Archives

Hood Canal 2017: Sand Dollars

Day 4, Tuesday, July 4, 2017

The day of our Independence had arrived. I got up fairly early, and seeing it was low tide, decided to go looking for sand dollars.  The Hood Canal is teeming with them, and of course, I only collect the dead ones.  If you didn’t know, live sand dollars are black; they turn white after they die. The sand dollars are fun to watch, in calm waters they tilt on their edge and are partially submerged in the sand, and kind of roll along.  You have to be patient though, as they don’t move quickly…

The beach at low tide

The tide wasn’t out quite far enough, so I had to go diving to get some sand dollars.  I can’t imagine why, but no one else wanted to go swimming that morning!  It was pretty cold, even on a sunny July day!  I’m determined though, so in I went.

After my sand dollar excursion…

After a shower, breakfast and a relatively lazy morning, we decided to do a quick, kid-friendly hike at Twanoh State Park. The trail heads along the creek for a bit before heading about 375 feet up the hillside. It intersects with an old road, so much of the trail isn’t that scenic, but it is a nice chance to stretch your legs and get some exercise in.  The hike is 2.3 miles round trip.

Nurse tree at Twanoh State Park

 

The mossy forest at Twanoh State Park

We also checked out the shoreline here, but there were quite a few people, so we didn’t stay too long.  You can pick oysters here if you have a permit, but I’m not sure if there are many within the limits of the park.  It is much better to just have a property with shoreline access where you can pick oysters right off your own stretch of beach.

After our hike, Lelani headed for home, and Brandon and his daughter had lunch and headed out too.  I relaxed a bit more on the deck with Brent and Rich, ate lunch and then headed for home.  Traffic was light and easy the whole way, because people were celebrating the holiday.  I love drives like that to finish off a long weekend getaway.

 

 

 

Advertisements

Hood Canal 2017: Oysters and Fireworks

Day 3, Monday, July 3, 2017

We got home from Lake Cushman in time to pick more oysters for the BBQ, and Brent’s dad had joined us too, so we got the grill fired up and pretty soon the BBQ’d oyster eating commenced. This is one of my very favorite things about the Hood Canal!

Picking oysters at low tide

 

Rich shucking oysters into the garlic butter.

Joel and Brandon were drinking Rainier, which is a Northwest institution, so I asked if I could try it, as I don’t think I have ever had a Rainier… I gave it my all and tried two sips, but as you can see from the photo montage, I was not impressed… I’ll stick to wine and craft beer.

Me, trying Rainier. Can you guess if I liked it?

Once again the sunset was beautiful, and the evening was spent with laughter and relaxation. After dark, we went down to the beach for paper lanterns and fireworks. Lelani had brought paper lanterns for each of us, so we wrote our wishes on them and set them free into the air to float away. My wish hasn’t come true yet, but it will – I can feel it.

 

The fireworks were fun, and so was my time with friends…

Hood Canal 2017: Staircase

Day 3, Monday, July 3, 2017

On Monday morning, Lelani joined us fairly early, and we decided to do a day trip up to the Staircase area of Olympic National Park. Lelani, Brent, Joel and I were going along; Brandon and his daughter stayed back at the cabin to relax. We packed up some lunch and snacks, and headed out.

We stopped at a viewpoint for our first look at Lake Cushman, which was going to be one of our destinations for the day. Lake Cushman is huge, and stunning! We looked down at it, and the clouds, and then continued on our drive.

Lake Cushman beneath the clouds

The Staircase area of the park is located down a gravel road, and we drove along the edge of Lake Cushman for awhile. The giant rocks on the edge of the lake are amazing!

The view of Lake Cushman

We arrived at Staircase, and after we paid our fee (with my annual pass, of course), we embarked on a 2.2 mile hike; the Staircase Rapids hike.

Olympic National Park

The hike travels along the North Fork of the Skokomish River, both along sections of rapids (an aptly named hike!), as well as quieter sections of the river. Lelani and I were so into the scenery along the trail that we accidentally missed the turn where we were supposed to turn right to head over the bridge. We eventually turned around after realizing our mistake, but stopped along the edge of the river to look back at the view of the bridge along the rocky bank of the river.

The North Fork Skokomish River, with the bridge in the distance

When we got back to the bridge, the boys were wondering where we were, and standing on the bridge waiting for us. Oops! It is a beautiful bridge though, so it was worth seeing from a distance!

