Washington-Part 2 Forks and the Olympic Peninsula

Onward from Mount Rainier we headed northwest onto the 101 scenic bi-way heading around the Olympic Penisula and Olympic National Park. As we cruised onto the 101 the salty sea smells from the Hood Canal begged us to stop and camp at Seal Rock Campground.  We pulled in and were lucky enough to find a spot with water views.  This place was absolutely charming with a boardwalk going through the woods and down to the rocky shore.  Crabbing and shell fishing were popular activities.  We enjoyed sitting by the water watching seals play in the surf and if the sky was really clear we could see Mount Rainer in the distance across the water.  We spent a day biking on the Olympic Discovery Trail, a bike trail that goes for 132 miles across the Olympic Penisula, from Port Townsend to the beach resort town of La Push on the Pacific Ocean, some of it is on the 101 but a good chunk is on a separate paved path that was formerly a railroad track line.  We biked an 8 mile chunk near the town of Sequiom. One of the highlights of the trail is that the Audubon Center sits on the trail. You can stop in and visit the museum full of taxidermied birds and other wildlife that are native to the area.  Well worth a visit for animal lovers and bird watchers.

After we left Seal Rock we continued on the 101 heading towards the west side of the Olympic Penisula to Klahowya campground in the Olympic National Forest. This was a great campground situated on the Sol Duc River in a rainforest setting.  The sites were huge and many of them were right on the river.  During the summer they do float trips along the river behind the campground.  We spent a day in search of waterfalls, hiking to Merrymere Falls and Sol Duc Falls, stopping to eat our lunch on the shores of Lake Crescent.  Both hikes were easy and went through enchanting rainforests that reminded me of Alice and Wonderland.  Merrymere Falls was a beautiful long cascade of water where Sol Duc was a powerhouse of pouring water coming from the Sol Duc River and bursting over the rocks.  Of course it was also raining and we were bundled up in our rain jackets. I have to say the people that live here full time are a hearty bunch. They throw on their rain jackets and go hiking and biking like it’s  a beautiful sunny day and it doesn’t phase them a bit! Even tent camping was no big deal for them, they just hung an extra tarp from tree to tree to give them a sheltered area. We followed suit, threw on our rain jackets and had a great time hiking through the forest!

From our camp at Klahowya it was also an easy 20 minute drive into the town of Forks. Being a Twilight fan I couldn’t resist going for a visit to the scene of one of my favorite stories.  The town has totally jumped on the Twilight bandwagon, made me wonder what they had going on before Twilight.  A quick stop at the Chamber of Commerce made for a photo opportunity with Bella’s trucks.  They have two models, one from the book, and one from the movie, they used a different model year for the movie.  Stopping inside the friendly folks give you a packet for a self-guided Twilight tour of the town.  While I was checking out the packet Ryan was snapping pictures of a herd of Elk that were checking out the small airstrip across the street.  We jumped in the truck and started making our way around the town checking out the Swan Residence, the community hospital where Dr. Cullen has a reserved space, the high school, the police station, the Cullen Residence, which is a bed and breakfast, and the outfitter store where Bella worked.  They even page her from time to time in the store! On the main drag of Forks you will find many shops geared towards Twilight and a few places that offer guided tours.  It was a fun stop (for me anyway, at least Ryan got to see some Elk) and a must see if you are in the neighborhood for Twilight fans.

That pretty much concludes our stay in Washington. It had something for everyone and the temperature changes amazed me.  One day we were sweating it out in the 90’s and the next freezing in the cold rain and 50 degree weather.  A great state that I think we will come back and visit again sometime.  If we had more time I would have loved to do some more biking on the Olympic Discovery Trail.  We saw so many people that were biking the whole trail, packing their camping gear on their bikes and stopping along the way at campgrounds.  It was a really nice set up for the adventurous biker.  So time to hang up the rain jackets and head for Oregon.

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