Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Pacific Northwest - Day 3

The next morning we woke up to a cool and foggy day at the beach.  We had some oatmeal to warm up and then packed up the campsite.  We humped our stuff back to the car and got on the road.  We were driving through some small towns on the northern part of the peninsula, back the way we had come the previous day.  On the way to the beach I had noticed a sign about vampires, which I thought was very strange, but I didn't give it a second thought since I was very tired.  On the way back I could see that the other side of that sign said "Welcome Twilight fans."  Apparently we were driving through the region where the Twilight books were set.  We got to a bigger city, Forks, and Twilight was everywhere!  There were silhouettes of the actors, signs for tours, etc...  We stopped at a grocery store to stock up and the cashier told us that since those books, and especially movies, came out, there have been tons of visitors from all over the world.  Even though I am not a fan of Twilight, it's good to see this town is getting an economic boost from it.  And also funny.

Our first destination was the Hoh temperate rain forest.  One of the lower campsites had showers, so for 25 cents, we got a 2 minute shower.  What a difference two minutes can make!  We then headed to a visitor center up on one of the higher peaks.  Again the road followed a river up the mountain, so we stopped  couple of times to check it out and rinse out a couple of things.

The river was aqua and also grey due to the "Glacier flour" - powdered rock ground down by the glaciers

The river  bed was all pebbles

When we got to the top of the road, which we had hoped would have scenic views of the peaks we had seen from the main road, we stopped for a quick picnic.  The campsite and picnic spots were plentiful in all of Olympic National Park, I have to say.  After a quick ham and cheese, we decided to do one of the short hikes from the visitor center.  The 3ish mile hike through the rain forest was very cool.  Unfortunately, we didn't get the views that we were hoping for, it seems that those were a much longer hike up the mountain.  The tall trees and moss were even more beautiful on this trail than the others we were on the previous day.  Compared to an East coast forest, the trees are absolutely enormous.  They are not only much bigger around, they are also way taller.  It was quite a site to see.

The tree roots are really shallow and lots of them are actually exposed

The trees grow in lots of funny ways and the deciduous ones all seem good for climbing

Tall tall tall

The view from the top was good, but not quite what we had hoped

The forest was very dense
Some of the trees were growing together, either attached at the base like this one or coming up out of a downed tree

Two fallen trees make a tunnel on the trail

After that short hike, we continued on the road south, following the Washington coast.  Even though it had been sunny on the mountain, it was back to foggy and chilly right along the shore.  We stopped at a scenic view to have a look at the beaches and we were shivering.  Not surprisingly, we decided that camping on the beach for a second night wasn't our best option.

High up on the cliffs; there was lots of driftwood on all of the beaches

Not exactly inviting

We kept driving all the way to Lake Willapa, where there were three campsites to choose from.  It was a little bit like Goldilocks and the Three Bears, the first site was too crowded, the second site was too far from the lake, but the third site- it was perfect.  Only four campsites and directly on the lake.  The campsite that we chose was literally feet from he lake, but it was adjoining to another site, with the other two being around the corner and full already.  We figured that since it was late, if we were lucky we would basically get two campsites to ourselves.  One lady did come check it out, but that was it.  It was by far the most private official campsite that we found.  Well, except for the random college kids that kept walking through our site to go through a hole in the bushes to get to the non-official campsite that they had found.  They were cool though, one of them was from Great Britain and visiting/working in Washington for the summer.

The pebble beach at our campsite overlooking the mountains

 Janda strikes a pose with some mountains far off in the distance

Why we chose to stay on Lake Willapa 

 Our own little beach at our campsite

We made dinner and watched the sun set over the mountains on the other side of the lake.  No campfire this evening to keep us up, so we hit the sack (literally) pretty early.

 Janda getting dinner ready  at our campsite

Day is done 

View from the tent

No comments: