Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Great American Eclipse

August 21, 2017
Weiser, Idaho 

The road to Weiser, Idaho to witness the Great American Eclipse was a lot longer than the 1,144 miles we drove round trip. By the time (early 2017) we realized that we lived a day's drive from totality, all the hotels were booked. We considered hotels close to totality, but gridlock was predicted on all the roads leading to totality for the 24 hours before the event. We didn't want to risk being stuck on the road close to the path.

The next plan was to book a campsite somewhere in Oregon in totality, but these were also completely booked. Since hotels that were only close started at $500 a night with a 3 night eclipse minimum, I booked a campsite as close as I could and we would just have to hope and plan to leave in the middle of the night to reach the path in time. With a campsite in our back pocket, I frequently checked hotel websites hoping for a cancelation somewhere in the path. I even looked at airfare to farther places, still in the path, but every flight was completely sold out. People would be traveling from around the world to witness this amazing event.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Independence Trail West

Click on picture for larger version

South Yuba River State Park
Nevada County, CA 

June 2017

Distance: 3.14 miles
Rating: 2
Type: Out & Back.
Elevation: Almost level.
Surface: Dirt & Wooden Flumes.
Nearest City: Nevada City, CA
Location: Just over 6 miles from Nevada City on Highway 49 North.
Parking: 1 disabled spot.
Bathroom: At trailhead.
Water: Bring your own.

The Independence West Trail is recognized as the first Wilderness Trail in the country for all abilities. We were surprised that it took us a year before we realized that we lived less than 50 miles from this historic trail. Once known, we were at the trailhead in less than a week. It was nice to find a disabled parking spot adjacent to the trailhead. Despite being along the highway, we had more than enough room to unload the chair and safely transfer Kellisa.

The trail was created from the old Excelsior Ditch high above the Yuba River. The path hugs the hillside high about the South Yuba River as it crosses several restored wooden flumes. Instinct told us to pushike inside the ditch instead of above on the miner’s access trail. This would prove to be the easier and safer route to pushike.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Hoh Rain Forest

Olympic National Park

August 2017

The drive was long, very long from Bremerton, Washington to the Hoh Rain Forest of Olympic National Park, but it was a beautiful drive.

After checking out the visitor center, we didn't let a "No Wheeled Devices" sign stop us from enjoying a short trail through the forest with several bridges over amazingly clear water with baby salmon swimming.

On our return drive, we made a side trip up Hurricane Ridge. It was a little too late for a hike and the visitor center was closed, but we did have a perfect viewing spot as the moon rose for the evening.

Olympic was Laurel's 23rd and Kellisa's 29th national park visited.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Ride Rainier 2017

July 2017

Mount Rainier National Park

Kellisa loves being outside and on a trail, but she is always the only one on wheels. We've been known to fly and/or drive crazy distances for the right trail. Therefore, it was a no brainer to drive up to Mount Rainier National Park for a hike with other wheelchair users once we found out about the Ride Rainier 2017 event from a FB friend. 

Kellisa always lights up when we are getting ready to start a hike. It usually takes some time at the trailhead to get everything just right and Kellisa sits there with a huge smile and will let out an occasional giggle as she waits to start a new adventure. Her pre-hike excitement lit her up several notches that I didn't even know she had once she saw many other hikers at our trailhead who were also in wheelchairs. She was with her "peeps" and she knew it. Besides the extra excitement, I could see Kellisa also felt a sense of belonging as she was clearly more confident, verbal, and out going during the entire hike.

We are so thankful for the opportunity to share this experience with others on wheels (and their friends and family too) and hope to join our new friends on future hikes!

And for those keeping track, Mount Rainier National Park was Laurel's 22nd and Kellisa's 28th national park visited.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Crater Lake National Park

July 2017

We spent an afternoon exploring Crater Lake National Park. It was Laurel's first and Kellisa's second visit to this beautiful national park. We spent a week at Crater Lake back in 2009. With this visit, Laurel has now visited 21 national parks and Kellisa's total remains at 27. 

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