The SnoPark, Timber Lodge, and Zig Zag Falls

Friday, July 20, 2018. It’s a warm, sunny beginning to the day even at 6:00 a.m.  As I pull out of the rest area north of Madras, Oregon I think of the cooler weather up ahead. At least I am hoping it will be cooler.

We are headed west, still on Hwy 26, and drive through the Warm Springs Indian Reservation. Other than the casino at the very eastern end there isn’t much out here but a few houses here and there, brush and some timber. The wind is blowing sideways, and it’s pretty strong.  I white knuckle through and we gain the SnoPark with no mishaps.

The plan is to stay at the SnoPark in the Mt Hood National Forest for a few days.  Upon arrival I note there are a few travel trailers and a motorhome or two. The very large parking area is divided in half by a strip of brush and trees, and the vault toilet is located here, too. I find a spot on the west side. There is only one other vehicle parked here and he’s at the very tippy top, next to the road. It’s a peaceful quiet night.

July 21st, Saturday.  I feed the boys and we take a walk.  I discover, on the other side of the access road to the SnoPark, a small dispersed campsite on a dirt road.  We finish our walk then we move to the new camp.  Big mistake.

As the morning gives way to afternoon we are bombarded with dirt bikes. Waves of dirt bikes in groups of five or six roar past our camp and envelope us in dust.  Once the herd is past it is quiet for the rest of the day, but they again gear up and roar past in the evening.

We take a wander across the road to the parking lot and discover the SnoPark has filled to capacity with a sea of moms and dads, grandpas and grandmas and their motor homes and travel trailers, some tents.  All manner of recreational vehicles and trailers here for a motor cross event!  Oh boy, that explains the dirt bikes. We hear a few oohs and awwwes, directed toward The Chiweenie Brothers. I know they are smiling!

It does quiet down for a good night’s rest, but next morning I hear revelie.  The motoring herd will once again make an appearance.  Enough of this, we’re outta here. It takes a mere ten minutes to pack up and we are on the road. I love being so mobile!

We drive to Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood.  I LOVE Mt. Hood.   There is just something very special about this mountain, but I have no idea what.  Maybe the lush green that surrounds it?  Maybe the way it juts up into sky with a commanding air?  I don’t know.

You can read more about historic Timberline Lodge HERE .

I make a quick, illegal stop along the highway on the way back down the mountain to get a couple of shots of these small waterfalls alongside the road.

As we tip over the top and begin the decent down Hwy 26 toward civilization again, I begin looking for the road into Zig Zag Falls that I had found on the map last night.

An easy hike and a beautiful water fall.

Love this old bridge, part of the old highway that once went through here at one time.

As we are taking in the bridge and surrounding area I discover a small empty campsite right at the perimeter of the parking lot. It’s banked on both sides with green bushes and sits right along Zig Zag Creek. We spend the night here before continuing on down the highway.

 

 

Mesa Falls and Island Park

The morning of June 5th dawns bright and beautiful.  I feed the boys, walk them only long enough for them to do their business then we are on the road.  Today we take in Mesa Falls, the reason for our little side trip off Hwy 20.

Charlie is looking forward to the ride and the possibility of seeing a lizard. Or squirrel. Or prairie dog.  If it moves, he’s interested.

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It’s a short drive from last night’s camp to the entrance to the falls.

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I point Freedom’s nose northward and we finish up this beautiful drive on Hwy 47 heading for Island Park, billed as the “longest main street in America.”  It is that for sure, if your Main Street consists only of fly shops, a couple of motels, and gas stations every few miles.  I believe the signage said it’s 33 miles.

With Island Park behind us I begin looking for a place to roost for the night.

We make a quick stop here so the Chiweenie Brothers can stretch their legs and relieve themselves. Mom spent quite a bit of time at Mesa Falls. It was just so beautiful she couldn’t help herself! This scenic byway should be on your “to see” list if you’re traveling this way.

Driving into the town of West Yellowstone I find there is no place to park for the night and end up back up on the mountain.  Every forest service road along this stretch is for day use only it seems.  I settle on a trailhead at Targhee Pass in the Gallatin National Forest.

We are right next to the highway, but traffic noise does not keep us awake. With two nights of mosquito misery and then visiting Mesa Falls and climbing lots of stairs I am exhausted, and I don’t think anything would keep me awake.  That is until Fries wakes me up around midnight trying to get under the covers.  The air above us is fraught with thunder and lighting. And I do mean right above us; as in right overhead.

Charlie sleeps through it all, but poor little Fries is terrified.  He and I snuggle close as, thankfully, it is short-lived and moves on rather quickly.  I drop off back to sleep with the little guy snuggled close.  Morning comes too quickly, but I drag myself out of bed at the crack of dawn.  Today we visit the upper half of the figure eight that is Yellowstone National Park.  To be continued . . .

Thanks for stopping by 2Dogs!

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