Sasquatch search moves to the Rainforest

July 20 – After leaving Glamping, we spent the night at Ocean City S.P.  Bernie and Neil came in and camped near us.  We were all going our separate ways in the morning but we had a fine campfire and visit that night.  We packed it up and said our goodbyes the next morning after which we went into Ocean Shores to get groceries, do laundry, and head north.  Time to explore the Olympic Peninsula!

Ocean City State Park

Ocean City State Park

After a drive up the coast a ways, we went inland to Lake Quinault to find a campsite.  We ended up near the Lodge and on a creek.  We walked over to the Lodge and had a coffee, took some pictures, and went to the tiny local museum.  Driving east, we saw lots of signs from unhappy residents regarding Olympic N.P. “Taking over acreage and causing problems on the river.”  We stopped for a hike to the “Big Sitka Spruce” before heading back to camp.  As we were driving in, a German couple spied the “Roadhaus” license plate and began speaking to us in German.  While we were talking to them (in English), a Westy came up behind us and we were blocking the road.  We pulled into our campsite and discovered that it was Neil behind us.  He had gone around the other side of the lake and done some exploring before ending up next to us again.  We think he just might be stalking us!  We shared a dinner of bacon, scrambled eggs, and biscuits fresh from the Roadhaus oven.

Lake Quinault Lodge

Lake Quinault Lodge

Big Spruce

Big Spruce

Neil took us to breakfast the next morning at the store across from the lodge.  The food was good but the service was slow, slow, slow.  We then packed up, said goodbye to Neil again, and started up the coast.  We passed Kalaloch (no campsites) and stopped at the “Big Cedar Tree”.  Up the road a short distance we saw a sign for “Memorial Big Tree”.  We drove down winding dirt logging roads and finally came across it.  The rainforest has big trees – really big trees.

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Worlds largest Western Red Cedar

We drove up to the Hoh River and checked out Hoh Oxbow campground – but decided to push on toward the Hoh Rain Forest visitor center and campground – about 18 miles further.  One lane was blocked for a short distance where a film crew was working.  Rumor has it they may or may not have been shooting a Toyota commercial.  The river was a beautiful turquoise color but didn’t translate well for taking pictures.  When we got to the campground, there were plenty of spaces available, but none right on the river.  We picked a nice one and settled in.  It was a beautiful day with temps around 70 degrees.  There was rain in the forecast, but what can you expect in the rainforest??  We brought out the camp oven and roasted veggies for dinner – sweet potato, red potato, bell pepper, tomato, onion, zucchini, garlic and rosemary.  Oh yeah.

Hoh Campground

Hoh Campground

Hoh River

Hoh River

It was, as expected, raining lightly the next morning so we had a leisurely hour (or two) of coffee in the bus before deciding to go hike the Hall of Mosses trail.  The rain had let up and it was just misting a bit.  It is difficult to convey the scale of this place.  The park itself is enormous, and it contains a forest of giants.  Any of these trees would be completely out of scale anywhere else except in the redwoods.  The Hall of Mosses is a surrealist’s dream – a Dali-esque nightmare grove – beautiful and dripping with moss and moisture.   We walked about and spoke in hushed tones, as if in nature’s own cathedral.  Magical.

Hall of Mosses Trail

Hall of Mosses Trail

Hall of Mosses

Hall of Mosses

The next morning we were up and out of the park by 10 – a bit later than usual.  We stopped at the Hard Rain Cafe on the Upper Hoh Road for a mocha and showers.  On our way out of the rainforest, we caught a glimpse of movement through the trees. Although only a momentary sighting, we feel sure that Bigfoot was afoot (pun intended).

Hard Rain Cafe

Hard Rain Cafe

Big Guy Sighting ???

Big Guy Sighting ???

We drove on to Forks and visited with a couple from Santa Fe while we did laundry.  We had lunch and drove on to Ozette Lake.  We got our wires crossed somehow and thought that the beach was a short hike from the campground.  It was not.  The campground was small and had only a couple of sites left.  We took one and settled in before going for a short walk.  We weren’t up for the six mile round trip to the beach and we had no canoe or kayak for the lake.  We built a difficult fire with wet wood and planned to leave first thing in the morning for Neah Bay.

July 25 – We were out of camp by 0800 to drive the curvy 40-mile road to Neah Bay, which is a part of the Makah Reservation.  The drive along the coast was both scenic and pleasant with sun and cool temperatures.  We stopped at the cemetery coming into Neah Bay to take pictures of totem poles and grave decoration.  We drove through town and got to Hobuck Beach campground before noon.  We picked a camp spot just a few yards from the beach but in the shade of some trees, then went into town to visit the Makah Museum.

