia River - Lookin at Washington
As for the first week, we only stayed one night east of Portland watching the windsurfers on the Columbia River where you could see the state of Washington on the other side. I will describe the more beautiful sites, but I will not bore you with where we slept and ate on this vacation
Portland Skyline - Mt. Hood
Portland Oregon Travel Tips and Sites - Things to See in Portland Oregon
Traveling the Back Roads
We decided to take back roads so we could see the countryside. I had a list of the sites we wanted to visit. We headed south on route 35, and there was a variety of routes thereafter. We skirted around Mt.Hood which is gorgeous. In the winter there is snow skiing, and I remember that last year there were some people lost on Mt.Hood, so it can be dangerous. It certainly is beautiful.
There are camping and hiking sites on numerous trails, not to mention fishing. We stopped and took pictures along the way, and then found an orchard. We bought lots of apples and pears, and I think I must have eaten my weight in fruit those next couple of weeks. These were ripe and just picked. Believe me, they didn’t taste like what you find in the supermarkets.
Mt. Hood Area
Mt. Hood Oregon
Lake Crater, Oregon
One of the places we wanted to visit was Crater Lake National Park. In the park, you'll see the six-mile wide Crater Lake which evolved from a collapsed caldera of a volcano inside Mount Mazama. It is the most gorgeous blue you can imagine and the scenery is fantastic. The lake was formed when the mountain collapsed from an eruption 7,700 years ago. The lake is 1,949’ deep at the deepest point. It is the third deepest lake in the world and the first in the western hemisphere.
The caldera rim ranges from 7,000 to 8,000 feet. This lake has no streams to flow in or out of the lake. Water that enters the lake is thought to come from sub-service seepage. Rain and snow keep the lake full. This was well worth the stop and as you can see from the pictures its beauty is surreal.
There is a museum, gift shop and a café, plus they show a film twice daily. There are tours and also a boat tour accessible only by hiking one mile which climbs 700’ in elevation and is recommended for those in good physical condition.
Crater Lake, Oregon
Klamath Falls, Oregon
Next, we decide the next stop would be a view of the waterfalls in Southern Oregon near Klamath, and we certainly weren’t disappointed. We snapped some pictures and hiked a bit before we headed on to California. I have never seen the sky as blue on the east coast as it was in northern California.
Traveling in Northern California
California National Monument Lava Beds
The next location was the California National Monument Lava Beds which were established as a national monument in 1925. It is located in Siskiyou and Modoc Counties in California. The Lava Beds went on for miles. There was black lava rock as far as the eye could see.
They have 25 lava tube caves available for touring also. The environment is semi-arid at this higher elevation. We viewed the rugged landscape, which has cinder cones, lava flows, spatter cones, lava tube caves and pit craters. It was interesting, but we soon headed south where Mount Shasta was in view. We had planned to go into a cave there that has crystals but arrived too late in the day and stayed in Redding, CA.
National Lava Monutment
Sunset from Redwood, California
Drive through a Sequoia Tree
Redwood and Sequoia Trees
The next morning we decided to head toward the Redwood National Park area in northern California. Almost 50% of all the redwood trees live on the rugged northern California coast. There are Dawn Redwoods, Coastal Redwoods, and Sequoia trees along the coast. There is one tree in Waycross, GA, some in FL and even one in Phoenix, but they won’t attain their true height without the heavy fogs, the rain and normally cool temperature in northern California.
They grow to be 300’ and slightly taller. That is 30 stories high! And to think, these trees have been alive for 1400 years. That means when Columbus arrived in America many of these trees were 900 years old.
They are 8’ to as much as 20’ round in diameter. They tend to grow in clusters as each foot a tree grows up the roots do not grow down but out three feet. The roots are so intertwined with all the other groping roots from the grove that by the time a few hundred years have passed, there is no way a tree can fall down. It is like the whole tree family is strong and holds each other tight
Peeking out of a Sequoia Tree
Huge Sequoia Tree
Uniqueness of the Redwoods
Some of the trees have burn and char marks, which suggest difficulties or fires of the past. Some have big caverns in their middle and I stood inside a huge one, but it doesn’t kill the tree; they still grow. Their bark is thick, almost a foot thick in some places. When this bark is exposed to fire, it chars into a heat shield making it almost fireproof, which is similar to the way a heat shield on a re-entry vehicle works.
Apparently, the trees are distasteful to tree pests, such as termites and carpenter ants, which is why it was used as the first layer of boards in a wall because the pests won’t burrow into this wood. Redwood is also very resistant to water, so it won’t rot. If there are rising ground levels of water brought on by floods, the redwoods simply grow a new lateral root system.
You feel absolutely insignificant as you look up and around you at these magnificent redwoods and sequoia trees. I couldn't really see the tops of the trees, and when I was in the middle of the forest where it is so very quiet, I could sense the presence of God. Surely something this unique could not have just grown by happenstance. It is an awesome experience that I will always treasure. It was by far one of the most special places I have ever seen.
It is particularly nice to see the redwood further north where there are few people. I have been to Muir Woods by San Francisco, and it is lovely, but you are on a path with a lot of people and the effect on me was different. Thank goodness it is now against the law to cut down these magnificent trees, although it is obvious why people found them so perfect to build homes.
Scenery Along the Pacific Coast
Sea Lions Swimming
Largest Sea Lion Cave
After this wonderful experience, we drove up the coastal road and spent some time on the beautiful beach walking with their huge boulders, but the weather was cool, so we got back on the road. The last activity was to visit a sea lion cave in Florence, Oregon. This is the largest Sea Lion Cave in the world.
When you arrive you pay a small fee, and then take an elevator to the cave floor. The temperature in the cave felt about the same as it did on the beach, not cold like some caves. There is a large glass to stand behind to observe the sea lions frolic and play. They swim in and out of the cave at will, but the thing I didn’t realize was the noise level. That many sea lions in one location can make a lot of noise barking back and forth at each other. They were playful with each other and adorable to watch. It was another enjoyable adventure.
Sea Lion Cave
Back to Portland
Finally, our vacation together had come to an end as we drove back to Portland. My husband flew home the next morning, and I started attending my seminar. However, I still had another whole week of meeting new people, seeing the sights of Portland, and I had a great time.
I really enjoyed this vacation, and if you have not visited this area I would highly recommend making plans to do so. There is so much to see and numerous activities, such as hiking, golfing, fishing, white water rafting, camping, and sightseeing. There are plenty of wonderful hotels and great places to eat. As vacations go, it is hard to go wrong with a California and Oregon vacation
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.