Tag Archives: Port Angeles

Strait, Lake, Rain and Ocean

The day is all about water. Water, water everywhere…

I woke in Port Angeles which is located on the Strait of Juan de Fuca. See previous blog post for picture. It was just as picturesque in the am but its time for me to be off. Headed for Olympic National Forest, west of Port Angeles on the scenic US Rte 101.

The road took me back into the beautiful forests of the Pacific NW. It wasn’t long before the winding road took me along the shores of Lake Crescent. The lake goes on and on and is beautiful from every angle.

Lake, trees, mountain and sky! Who wouldn’t be moved by a site like this? Gorgeous. Maybe add in a bit of low hanging clouds?

The drive continued along the lake for quite a bit until we reached the end of it and then it was just more beautiful forest, Olympic National Forest. As I drove along it begin to start getting misty and looking like rain. About this time I reached the town of Forks, WA. I pulled into the visitor information area just as it started to pour. So does the town name of Forks mean anything to you? Well its known first and foremost for having an average annual rainfall of 10 feet!!

Due to the pouring rain I didn’t get a picture of the rain gauge but it showed 2017 as well above average and this year showing below average – but there are 3 months to go.

So Forks has another claim to fame that will probably one day fade into obscurity unlike the rainfall. Vampires! Stephanie Meyers Twilight series of movies were filmed here.

Of course the movie filming probably boosted tourism a great deal more than the annual rainfall does. 🙂

I read the books but never saw the movies so all of the paraphernalia in the gift shop didn’t hold my attention so I braved the pouring rain and headed back out on the road.

Obviously it is something about that specific area as it was not long before I was out of the rain again. Must be fascinating to meteorologists. After a bit the road turned further south and began to parallel the Pacific Ocean shoreline. I was in the HOH reservation and the HOH Rain Forest. I began to see signs for beaches so turned off on “Beach 4”. I took the short overlook trail at first and was well rewarded with the view.

Wanting to get closer I took the trail that headed down to the short. I didn’t make it all the way to the water as the trail ended up on top of some rocks and since it was wet and I didn’t want to risk another broken ankle, decided to take my pics from the top of the rocks.

You’ll have to use your imagination here to see the seal playing in the waves. He seemed to submerge every time I clicked the shutter. Close your eyes and I’m sure you will see him.

The rainforest was just as intriguing as the ocean so I did get some shots of that as well.

I’m pretty sure that whoever said moss grows on the North side of a tree had never been in a rainforest – the trees are coated on all sides with moss! This next pic was just pretty neat. A tree growing on a downed tree. Circle of life – plant wise.

By this time I was starving and the closest town of any size was another hour away. So time to boogie.

I arrived in Aberdeen and Yelp directed me to the Tap Room. Just my kind of place.

I had the “British Eyes Only IPA” and the flat bread pizza. Yum.

My reservation for the night was in Olympia. In spite of the good company I didn’t linger but got back on the road. Not much to say for the rest of the drive. I was out of the forest and in fairly normal town to town traffic.

I had gotten a good last minute deal at the Hilton downtown and got there without mishap. They have a bar but no restaurant but there was a good one right across the street. So I indulged in a margarita and lamb chops. I wrapped up the day with my book on the couch in my room.

Whidbey Island and Port Angeles WA

So where to today? I picked up this great map called Scenic Highways of Washington so its obviously time to put it to work. Since I hate to drive over old ground I chose scenic rte 11 down along Samish Bay and then scenic rte 26 over to Whidbey Island. These are not actually route numbers, just assigned numbers made up I assume by the makers of the map. None the less I’m back in my rental and on my way. The I-5 portion of the drive was less than memorable, but as I approached Whidbey Island there were an increasing number of signs for pull-outs for views. I finally succumbed and managed this pic.

Of course, just a tad further the pics were even better.

And of course, just on the other side of the bridge was a pull-off that allowed pedestrian access to the bridge itself and much better pictures of the water that made Whidbey an island.

That pull-out was also the started point for a number of trails so I paid up my daily pass grabbed my camera and set out for a hike.

The woods – like all of those that I had traveled during this trip were gorgeous. I started out on the perimeter trail.

What I couldn’t figure is why it was so quiet. No bird or squirrel sounds…. so then I began to imagine bears and what not. So because I was focusing on the quiet I suddenly heard several low-flying military style planes. Since I live in an Air Force town it took a few seconds to register. It’s kind of a scary sound if you don’t know if there is a military site near by. I later discovered there was a navy air site near. At the time, though, it was a bit spooky.

I continued on the perimeter trail until I got to the next mile marker. The marker for the perimeter trail had no mileage marked on it, so I didn’t know if it was a half mile trail or a ten mile trail. My fit bit said I had only gone a quarter of a mile and the marker for the summit trail indicated it was a .4 mile so I decided to give it a go. The trail was a little rougher but beautiful. I am normally a wild-life repeller but after I took this pic I took a closer look….

Is that a deer??!!!

It actually was! She even held still enough for me to zoom in and get a good look. I would guess a yearling but I am no judge. Lucky me.

I took that as a sign. Also the trail was getting rougher and I was on my own. Not wanting a broken hip or ankle, when I saw my trail upward connected with a different trail down, I took it and headed back to the trailhead. I got a great shot of the bridge from underneath while I listened to another visitor – apparently an engineer – talk about what fun it would be to blow it up?!

After I hydrated and cooled down some from my hike, I returned to my car and made my way to Oak Harbor and lunch at Flyer’s. I had a great wedge salad and an Afterburner IPA.

Taking my waiter’s suggestion I headed out for the ferry to Port Townsend. What my waiter did not say was that I should book a reservation. I had to wait for 2 ferries to come and go before I managed to get the very last spot on the third. My wildlife repellant was in effect as the ferry captain explained that the other crossings had noted a pod of Orca’s but we saw nary a one!

The arrival into Port Townsend was smooth and I planned to get a parking spot and wander around but the town was packed. Apparently they were having a wooden boat festival. That certainly explains the sight as the ferry closed in on the town!

Since I couldn’t find parking and it was starting to drizzle and get dark, I proceeded with my plan to go on to Port Angeles a bit west of Port Townsend.

I was delighted to find that The Port Angeles Inn sat up on a hill and my room was on the third floor with a harbor view. If there had been fewer clouds I probable could have seen Victoria, BC. As it was, the view was beautiful.

The weather turned to rain but I made my way to the Next Door Gastropub. Since the road to Port Angeles had passed the Dungeness Bay, I figured crab was on the menu. I had a rogue IPA and the best crab cakes of my life. The flavor of the crab was in no way buried but enhanced by the tomato chutney and shared fennel. Anything else done to enhance the flavor was pure magic! Kudos guys/gals in the kitchen!!!

That wrapped up a great day (except for the boring part in the ferry parking lot).