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Published: September 10th 2013
Waiting for Breakfast
Since the restaurant did not open until 7:30, we had ample time to look around the town and the harbor. This is a beautiful seaside (or at least bayside) community.
Our third day in Seattle was to be spent in many locations other than Seattle. Terry's friend, Rose, joined by her daughter Nikki, had arrived at the hotel Wednesday evening in preparation for an excursion around the Olympic Peninsula. We had planned on meeting in the lobby for a 5:30 a.m. departure. Rose had planned breakfast in Poulsbo on Bainsbridge Island, so we loaded into the 4Runner and headed to the ferry dock for the 6:10 departure. The ride over took about 45 minutes on a ferry that carried cars, trucks (and I mean semis), RVs and of course, people. We were deposited within 5 minutes of breakfast. Poulsbo is a great little town influenced by early Scandinavian settlers. There were great little bakeries and restaurants; fresh flowers on each lamp post and corner. Rose had lived in Poulsbo for about four years, so she had the inside scoop on the best breakfast place. After a brief walk around the downtown area (and the purchase of a sampling of the local bakery fares) , we had breakfast at Sheila's Portside Restaurant. The Restaurant was on the dock and the view (outside) was spectacular. This was a great little restaurant with a
varied menu. The breakfast fare comes highly recommended.
We headed out of this picturesque town toward our next scheduled destination, Lake Crescent. The lake is situated in the north central portion of the peninsula, about halfway across the land mass. It was a two hour drive to this beautiful mountain location that took us through Port Angeles, the peninsula's gateway to Canada. The ferry from Port Angeles carries you on an hour and a half cruise to Victoria, B.C. Looking to the north, you could easily see Canadian soil. It was extremely tempting to 'hang a right' and visit our Canook friends. However, it was not to be, at least not on this trip. The peninsula tour is easily a 12 hour endeavor and will fill our schedule for this day.
This route takes us close to the most northwesterly point of the United States. The northwest tip of the peninsula is about an hour's drive off our course so elected to stay on our preplanned track. Even if we had detoured to the tip of the peninsula, the northwestern point was still about an hours hike from the closest road, so we continued
Scenic Lake Crescent
Just one of the many spectacular views along the shores of Lake Crescent.
toward Lake Crescent and the Lodge at Lake Crescent. Built just before the turn of the last century the Lodge on Crescent Lake is historic, cozy, and meets the imagination of how a remote mountain lodge must look. Surrounded on the south by pine and cedar trees so tall that their tops are obscured from view and on the north by a lake so crystal clear that you can easily see the bottom bed of glacial rocks. In the early years, the Lodge served loggers, miners, and some other folks of questionable character. Now days, the lodge caters to weary travelers looking for food, recreation, and a snugly place to sleep. While the ladies enjoyed a quiet and peaceful lunch in the lodge, I explored the shores of the lake and found a beautiful mountain stream that fed its cold and clear waters into the lake. There are private cabins along the shore situated close enough to hear the water lazily lapping against the rocky shore. Although the water was cold, around 45 degrees, how could anyone resist wading along the shore in order to take in the spectacular views?
I am not much on vampires, but
I relax on the beach while the ladies have a nice lunch in the Lodge at Crescent Lake
it seems there were a series of books and movies a few years ago about a Washington vampire falling in love with a sweet innocent girl from Forks. The third character in this triangular saga was, of course, a Native American werewolf. Wow, what an imagination. Well, anyone who knows the Twilight stories would probably jump at the opportunity to visit Forks, Washington. This is the little costal town plagued by the vampires and werewolves in the Twilight saga. While so much turmoil is depicted in the story, this is really a quiet little town that is more sleepy than you would expect. The Cullens were no where to be found. I looked, and I asked. No vampires. No werewolves. There is a little store that sells souvenirs and movie paraphernalia. By coincidence, our tour guide, Nikki, had lived in Forks for over 11 years, and she emphatically stated that she had never met a real vampire, certainly not in Forks. As for werewolves, no one would be very specific - the native tribes did regularly pay homage to the wolves of the forest. Nuf said! I would not hang around the woods in Forks after dark, and especially not
The Pacific Graveyard of the Trees
The water was cold and you really had to compete with the birds in order to get near the water. Seems that fishing was really good (for the birds) when we visited.
during a full moon!
