Friday, June 30, 2023

Millersylvania State Park

Over 8 miles of intersecting trails wind through old growth forest, meadows, and lake shore allowing visitors to chose the length of their hike.
Most of the trails could be made accessible fairly easily however it seems this was not a consideration when planning. We found very narrow boardwalks without any edge guards. Ramps from the ground to the boardwalks are steep and most boardwalks ends do not meet the ground evenly. We walked/rolled about three miles along the route marked in green on the map. Aside from the narrow ramps we also encountered a very steep hill leading to the western most loop trails and a short hill near the park headquarters. For all of these reasons I don't recommend these trails for wheelchair users.
We parked at the small craft launch lot which has plenty of room for RVs. Park  46.90988, -122.91583

Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Veterans Memorial Museum

The museum has 85 display cases filled with personal stories, uniforms, artifacts, and treasured belongings of individual soldiers who fought for the US from the Revolutionary War to the present day. There's also a large collection of WWI and WWII posters in excellent condition that were found stored in an attic. An outdoor exhibit has tanks, planes and trucks but the gate was closed when we visited so we didn't see most of them.
We were given a personal tour before viewing the exhibits on our own. Our guide was a Vietnam veteran who worked in intelligence. He was well versed on  the exhibits and an interesting storyteller.

The museum is accessible. 

This is a Harvest Hosts site so we stayed overnight in the large lot next to the museum. Look for the Museum Parking sign.  Museum  46.65435, -122.97877

Monday, June 26, 2023

Cowlitz County Historical Museum

Longview, Washington is the largest city in Cowlitz County. It also has an unusual history. In 1918 lumber tycoon, Robert A. Long had depleted the forestland that he owned in the eastern US so he moved west and bought a large tract of land along the Columbia River. He soon realized that the local population of just a couple thousand was too small to provide workers for the two mills he planned to build so he hired a city planner. Longview was built as a complete city with Long-Bell Lumber Company as the chief investor. Long paid for some of the buildings himself - the Monticello Hotel, the Public Library, R.A. Long High School, and the YMCA building. By 1930 almost 11,000 people lived in the city.

I was hoping the this story would be covered in depth in the museum but it was just touched on. Other exhibits cover early pioneers. the logging industry, Columbia River floods, the eruption of Mount St. Helens, and the changes faced by the Native American community.

This is the car that KOMO News photographer, Dave Crockett, left behind as he ran through Mt St Helens ash toward a dim light at the top of a hill. He survived.
The museum is accessible with a long ramp to the entrance.
The parking lot is small but there are a few spots where RVs will fit if pulled through two spaces. Parking is also available on the surrounding streets. Left turns onto 4th Ave when driving west on Allen Street aren't permitted. The easiest thing to do is turn right on 4th and go around the block to cross over Allen to get to the entrance of the parking lot.  Museum  46.14497, -122.90893

Saturday, June 24, 2023

Lake Sacajawea Trail

A 3.5 mile trails circles the lake in the lovely city park. 119 species of trees provide ample shade and a small island features a Japanese garden. Additionally several small flower gardens are located along the path.  Lion's Island has been adopted by the local Lion's club who built footpaths, planted shrubbery and erected a totem pole. The park also features three small playgrounds, picnic tables, fishing and boating access.
     The paths are hard packed dirt and fine gravel. All the main paths are accessible but the more scenic sections near the water have fairly steep hills where they pass under the roads.There are four places where roads cross over the park so you can tailor the length your walk/roll by using the sidewalks on the bridges.
Parking is permitted along the street. RVs will fit in most spots. There are a few accessible spaces with paved access to the trail. Trail  46.14563, -122.94687

Ilani Casino

For RV parking go west on Cowlitz Way to the second to last lot on the left. Stop at the check in booth where you'll be asked for your vehicle registration and driver's license. You must also sign a form stating you agree to the rules and understand that you will be asked to leave if you don't comply with them - normal rules and regulations. No time limit is stated. If you leave the property and return you have to sign in again.

Walk/roll to the right to access the ramp to the crosswalk and sidewalk to the casino. The chairs are a bit awkward to move but customers and employees are quick to help. Money and card slots are easy to reach. Casino  45.84993, -122.70855

Friday, June 23, 2023

Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge -Oaks to Wetlands Loop Hike

The Oaks to Wetlands trail is located in the northernmost section of the refuge. This area was an oak forest before European settlement and fire suppression encouraged Douglas firs to take over. To bring back the original forest the firs are being removed which will allow the oaks to grow large and spread their branches.

The trail is a figure eight consisting of a small loop and a much larger second loop. It starts at the refuge headquarters. Follow the sidewalk to the bridge that arches up and over the railroad tracks. We were lucky and a train came as we were crossing the bridge. After the bridge the trail becomes hard packed dirt and gravel and leads to a reconstructed Cathlapotle Plankhouse which may be opened on weekends for tours. The trail is then paved and continues to a viewpoint with interpretive signs about the huge 400 year old oak tree and an 1880 basalt quarry. This is the meeting point of the loops. A hard packed dirt trail finishes the small loop to return to the plankhouse.

The small loop is accessible but it's all downhill to the huge oak so wheelchair user may need assistance on the return trip. We walked/rolled along the large loop too. It is not accessible due to hilly terrain, narrow sections, rocks, and roots.

We also walked/rolled along the Cary Lake Trail. The first part is a dirt road through a meadow but it becomes rocky and impossible to roll along after crossing Gee Creek.
The parking lots are large enough for RVs but they are surfaced with large gravel. Smaller RVs may fit in the paved accessible spaces near the refuge headquarters.  Refuge  45.83063, -122.74745