Sunset at Prien Lake Park

Sunset at Prien Lake Park

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Port Angeles and Olympic National Park

We left Eatonville, Washington and Mt. Ranier and headed for Port Angeles. A 20 minute ferry ride took us across Puget Sound and over to Olympic Peninsula. It rained that day while we were driving, and that was the only rain we experienced during our entire eleven days in the Pacific Northwest. Surprising, really. They have such a reputation for rain there. That first day on the peninsula was basically a travel day, but there were a few highlights. Like the lavender farm along the way.

I love lavender. I walked into the gift shop and the scent of lavender overwhelmed my senses. Lavender soaps, potpourri and sachets, lavender herbs and oils to cook with, body lotions and shampoos . . . heavenly. I was disappointed that I wasn’t the slightest bit hungry because they had lavender infused ice creams, and I would have loved to try one. Chocolate, of course.

We checked into our hotel, Olympic Lodge, and set off to explore the town and find something to eat. Port Angeles is on the northern edge of the peninsula on the Strait of Juan de Fuca. It’s a small town, quaint, and complete with everything a small town needs. Organic grocers, dance studios and dress shops, books stores, antique stores, candy shops, Tee-shirts, souvenirs, restaurants and pubs. And of course, gardens.

There’s even an anime/manga shop, which our sons would have loved.

We ate dinner at a fabulous little place called Next Door Gastropub. They had great beers on tap and the most awesome bleu cheese fries. We watched a dart tournament on the television.

One of the things that caught me most off guard on the trip, being from the northeast originally and now the gulf coast, is how there are mountains so high they are snow-capped year around right next to the coastline. This is a shot of Port Angeles from the Strait, but the Pacific Coast is only around an hour west.

We would have loved to explore the mountainous areas of Olympic National Park – we heard Hurricane Ridge is a must-see – but we only had one full day in the area, and we had just come from Mt. Ranier, so we opted to drive to the Pacific Coast and hike through the Ozette area of the Park.

We knew we had a full day of driving and hiking, so we got an early start. A thick blanket of fog hugged the coastline.

We walked down this incredibly green and beautiful trail. Just like in the woods at Mt. Ranier, everything is covered in moss and ferns . . .

and fungi . . .

and banana slugs. They are a good four inches long.

We knew the trail ended at the beach. After three miles through the woods, yes, there it was. The Pacific Ocean.

It was low tide. We clamored over rocks slick with sea weed, ducked under or over dozens of fallen trees, whitewashed by the salt and surf, and explored tranquil tide pools.

After many miles on the beach, we walked back through the woods on a different trail. According to Bob’s Map My Hike app, we walked around 12 miles that day. I won’t lie. We were exhausted!

Sunlight slips past pines
Illuminating forest floor
Elves and fairies dance

1 comment:

Common Household Mom said...

A dart tournament?! On TV?!

I'm so glad you got to explore nature, and that you shared your photos & haiku with us.