Finally, the West Coast – first up, Washington!

The only time Kevin and I spent anytime in Washington State was for a week last year in Spokane.  So we both consider this trip our first “real” visit to Washington.

Anacortes

Our first stop was in Anacortes.  Anacortes is in the general area of Washington known as the San Juan Islands in the Puget Sound. We stayed at an RV park that was on a casino at an Indian Reservation.  A very unusual thing about this casino was they launched fireworks EVERY night for at least an hour!

While in Anacortes we made plans to meet with Simon Houser and his lovely wife, Lindsey (who looks very much like Megan Markle).  Simon is Kevin’s nephew who he has not seen for about 30 years. We were excited to meet up with them.  Kevin and I had planned a day trip around Fidalgo & Whidby islands before meeting with them for dinner.

It was a very beautiful day for a drive and a stop along the beach. Kevin planned the drive and “glanced” at the route on Google Maps prior to making the trip. The trip’s end at the southern end of Whidby Island would take us on a bridge to Everett.   Or so we thought!  Turns out the bridge was a ferry!  So yes we took the “Beast” on the ferry over the sound.  It was quite a surprise but a fun one at that.   It’s always an adventure!

Here we go….
Loaded up on the ferry!
Had to get out of the truck and look around….
Getting ready to depart…..

We finally did meet up with Simon and Lindsey for a lovely and fun evening.  In fact there was so much to talk about and lots of fun to be had that we forgot to take a picture of us all!  So we are sharing one from Simon’s Facebook page!

We were bummed about it but will have the memory of the evening with us always. Thank you Simon and Lindsey! You are a beautiful and fun loving young couple. We will do it again some day!

 

Port Angeles/Hurricane Ridge

From Anacortes we traveled to Port  Angeles, Washington.  What an neat little town!  We stayed at the Elwah Dam RV park close to Olympia National Park.  Our first visit to Olympic National Park did not disappoint.  A challenging,  yet serene and meditative 3 mile hike along Hurricane Ridge (elevation-5,242 ft.) was the highlight of the visit.  Hurricane Ridge is aptly named – the winds are pretty stiff – in the winter they become gale force!

Wildlife was abundent.  Many blacktail deer, and my favorite, the Olympic marmot.  The video below shows some black tail fawns frolicking, right near the visitor center. It was like they were performing for the tourists!

Forks

From Port Angeles it’s off to Riverview RV Park in Forks, Washington, The Peninsula!   This area of Washington takes us to the Pacific ocean side of Olympic National Park and it’s  remote,  and wild!

First of all we saw no vampires! (This is where the movie “Twilight” was filmed).

The is the rain forest area of the Peninsula – lush and wet with a beauty all its own. There are many popular beaches in this area as well.  We visited Rialto and Second Beaches.  Second Beach required us to take an ascending mile hike through rain forest to get to the beach.  Once we reached the beach we had to crawl over piles of washed up wet logs.  It was all intimidating, challenging and beautiful, but doable and rewarding.


Many will look at the pictures, as my daughter in law did, and say or think, “but its rainy and gray”, and yes it is, but this is the very essence and reality of this area.   To see it in it’s Pacific coast natural state makes it real and gives it it’s classic beauty.  It’s own possessive existence and rawness.  Perhaps that is why when I visit places of nature I am in my happy place.  Nature’s beauty in its finest attire!  Peace, comfort and serenity.

Silver Creek/Mount Ranier

Next we made our way from Forks to Silver Creek, Washington.  A white knuckle drive, but still breathtaking beauty as we traveled the ups and downs and the many “S” turns of Route 101.  It was a relatively short drive, but seemed like an all day event.  Eventually we made it to Silver Creek.  This is where we’ll explore Mt. Rainier.

Mount Ranier in all its glory!

An active volcano, Mt. Rainier is the tallest volcano of the Cascade Mountain Range and is considered one of the most dangerous volcanos in the world.  This is based upon it’s history of it’s large destructive eruptions and it’s proximity to a highly populated area. Mt. Rainer – beauty and peril before us!

Looking for adventure!

When you see it in person, it takes your breath away!
Up we go…..Oh yes, this was July 3rd!

 

 

 

 

Kevin decided to  ski down the hill without skis.   Don’t ask me how he did it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While we were in this area, we met up with another former high school classmate who settled in the Tacoma area, Chris Harmatta and his wife Linda.   It’s been a VERY long time since we’ve seen Chris, probably since the day we graduated! Or maybe a very early class reunion.   It was a great day enjoying each other’s company and catching up.

 

Silver Lake/Mount Saint Helens

Our last stop in Washington before heading into Oregon, was the infamous Mt. St. Helens.  On May 18th, 1980 at 9:32 AM Mt. St. Helens showed, once again, what she is made of.  We both remembered that day well.  Her destructive blow on that day traveled miles wiping out nearly 150,000 acres of forest land and killing 57 people. Looking over the mountain sides we could see the remnants of the destruction.  A reminder that it can and more than likely will happen again.  It’s just a matter of when.

Mt Saint Helens erupting in May 18, 1980. Kevin and I were 24 years old.
Mount Saint Helens today. You can see where the side of the mountain/volcano blew out. You are looking directly into the caldera. The mountain lost 1300 feet of elevation to the landslide and eruption.
Denuded trees lay like matchsticks in the changed landscape around Mt St Helens. This was two days after the eruption.
As a result of the collapse of the north face of Mount St. Helen , a debris avalanche blocked the flow of Coldwater Creek, which formed Coldwater Lake.
Kevin checking out Coldwater Lake.

We also managed to get a little kayaking in on Silver Lake which happened to be right next the RV park we stayed at……


Our impression of the state of Washington is that of history, scientific study and beauty.  It’s a very lush and beautiful state.  If you love the outdoors, especially fishing, this is your place!

We’re both excited to travel from Washington to Oregon to gather  similarities and differences.

It’s off to Oregon we go!

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