Thursday, August 15, 2013

Vacation, Day 3 - Forks WA to Port Angeles WA

The two towns (our origin and destination) are only 60 miles apart on Highway 101, but we had other stops to make, so this was an entire day in our itinerary, and we used it up, without getting to everything I'd put as options in the itinerary.  Here goes.

The motel we stayed at in Forks didn't offer any sort of breakfast, and a real, hot meal sounded good, so we went to a "coffee shop" next door.  It was okay.  Then we headed out to the coast.  First we ended up in LaPush, and got out at "1st Beach," and took some pictures.  We were right at the mouth of the Quillayute River, and there was a marina there that allowed boats to either head into the river or out to the ocean.

Of course, another panorama

Here's one for Tom Ryan--down LOW.

After leaving that beach, I tried to figure out how to get north, but quickly realized I'd have to backtrack quite a ways.  I was hoping to be at Rialto Beach at low tide, but now it was looking like I'd be getting there a bit after the lowest tide, and therefore as it was coming back in.

We arrived at the parking area, and it was nice that there was no payment required.  We'd paid to get into the Hoh Rain Forest the day before, and the receipt is good for entry into the same national park for seven days, but it was nice just to not have the hassle.  Though it WAS crowded.  There was a ranger there talking to several people, and he had what looked like a tide table in his hands.  But we passed him by and headed to the beach.

Some people had already stacked (and were still stacking) cairns all over the logs.  It was pretty cool.

So of course Nathan joined in the fun and stacked a pile of his own.

The artist, admiring his work

Then we headed north up the beach toward Hole in the Wall, taking pictures of random things as we went.  One very cool thing about a pebbly beach is the sound the rocks make clacking against each other when the wave rushes in over them (hard to hear over the sound of the wave), then recedes back out (the rocks are much more obvious then).

I had gradually been noticing that there were FAR more people heading back toward the trailhead than heading out from the trailhead with us.  (Even accounting for the fact you pass more people head-on than you pass or are passed by going the same direction--I stopped and looked around, and there were far more people headed north than south.)  I wondered if they knew something I didn't about the accessibility of the "trail" which, thus far, was just the beach) at high tide, which was approaching soonish.  So after conferring with Nathan, and considering what else we still wanted to get to see, we turned around and took more pictures heading back the way we'd come.

Nathan found a ladybug
When we got back to the trailhead area, there were more people stacking cairns.  Fun little activity getting passed along as people thought "hey, that looks like fun!"

After our little hike, we got back on the road and headed toward Port Angeles.  Along the way, we passed Crescent Lake, a beautiful blue lake.  We stopped once, at a campground/resort area, and got out and took a few pictures, but then hit the road again.

In Port Angeles, we only briefly stopped for gas and a snack at Safeway, then headed up to Hurricane Ridge.  I seem to recall being there on a family vacation when I was a kid, and at that time (also in the summer, but maybe earlier in the summer, like June or July), and it totally lived up to its name.  However, this time, it was absolutely beautiful weather, and showed off the beautiful view.

This is stitched from multiple photos, taken at an overlook partway up the hill

The view from the visitor center, including a deer grazing in the big meadow
As we were leaving the parking lot, we saw this guy getting right up close to a different deer (or the same one--who knows):

From there, we headed back down into town, checked into our motel (Nathan was NOT impressed, especially because it didn't have a pool), got some dinner (the Mexican place I mentioned on Facebook without any Mexican staff, apparently, and who thought shrimp was vegetarian--I had the nachos, though, and they were fine), and head out on a little walk to go geocaching.

There was a cache just a few blocks away, so we headed in that direction, but it turns out the cache was accessible only off a waterfront trail that was several stories lower than us down a STEEP hill covered in blackberry bushes.  Sure enough, when I zoomed in on the satellite map view in my phone app, all the nearby caches were on that same trail.  So we headed toward the closest one we could easily get to, which also happened to be the destination I had in mind--a cache large enough to drop a trackable I'd created recently (added a keychain from Hurricane Ridge to a trackable tag I purchased and activated).

This boat was parked alongside the road just about when we realized we couldn't get to the cache we originally intended

The site of the cache had a few "muggles," both human and otherwise:

I stood around taking pictures, trying to look like a mom who wasn't paying much attention to her kid who was crawling around in the bushes amidst the litter (while Nathan looked for the cache)
We successfully found the cache, placed the trackable, and moved along our way.  The road we were on led down to the waterfront, so we headed toward a virtual cache there, with sights to see along the way.

This was called the "Rocktopus"

We headed back up the trail toward the cache we'd originally headed for, and found one cache, but it was starting to get dark, and Nathan was getting cold, so we didn't make it all the way to that cache.  Oh well.

On our way back, we saw a motel with an interesting name.

As I was getting ready for bed, I realized I'd gotten a bit of sun somewhere along the way.  Possibly at Rialto Beach?  And check out the camera strap tan.  :-)


  1. ah, cool you're a cacher too - i was enjoying these posts and suddenly saw that you were caching. my man and i also cache the olympic peninsula every time we visit home, cuz my dad lives over there.

    1. Yep, gives me a reason to get out and get hiking when I'm at home (don't need much motivation around here--lots of pretty scenery).