We crossed the bridge, and took photos. Then we spied the rocks in the river, and decided to go climb on them for a spell. While sitting on the rocks, near the bridge, in the river, we had a snack and entertained ourselves. This picture of Lelani giving me the side-eye at my antics is one of my favorites!

 

We finished our hike, climbing on the giant log, and crossing a couple little creeks, and making it back to the trail head. It didn’t take too long, as it was only a 2.2 mile hike, but of course Lelani and I did add a little distance with our detour.

Me at one of the overlooks

On our way back, we wanted to do some more sitting on the huge boulders along the side of the road, so we parked and found a nice big rock to sit on. And then we drank beer… What good hiking party doesn’t pack a cooler with some nice, cold beers! We cracked them open and watched the teenagers on the next rock over jump off into the water! It did look fun! Just sitting and talking with my friends was very relaxing, as we discussed travel, music, concerts and whatever came to mind.

 

Our drive home was uneventful, with another stop at the farm stand for ice cream! Interestingly, I’m not even that into ice cream, but this was some good stuff!  What a day, and it wasn’t even done…

 

Hood Canal 2017: Waterfalls

Day 2, Sunday, July 2, 2017

On the second day of the trip, Brent, Joel and I went out on a tour looking for waterfalls.  We stopped for lunch at the Geoduck Restaurant and Lounge.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term, a geoduck is a large, Pacific coast burrowing clam.  And it is pronounced gooey-duck – the word origin is Native American – specifically from the Nisqually tribe.  Anyway, we had sandwiches (I don’t even think there were geoducks on the menu); I had the French Dip, which was reasonably priced and had good French Fries.  The food was decent bar food, but the view is the reason to visit…

If you sit outside on the deck, you have a superb view of the tidal flats and the Hood Canal, where herds of elk come to graze, and Bald Eagles fly overhead.  We were treated to about 20 cow elk and their babies, who were quite content just hanging out eating the tall grass until the bikers with their loud mufflers arrived.  I’m glad I took my photos as soon as I saw them…

 

Elk grazing

 

Elk and birds along the canal

 

After lunch, we drove up a little road, pointed out by the woman in the tourism office, and found the trail head for Rocky Brook Falls.  Trail head is a bit of a misnomer, since the falls are basically right off the road – the walk is only about 700 feet!  Yet, it is tucked away and not visible from the road.  It is a large waterfall, with a height of 229 feet!  It is beautiful and kind of falls in a fan shape.  Due to the ease of getting there, Rocky Brook is a crowded waterfall, but it is nice to sit watching it for a bit and listening to the crashing water.  There were lots of families swimming there too – it would be fun to go back with swimsuits sometime!

 

Rocky Brook Falls

After Rocky Brook, we went to find a trail head with another waterfall within the boundaries of Olympic National Park – Murhut Falls.  It is located down a dirt road several miles long; but other than being dusty, it is a pretty decent dirt road!  The falls are decently signed, but you will likely know you are there because there will be a lot of cars…  We had to park up the road a bit in order to find a space.

Hood Canal 2017: Lazy Day

Day 1, Saturday, July 1, 2017

Fourth of July weekend, I went down for the long weekend to the Hood Canal on the Olympic Peninsula.  I drove down Saturday morning, with a plan to meet Brent and potentially do some hiking that day.  Several more friends were going to be coming and going all weekend.  Once I got there, Brent and I went to the grocery store, and then the idea of just hanging out in the sun on the deck took over…   Joel, Brandon and Brandon’s daughter met us there too, and we all just had a relaxing day chatting in the sunshine.

A gorgeous day on the Canal

I made and enjoyed a drink that I was treated to in the same place the year before, a wine spritzer made with citrus Vodka, New Age Torrontes wine, the juice of a fresh squeezed lime, and ice.  This, my friends, is the only time it is acceptable to put ice in your wine…  This is a fabulous summer cocktail!  It was warm and sunny, there were cocktails… Enough said…  I even took a nap in the warm sunshine!

Later in the afternoon, we went down to the beach at low tide and picked some oysters for dinner.  Dinner that evening was amazing – oysters on the BBQ, burgers, brats and salad… YUM!!!  I mean, when the food is simple and made while laughing with friends, you have the best meal ever…  I was so happy and lazy that I really took hardly any photos that day, and the ones taken of me are me in a bikini top and shorts, and this is just not that kind of blog…  Of course, just this one cropped photo, because the reflection in my sunglasses is of the book I was reading – which is just so typical of me.

Me, sun, and my nose in a book…

What a wonderful lazy day!

The fading light in a stylized photo