Tag Archives: Washington


Lush is an understatement!

The west side of Olympic NP did not disappoint…it was green on green on green.

Our campground was in the NP, Kalaloch was amazing!! I feel so fortunate we were able to reserve two nights there!! We could hear the ocean from our site in the temperate rainforest!

We made a trip down to the beach as soon as we set up camp. Huge drift logs and gorgeous stones were everywhere. Amazingly different than our east coast shoreline. It was misty, cool, and windy but beautiful none the less!

We biked around and had our first campfire since RMNP. Hot dogs over a fire just taste soooo much better! Thursday we trekked into the Hoh rainforest…through the Hall of Moses. What a place….

Virginia and Kimberly received their Junior Ranger badges and Virginia also completed the Ocean Steward Program.

Friday we headed out through cloudy, rainy skies…Portland bound.








Contemplating Scale

imageSince we arrived on the Olympic Peninsula and in the vicinity of Olympic NP I have been feeling a bit small. Not in the sense of being insignificant maybe, but more about just our physical presence as well as how short our time is – when you really think about it.

Being in a place like this will make you think about these things. The isolation in time and space of this area has created an environment that is truly unique, not to mention, there is a lot here that is really big: snow-capped mountains, huge trees, the wilderness in general really…

This park is quite different than any other I have experienced, especially related to the three we visited before this one on our current journey. The road access is really just around the perimeter, and outside of the park at that. Venturing into the heart of the park is an experience exclusive to backpackers. I think that is awesome. I wish I was packing in for a week. I have lamented the fact that I am not several times a day so far.

One reason for that desire is that there is so much of the park you simply cannot experience any other way, and another possible reason is that Brad took off for CA for four days right after we got here…maybe I was longing for a little “quiet time” away from the girls :-).

We have managed to take in a few of the more accessible areas including a drive up to Hurricane Ridge…known as such for the high winds that, coupled with the 30+ feet of snow a winter, make for a most inhospitable environment! You can see several beautiful snow capped mountains from here, including Mt Olympus. You can also see back over Port Angeles to Canada…not very far away. The city of Victoria is easy to make out right across the Straight.

The girls and I ventured to Sol Duc Hot Springs and soaked for an hour or so. It is a more pungent spring than our last experience as has a slightly slimy feel to the water…tried not to think about that too much though as the girls were having fun. There were quite a few people there when we went and many were Eastern European…they have us beat in the “distanced traveled” department by a long shot!

Several of our excursions have taken us past Lake Crescent, a glacial lake that is several hundred feet deep and the most striking azure blue you can imagine. It is very distracting when driving along the shoreline…you have to keep looking over at it to convince yourself that it really is that surreal color. Quite beautiful.

Another adventure led the girls and I to Salt Creek Recreation Area, not too far from our campground. I had read somewhere that the tide pools at low tide were fun for exploring. We were right on time tide wise and were able to investigate the mid tide range with mussels and limpets exposed on the rocky shore and loads of beautiful driftwood and seaweed, unlike anything we have at home, on the beach area. It was probably my favorite outing so far.

Today we hiked to Sol Duc falls and it was beautiful!! Such spectacularly clear water…unlike anything I have ever seen – and I spend quite a bit of time in that environment!

Tomorrow we will leave this campsite and head around 101 to the west to stay at Kalaloch campground for two nights. We will visit the Hoh rainforest. I am super excited!! Hall of Mosses here we come! This region of the park gets 12-14 FEET of rain a year!!!

Only negative to report: last night my purse was stolen out of the truck – which was accidentally left unlocked for the first time the whole trip. A morning spent canceling credit cards, etc was no fun but we have taken care of everything and minimal damage was done. I need to replace our camera so am stuck with photos from the iPhone for a few days. Otherwise, just a small bump in the road!

More Olympic to come…







Seattle: the good, the bad, and the ugly

Since we are trying to be candid with our journaling efforts on this trip…here’s the low down on the latest adventures:

Arriving in Puyallup – merely a campground within a hour of Seattle and NOTHING more – we were relieved to not be at a truck stop, have laundry facilities, and of course…a hot shower. We did a little drive around the tacoma area, just so we could say we did, and called it a night, excited for Kimberly’s birthday jaunt into Seattle the next day.

