Friday night, 2 weeks from the day we’d sailed the Straits of Georgia to Nanaimo, Tim and I boarded the ferry in Victoria to head back to the States. We knew it was time to head home, but we were surprised by how reluctant we were to leave. From surfing to tea time, we’d thoroughly enjoyed our stay on Vancouver Island.
We landed at Port Angeles and after a breakfast at the down home Cornerhouse Cafe on Saturday, we began our exploration of the Olympic Peninsula.
Our goal for the day was to camp on the beach. We drove to the Olympic National Park headquarters to pick up a camping permit and a mandatory bear proof food canister (interestingly the bears aren’t too prevalent here, but the raccoons will raid your pack, your tent, your person of any food you’ve been foolish enough to leave about).
With a final stop in the local outdoor gear shop, we drove towards La Push. We hadn’t gone far before we pulled over at Crescent Lake for a startlingly green hike through the rain forest. Our destination, Marymere Falls – a 90 foot cascade down obsidian rock – was the perfect place for a traditional self portraits.
Our next stop along our way was the famed town of Forks, WA. In addition to claiming the only stoplight for 160 miles, it is also home to Bella and the Cullens.
Forks, formerly a bustling blue collar lumber town, imploded overnight when Bill Clinton declared that the Spotted Owl was an endangered species. 2.4 million acres of Washington forest were shutdown for logging and 30,000 jobs were lost.
The town hung on, but it wasn’t until Stephenie Meyer based her blockbuster series Twilight here, that business began to boom again. If you visit the Forks Chamber of Commerce website, Twilight has its own page. Every business from the Twilight Lounge to the Forks Hardware Store sports signs boasting that they are “Powered By Twilight”.
Though a popular destination for Twilight Tours every weekend, this weekend was even more special. It was Bella’s Birthday and the town throws a bash. Booths were setup in the park, live music played, and vampires everywhere were preparing for Bella’s Ball later that evening. Though our curiosity tempted us to stay for the Ball, we continued to La Push where werewolves roam.
Crossing the “treaty line”, the vampire danger went way down, according to the sign outside of La Push, the home to the Quileute Nation. Unfortunately while we were safe from vampires, the rain was another story. We were willing to hike and camp on the beach in the drizzle, but when the drizzle turned to a downpour, we changed our minds and drove to the town of La Push instead.
We parked Frank with great views of the Pacific and settled in for the evening. La Push also celebrated Bella’s birthday but instead of balls, the tribe gathered for traditional dancing and stories. We walked to the community center and listened to tales of the Raven, the Wolf and the Whale. We felt honored to be there.
The rain continued on Sunday but as we drove to the Hoh Rain Forest, we weren’t surprised. Here 137.4 inches of rain falls annually. If it didn’t drain away, one year of rain would completely submerge the NPS Visitor’s Center. After donning our raincoats, we explored the dripping Hall of Mosses where any Tolkien fan would feel right at home.
Our final stop for the day was the Lake Quinault Lodge where we planned to warm up by the fire for the evening before continuing on to Seattle. 2 days later we were still there.
In a trip of terrific locales, Lake Quinault Lodge lobby ranks in our top 5 for fabulous places to spend a day. Built in 1926 in an astounding 2 months, the grand lodge welcomes visitors with warmth and graciousness. Here Franklin Delano Roosevelt had lunch before driving through the Olympic Peninsula. Later that day when viewing a swath of clear cut forest, he was quoted as saying “I hope the son-of-a-bitch who is responsible for this is roasting in hell.” 1 year later Olympic National Park was born.
The lodge hasn’t changed a bit since. We settled in each morning by the massive chess set and worked all day until the call of Happy Hour Crab Dip lured us away from our computers. After two great days, we packed up Frank and started our journey off the Peninsula. It was a breathtaking tour.
Posted from Amanda Park, Washington, United States.