August 23, 2017 – Wednesday – Port Angeles, WA still….
The kids awoke even earlier than the prior morning… We were on the road by 8:00ish which is great for us! Today was our “beach day”. We gassed up and headed out on west Hwy 101 – this is a gorgeous road that hugs the northern border of Olympic National Park and the southern border of Lake Crescent (see the background on Sarah’s Facebook page – she put that on there 8 years ago – that is Lake Crescent from the last time we were there! (Also, Sarah needs to update that)).
Unfortunately, there appears to have been some kind of avalanche/landslide along the way and there was a huge traffic delay as they were clearing the rocks from the road. Side note: the mountains here are interesting as they are very tall and steep and tree covered, as opposed to a place like Glacier, where the elevation is so high that it isn’t forested.
We motored down through the Quileute reservation to LaPush (yes, where the wolves in Twilight lived! (you had to be waiting for the Twilight references, right??)) to Second Beach – Olympic National Park goes down the coastline. There are a series of beaches and we had been to Rialto Beach and First Beach last time, so this time we chose a hike that starts inland about a mile and leads to Second Beach. The trail was beautiful and you descend down a series of dirt steps to a bunch of driftwood and then you hit the beach! Lots of people backcountry hike, and hike down the coast to camp there, among the huge pieces of driftwood on the beach.
It was beautiful – we walked down the beach at least a mile, the kids playing in the ice cold water. We lunched on the beach. We no fools this time – we had checked the tide charts and knew high tide was going to be at about 2 pm – the tide was slowly coming in while we were there. The beach filled up by the time we left, which meant there was at least 1-2 dozen people there. We saw 3 friendly backpackers including a woman in a bikini and another lady and a child who let us all pet their Chihuahua puppy. It was surreal. Sarah’s goal is to do this some day – it is the most amazing, spiritual place. (ignore that Braden kept getting down on all fours and digging holes like a dog).
A highlight for B was earning ten dollars for picking up two pieces of the creepy seaweed and whipping them around in the air. No one else (including Matt) wanted to touch them, so Sarah offered 5 bucks per piece to any kid willing to, and B was the bravest!
After hiking back, the kids were tuckered out and we drove into Forks. Yes, that Forks. We got some coffee at one of the many roadside stands that are all over Washington – Sarah’s was so good that she remembered why her coffee addiction started in WA. OMG, a mocha so good it gives you tingles.
We then took the liberty of cruising around and doing a little tour of Twilight worthy places – the last time we were here was the height of Twilight mania, but Sarah didn’t read the books until the following week. We took pics of all the noteworthy places, not like Sarah really remembers any of them or really liked the books at all (contact her if you need the link to the unfinished manuscript for Midnight Sun (the version of the first book from Edward’s perspective, which Sarah totally did not tell everyone in Waupaca about and circulate at the time)).
Also, for unclear reasons, every time Matt tries to play the Trolls sound track in the car for the kids (ugh, we know), it plays Twilight! Haha!
We cruised out of Forks and headed back to Port Angeles – it takes 90-120 minutes, esp due to landslide related traffic delays. The drive back to Port Angeles is more beautiful than the drive to Forks because you have beautiful lake views the entire way back.
We cruised into town and got home, hot dogs for the kids (hey it’s vacation) – then the kids and us played in the pool and hot tub until time for bed. We had intended to have take out from Bella Italia to complete our Twilight themed day (remember?!? That’s where Edward surprised her in Port Angeles and they had a date?!?), but apparently when their restaurant is full they don’t do take out orders. Okay, we are the king and queen of take out from decent restaurants, and have NEVER been told that. So HELLO, Next Door Gastropub again tonight. We split a mac and cheese which was excellent, and Sarah had a Westsider sandwich and fries and Matt had fig and Brie sandwich with chips. All of it was wonderful.
Beer of the day: Silver City Red Ale. Eh again.
August 24, 2017 – Thursday – Port Angeles, WA still….
We awoke bright and early after collapsing out of sheer exhaustion last night again. After eating a boring breakfast, we headed off for the Rain Forest (“rain forest day”). Every day is kind of the same…. Lots of sitting in traffic trying to head west along the shore of Lake Crescent past the landslide. Traffic here is 80% Subaru/Prius, 10% logging trucks and regular trucks, 5% rental cars and homemade hippie RVs, and 5% Cullen family and other Volvo traffic. It’s an odd mix for sure. We headed through Forks to the Hoh Rain Forest portion of the Park. Oh good god this took forever. We don’t even know why. It took like THREE HOURS to get to the trailhead, which really, we could have been in Canada by then.
WELL, well, we wondered when we would find all the people who annoy us while hiking, and the Hoh Rain Forest did not disappoint. Remember all those goddamn California folks on the west side of Glacier? Well apparently the beaches and Hurricane Ridge are too far north and east for their entitled asses to drive, but don’t worry, they all straggled across the Oregon border directly to the Rain Forest. UGH. Improperly dressed hikers, annoying ass hippies, overly dressed for a day hike retired upper middle class people. They were all here. And us.
