Friday, August 13, 2010

Lake Crescent and Neah Bay

Yesterday was a relaxing day of driving. We headed back toward Lake Crescent, then up and around the end of it to drive along the Strait of Juan De Fuca. Lake Crescent is the second deepest lake in Washington, measuring anywhere from 600 to 1000 feet deep. I can never do justice to lakes by taking pictures of them so I deleted what I had.

I was disappointed that we couldn't see much of the Strait because it was very foggy, but as we got closer to Neah Bay, I got these shots..

Entering Neah Bay

Neah Bay is the furthermost NW community of the United States and it lies in the Makah Indian Reservation. More smoked fish! We stopped by a building which had smokey goodness rolling out of it. This must be the place. We grabbed a sample and bought a small piece to throw in our ice chest. As I handed the package to my daughter she made a face. The shop owner said "She doesn't like fish, her lip curled about one and-a-half times." Boy does he know her, we laughed for a long time over that one.

You can see Canada in the background
Neah Bay is mostly a fishing village so there's not much to do there. We walked down to the marina and took pictures of old boats. Some don't even look like they are seaworthy anymore.
Older boats deserved an old treatment

We got back to the cabin about 4:30, got some stuff ready to go, had dinner and rented a movie to watch on the computer.

And now we're headed back home although we'll only drive halfway today. My husband has an uncle in the Tacoma area so we will stay there and try to meet up.

I caught a cold along the way so am glad to be going home. I'm sure our veggi garden is overgrown so that will be one of our first tasks. But more important is to go pick up our dog, I miss her bunches.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

First, Second, and Third Beach

Yesterday was another exhausting day. I was looking for some leisurely walks on the beach but the walks TO the beach just about killed me off.

We headed into La Push, which is in the Quileute Indian Reservation and bought some fresh smoked salmon. I mean, you can't go to a reservation and NOT buy any. We followed the signs and pulled into a driveway next to a dilapidated old house. My daughter was afraid to get out of the car. This guy comes out holding a pan of wonderful looking salmon. He points to smaller pieces and says that they're 5 bucks each, the larger ones are 10. My husband pulls out his money clip which had a few big bills in it. All of a sudden the smaller pieces are now 10 bucks and the bigger one 20. Oh well, we bought two small ones.

Too foggy to get a shot of anything else but the kid
Then we headed off to First Beach which was not all that impressive. It was a grey cool day which made everything very dreary looking so we didn't stay long. The only thing nice about this beach was the cute little girl on the log ;-)

We were talking to some people about Second Beach. They said it was very beautiful so off we went. We could tell by the way the parking lot was situated that we would have to walk a trail before we got to the beach. We just didn't know how long or hard it would be. None of the people coming out told us to run for our lives, so we continued.

Don't let the beauty fool you
The walk was so beautiful, cool, and green. I'd say it compared to the Rain Forest in beauty. First it was up, up, up, and then it flattened out for quite awhile. Then the decent started on hand made steps pounded into the dirt which was very muddy in places. We'd pass people and ask 'are we close?'. They'd reply 'you're almost there', in a sing-song voice which meant they were lying.

I don't mind hiking on all flat surfaces but can't handle the up and downhill parts. Even when I was thin, this was not my favorite activity. So if someone had told me how difficult this trail was I would not have gone. The steps were killing my knees and I had to stop several times. I had a jacket that I took off, as well as my husband's sweats over my shorts. Fifty degrees out and I was sweating.

We could hear the ocean approaching and as we finally reached the bottom we encountered a ......log jam. Are you kidding me? It took us 45 minutes to reach the beach and we're stopped by a log jam? Serious timber here, not just little logs you can step on or over. Giant trees that you must climb over to reach the beach. I almost cried.

I'm not climbing that!
I sat on the first log I encountered and took 2 pictures, that was it. I wasn't going any further. My husband climbed over them but my daughter and I sat and rested. Then the torturous climb back up those stairs began. I rested several more times but I could hear my husband huffing and puffing behind me so I wasn't the only one.

Another 45 minutes later we hear traffic. We were never so happy to hear noisy traffic in our lives. As people passed us now, we warned them. Nobody turned around, but I can tell they thought about it. As we got into our car I saw a family with a stroller head to the trail. Ah......let them figure it out for themselves I thought in a sing-song voice.

We drove to the Third Beach and had our lunch in the car. Yummy expensive smoked salmon, crackers and cheese. It was a unanimous decision to not do this trail. I read later it was flatter but longer, 1.5 miles while the mountain we just crossed was only .6. I don't believe that.

I've got plans for you my pretty
We came back to the cabin and rested a bit and then went back to Rialto to take some rocks home. The tide was high and crashing so we just walked a bit, then sat on a log and enjoyed the scenery.

We then headed back to the cabin to rest a bit more before going to dinner. As we went to dinner I noticed that every time we got back in the car yesterday our enthusiasm was waning.

Tomorrow we will do a leisurely drive in the morning, have dinner close by and then get packed to leave Friday.

I hear that it will be in the 90's when we arrive back home this weekend so we better soak up this cool air while we can.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Hoh Rain Forest and Ruby Beach

Yesterday was the first day that we did a bit of driving. The distance wasn't long but when the roads are twisty it takes longer and the person sitting in the back feels it more. And that would be me most of the time. Quite a few years ago we started letting our daughter sit up front when we were going through any kind of winding roads. I used to get car sick as a kid so I know what it feels like.

