Wednesday, May 13, 2009


As previously hollered-about, Emily and I took our first camping trip of the year this past weekend. Even having grown up here and being very familiar with the ferry system and various waterways of this great state, it's still a novelty to me that you can catch a boat from downtown Seattle and easily head out across the water.

Seattle to Bremerton takes about an hour, and when the weather's good, the views of downtown Seattle, Alki, other islands, and the Olympic Mountains in the distance are amazing. (I am tired of the word "amazing" but that's what it is.) It's often said that a Washington State ferry is the poor man's cruise ship.

The boats themselves are old workhorses, beautiful in their industrial simplicity. You can't help feeling a little like Richie on the Cote d'Ivoire.

From Bremerton we drove just south, and then north along the length of Hood Canal (which I mentioned in that long-ass New York Times post from last week). Lots of cool stuff to see.

Our final destination was Olympic National Park – we camped at Mora, near Rialto Beach, just north of the Quillayute Indian Reservation.

The Quillayute used the largest of the rocks which dot the coast (James Island, right across from the town of La Push) as a fortress when neighboring tribes would come south on slaving missions.

Even though we stayed in the national park, it's very remote out there, and we pretty much had the place to ourselves (which, long time readers will remember, is how we like it).

The next morning we hiked through the woods down to Beach 3.

Sometimes I like it when place names are just numbers (though obviously there are Quillayute names that we don't know).

The national park has 60 miles of waterfront, and I'm pretty sure you could hike all of it, following the trail in and out of the woods and small beaches.

Later in the day we headed south, to the Hoh Rainforest. The tree Emily is standing under is estimated to be 575 years old.

Everything in the rainforest is covered with moss.

There's a ton to explore – we kind of thought of this as a scouting mission, just getting the feel of it so as to plan better for longer trips.

We got rained on pretty heavily Sunday. Of course you'd rather have good weather, but drinking beers and eating chili and tamales under the tarp is good times no matter what.

That night in the dark, we walked out to this perch on the bank of the Quillayute River. Just as we got there a big bald eagle took off, floating out over the water. We heard a hooting noise and looked up to see a great blue heron in a tree high above us; below in the river, a group of otters were swimming around, feasting on salmon. You could hear the lighthouse and the waves in the distance. It was one of the cooler moments in recent memory and the perfect end to our first trip of the season.

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1 comment:

Quinn said...

I am continuously amazed by how much life energy the two of you have! Great photographs from the trip. The coastline is beautiful and looks like you had great weather.