We took our little house on the ferry again to get over to Olympic from North Cascades. The Kennewick Ferry travels from Coupeville on Whidbey Island over to Port Townsend across the Puget Sound. It was way faster and more fun than navigating through Seattle. No thanks!
After Jerry deftly parked the car and RV, then this big fella pulled in next to us. Yikes!
It was so close Kristi had trouble getting out
We were able to walk around the ferry during the short ride. It was freezing, of course, who is tired of hearing about how cold it is?
Someday we won’t need winter gear on our summer trip. Today is not that day.
This is the truth! We have hit the top corner of this great land and found the end of the continent.
Driving towards Olympic National Park. That is Canada and the water that separates us from Canada is the Strait of Juan de Fuca. You hear this silly name more than someone should when you are in this part of the country! It’s named after a Greek navigator that nobody has ever heard of.
Wildflowers on the roadside
The wait for Hoh Rainforest. We should not have waited! This is inexplicably the most popular part of the park. In the words of Jerry, it was underwhelming, but we didn’t know that just yet, so we waited.
In other news, we had to drive through Forks, Washington to get to the Hoh. Forks is a city that was made famous by the Twilight novels and movies. The main character Bella moves to Forks and meets her vampire/werewolf friends. It greatly increased the town’s popularity and now tourism is a big part of their business. We don’t have any pics of Forks, because, well, we aren’t really fans and it’s just a town.
One of the very nice rangers. We found them to be nicer up in the PNW than at previous parks, that’s for sure. She explained the wait and went car to car answering questions.
Our first animal to spot in the rainforest – a female elk having lunch in the river
The rainforest was explained as tons of greens, mosses, trees and amazing foliage and one of the “quietest places on earth” because it is so dense. We think maybe it’s better in spring or fall (July is one of the driest months). To us, it was just the woods, pretty much, and we were eager to get outta there to something more exciting.
The trees WERE quite large
The moss was quite rampant
And tangly and spooky
But we expected this place to be wet, dark, creepy and quiet – but it was a sunny day with sun shining through and just not how it had been described to us
Lots of crazy tree shapes and sizes and knots and twists
These are called nurse logs. A tree falls and then other trees grow out of it in a line along the fallen tree and that tree gives nourishment to the new ones.
Once the nurse log decays completely, the trees that grew from it have big gaps in their roots
These are the roots from a tree that has fallen. See the other trees growing out of the top?
Another friendly ranger available for questions
We thought this tree was interesting. The middle trunk looks dead, but then two separate new trunks grew out from the sides.
Heading up to Hurricane Ridge. This area had limited access due to a fire that burned down the visitor center in May. So, they say they don’t have the bathrooms to handle more people than 350 cars per day. For this reason, we had to get in line much earlier than we’d normally go hiking, just to make sure we got in. You can see the line of cars behind us. As soon as they hit 350, they close the road for the day, they told us this happens around 11 am.
It was very exciting to be out of trees and seeing gorgeous sky and mountains. We found out this level is called subalpine and that this is what we really enjoy – being out of trees, at the point where the trees stop growing, so that we can see very far and wide all the beauty and have sun shining on us rather than shade.
Glaciers in the distance
The Pacific Ocean (Strait of Juan de Fuca) and Canada in the distance
So, this is a GREAT story! If you follow the blog along closely, you will recognize Steve from our post at Glacier National Park in Montana, which is 635 miles east of where we are today. We had dinner with Steve there when we met him at the lodge. We found out he lived near our son-in-law’s family in Indiana. So, fast forward about 9 days, and we’re walking up this mountain and Steve walks up behind us and comments on Jerry’s shirt, not knowing it was us. Kristi said, “Steve?” And well, we all had a good laugh and walked and chatted up the mountain together. What are the chances? Steve was heading north after today so we probably won’t see him again…but you never know. If we hadn’t had to be here to be in the first 350 cars, we’d have never been hiking this early in the morning.
Kristi chatting with Steve near the summit. He had to leave to catch a ferry to Canada.
The summit of Hurricane Ridge. Our phones suddenly started working here and we enjoyed a fun family text that had us laughing like crazy with our kids. We won’t get into the discussions, it’s too silly to explain but we wanted to remember this moment because it was really fun. #poundland
Oh Canada! (And Port Angeles)
The sun, the air, the mountains, an amazing spot
Heart shaped flower petals that were blowing around
The location of one of Jerry’s weekly work videos that he records and sends to the team at Five Pack
The winding path back down…it heads off onto that second ridge
Cute upside downish mountain flowers (not their official name)