Photo by unknown

Photo by unknown

Hobuck beach campground

Hobuck beach campground

In 1970, a group of longhouses washed out of the beach 15 miles south of here, resulting in an archaeological dig of many years.  The houses had been buried in a landslide some 500 years ago.  55,000 artifacts and a number of longhouses were recovered during the excavations.  The subsequent study of the artifacts have helped the modern Makah reconnect with their past and helped them in the present by proving through artifactual evidence that they had used nets prior to European contact.  This enabled them to obtain permission to use nets in the present.  The museum was built to house the artifacts and a reconstructed longhouse.

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Makah Museum

After the museum, we drove to the Flattery Point trailhead and hiked the trail to the furthest northwest point in the contiguous 48 states.  It is a beautiful spot, with many large sea caves and turquoise waters.  A gray whale surfaced here in one of the coves and was spotted by other hikers, but we didn’t see it.  A nest of young seagulls was perched precariously on a cliff above the rocks.  The view at the end of the trail is of Tatoosh Island and the lighthouse off the point.  Note:  our photos of Flattery Point have been lost–the following is an internet loaner.

Photo by Ned Fisk

Photo by Ned Fisk

Back at Hobuck Beach, we set up our camp and noticed several campers coming in for the weekend.  A couple of surfers pulled in near the bus and began setting up tents.  They asked if we minded and we said “No” seeing as how they were so polite and all.  We began to worry that we were camped in party central.  We had inadvertently parked at the main entry from the campground to the beach and there were more surfers and fishermen coming in as the evening wore on.  The campground is a free-for-all.  There are no designated sites – you just pick a spot and set up camp.  Our nervousness was unfounded however, as everyone behaved as well as could be expected in such close quarters.

Hobuck Beach

Hobuck Beach

We built a campfire and attempted to cook hot dogs, but the wood was still wet and difficult to get going, so Lar pulled out the grill and toasted them well-done.  A hot dog and a Corona seemed a good ending to the day.  One of the surfers, Jarrod, came over and visited a bit, telling us about the surfing here being about the best you can get in this part of the country.  He and his friends, Jason, Brad, and Jen, came from Seattle to surf.  Jarrod encouraged us to consider hiking to Shi Shi Beach, further south, during our stay.

Surfer Buds

Surfer Buds

Next morning, after a pancake and two-coffee breakfast, we sat out in our camp chairs on the beach.  It was a cool 65 degrees with heavy fog, which didn’t burn off until the afternoon.  We took a walk on the beach at low tide.  Our surfer neighbors went out to a less well-used cove and later reported seeing three gray whales that came within 30 yards of them.  Another camper showed us a video of a gray whale surfacing at Flattery Point.   After dinner, a nice pesto pasta cooked by Lar, we had coffee and sat out on the beach again for sundown.

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Hobuck Beach

We had only planned to stay a couple of nights, but this was such a spectacular spot, that we decided to stay another day and take the hike to Shi Shi Beach.  After breakfast, the surfers were packing up to leave later in the day.  We visited with them and Maggie asked if they would mind if she took pictures of their tattoos.  She took pictures of Jarrod and Jason’s tattoos, but Brad allowed as how he didn’t have any and said “My mother still likes me.”  If Jen had any, she was keeping them to herself, so we took pictures of the group and said our goodbyes.

Jarrod

Surfer Tat

Jason

We drove to the Shi Shi Beach trailhead.  The hike was 2 miles out and 2 miles back, but we didn’t know about the surprise at the end.  The first half seemed an easy, slightly up and down walk with occasional boardwalk and bridges.  Not so the second half of the trail, which was mainly mud bog – large puddles surrounded by deep mud.  There were occasional rough side trails that had been created to avoid the worst of the mud.  Early on, our goal was to avoid the mud.  Later, we tried to just avoid the deep mud.  By the end of the trail, we just tried not to get mud above our ankles!  As we got near the end of the trail, Mag realized that the beach was at the bottom of the cliff and a steep trail had to be negotiated.  She wanted to opt out, but Lar persuaded her that after helping her partway down, she would have access to ropes the rest of the way.  So down we went, using four ropes in all, and found a most beautiful and secluded beach at the bottom.