We arrived at the Hoh Rain Forest about eleven-ish in the morning. Already the parking lot was getting full so we grabbed one of the last spots. It was either that or start parking in the streets which are narrow enough as it is.

In the Hoh, there are three trails to choose from. A real short one made mostly for wheelchairs. The next one is the 'Hall of Mosses', a 3/4 mile trail and a longer Sitka Spruce trail. We chose the Hall of Mosses.

I must say, it was quite impressive. The temperature was around 63 and the sun was out. The Hoh is one of the few temperate rain forests in the world and also the largest. It receives 12 to 14 feet of rain a year. In the Spring, Fall, and Winter the Hoh river often floods its banks and changes course. Large trees topple into the river which makes it rich for new life to begin. I never saw so much stuff growing on top of stuff.
It was quiet and I was looking for that perfect shot but just couldn't find it. The place was already crowded, with people and mosquito's. I had on a fleece jacket which protected my arms but I was getting hot and finally had to take it off. Mosquito repellent? Yes, back in the cabin. In one area I tried to get a panoramic shot but people kept coming in to take pictures too. I tried to stand and be patient but when you're being swarmed by mosquito's it isn't easy. I finally said forget it and left. The trail took longer than we thought, due to so much stopping and admiring, that we decided to have some lunch first before tackling the other trail.

We met up with a couple of women who said they had repellent in the car and let us use some so we could at least have a picnic without being bothered.

We found a spot, dragged our ice chest to it and settled in for a nice lunch. We saw in the distance birds taking over a table just as a family had left. I couldn't figure out what they were, but they sure were in the right spot to get a meal. Just for fun I grabbed a cheez-it and held it high in the air. I'll be darned if one of those birds didn't spot it and come over to get it. Well then, it was game on. I put a cheez-it on my daughters head and sure enough, they came and grabbed it. One even swiped her sandwich from her plate. Although it was too heavy and he dropped it, only for a crow to pick it up. We stayed there for along time feeding the birds every way imaginable. They even ate cookie crumbs right out of our daughter's hand.

They prefer cookies to cut up apple. Junk food birds they are. I looked it up later and they were Grey Jays, or better known as Camp Robbers. I can see why. I saw some pics of them eating at a carcass which kind of ruined the moment for me, but Oh Well, it was fun.

By then we all realized that we were too tired to do the other trail. I guess the Sitka's will just have to wait for another time, I'm sure they're not going anywhere.

My brother suggested that we hit Ruby Beach which we had planned because it was fairly close. Another full parking lot and another trail down to the beach. Sure the trail down isn't bad, it's coming back up that kills me.

When you get to the bottom you have to climb over a bunch of logs to get to the beach. Same type of rocks though, round and smooth. But the logs were not as impressive as Railto, my favorite so far. We were just so tired though so we just walked a ways, took some pictures and headed back up to the car. Of course my husband had to grab a big piece of driftwood to take with him. We let him go first and I said if I see him in handcuffs I'm going to pretend that I don't know him. Some parks don't take kindly to you taking stuff.

It was a fun but long day. We went back to the cabin, made some microwave popcorn, borrowed a neighboring campsite's fire pit and enjoyed the evening. Oh and we have no TV, so the nights are spent with my daughter texting and reading at the same time, me on the computer, and my husband just sitting there. Just like home ;-)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Rialto Beach

Yesterday brought a cool day of 60 degrees, but the air was fresh and clean. We headed into Forks first to let our daughter do some Twilight shopping. It didn't take us as long as we thought so we decided to hit one of the many beaches and have a picnic lunch.

I loved Rialto Beach. It has a look of long ago and I couldn't resist thinking of our ancestors and what they thought when they came upon this beach. "Holy Shit!" comes to mind. Smooth weathered logs of all shapes and sizes laid as they did probably a hundred years ago. I have never seen so many large converged pieces in one place in my life. We were at a beach on Friday Harbor several years ago that came close but doesn't quite compare. Looking out over the pile of logs reminded me of an ancient dinosaur bone yard.
Another thing that was intriguing about this beach were the rocks. They were all flat, round, and smooth. Great skipping rocks but very hard to walk on. Nice rocks to twist your ankle on. We could see little stacks of them all over the beach so I decided to take a pile of them home for myself. There were no seashells of any kind though so I guess rocks are the next best thing.

I was also fascinated by the skeleton trees and loved how they looked against the sky. Strong soldiers still standing tall to protect their beach.

After a lot of walking I sat down against a large boulder to rest. My husband and daughter continued to climb over the logs until they could see the La Push marina and village. We will visit there too, but I prefer by car.

This is a beach worth visiting again, hopefully when the sun is out. We've got a lot to do yet and three more beaches to visit. They're actually called First Beach, Second Beach and Third Beach. Quite original, don't you think? Today we're off to the Hoh Rain Forest so be prepared for some great shots. I don't know who's going to take them, but be prepared!

Monday, August 9, 2010

La Push

I'd sure hate to run into this guy in the dark
We arrived in La Push, Washington after a long 10 1/2 hour drive. We wanted to get a little walk in before dinner so just walked around the camp sight. I love how the moss hangs and grows on everything here, even rocks. Looking forward to see more of the beauty here in the Olympic National Forest.

This is bigger than it looks

All kinds of life on one dead tree stump