Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Olympic Peninsula – North Coast (part 2)

From Salt Creek, I went to Sequim, WA for a week and a half.  Then I went back to Salt Creek. I visited more of the Olympic National Park and spent a couple of days at Hurricane Ridge.

Many wildflowers were blooming while I was there.   Below is an Avalanche Lily.

I don’t know what the above flowers were, but while taking this picture my water bottle fell out of my pack and about 30 feet down the trail.  Of course there were signs all around saying not to walk off the trail as it damages the plants.  Luckily for me there was a park volunteer at the end of the trail, so I told her and she walked back with me and very carefully walked down and got the bottle.

I hope she didn’t kill too many plants! 

The trail had great views from all sides. 


While hiking, I noticed this yellow thing on a lupine.  After taking several pictures I kept on down the trail.  A short while later I ran into a ranger and he told me that it was a Yellow Crab Spider.

While driving around, I got stuck one time because of road construction on Hwy 101 at Lake Crescent.  As a sign had warned that it could be a 20 minute wait, I got out and was looking around.  Shortly after the man behind me got out of his truck and started fishing in the lake.  I guess if you have to get stuck in road construction, it’s good to be at a pretty lake.  You can see the guy fishing on the far right hand side, with all the other vehicles behind him.

One of the hikes I did in the area was to Marymere falls.  The falls were ok, but what I found most interesting was the tunnel under the road.

  While in Sequim, I went to the Sequim Lavender festival.  They had an arts and crafts festival (with lot’s of things made with lavender) and they had tours of the lavender farms. 

Another trail I did was to Soleduck Falls.  It was a nice hike and a beautiful water fall. The water flows into a gorge, so it’s a bit difficult to get a good picture.

op_soleduck_falls On the trail, I ran across a lot of the flowers below.  I forget their name, but I know they are in the dogwood family.

At just about every ranger led hike I’ve been on around here they talk about nurse logs.  On the trail to Soleduck Falls is a good example of a tree that grew on a nurse log and the nurse log has since decayed. (At least that’s my guess!)

I drove to Port Townsend for a day and took a cruise to one of the San Juan Islands, Friday Harbor.  On the way we took a side trip to look for orcas.  Unfortunately I decided to get sea sick.  I never used to get sea sick, but over the last several years I’ve noticed this more and more.  I had taken a Dramamine, but it didn’t help. It was a very foggy day and the captain warned us that we may not see any whales because you could barely see 10 feet in front of the boat, but we did.  Fortunately for me, I got sick just before we saw the whales and just after.

Afterwards, we went to Friday Harbor.  Most people went to lunch and went shopping, but I went to the grocery store and got some crackers.  Then after taking a short walk I found a small park and just watched what was going on at the marina.

One day, I drove to a bridge across the Hood Canal.  This bridge is the third longest floating bridge in the world, it is the longest that is on tidal water.  The tide can fluctuate up to 18 feet, so the bridge has to be able to move up and down that much.  While on the bridge you couldn’t tell it was floating.


My next stop is Mt. Rainier.  I’ll post that in a few days. 

Olympic Peninsula – North Coast (part 1)

Before getting into my next stop I wanted to mention that I have now been full timing for more than a year.  Actually 16 months!  I’ve learned quite a bit. 

I’m putting more miles on my car than I thought I would.  But I don’t mind traveling an hour or so from my camp site.  Some people prefer to move their RV, but if I want to just visit the area for a day and I’m in an area/park that I like I prefer just to drive.  Besides many times it’s easier and more fun to drive the Honda CRV rather than the motorhome towing the car. 

I always thought that I would mix private RV parks with national/state/county parks and that is the case.  In Oregon and Washington I’ve done more private parks as most of the government parks are under trees and when it’s cool and/or rainy I prefer an open spot. 

I had expected to have a satellite system by now.  I like my TV, but since I’m in private parks more than 50% of the time I typically have cable.  When there is no cable, I can usually get something over the air.  Only a few times have I had nothing. 

