Sunday, July 19, 2015

Vagabonding on Dangerous Ground: On the Road in the Pacific Northwest (a new blog series)

The Lost Coast of Northern California
If you've been following my blogs for the last few weeks, then you know I've been on the road in the Pacific Northwest. I'm not quite home yet, but I'm headed that way soon, and I've realized that there has been a convergence of events that are leading to my next blog series. I've decided to call it "Vagabonding on Dangerous Ground".
The Devil's Churn on the Oregon Coastline
If this were a BBC or NPR production, it would have started out with a statement like this: "Because this story has been in the news of late, we decided to go there to investigate". But with me, it happened backwards. Mrs. Geotripper and I had decided to conduct our second ever vagabonding trip, and we chose to go to the northwest, with a couple of vague goals in mind, but no schedule or itinerary. We rarely made a reservation more than a day in advance, and quite a few days had us at a crossroads late in the afternoon with no clear place to spend the night. It's been a marvelous trip!
Cape Disappointment State Park at the mouth of the Columbia River in southern Washington.
And then the New Yorker article on the potential for a devastating earthquake on the Cascadia Subduction Zone went viral, for both good reasons and bad. I was suddenly receiving facebook shares and emails asking if the article was accurate, and asking for my take on the subject.
Maple tree (really!) in the Hoh Rainforest, Olympic National Park, Washington
One of the "money quotes" in the article was a statement from a FEMA director saying that “Our operating assumption is that everything west of Interstate 5 will be toast.” It sounded like an apocalypse (and yes, some people took it that way): gigantic earthquakes, horrific tsunamis, landslides, power outages, communication lines cut, loss of internet access, and spilled lattes. As I read the article, I realized that I had just spent the last week and a half exploring that very region, from its southern limit along the Northern California coast to the northern boundary in British Columbia. And so the exploration of "toast' country will be the topic of my new blog series. What is the landscape like? In what ways has the Cascadia Subduction Zone left its mark on the land? Did we get rained on in the rainforest? How many Starbucks are there outside of Seattle and Portland?
North Cascades National Park and Ross Lake National Recreational Area, Washington
For all our travels across western North America, we actually covered a lot of brand new territory on this trip. I love seeing new places, and there was a bounty of them on this trip. I'm looking forward to sharing this beautiful (and hazardous) country with you.
Mt. Baker and Boulder Creek near North Cascades National Park

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