From Margaret's Way To Debbie's View

✍️ 📷 • Series: Steve in Seattle • Tags: cougar mountain regional wildland park pnw forestpnw hikes

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What can I do sometimes, but venture out of city limits towards the most popular trail in one of the nearest natural parks?

In my defense, the weather forecast called for clear skies in a time when my soul expected only rain, and while I knew I wanted to get out, I also knew that I was not necessarily in the mood to go super far.

Like most trails in the area (I imagine), it's mostly uphill in one direction, but the slope is gentler than, say, Dirty Harry's peak. And, the elevation is lower too.

This meant that I got to spend more time in one of my favorite environments: the forest. And in particular, I think that forests in the Pacific Northwest are amongst the most beautiful places on the planet. The sheen of fog and gray skies juxtaposed with lush, lush moss clinging to downed trees, verdant fungus, and the infamous Douglas Firs are the things that dreamscapes are made of.

A Soggy Walk Up A Dirty, Harry Trail

✍️ 📷 • Series: Steve in Seattle • Tags: pnw hikesdreary days

On the 6th of November, I finally got around to venturing out on a Washington-area hike for the first time this year. How would it compare to the Pennsylvania hikes I have become so accustomed to?

A look at nearby mountain peaks -- clearly not a precursor for what was to come, right?
A look at nearby mountain peaks -- clearly not a precursor for what was to come, right?

Well, to put it bluntly, the difference was steep. That is to say that I had a much higher elevation gain:mileage ratio on this trail, than I would have on the ones nearest my parents' home.

But, wow, it was an enjoyable experience... Other than the rain and sleet, and so forth.

Heron, Etc. at the Portage Lakefront & Riverwalk

✍️ 📷 • Series: Go West, Young Lad • Tags: indiana dunes national parkdunesbird photographynational parks

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Indiana Dunes National Park isn't just home to the titular dunes. It's also home to wetlands which serve as a habitat for numerous local species.

One of these areas is the "Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk". Quoth the official copy:

It's an easy location to watch for migrating birds in the spring and summer [...] Visitors can enjoy easy access to the lakefront and trails that highlight dune succession.

So, how could I not want to go?

Dune It Up! Visiting Mt. Baldy

✍️ 📷 September 8 & 9, 2021 • Series: Go West, Young Lad • Tags: indiana dunes national parkdunesnational parks

When my tour of Warren G. Harding's home ended at about 2PM, I knew what I was in for. I purchased a postcard from the gift shop, used the bathroom, and hit the road.

Although I would have loved to pay his mausoleum a visit as well, I felt a bit Warren G. Harding-ed out. I was ready for the day to be over, perhaps not unlike someone who just had their first bite of chipped beef & gravy waffles...

Alas, my journey was not over. I had about 255 miles of straight, flat U.S. Highways between Harding's house and the campsite I booked for the night. Within those miles lay a seemingly infinite number of cornfields, an occasional stop sign, and not too much else.

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Eventually, I would need to get dinner for the night.

And eventually, I would need to put up my tent and catch a good night's sleep.

My next stop would be the Indiana Dunes National Park, and boy, was I excited.

Return to Normalcy, or A Visit To The Warren G. Harding Home

✍️ 📷 • Series: Go West, Young Lad • Tags: ohiowarren g hardingpresidential sitesmuseums

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Warren G. Harding is perhaps the least well-remembered 20th Century U.S. President. He passed away two years into his first term in office. An initial outpouring of grief and beatification was soon quelled by news of the administrations' scandals.

Harding's reputation was tarnished forever by his associates' embezzling, his impotent responses, and his sexual affairs, which included fathering an illegitimate child, and are somehow still fodder for late night television jokes today. Harding's tomb was not even dedicated by a U.S. president until five years after it was built, once President Hoover fell from popular esteem due to his poor handling of the Great Depression.

If there's one place on the planet where Harding isn't merely remembered, but remembered with fondness, though, it's his hometown of Marion, Ohio.

This is where you can visit his former home, his presidential museum and library, and also his tomb. The gift shop even sells expensive, limited edition prints of Warren & First Lady Florence Harding's portraits, and presumably there's a market for them. A tour of the house was actually fairly popular on a random Wednesday afternoon in September.

So how could I not want to pay it a visit?