Shu Shu Beach trail

Shi Shi Beach trail

A few people had backpacked in and were camping on the beach.  We got there at high tide and took a walk and photographed the beach.  Lar found a rock that he thought Maggie would like for her rock collection.  It was a cool rock—covered with smooth depressions on all sides—but it was a big rock.  Against advice, Lar put it in his backpack and carried it back up and out the two miles back to the bus.  We later discovered, while mailing it home in a flat-rate box, that it weighed 16 pounds and 6 ounces!  We recovered by driving back into Neah Bay and having an early dinner at a restaurant.

Shi Shi Beach

Shi Shi Beach

Back in camp, a lot of weekend folks had left but there were still several there.  Over the weekend, we had counted 13 Vanagons and 4 Eurovans in camp.  This always amazes us as we only rarely see Vanagons in Oklahoma.  We took showers, baked brownies in the camp oven and enjoyed them with coffee on the beach on our last night.  We thoroughly enjoyed this mellow beach camp for three days and nights.

Beach Brownies

Beach Brownies

Reluctantly departing Neah Bay, we drove to Crescent Lake and found a camp site at Fairholme campground, part of Olympic National Park.  We walked down to the lakeside store and rented a kayak to paddle around the west end of the lake.  The lake is a pure and beautiful turquoise color, consisting mostly of glacier melt.  Back in camp, we battled small biting flies and mosquitoes, did another veggie roast in the oven, and finished off the leftover brownies with some decaf.  Life is good.

Cresent Lake

Crescent Lake

The next morning we drove to Sol Duc Hot Springs to soak in the mineral waters in the warm sun.  We then treated ourselves to a lunch at Lake Crescent Lodge and drove around the north side of the lake to Log Cabin Resort.  We needed to catch up on some rest after the few days of hiking and kayaking, so we improvised dinner and went off to bed early.  We had just touched the surface of the Olympic Peninsula’s offerings, but it was time to head to “civilization”.

Lodge

Lake Crescent Lodge

We left next morning and drove to Port Angeles, stopping for coffee and a bagel and to mail home “the rock”.  We called Mag’s sis to tell her to expect a “rock-in-a-box”, did some grocery shopping and then drove on to Sequim (pronounced Squim) and continued on the road east.  It was a beautiful drive along the Olympic Mountains with Mt. Baker in the distance, and later Mt. Rainier – both snow-capped.  We are heading to Olalla…..

To Go

To Go

For more photos of this part of the trip, click the link below;

Photo Gallery Link: Click Here

Happy trails … Maggie & Larry

Galumphing to Glamping

July 12.  When we arrived in Garibaldi, on the Oregon Coast, the State Park campground north of town was full.  We saw a couple of RV parks, but they were unappealing, with campers jammed together, many looking as if they hadn’t moved in many moons.  We took a walk along the wharf, and while we were checking out the marina, Lar looked across the bay and spotted two or three campers on a grassy hill overlooking the water.  We found our way there and set up camp with a great view of ocean and marina, yet off to ourselves.  We walked the few blocks into town where Lar spotted a convenient cell phone booth.  We had a delicious dinner at a restaurant/bar before coming back to the bus as the fog rolled in.

Garibaldi

Garibaldi

Marina

Marina

Cell Booth

Cell Booth

Camp above Marina

Camp above Marina

The next day was Larry’s birthday and a bit of celebration and indulging ourselves was in order.  After leisurely morning coffee, we walked down to a cafe for breakfast, then walked all through the small town, stopping to investigate local shops.  The town’s tourist train, a steam train, fired up as we passed by.  It was a cool, foggy day with light rain coming down intermittently.  We spent a quiet afternoon in the bus, reading and writing.  We walked back to the Marina for Lar’s birthday seafood dinner, after which we shared a piece of chocolate-on-chocolate cake.   Leaving the marina around 7 p.m., we walked past a lumber mill where a loader was dumping logs into a hopper, making a very loud crashing noise every few minutes.

Where's Roadhaus

Where’s Roadhaus

Steam Train

Steam Train

Lumber Mill

Lumber Mill

Back at the bus, it rained lightly off and on as we sipped coffee and read.  We noticed that the lumber operation was still going on and could be heard from 1/2 mile away at our little hilltop camp spot.  It was Sunday night and we assumed the noise would stop before too long.  The noise did not stop, and the crashing noises continued every 2 to 3 minutes through most of the night.  It stopped at 6 a.m.

We were up early and headed north along the coast in mist and fog.  We drove through several small towns, stopping to look around.  Lar spotted a new piece of evidence in our search for Sasquatch.  It seems the big guy had to have a special camp chair made, one with six drink holders, indicating perhaps a bit of a drinking problem.  He can’t be far ahead of us – and so the investigation continues…

Big guy's chair

Big guy’s chair

In Seaside, we stopped at the Bagel Cafe for bagels and more coffee.  We walked to the beach where all kinds of beachy things were going on. We bought a Mexican blanket to more thoroughly wrap the didgeridoo and protect it while riding in the rocket box.

