Washington to Texas to Colorado

Hello my loyal readers! I’m sorry it’s been so long since I’ve published any posts, but my last 3 weeks have been anything but normal for me. I had to leave the traveling life for just a few weeks, and take a little detour down to San Antonio to attend to a close family member’s health issues. I basically got a call saying it was a good time to come home, and left right away for a 33 hour drive back to Texas. After two weeks of being around family and living back in San Antonio, I was chomping at the bit to get back out on the road. Don’t get me wrong, I’m very happy I went home to see my family when I did. But after seeing so many incredible things along the road, things I would NEVER see in San Antonio; I decided it was time enough to head back out. So first stop of course for me had to be some insane snow covered mountains, the Colorado Rockies. I was fortunate to pass through Colorado on the very beginning of my trip, and got a chance at that point to see these incredible mountains. Now that it is November, snow and ice are definitely becoming a part of daily life in Colorado. Yesterday I got to travel over a mountain pass during an active snowstorm. For 17 miles I grinded my teeth, death gripped my steering wheel, and sat at the very edge of my seat as my little Focus slowly made it up and down over the mountainous pass. My little car made it though and brought a new meaning to the saying, slow and steady wins the race. My stops so far in Colorado have been a few national forests, a few state parks, and a few national parks. Yesterday was cool in that I got to see Pueblo cliff dwellings in the Mesa Verde National Park. I’ve always known about this cliff dwellings and even have had a chance to see something similar in Texas, but seeing these fortresses high in the mesas truly astounded me. In just the national park’s boundaries there were between 600-700 cliff dwelling structures. The whole mesa and canyons area was like an ancient community of hundreds of small (and sometimes very large) cliff dwelling villages making up a population of Pueblo Indians that would’ve numbered 20,000 plus. The other extremely interesting part is that these cliff dwellings were all built around 1100-1200 AD, well before any North American exploration. These are the native people to this North American landmass and seeing how they used to not only live, but thrive here almost a thousand years ago; was truly something remarkable. So without further ado, please enjoy some of my latest pictures. The first few were from Washington state right before I left, and the rest are from my time here in Colorado so far.

-Warren

Pictures:

Where the Pacific meets Washington state.

Where the Pacific meets Washington state.

Unlike any other beaches I've ever seen before.

Unlike any other beaches I’ve ever seen before.

Another view of the Pacific coast beaches of Washington.

Another view of the Pacific coast beaches of Washington.

Sunset over Utah on the drive back to Texas.

Sunset over Utah on the drive back to Texas.

Mountain Creek in Colorado. Definitely plenty of snow and ice at night in this area.

Mountain Creek in Colorado. Definitely plenty of snow and ice at night in this area.

Rushing water in the Colorado Rockies.

Rushing water in the Colorado Rockies.

The creek bed was covered in an orange color showing some sort of mineral in the water.

The creek bed was covered in an orange color showing some sort of mineral in the water.

This creek winds throughout the mountains and around different trees.

This creek winds throughout the mountains and around different trees.

Beautiful forests in Colorado.

Beautiful forests in Colorado.

There's something special about these mountains out here in Colorado.

There’s something special about these mountains out here in Colorado.

Navajo Lake state park in CO. This lake goes from CO down south into New Mexico.

Navajo Lake state park in CO. This lake goes from CO down south into New Mexico.

3 different mountain ranges in southwest Colorado.

3 different mountain ranges in southwest Colorado.

A side view of a series of mesas and canyons. The cliff dwellings were found in these canyons.

A side view of a series of mesas and canyons. The cliff dwellings were found in these canyons.

One of the largest cliff dwellings. I believe this compound had 30+ rooms.

One of the largest cliff dwellings. I believe this compound had 30+ rooms.

The inhabitants of these cliff dwellings would live high in these canyons making for impenetrable fortresses.

The inhabitants of these cliff dwellings would live high in these canyons making for impenetrable fortresses.

Built in 1200AD. Truly remarkable use of land and resources to build a community.

Built in 1200AD. Truly remarkable use of land and resources to build a community.

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Pacific Cascades

Hello from Washington! Since my last post, I’ve been able to spend a few more days enjoying these Cascade Mountains, but have moved out of the North Cascades area and more in to the central part of Washington’s cascade range. Make no mistake though, there’s still plenty of lush forests and never ending mountains where I’m at now. The last few days have also seen an increase in weather activity. These incoming storms have made for some real interesting nights in the woods when the winds really picked up. The sounds of the wind were whipping through tree tops so quickly and in such a chaotic sounding manner that at points it was impossible to not feel surrounded by a tornado passing through the forests. I’m not sure there is anywhere else in the world where these noises could be replicated other than a different deep, mountainous forest. But that makes me very happy, as I’ll still be spending some more time in these mountains exploring those peculiar moments of noise.