Z had a breakdown in the parking lot and we had to let her wear her Paw Patrol backpack the entire time. So we fit into category A, improperly dressed hikers. Our plan was to do the Hoh River Trail for about 1 to 1.5 miles and then turn around and head back (it’s an out and back trail). It was more technical than we thought it would be with more rocks, and wood on the trail. No elevation gain. Don’t worry, this is the one trail Z actually wanted to (intermittently) hike on! Everyone fell and injured themselves at least once. At least two of our children lost it when they learned this kind of rain forest had no monkeys. And everyone was pissed when the only slug that was sighted was probably mostly dead and not one of the famed banana slugs.
We took a spur trail to the rocks near the River at mile 0.9 (yes we didn’t even make it a mile) and ate lunch. The crazy part about this place was we actually had cell phone service, which we’ve never really had reliably on the trail in any of our usual national parks. Probably the California people demanded it. So of course numerous pictures were sent to our family from the river bed. The Hoh River was gorgeous – the water was crystal clear and we think it is glacial run off – in what sun there was, it reflected an icy blue color!
We headed back and went on a “short trail” that was called the Hall of Mosses. Then we called it a day.
Theories as to why Mommy and Daddy have been so tired include: carbon monoxide leak at the compound, second hand pot smoke, and being run ragged by our children. (Side note: the cannabis shops here are the best! We haven’t gone, but reading the Yelp reviews of these places has been entertainment enough). Using his seaweed earnings, B purchased a combination binoculars/compass which made his day. We stopped in Forks for more coffee and smoothies at the Mocha Station (mmmm) and drove the 47 miles home in 2 hours. Of course. Matt and Noah did stop at Lake Crescent for a “timewarp” photo of Noah.
Once we got back to Port Angeles, we stopped at Frugal’s, which is a Pacific NW burger chain with four locations. It is drive thru only and has fascinated us since we came here as there are always at least 4-6 cars at all times in the two drive thru lanes. They also have the word “pop” on the sign, and Sarah wept with happiness when Matt pointed it out. We all got burgers and grilled cheese and it was delicious. Then off to the pool and hot tub, and off to bed! What are we doing tomorrow? Welll…..we don’t really know yet.
Beer of the night? Dead Guy Ale by Rogue Ales
August 25, 2017 – Friday – last full day in Port Angeles, WA!
We were awakened by the kids demanding their iPads as they do every day and like every other day, we say no, and they sulk away to watch TV and create general mayhem. We had talked things over and decided NOT to take the ferry over the Canada. This was the part of our grand vacation plan that included getting expedited passports a few months (weeks, to be honest) ago….also a Trump presidency sure helped us all finally get our passports!
Anyway, we had planned on taking the ferry over as walk on passengers, spending the day in Victoria BC, and then coming back in mid to late afternoon. However, our plan had a few issues:
- We would have to get up and be with it pretty early in the morning, and Matt does not like to be on a “schedule”. He is in fact bothered by the fact that our airplane has a “take off time” at the end of our vacation. Schedules constrain his wild, free nature.
- Sarah did not like the idea of being walk on passengers and thus trapped walking all over downtown with all of our children. Let’s be honest, they haven’t really proven themselves on “long walks” (aka hikes) this week with their ability to behave themselves. It is nice to have a car to serve as home base.
- Victoria kinda seems snobby. High tea for kids? OMG dying a little here. Our kids would be the ones beating up the tea kids. Noah was excited by the thought of a museum, but when we described what the British Royal museum would be like, even he lost interest. Definitely a place WE would like to go, but not so much with the kids at these ages.
- We had no idea how long customs would take.
- We just sort of had a feeling that we would end the day thinking, “Wow, we just spent hours and money chasing around our children who were not having fun in a different country, when we could have done it in Murica.”
Hence, we decided not to take the ferry over and decided to have a lazy day here. We stopped at Cock-A-Doodle Donut and all picked up delicious donuts.
We drove past our favorite landslide with associated traffic delays (we actually recognize the workers at this point) over along Lake Crescent, and then turned into the Park and drove to the Sol Duc area where there are hot springs and a trailhead, and a gorgeous river. We hiked about a mile to a waterfall, on a very well traveled trail.
In a tragic event, Braden somehow lost his combination compass/binoculars that had been purchased for 9 dollars yesterday. Sarah was forced to search the entire ¼ mile of trail it could be on, and Matt had to examine the waterfall below for evidence it had fallen in. He cried the entire walk back but we think he has forgotten about it for now. And there is no more seaweed here for him to whip around to earn extra money.
We picnicked at a picnic table at the trailhead and some guy was all “On Wisconsin!” to Matt (at least Matt was wearing a partially obscured Badgers T shirt this time around, although people randomly yelling that at us would not be abnormal). We then called it a day. We drove to a pretty natural area with another waterfall and you could tell Matt desperately wanted to hike to it (waterfall photography is one of his favorite things) and the kids robotically declined to come with and Matt decided he didn’t want to leave the rest of us in the car for an hour (we would have been fine).
Headed back home and “relaxed” in the pool for a bit and on the deck. Matt picked up pizza and salad from Gordy’s Pizza which was excellent, and now it is time to clean up here a bit and get ready for the journey to Tacoma tomorrow!
Beer of the night: Rogue Dead Guys Ale – because we need to drink up as much as we can before leaving