Port Angeles Vicinity, Olympic NP; 6/27-6/30/18

Shadow Mountain RV Park and General Store is directly on US 101, the main highway circling the Olympic Peninsula. The drive from Forks was about 45 miles, mostly through forest, but as the road turns to the east it starts to get considerably more hilly and the curves mellow. Then boom! You thought I was going to say mountainous, right? Wrong. A sign for signalman – can we please assume that the “man” in that word means human and dispense with the question of gender? Fact is, the signalman was, by all visual clues, a woman. Then a big SLOW DOWN digital panel. We were going downhill so that part is important for 34,000 pounds.

We are, by no means, among the heaviest vehicles on this highway. The logging trucks, sometimes with double trailers, own these roads and probably account for the good shape they are in. National forest, yes; commercially logged, yes again. We passed an area on Sunday where cut trees were waiting for shipping in row upon row of stacks, just 100 yards from the highway. We’ve also passed areas of growing smaller trees in perfectly even rows which indicates, to me, that the area was once logged and trees replanted. But, I digress. It just appears that logging has been done in a reasonable manner up here. They have so many trees!

The slow down sign helped because the road got very curvy and kept descending. We need to heed those orange road warnings about curves, squiggles and especially the ones that suggest 35mph around the curve. If we try to make the curve faster, things tend to shift – though we’ve really tightened up the ship before moving these past few months. Again, going off topic.

After numerous caution signs, one curve of the road after another, as the road straightened out, we passed the first roadworker with a SLOW sign. This was the first curvatious blonde I can recall on a road crew, though I think there were a couple on Roger Water’s crew during the building of The Wall on his tour about 7 or 8 years ago. About a half mile down the descending straightaway was another worker holding the dreaded STOP sign. Another half mile ahead was a glimpse of the western edge of Crescent Lake.

And yes, those are weird socks hanging out the driver’s window in front of us.

In truth, we had read about this construction and been warned about possible half hour delays. US 101 pretty much clings to the edge of the lake for its 7 or 8 mile length. It’s up and down, curve left 25mph, curve right 30mph, the entire way around. And that’s where they are repaving. They had truck after truck with road materials, asphalt and tar trucks, and a bunch of steamrollers. A guide truck took the conga line through. And, hey, when I said “Boom”, it had become, unbeknownst to us, mountainous. It became obvious a day or two later when we drove back from Port Angeles. Pretty.

The first mile or so is absolutely gorgeous but we had no chance to pause for a picture and though that usually doesn’t stop me, the constant turning of the road required my full attention (except for many peeks). More than halfway through we had to stop again and this is all I could get:

The campground is just past the eastern edge of the lake and just across 101 from Lake Sutherland. We had a good view of it last night from the east side of the campground – we are up at the top of a tiered layout, but were walking Luna and didn’t bring our cameras. Today, Thursday, it’s drizzling, so far putting a damper on our hiking plans, but, we only have another day here so let’s go.

Marymere Falls

With our legs somewhat recovered from the steep hike up from Second Beach, we went in search of a popular waterfall. Reversing our heading on US 101 back to the west, we ran into the flaglady just 450 yards from the turn to the Storm King Ranger Station and trailhead to Marymere Falls. The delay was short and soon we were parked and on the trail. It’s listed in AllTrails as “easy”, .7 miles to the falls. Perfect. I can do that.

What a gorgeous trail.

More of that rainforest look but they get less rain here than over on the west coast.

A little creepy, huh? Like Big Foot is going to come out from behind it.

They have some big ones, too.

It was an easy trail for six tenths of a mile. Right after we crossed this bridge,

the stairs appeared and the designer of the trail revealed his evil side.

At least there was a reward at the top.

That’s not a stick at the top but a long log with a barely noticeable undulation. One of these days it’s going.

Certainly nothing like Yellowstone Falls but a lot better than some other duds.

The return hike was almost exactly like the hike in, surprise, surprise, except at the very end, these guys were back at the trailhead. Black-tailed deer. Oh boy, we saw wildlife!

Hurricane Ridge

Next on the tourist list, the Hurricane Ridge drive. I’m expecting a small version of the road through Rocky Mountain National Park. Maybe we should take that route on our return to Monument.

From 101, it’s about 17 miles uphill, fairly gradual. As we gained some altitude, fog – no, clouds, started to shroud the way. Then a few overlook viewpoint pullouts showed up on the other side of the road, all with zero visibility. This might be a waste of time.

We finally got to the top, where the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center is located, and, as suspected, it was overlook galore with loads of people milling around looking for a view. It was mostly cloudy but we could see pieces of some mountains. A sign indicated a picnic area was a mile further ahead. It was a bit of a descent, which we thought might put us back in the clouds. Only one other car was in that parking area and they were leaving. We walked down to the picnic area.

A bit further and we were singing, “The hills are alive with the sound…”

Maybe not. We never saw the tops of most of them.

But it was pretty nice.

We went back to the visitor center and managed to find something to buy for …me – ‘Raptors – A Child’s Guide To Killer Birds’, something nice like that. And then went out to the overlook behind the building. A mommy deer and two fawns were just down the hill.

One of the Bambi’s was feeding in this shot.
Three family members were standing guard nearby.

How do I know they were family members? Sometimes you just know, or make it up.

I’ll bet it looks great on a clear day.

Maybe next time.

Friday, June 30

The muscles around my hips are screaming, “Don’t do that again anytime soon”. We’re headed to Port Townsend to find out why our friends, Ellen and Ray, also fulltimers, like the town so much that they are considering settling there. But first, a stop at Purple Haze Lavendar Farm.

Lavendar is peaking now. (Yes, that was on purpose. Come on, a little ha-ha.)

You can pick as much as you want.

Kind of a theme here.

And perhaps another theme. Andrea bought some chocolate, and a ‘flashback’ t-shirt.

The owner of this place definitely tripped in the 60’s.

And, I got a bird picture, the state bird of Washington, the American Goldfinch.

Off to Port Townsend where you can catch a ferry to Canada.

We went to Fort Worden State Park, which was kind of cool, an old seafront fort, but they wanted a $10 Day Fee and we got there at 5PM. What, no discount? How about a senior blue light special?

The views there were similar to the one from ‘Quench’, the dog-friendly restaurant at which we had dinner. The ferry pic was from my seat outside. It was warm enough to sit outside in a t-shirt. We had brought Luna’s dinner so everybody was happy. Andrea had clams with a twist – chorizo. She liked it. I had an El Jefe, a Cuban sandwich. Both delicious. This was pretty good too.

On the way back we stopped for a picture of an interesting shop in Discovery Bay.

Did I mention the infatuation they have with Big Foot? The general store, part of this campground, is loaded with Big Foot merchandise. Besides the toys, soap, condoms, and masks, they had kiddie-sized t-shirts that we just couldn’t buy. You know, the Big Foot image and the words, “I Believe”. Sorry, not good enough. Get me one that says, “I Know!”

Anyway, Movin’ on. See you at Thunderbird RV Resort in Monroe, just east of Seattle. Inland, finally.

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