We woke to cloudy skies (seemed appropriate given our locale) and headed out by 7:30. I was regretting not lining up a stroller rental in advance and wondered how many steps it would be before kimbo pooped out on us. Fortunately, given the anticipation of certain activities she hung in there quite well.

To say entering the sprawling metropolis of the greater Seattle area was a bit of a shock to our systems is to put it very mildly! Within an hour we parked the car downtown, one block off of Pike Place Market and it was on.

I have to say, having been in relative wilderness for the previous two weeks did not prepare us well for the deafening volume of the city. We couldn’t hear each other…we were concerned about the car being vandalized, as we were clearly tourists making a day of it with backpacks, water bottles, and the like ;-)…and, of course we had no idea where we were going.

Being the one charged with all planning and scheduling, six eyes were on me. It took a quick stop at a coffee shop, a few glances at my phone map, and we were off.

First stop: Seattle aquarium. If you go there, do NOT judge it by the exterior. It looks pretty rough. Actually turned out to be the second nicest one (next to Baltimore) that I have ever visited.

Next up: a quick lunch at a sandwich joint. Good food. We strive to avoid “hangry” as much as possible…we are all susceptible!

Off to the much anticipated (by Kimberly) monorail – a throw back to the 1962 worlds fair – that took us to Seattle center to see the space needle.

We opted for just Brad and Va to go up…it is really pricey and the clouds were limiting the view.

We enjoyed the return trip on the monorail and stopped in a Marbles store to find a few gifts for the birthday girl. After our walk back to the car it was back to the campground before rush hour began.

All in all, the city trip was ok. Some of the negative resulted from our sensitivity to the noises, smells, sights…and some is related to the experiences we had to explain to the girls on the way “home”. Like: why were there people camped out on the pier next to the aquarium (fairly large homeless camp right there, including discarded clothing and evidence of various bodily functions feet away from us); why did daddy go back to check on car (shady guys casing lot as we left); why was that man screaming cuss words “at” us as we walked by (mentally ill man talking to himself on corner); etc etc.

Brad and I both took a depth breath in as we crossed the Hood Canal onto the Olympic Peninsula today. At a quick stop in Port Angeles we scored with a wonderful food co-op (yes I do sniff those places out)! Our campsite is awesome. Tomorrow Brad leaves us for CA for 4 days but I am excited to begin exploring the park with the girls!!!

Note: we opted to stay at Elwha Dam RV park versus at Sol Duc as I needed hook ups while Brad is gone. So that location is wrong on the schedule.





Gold Fever!

We found ourselves in Idaho briefly, long enough to rest for a night and tour an old gold mine.  The Crystal Gold Mine in Kellogg, ID was mined briefly in the late 1800s and then boarded up and abandoned until it was rediscovered during road construction in the 1991!  We camped on the premises so we were the first ones in on Monday morning.

Kimberly getting the safety talk from Frank, the owner

Kimberly getting the safety talk from Frank, the owner

Kimberly did a great job of keeping her miners hat (hard hat) on the whole tour!   It was very interesting and we were able to see gold and silver in the walls!   At the back of the mine we were 900 feet below ground!!  We panned a little afterwards, but chilly temps and icy water minimized that experience.

Back on the road, we stopped in Coeur d’Alene long enough to have an awesome lunch at Fire Pizzeria…the lake there is beautiful!


Our attempt at a family photo in the mine ;-)

Our attempt at a family photo in the mine 😉


The afternoon brought a few more hours of driving as we were making our way to the Washington coast.  Similar to parts of Wyoming and Montana, there is a lot of agriculture and undeveloped land in east Washington.  We found ourselves hunkering down for the night at another truck stop in George, WA…my least favorite accommodations so far.  Dinner and a few games of Uno rounded out the evening.

Notice the size of the "shaft"...not for the claustrophobic!

Notice the size of the mine shaft…not for the claustrophobic!

Today we will be arriving at a campground (thank God!) around lunchtime near Tacoma, setting us up for a day in Seattle tomorrow.  I am looking forward to spending Kimberly’s birthday there and we plan to take the girls to the aquarium among other places.

Thursday we are headed to the Olympic Peninsula for a much needed break in travel.  We will be there for 8 days, yay!!