MAY 27, 2014
We’re spending about a week with my brother-in-law and his wife in the little community of Toutle, Washington. It’s located about 10 miles east of Interstate 5 and only 70 miles north of Portland, Oregon. They live in the Silverlake Forest Reserve and their 7 acre property is jaw-droppingly beautiful! The home they built here a few years ago is literally surrounded by forest land…impressive mature pine trees…and it has a “view across forever” to the Mt. St. Helens area, which is the major attraction in the area.
Blooming rhododendrons, a large lawn off an outside deck surrounding the home and lots of wildlife complete the picture. The evening before we arrived, about a dozen Roosevelt Elk meandered up to the deck to survey things. Deer, rabbits, foxes and even bald eagles are frequent visitors.Ā Wolves and black bear sightings aren’t unusual. The pond and waterfall area which is home to a family of koi is surrounded by an inconspicuous electric fence to keep the racoons and other natural predators at bay. I’ve loved living in Southern California my entire life, but this is truly “God’s country.”
Before we arrived, Florence had discussed with her brother John the logistics of us parking our motor-home here during our visit. The property is huge…large enough to park a fleet of RV’s, but being mostly forest the only likely place for us to park would be on the driveway. After carefully measuring, John determined we could “make it.” We did. It’s perfect, but there’s not any “room to spare.” It was a bit of a challenge backing into the spot and we’re not budging ’til it’s time to depart.
Yesterday we took a drive to the coast and had lunch in the quaint little town of Long Beach. I enjoyed seeing the ocean again and smelling the salt-sea air. I get a little anxious when I’m away from the ocean for any length of time, so this was a perfect day trip for me! After chowder and fish and chips for lunch we drove to nearby Cape Disappointment State Park, frontedĀ by the ocean at the mouth of the Columbia River. It’s home to the former Fort Canby, originally established in 1862 during the American Civil War to protect the Columbia River from possible attacks by Confederate raiders or foreign fleets. The park is one of several that comprise the Lewis and Clark National and State Historical park system. Cape Disappointment Lighthouse is a prominent part of the scene. There are miles of ocean beach littered with driftwood and bordered by evergreen forest areas…absolutely spectacular. And we were lucky…the day turned out to be bright and sunny with blue sky for much of our trip.