The West

A fine (and thrifty) Montana weekend

Posted by Bob Hoelscher in The West on November 15, 2012

 
 

Whoever originated the thought that “the best things in life are free” surely couldn’t have come up with a better description of a weekend I experienced this October in Southeastern Montana. First, the aspens along the Bighorn River and throughout the area were at their peak of golden color. Second, with my trusty “America the…

 

A different view of Mount Rainier

Posted by Bob Hoelscher in The West on September 25, 2012

 
 

Regular readers of my blogs are likely already aware that Mount Rainier National Park is one of my favorites among America’s great parks. However, being able to spend the entire summer in the Seattle/Tacoma area this year has provided me with the opportunity to visit a number of the area’s secondary attractions that are still…

 

A worst-case scenario

Posted by Bob Hoelscher in The West on September 25, 2012

 
 

Last month I addressed this subject, before almost immediately became an unwitting participant in exactly what I had advised against. During a cruise to the Norwegian Fjords in early August, I decided to join the ship’s $94.95 “Hiking on the Hardanger Plain” shore excursion from the small town of Eidfjord. This supposed “hike” was little…

 

Northwest Trek Wildlife Park

Posted by Bob Hoelscher in The West on September 25, 2012

 
 

Near the Mount Rainier National Park, the Northwest Trek Wildlife Park is one of the most unusual city parks in the U.S. Yes, this Eatonville park is basically a zoo, but it is a zoo unlike any you are likely to find elsewhere. The mission of this 725-acre wildlife park is to present only those…

 
 

You never know how people are going to travel together until you hit the road with them, which is why I felt nervous about my husband’s first family vacation with my mom and brother to Yosemite National Park this spring. Although I had traveled with them individually, I was unsure if everyone’s travel styles would…

 
 

I know that the excitement of approaching Yosemite National Park can tend to block out thoughts of stops along the way, no matter how attractive they might be. But the small town of Coulterville is such a picturesque, interesting and unspoiled reminder of California’s famed Gold Rush that it surely merits your consideration if you…

 
 

Crater Lake National Park is an important component of any quality tour exploring the splendid Beaver State. Since most groups are likely to reach the park via OR 62, the historic and quite picturesque Union Creek Resort, just about a mile south of the junction with OR 230, makes for a great rest or meal…

 
 

Those who remember my discussion of Mount Rainier National Park here last October already know that this is one of my favorite NPS sites. If one approaches the park from the west via WA 7 and 706, the small community of Elbe (population 30) can be found at the junction of the two highways. Originally…

 

Wineries of Mendocino County

Posted by Bob Hoelscher in The West on June 08, 2012

 
 

This spring I was fortunate to spend a week in Mendocino County, roughly a two-hour drive north of the San Francisco Bay area. If this is not the single most beautiful county in the U.S., it is certainly high on the list. Although an area frequently overlooked on California tours simply because the Golden State…

 
 
 

I have found that one of life’s most humbling and least expensive pleasures is simply a walk under the canopy of majestic trees in a great forest, enhanced by the sounds of native birds and rushing streams. And while forests of the skyscraping firs and cedars of the Pacific Northwest run a close second, nothing…