Sunday, June 1, 2014

DayTwo Olympic National Park

May 30, 2014
Wow!  What a fantastic day!  We woke to bright sunshine and ate a quick breakfast of some tasty apple smoked bacon and an English muffin.  Then we were off for a second dip in the hot pools.  Today we tried both the 102 degree which we spent time in last evening and in the 106 degree pool.  The second was indeed warmer but still felt very comfortable.  What a relaxing way to start your day!  The temperature of the freshwater pool was 70 degrees.  We skipped that one!  This resort was a wonderful place – perhaps more so because of the few people here.  We will add this to our top 10 places we have ever stayed. The season really does not start until mid June but you could not ask for a better day than we had today. We finally packed up and left about 10.

We drove back to the main road US 101 that circles the Olympic Peninsula.  Twenty miles south is the town of Forks. This is famous for the Twilight Books which we have not read; but evidently a very popular series.  We stopped in a market and Jane bought lunch goodies.  Smoked salmon, clam chowder, clam dip, some crackers, drinks, a pear and some cookies.  Needless to say she bought too much but we could keep all the leftovers except for the clam dip.
If ever in Forks WA this is a great little grocery
 Another 20 miles we turned back into the center of the peninsula to visit the Hoh Rain Forest.  The water comes off the ocean and it can’t get over the high mountains and falls as rain.  The drive about 20 miles along the Hoh river to the visitor center and picnic area was beautiful. We stopped several times to enjoy the views of the forest, river, mountains, and even a little wildlife.  A mama grouse was escorting her babies across the road.  We saw them scurry across – so tiny….but only caught the mama in a photo. The babies were lost in the grass by the time we could get a photo.

Mama Grouse

Road into Hoh Rain Forest
We enjoyed our lunch and then visited the Ranger Station for a passport stamp and some exhibits.  We decided to take the .8 mile hike through the oldest part of the forest – the Hall of Mosses trail.

 The photos we have do not do the area justice.  Joyce Kilmer Forest in NC mountains is a rain forest with 80 inches of rain per year.  According to a ranger a forest must get 60 inches of rain to qualify as a rain forest – this place gets 142 !  Nearly everything is covered with moss.  First the phone booth and then trees etc. Ben says many of the trees remind him of the “ent” from Lord of the Rings.

Phone Booth at Hoh Rain Forest

While there was some climbing involved we – well Jane did fine – Ben has no trouble but long distances and climbing bother Jane’s back.  We made it fine with a few stops to rest along the way. It was an absolutely beautiful walk.

After the rain forest came another short drive towards the west – we followed the Hoh river (50 miles total length) to the pacific and then suddenly below high cliffs covered with fir trees was the great Pacific ocean.
About 10 miles south we found our home for the next two nights –Kalaloch Lodge. This is an old resort lodge built in the 1920’s and enlarged over the years with cabins added as the number of guests grew.  There are now a total of 60+ cabins and some rooms in the lodge.  There is a small store, a gas station, and a campground. This lodge was requisitioned by the coast guard during WW II and served as a lookout station for Japanese Submarines.  The family that owned the lodge lived in one of the cabins and the remainder housed the coast guard.  As with the other areas we have visited yesterday and today there is no cell coverage or internet.

Our cabin – # 10 is on a bluff with a beautiful view of the Pacific, the beach, and lots of logs washed about on the beach.  There are tsunami warnings posted everywhere. The sun is still shining brightly and although windy, we could not have more perfect weather.  There is a sheltered porch looking out over the Pacific – do not think it could be any better!  We have a wood burning stove, a refrigerator, and a microwave as well as a coffeemaker – if we had known we could have bought some breakfast goodies in Fork.

Our Cabin

Pacific Ocean near our cabin
We had a nice dinner overlooking the ocean. Seafood and salads and the only photo I took was of the ocean view!  We hope to be able to see a sunset about 9 PM - and we did!

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