Events of Tuesday, May 5th, blogged Monday, May 11th
Things were still pretty wet and drizzly in the morning, so we may have had some extended cuddle time before rousting ourselves up and about for the day.
It also didn’t seem like the most opportune time to make yet another attempt on the verboten trails, so we packed up camp rather quickly and started heading north for the final stop in our Olympic Park journey – Hurricane Ridge. The drive was the standard issue scenic loveliness I’d come to expect, passing rivers and lakes and stunning vistas.
We made it to the bustling metropolis of Port Angeles, which is sort of half in and half out of the National Park, and which had a proper Visitor Center as well as information on the road up to Hurricane Ridge (which is said to boast spectacular mountain views.) The center also had a webcam which showed conditions on the road up. Which were basically an impenetrable blanket of fog. And 32 degree temperatures. So it would be a 90-minute round trip if we made no stops, for what the ranger called “possible brief windows” of visibility. I think we’ll take a pass.
On to Plan B. Plan B just sort of materialized in front of us when I happened to notice a sign for a short trail leading off the parking lot, and thought Annie might enjoy some exercise even if we weren’t going to be seeing anything spectacular. Or were we . . .
About ten minutes into what I thought was just another walk through some lovely forest, I stumbled upon a sign that I initially bypassed as thinking it some generic informational text about the type of growth here or some project that was being funded (I was a lot more interested in these signs on Days 1-30).
But a second one, a bit further along, caught my eye more closely. It was POETRY! Scattered randomly along the woodland trail! Nature themed poems – at least ten of them – to be contemplated whilst strolling in nature! Awesome Sauce!
I was super tickled by the signs, so much so that we actually DID get lost for a bit (I was clued in when I noticed we hadn’t seen any poems for awhile), but a few detours and wrong turns just brought us to narrow slippery bridges and cool tree formations so it was all good.
So we finish our walk, and we’re sitting in Marigold in the back corner of a large parking lot, under some trees, no one around, and as my guard has relaxed considerably over the last weeks of living out of a vehicle, I decided to do a quick change from my fleecy top into a short-sleeved T as the day had warmed considerably. It’s at this moment that a man appears from nowhere to ask if I’m “with a company?” (??) I guess meaning’ is this a corporate van of some sort,’ and carries on chatting, seemingly oblivious to the fact that I’m frantically pressing a crumpled shirt over my (sports bra covered) torso. Jog on random dude!
With that it was time for lunch, no worries food police, I got the grilled fish burger. I did, like a moron, go through the drive-thru lane that is really designed for vehicles containing a passenger with thumbs and the ability to handle monetary transactions, so had to actually get out of the vehicle and walk up.
And I thought it was mega cool that the “Thank you for Coming” sign appears to be translated into some of the local Native languages as well. Can anyone confirm (or deny)? (Update: Rob confirms that at least one of the languages is Salish.)
This was in someone’s front yard. It fascinates and terrifies me, and I want one. They also had two ceramic deer bedecked in shiny tinsel wreaths. In May.
Most of the afternoon was spent driving up the coast en-route to the little town of Anacortes, and, ideally, onward to Orcas Island. We passed through several cute little hamlets along the way.
But, although I was in high spirits, it was another day when I was going on close to 80 hours without a shower, running on fumes, and not firing on all cylinders . . .
Which may be why I had no idea we were going to be boarding a ferryboat until we were basically at the pay window. Like, I was literally looking at the GPS thinking “Why is it taking us this random route down to the waterfront?” DUH!
Annie did NOT like the ferry with all of its loud noises, and motion even though the car was stopped, and fumes, and other cars packed in like sardines. I tried to walk around a bit (she was not permitted to leave the car, although had we walked onto the ferry instead of driven, she could have. Bureaucracy!), but when I did, she went went into major panic mode, so I spent most of the trip lying in the back with her.
By the time we got to Anacortes I was once again running out of steam as seems to happen earlier and earlier the longer our journey continues. I needed to find a place to stay, but I was torn. An old friend from high school who had once lived in these parts, Jason, had recommended a campground near the water. But part of me craved a proper shower and bed and my beloved WiFi. But the other part of me is getting increasingly stressed about the finances of this whole operation. And I was tired and brain fried and in no position to properly weigh the pros and cons. And in those instances I usually go with the easier option which would have been a hotel. But for whatever reason, and after driving through the campsite and rejecting it initially, I chose the campground. BEST. DECISION. EVER. Not only did it have a lovely little beachfront area where one could sit and watch the waves . . .
Not only were there deer frolicking mere feet from where I parked . . .
BUT I GOT TO HAND FEED FISH TO A ONE-EYED SEAL!! Add that to the Bucket List so it can be crossed off!
Later I learned that this SAME visually impaired sea mammal had been visiting the dock even when my friend Jason was here, twelve years prior. Kinda wild that two teenagers from a high school on the East Coast could end up hanging with the same seal 3,000 miles away and over a decade apart. The world is strange and magical. Now keeping Annie away from the seal and the fish was no small feat, and the seal wore an uncannily identical expression to her FEED ME face, but it was SO worth it!
Afterwards I took a shower which always makes me feel loads better than I remember it will, and Annie and I wandered back to the beach for another glorious sunset. I could get used to this.