Pictures:

These mountains are known as the "Alps of America"

These mountains are known as the “Alps of America”

Diablo Lake. Another dam made lake in Washington state.

Diablo Lake. Another dam made lake in Washington state.

I enjoy playing with the mountains' reflections in the reservoirs.

I enjoy playing with the mountains’ reflections in the reservoirs.

View of Ross Dam, one of the dams in the cascade mountains.

View of Ross Dam, one of the dams in the cascade mountains.

Got to be one of the coolest looking dams I've seen before.

Got to be one of the coolest looking dams I’ve seen before.

Highway 20 climbing up to Washington Pass.

Highway 20 climbing up to Washington Pass.

View of a creek meeting a reservoir from very high up.

View of a creek meeting a reservoir from very high up.

The river banks in these forests are all beautiful and covered in a multitude of plants and trees. These riverbanks go on like this for miles.

The river banks in these forests are all beautiful and covered in a multitude of plants and trees. These riverbanks go on like this for miles.

Eventually these trees will be carried away down the mighty river behind them. It's only a matter of time.

Eventually these trees will be carried away down the mighty river behind them. It’s only a matter of time.

Sometimes the forest breaks it's dense underbelly and exposes a moment like this.

Sometimes the forest breaks it’s dense underbelly and exposes a moment like this.

Changing seasons in the Cascades.

Changing seasons in the Cascades.

North Cascades Mountains

These mountains and forests are doing well in keeping me occupied. The more time I spend in a particular area, the more I see within the surrounding woods. It’s very easy to quickly get lost in the depth of all the greenery here in the Cascades; but when you look past the sheer number of green colors, you begin to see the thousands of plants and animals that make up all this. From the mice running around the forest floor to the 15 story high Douglas fir trees towering above, every part of the forest is a small piece of an overall environment. I’ve got some more days ahead of me exploring these beautiful forests, so stay tuned for more pictures coming soon!

-Warren

Pictures:

Waterfalls are everywhere in these mountains, just hidden by thick forests.

Waterfalls are everywhere in these mountains, just hidden by thick forests.

In the old forest woods, light is prevalent at the top but becomes much scarcer closer towards the ground.

In the old forest woods, light is prevalent at the top but becomes much scarcer closer towards the ground.

These fir trees were the giants of the forest. They would rise sometimes twice as high as any other tree type around them. Literally the skyscrapers of the woods.

These fir trees were the giants of the forest. They would rise sometimes twice as high as any other tree type around them. Literally the skyscrapers of the woods.

Mt. Baker seen through the forest.

Mt. Baker seen through the forest.

One of the nicest sunsets I've seen in a while.

One of the nicest sunsets I’ve seen in a while.

And then the sunset turned red.

And then the sunset turned red.

Mt. Baker from Baker Lake.

Mt. Baker from Baker Lake.

Reflections in Baker Lake.

Reflections in Baker Lake.

A better view of Mt. Baker.

A better view of Mt. Baker.

It's easy to get lost in the depths of these woods.

It’s easy to get lost in the depths of these woods.

Washington

Well it’s been over a month now since I left Texas and thinking back to the places I’ve been these last 30 days is starting to become quite unbelievable for me. I’ve made it from the deep south central part of the country all the way to the far Northwest reaches so far. I’ve seen 7 beautiful states and have stayed in more incredible places than I could have ever imagined in such a short amount of time. My trip so far has taken me a very far way and through many different environments. It’s now during these last few days of my trip, that I’ve made it to an absolutely stunning environment where I find myself spending my days running through the Pacific Cascades Mountains. What a beautiful place this is. John Muir, the famed naturalist, once said “The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.” I couldn’t agree more after staying in these forest wilderness’ here in the evergreen state. These woods and mountains are just so endless and limitless in their natural wonder. Here in this special environment; creeks begin flowing from mountain top glaciers, crash and fall down steep rocky waterfalls, and continue downward into an organized maze of wide rivers spread throughout the valleys, only to be interrupted by the occasional green lush meadow or patch of lost forest trees. The mountain peaks and covering forests themselves are an endless sea of jagged points and ridges as far as the eye can see. Within that entire ocean of peaks and woods, lay hundreds of glaciers, each starting this natural journey of water from mountain top to ocean below. I couldn’t ask for a more beautiful place to be staying. The sheer power of mother nature and time are evident everywhere around me. I’ll be spending the next few days exploring more into this unforgettable part of the country, hoping to see more of not just nature but the power of time itself. And finally to answer the age old question of, “if a tree falls in a forest and no one’s around, does it make a noise?” Yes, the tree makes quite a loud noise. Then that loud noise causes a wide variety of noises all around to arise as the living forest and living animals of the forest react to such a monumental symphony of noises. I’d say that the natural Universe couldn’t be any more clear in a place like this.