Well, back to my travels.  I had read about a Clallum county park that sounded very interesting.  Salt Creek recreation park is a great place just west of Port Angeles, WA.  They have 2 different areas for camping.  One is non-hookup, under trees and has more private sites.  The other area has full hookups for RVs, is in the open and the sites are close together.  But the view is worth it!

That’s my RV in the third row from the water.  The water is the Strait of Juan De Fuca.  I could see Vancouver Island, Canada just across the water.  Actually my cell phone was picking up a Canadian tower, so I only used it once from the campground as I didn’t want to pay a roaming charge.   The rows of RVs were tiered so while I was in the third row I looked over the RVs in front of me – I loved it. In fact I stayed here for 5 days and then left for a week and a half and then came back for 5 more days.  I watched cruise ships, fishing boats, barges and Coast Guard (both US and Canadian) boats go up and down the Strait. 

While I was using the park as a base camp for traveling around the area, the park was a destination in itself.  There were a couple of trails, tide pools, water…

The 2 pictures below are of the beach at the park.  The first is at high tide and the second at low tide. 

The park is known for having great tide pools.  Below is one of the pools at low tide.  I saw the largest sea star (star fish) that I have ever seen.  It is the one on the left side of the pool, out of the water.  Below it was a huge Green Anemone. (see second picture).  This particular day was an extremely low tide so there were more people out looking that day.

Above is a blood star.  Some of them were orange, while others were red. 

One of the reasons that I love this park is there was a spot that I liked to sit and just watch the water.


My travels in the area will be in the next blog.

Olympic Peninsula – West coast

Once again, it’s been a while since I blogged.  If I would just catch up it sure would make it easier.  I waited so long that it’s hard to remember some of the names of the places I went.

I made my way from Kelso, WA to Pacific Beach, WA staying at Pacific Beach State Park.  My purpose of stopping here was just to get to a beach and take it easy. And that’s exactly what I did.  Lots of beach and not too many people – just what I like!


After Pacific Beach, I headed up to Forks, WA.  I have not seen Twilight, but apparently some of the movies takes place in Forks, WA.  The town has definitely profited because of this.  There are several stores dedicated to Twilight junk and several tours to take fans to places where some of it was filmed.

I didn’t really care about Twilight, but I used Forks as my base for touring the area.  My first stop was the Hoh Rain forest in the Olympic National Park. It was a pretty green place, but to be honest I’ve seen so much moss, ferns and other green things that it didn’t seem as spectacular as other people say. 

There were some interesting trails and I thought how they used these 2 fallen trees below was neat.  That’s the trail between the 2 trees and at the end you walk under one of the trees.

I guess moss grows anywhere.  Many of the buildings had moss on top of them also.

The Olympic National Park has several different sections.  From Forks, I explored both the rain forest and the coast.   Most of the time I was there it was overcast and/or foggy. That seems to be very typical of this area.  I may have my beach names wrong, if you think so, let me know. 

Below is Ruby beach.  Apparently at one time there were red grains in the sand and some people thought rubies, but they were actually garnets.  I didn’t see any.

Rialto Beach is one of the more popular beaches.  When I first got to the beach it was grey and overcast but not bad.  Then the fog started rolling in.   You can see in the second picture below that the tops of the sea stacks are in the fog.

My favorite beach was Second Beach in the La Push area.   To get to the beach, there is a trail leading to the beach.  Nice walk, interesting creatures --op_forks_2nd_beach

I believe it’s a banana slug.  Second Beach is known for it’s drift wood.  You had to scramble over the logs to get to the beach.  As you can see from below there was blue sky when I got there.  But as you continue down the pictures you’ll notice a bit of fog and then it get’s heavy.


Cape Flattery is in the NorthWest point of Washington.  It’s part of a the Makah Indian Reservation.  Before going to the Cape, I went to the Makah Museum – interesting place.  In 1970 erosion unearthed a mudslide that had destroyed an Indian village 500 years ago.  The museum is based on that village.  Cape Flattery is a beautiful place.  I had read that the trail could be tricky, but had also read the Indian tribe had worked on it recently and improved it.  It was a great trail, uphill on the way back but not bad.  From the viewing decks at the end there were great views.


Next I’ll write about my visits on the northern part of the Olympic Peninsula.