The Northwest Passage - Page 3
|An Explosive Destination: Mount St. Helens (PhotoDisc)|
Day 7: Mount Rainier to Kalama (110 Miles)
Back to civilization after a few days at Mount Rainier, Kalama's current claim to fame is as home to the world's tallest totem pole. There are also about 100 antique shops situated here for some last-minute antiquing. Best bet for dining is the Kalama Burger Bar (360.673.2091), a retro '50s throwback. A side trip from here, covering around 150 miles round trip (depending how far you decide to travel), would be a visit to Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument (360.449.7800; www.fs.fed.us/gpnf/mshnvm), site of the famous 1980 eruption and still-smoking cone of 8,364-foot Mount St. Helens. The roads are open in summer only and visitors are still not allowed to get too close; however, you can see the flattened mountaintop from some distance, so panoramic views of the mountain and Spirit Lake are impressive nonetheless. Thirty- to 90-minute sightseeing flights are also another exciting way to get up close to this powerful Pacific Northwest force of nature.
Camp Kalama (800.750.2456; www.campkalama.com) is located between I-5 and the Kalama River on a bucolic parcel of oak-filled land. It offers a restaurant, hot showers, cable TV hookups, propane, laundry, firewood, swimming, a boat ramp, and fishing.
Day 8: Kalama to Portland, Oregon (40 Miles)
Kalama is only a short drive from Portland, Oregon, and the Columbia River Gorge (541. 308.1700; www.fs.fed.us/r6/columbia/forest), where you'll discover a beautifully planned city plus a surrounding landscape of vineyards, forests, hiking trails, and raucous waterscapes perfect for windsurfing or kiteboarding. In Portland itself, excise any lingering road rage in the Zen-filled environs of its Japanese garden (503.223.1321), classical Chinese garden modeled after the 15th century (503.228.8131), International Rose Test Garden(503.823.3636), several botanic gardens, rhododendron garden, and a couple of arboretums to boot. You can ride historic streetcars on a 4.8-mile downtown loop, or tour the U.S.S. Blueback (503.797.4624), the last diesel-powered submarine commissioned by the U.S. Navy at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (503.797.4000; www.omsi.edu). Portlanders are known for their outdoorsy lifestyle, so when in Rome... Enjoy boating, fishing, strolling, or biking through a network of city parks and waterways.