Day 12 - Gifford Pinchot National Forest
|Thursday, August 24, 2023: We slept well and were plenty warm, even though the temperature fell overnight to 50 degrees and we didn't have any electricity for our space heater. We packed up camp and were on the road by 8:00 AM.
|We cut across the Quinault Indian Reservation, passing the Quinault National Fish Hatchery, ...
|... to get back to US Highway 101.
|Soon after rejoining the highway, we entered Olympic National Forest, ...
|... and shortly after that, Olympic National Park.
|Just inside the southern boundary of Olympic National Park, we arrived at Kalaloch Lodge, where we'd stayed in 2000 on a trip with Claire and Jill around the Olympic Peninsula.
|We're pretty sure that this is the very cabin we stayed in on that previous trip.
|We weren't staying this time, but we decided to check out the gift shop to see what goodies they had.
|The banana slug mini building blocks set both amused and intrigued us, but ultimately we decided not to get it.
|We did buy this beautiful shot glass though.
|Back on the road, we came up behind this Escape campervan and thought that it was the one we had seen twice earlier, but after closer inspection it was one that we hadn't seen before.
|They are all so beautiful, and their unique paint schemes make them very fun to collect.
|Just after 10:00 AM, we arrived in Forks, Washington, and saw teenage girls posing for photos in front of the welcome sign. We wondered how much the Twilight movies have increased tourism in this area.
|After turning east at the top of the Olympic Peninsula, we came to the shores of the stunningly beautiful Lake Crescent. We pulled off into an overlook just to have a little more time to soak in the views.
|Here's Port Angeles, almost in the center of the top of the peninsula. We had stayed overnight here back in 2012 before boarding a ferry to Victoria, but today we were here to have lunch, ...
|... at the Port Angeles harbor. Check out this Pac-Man display on the wall of the building. It looked remarkably like the wall of a LEGO arcade Debbie created recently.
|We entered the building on the first floor, and took this spiral staircase decorated with salmon to the second floor. They look like they are swimming up a waterfall, don't they?
|While we waited for the restaurant to open, we looked at the artwork hanging in the hallways. These caught our eye. The circular one on the lower left is made from bits of razor wire, painted and shaped to look like a wave. Thress of the other four were fish shapes cut from recycled bits of metal, with the fourth being fish made from wood. One of the metal ones had fish cut from tins of anchovies. Clever!
|Right at 11:30 AM, Downriggers on the Water opened and we were escorted to a table overlooking the harbor.
|Debbie was delighted with our table and the awesome view.
|Our table overlooked the ferry terminal, and we could see other shipping in the channel between Washington and Vancouver Island.
|There were cars packed into the parking area as they awaited the next ferry.
|Debbie zoomed waaaaay in on the ferry terminal building to see this welcome sign.
|We used the Marine Traffic app on our phones to identify the various ships in the area, including this cruise ship, NCL's Norwegian Sun, which was headed for port in Vancouver.
|For lunch, we ordered the Crab Louie, ...
|... the Shrimp Louie, ...
|... and a bread bowl of clam chowder, and split all three. Tom ate the generous helping of olives that came with both salads to Debbie's great relief.
|The ferry Coho arrived while we were eating, ...
|... and we watched with fascination as it disgorged many more cars than we thought could possibly fit in that modest-sized ship.
|After lunch, we decided to visit the arcade, ...
|... where Tom enjoyed games of Asteroids Deluxe ...
|... and Defender, while Debbie played skeeball and Ms. Pac-Man.
|We bid farewell to US Highway 101 and crossed over the Hood Canal Bridge, ...
|... while not stopping or even slowing down for this beer crossing sign.
|Our next stop was in Poulsbo, Washington, which is nicknamed Little Norway. There were Norwegian flags hanging from the street lamps, and one of the first buildings we passed was the Sons of Norway Lodge.
|It's a cute little town, ...
|... with plenty of indications of their Scandinavian immigrant heritage.
|Velkommen til Poulsbo!
|King Olaf wanted us to park in the free public parking, so that's what we did.
|The harbor area looked like a great place to walk around, ...
|... but we weren't here for that. We were here to go to Sluys' Bakery, which is so popular that it always has a line at the front of the building.
|Standing in front of their display window gave us plenty of time to choose what we were going to buy. We reconsidered our first decision, which was to buy two of everything, ...
|... and starting making better choices once we were inside and not right up against the window containing all of the tasty treats.
|There was a mural on the inside wall of the bakery showing the town in the olden days with Model Ts driving on unpaved streets.
|We picked up two loaves of Poulsbo Bread, which is one of the items for which they are famous, ...
|... and patiently waited ...
|... while other people who hadn't used their time in line wisely slowly made their decisions.
|We were glad that we were prepared when our time came, and we quickly made our selections, ...
|... and were back out on the street, photographing this beautiful bench with a Viking longboat embossed on the side.
|Back in the van, we photographed our spoils, both the lovely outside of the box, ...
|... and the all-important inside. Behold all of the baked good deliciousness! From leftish to rightish, uppish to downish: oval Krispie, two chocolate & peanut butter Chovannahs, a Danish donut, a powdered sugar-covered Rosette, a Viking cup topped with cream cheese, two Swedish almond pastries, and a cinnamon roll. Don't judge us!
|As we left town, we had to get a photo of the Lindvig Way ...
|... and Viking Avenue street signs.
|We crossed the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, ...
|... and then stopped for a car wash near Puyallup to try to get all of the ash and dirt and bugs off the van before we saw family and friends the next day.
|Around 5:00 PM, we were driving through the hills and forest on the southwest side of Mount Rainier.
|There were signs that lots of trees had been removed along the shoreline of Alder Lake.
|Smokey the Bear was still reporting that the fire danger in the area was extreme which was no surprise.
|Here's the Hobo Inn in Elbe, Washington. It's a hotel made from various railcars, including a lot of cabooses. It looks like a fun place to stay, with a restaurant built into a dining car in the same area. We photograph it every time we pass it.
|We arrived at Mount Rainier National Park and were delighted that there were no lines at all to get in, ...
|... and drove straight to Longmire Village. We parked and walked to the Administration Building, ...
|... which was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1987.
|Just past the building in a beautiful little grotto is a Mather plaque mounted on the stone wall at the back between two stone benches.
|The plaque was placed here in 1932. Mount Rainer National Park is one of only three parks to have two Mather plaques. We saw the other one at Tipsoo Lake when we were here last August.
|We should probably get a photo of Mount Rainier while we're here, right? Right.
|We left the park and headed back south, ...
|... entering the Gifford Pinchot National Forest and stopping at the Big Creek Campground, which was our destination for today.
|Look at all of that moss covering the trees.
|We found our site, ...
|... and just 13 minutes later we were all set up and enjoying Bundlings Utopia yet again.
|For dinner, we ate some of the pastries from Sluys' Bakery for dinner, along with the leftover Jiffy Pop and some of the cheese from Tillamook Creamery. There had been no rain in the forecast when we looked just before we lost all cellular service, so we decided not to put on the rainfly. The view is so amazing without it, and we really prefer to sleep that way whenever we can.
Copyright © Deborah Schilling/Thomas Bundy