After my unsuccessful search for the undead, we headed to a state fish hatchery, just outside of town. Nikki had arranged for a private tour of this state operated hatchery that produces about 11 million fish annually. Nikki's husband works for the State Fish and Wildlife Department and had operated the hatchery at Forks for over eleven years. The process of hatching and raising these Steelhead Salmon was pretty interesting. The fish were the size of your little finger and were just about to be released into the wild. All of the outside ponds (about 5 acres of them) had netting to keep the local wildlife from having their daily fill of sushi. I am sure that the job of a hatchery manager is demanding, but what a life - living in the forest with mountains surrounding you, a river running just outside your house, no neighbors, driving two ours to shop for groceries each month - - - well, I guess everything can't be perfect.
Our route to Forks took us to the famed Costal Highway, the "101" or, just "Highway 1". This magnificent stretch of pavement goes from the northern
most part of the Washington Peninsula all the way down through Oregon and California, ending in San Diego. It is known for some of the most beautiful scenic costal views in North America. Although the highway does not always hang above the ocean, the road is never far from a breathtaking view. Just south of Forks, the highway weaves through one of only three temperate rain forests in the world. The trees are so tall and thick, they make a canopy over much of the road, blocking out the sunlight for great stretches. The air is so full of oxygen that driving with the windows open and the sun roof down is not an option - it is mandatory.
Our first stop at the ocean was on a great bluff overlooking the growling seas. The beach, about 75 feet below our overlook, was the graveyard home to hundreds of once magnificent trees. Over hundreds of years, as trees fell above us on the mountains, they were eventually carried down to the ocean by mudslides and rain. Others were deposited by the ocean, having been lost from logging barges along the coast. Although unexpected, the beauty of these
Cynde strolling along the beach.
once stately trees is difficult to describe. After descending rugged stairs down to the ocean level and a short walk toward the inviting waves, we were finally able to experience the cold ocean waters. The beach was covered with an array of birds, all foraging for fish, claims and crabs. Some were very good fishermen as evidenced by their prancing around the beach with fish larger than themselves. They were very careful not to loosen their grip on their fish, lest the other birds were quick to abscond with the tasty treat. The water was a little too cold for swimming, but who could travel this distance and not wade in, at least up to the ankles?
As we headed south, the discussion in the car turned to dinner. On the southern most end of the Olympic Peninsula is an indian reservation, and of course, the accompanying Indian Casino. Casinos have gambling, and at least in Oklahoma, pretty good food. So the suggestion was to head to the casino for dinner. The drive added a little time on to our overall trip, but the casino was fantastic. It was build on the beach, literally just hundreds of
Rose, Nikki and Terry
Rose and Terry went to school together in Altus. Rose and Nikki both live here in the Seattle area, and Rose lived in Poulsbo for about five years.
feet from the ocean. By the time of our arrival, the ocean had turned gray and pouty with a light fog obscuring our view. The wait time for the restaurant persuaded our crew to search for a restaurant with a local flair. So, we headed back to the south toward the small costal town of Aberdeen. This little town was reminiscent of the waterfront towns of California. We quickly found a bar and grill, The Porthole, that served sea food and burgers. This establishment was more of bar and obviously a favorite hangout for the locals. Although the crown looked like it could quickly get rowdy, we were greeted by a very friendly barkeep and quickly looked over the menu. Everyone ordered burgers and hand cut fries. The food was great! The pitcher of beer did not last long, but we dared not order another since we had three and a half hour drive back to Seattle.
Our return route took us through Olympia, the state's capital. By our arrival in Olympia, the sun had retreated to the far west and the rain had taken its place. We were pelted with intermittent heavy rains on the entire return trip to Seattle. It did however lessen just a few miles south of Seattle. We arrived back at our home on Lake Union just past 11:30 p.m., ending a great (although long) 18 hour tour of the peninsula. It was a great trip, but I would have to recommend staying overnight at the Crescent Lodge in order to break this spectacular trip into more manageable segments with fewer demands on human endurance!
In The Great Northwest, Life is Good!
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