Pictures:

 

This is a part of the country that is beautiful beyond what words can describe.

This is a part of the country that is beautiful beyond what words can describe.

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Nature at work.

Sunset over Lake Roosevelt.

Sunset over Lake Roosevelt.

There are two forces at play in these woods, water and time.

There are two forces at play in these woods, water and time.

Washington Pass

Washington Pass

Glaciers to creeks.

Glaciers to creeks.

4AM in the morning, the sun light is barely beginning to make it's appearance.

4AM in the morning, the sun light is barely beginning to make it’s appearance.

More stars in the woods.

More stars in the woods.

This photo was taken at night, the sky is being illuminated by the moon.

This photo was taken at night, the sky is being illuminated by the moon.

Reflections of forested mountains.

Reflections of forested mountains.

At the base of the valleys, you'll find this.

At the base of the valleys, you’ll find this.

Sunset over Lake Roosevelt.

Sunset over Lake Roosevelt.

In forests like this, very green plants grow on just normal green plants.

In forests like this, very green plants grow on just normal green plants.

View of the valley floor river from high above.

View of the valley floor river from high above.

Montana to Washington

Well I’ve finally made it to the Pacific Northwest. I drove from the Bitterroot Valley of Montana into Northeast Washington state yesterday and am really finding¬†the evergreen state to be extremely interesting. The Bitterroot Valley was an incredible place where the word “big” met the word “beauty” and a valley in Montana was created. The last day I spent in the valley began with the clouds finally breaking enough for me to see the valley floor covered in homes, towns, and farms. Unfortunately, the mountain tops continued to remain just out of sight hiding in the low clouds. But the message the valley gave off was the same, peaks or not, beauty. I definitely see myself making a return trip to this special part of the country in the future. The mountains and valleys of the Montana/Idaho border were just begging for more exploration. But due to the ruggedness and remoteness of some of these parts of the mountains, I determined spring and summer were the best time of the year to truly get lost in this wilderness. I can’t wait for the day that I get to come back and spend weeks if not months exploring the hundreds of valleys and creeks in this area. Washington state has been incredibly interesting in that the Bitterroot Valley I fell in love with in Montana was directly responsible for the land I’m staying in now. The Northeast of Washington has always been dominated by the mighty Columbia River and during the last ice age 12,000 years ago, the lake that originally carved out the Bitterroot Valley broke free and flooded down the mountains through the Idaho panhandle and into the Columbia River in NE Washington. Where I’m staying at now is in that ancient flood path. The river has been dammed since then, and now there is Lake Roosevelt in the once deep carved out Columbia River valley. This story of ancient flood waters shaping the modern day landscape of the Northwest has been incredibly interesting to follow along and see firsthand. The Earth is an interesting place¬†with an even more fascinating history. How easy it is to forget that we see mountains, valleys, and rivers today because of events that took places over hundreds of years, thousands of years ago.

-Warren

Pictures:

Saying goodbye to this special valley for now. Imagine this going on for a hundred miles to get an idea of how massive this place is

Saying goodbye to this special valley for now. Imagine this going on for a hundred miles to get an idea of how massive this place is

Watching ducks swim and fly around Lake Roosevelt

Watching ducks swim and fly around Lake Roosevelt

Where I've been sleeping, with peacocks and apple trees in the middle of a forest of pines. Oh there's a lake too

Where I’ve been sleeping, with peacocks and apple trees in the middle of a forest of pines. Oh there’s a lake too

Cloud watching here could be a full time job

Cloud watching here could be a full time job

Where the forest meets the beach

Where the forest meets the beach

A truly special place

A truly special place

Good morning world

Good morning world

Ducks flying across the lake

Ducks flying across the lake

Flowers growing out of the water

Flowers growing out of the water

Cool underwater patterns in the sand

Cool underwater patterns in the sand

A true thinking chair

A true thinking chair