|We have moved on towards Port Angeles, which is in the Olympic Penisula. In order to get there you have to either take a ferry across or drive around and up the penisula. Since we have the RV taking the ferry is cost prohibitive so we are driving. It is a beautiful drive, mostly along the Hood Canal which is an inlet from the Puget Sound. There are many small towns and beautiful homes along the water. If you are a Debbie Macomber fan and have read the Cedar Cove series, I think this area is the area Cedar Cove is modeled after. In the books she mentions taking the ferry over to Seattle, which you can do in some of these areas. The weather is getting cooler as we travel up the penisula. Again, we are lucky we have a sunny day because this area is known for having a lot of rain and gloomy days. We are staying at Elwah Dam RV Park. Elwah is a Native American tribe in this area. They have used their influence to get two dams removed from the Elwah River so the salmon can return to this area and they can reinstate some of their native customs. The removal will begin next year. Port Angeles is directly across from Vancouver Island, BC. It is 18 miles away and on a rare clear day you can see it across the Sound. The day after we arrive we took the ferry over to Victoria on Vancouver Island. We went on foot and took a city tour on a bus after we arrived. Victoria is a very beautiful city, full of flowers and gorgeous waterfront homes. It has a very English influence. After our bus tour we walked around and looked in the shops and the waterfront. We walked around to the harbor and had lunch right on the water. It was a pretty long walk so we took a water taxi back to the downtown area - what a hoot! The water taxis are little boats that scoot all around the harbor. All along the waterfront area there are street performers and people selling all kinds of things. It was another beautiful sunny day so we enjoyed sitting and watching everything from people acting as statues to people performing all types of music. The Empress Hotel is near the port and is known for their high teas. It was a great day and we really enjoyed walking around the city.
The next day we drove up to Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park. It is named Hurricane Ridge because in the winter the winds can reach hurricane force. The ranger at the bottom of the mountain told us it was sunny on top, but as we drove up the winding road we were totally surrounded in fog and were very doubtful. But as we neared the top, the fog disappeared and sure enough it was sunny on top. We had lunch looking out at the Olympic mountains, enjoying the sun. Although they are only half the size of Mt. Rainier, the Olympic range is still quite impressive. We saw several black tail deer just wandering around near the parking area. We took a little hike around the area.
The next day we drove west toward the Pacific Ocean and a different area of the Olympic National Park. I did not read the Twilight series or see the movies, but when we reached Forks, WA it became apparent we were in "Twilight Country". I have since learned that the books take place in Forks, LaPush, and Hoh rainforest - all places we visited. The town of Forks is capitalizing on this in every way possible. We continued our drive to Kalaloch, which if perched on a bluff over the Pacfic Ocean. We took Sage with us today because we thought we might be gone longer than usual. We all walked down to the beach, which is totally different than anything we are used to. There are big boulders on the beach as well as in the water and the sand is a mix of sand and small pebbles. I also am not used to being fully clothed with a jacket on while I'm on the beach. I guess the people in WA are made of stronger stuff because some of them had swim suits on and were getting in the water. There is also a lot of driftwood - huge trees washed up on the shoreline. Next we drove to Ruby Beach , named because the sand has garnet crystals that give the sand a pinkish hue. The huge boulders out in the ocean are called sea stacks and were cased by volcanic activity thousands of years ago. We walked along this beach also. Even though it is cool, it is sunny again. A ranger there said we were very lucky because usually it is raining and/or foggy. On up the road we visited Hoh Rain Forest. This is one of the few coniferous rain forests in existence. The forest is filled with giant trees all covered in vines, lichen, and moss. There are giant ferns growing everywhere - so many different shades of green. A totally different atmosphere than the beach area, yet only a few miles apart. We moved on up the road to LaPush. The Quileute Inidan Reservation is in this area. There was even more driftwood on this beach. These beaches are exactly like I pictured them, wild and wooly. The National Park System owns 70 something miles of the coastline here so it has remained undeveloped and will for future generations.
Next day we took a different scenic route and drove towards Cape Flattery, which is the most northwestern point in the lower 48 states. It was a curvy, winding road that sort of followed the northern coastline. We saw 3 cruiseships out at sea while driving along. When we got to Cape Flattery, we had to hike about 1/2 mile through the forrest to get to it. The trail was pretty good, part dirt and part raised plank. The view was well worth it! It was a little cloudy on this day, but we can't complain because we have had great weather since we have been here.