Beachy Bike

Beachy Bike

On to Astoria and the Lewis and Clark Historic National Monument.  We watched a couple of videos – one from the Lewis and Clark perspective, derived from their journals, and one from the Native American Clatsop people’s perspective as handed down in tribal narratives.  It is obvious from both perspectives that the excursion would have been short lived without the help of local groups.  In this instance, the Clatsop, Chinook, and Nehalem people were all helpful to the expedition.  It is hard to imagine the hardships that were endured during the journey and the hard winter spent at Fort Clatsop here at the mouth of the Columbia River.

Fort Clatsop

Fort Clatsop

Fort Clatsop

Fort Clatsop

We crossed the Columbia River at Astoria to the Washington side and stopped to camp at Cape Disappointment—a beautiful place where the Columbia meets the Pacific Ocean.  Our camp spot happened to be between two friendly couples who were great travelers – one having just come from Alaska who were 10,000 miles into their journey.  The other couple was also quite well-traveled and interesting to converse with.  The “disappointments” were twofold.  The first was a very inconsiderate individual two camp-sites down from us who played loud music and talked and laughed very loudly.  It was impossible to ignore, but fortunately did not last past the 10 p.m. posted quiet time.  The other downside was that the facilities were marginal – grim, actually.  So we skipped the showers only to discover later that there was a brand new shower and toilet facility in the Day Use area.  Go figure.

We walked from the Day Use area down to Waikiki Beach below the Cape Disappointment lighthouse.  The tide was out and so the large cave located there was accessible.  When the tide is in, the water is too deep.  The beach is littered with huge piles of driftwood that attest to the power of stormy seas.  The walk to the beach is on stones that are inscribed with words from the journals of the Lewis and Clark expedition.  This is part of an exhibit by Maya Lin called the “Confluence” project.  Nearby was another part of the project known as the “Cedar Circle”.  On the way to this circle are stones containing the words of a Chinook prayer song.

Cape Disappointment Cave

Cape Disappointment Cave

Cape Disappointment Cave

Cape Disappointment Cave

Waikiki Beach .. odd tracks

Waikiki Beach .. odd tracks

Cape Disappointment Lighthouse

Cape Disappointment Lighthouse

Leaving the Cape, we drove up the narrow Peninsula through Long Beach, claiming to have the world’s longest beach.  We drove up to the end of the peninsula, to Oysterville and were a bit disappointed that the drive on both the east and west sides of the peninsula were closed in by trees and mainly private land.  So views of the ocean and bay were scarce.  We stopped in Long Beach on our way back down the peninsula and walked around the tourist shops.  We drove up highway 101, then up 105 to Twin Harbors State Park.  This was a much nicer park than Cape Disappointment, with nice showers and bathrooms.  There were two Westys camped near us and both were from Olympia.  Sarah and her three dogs were in one Westy and Rand and Jo were in the other.  We visited with both and got some ideas for our travels further up the coast.

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Sarah

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Rand and Jo

After nice hot showers and a campfire, we were off to bed.  The  morning brought news from a nearby camper that two of their coolers had been stolen during the night.  Fortunately, Larry had cabled ours to a wheel of the van and so it was safe and sound.  We drove around Grays Harbor to Aberdeen where we stopped for lunch, laundry, and to wash the bus.  We then made our way up to Ocean Shores where we opted to stay in a motel one night before attending a 4-day camping event on the nearby Humptulips River.  Since it was the eve of our anniversary, we stopped at the Quinault Casino for the prime rib special.  On the way back to the hotel, we decided to take a quick drive through the Ocean City State Park to see what it was like.  We spotted two Westys and it turned out to be Bernie and Neil – friends who were also planning to attend the campout.  We stayed and visited around the campfire and left with only minutes to spare before the gates were locked at 10.

Neil

Neil

We would like to note here that our mileage to date on this trip is 4,381 – with many more to come.

After breakfast, we stopped in at Sharky’s tourist shop next door and picked up a couple of post cards.  There was no sign of Bigfoot here, but Sharky tried to eat the bus.  We did our grocery shopping in preparation for the campout, ate a quick lunch, and headed out for Glamping on the Humptulips River.  The term “glamping” ostensibly means “glamour camping”, and while we don’t pretend to be glamorous campers, we were ready to give it a go.  We got there on Thursday afternoon, the 17th, and picked a spot to camp.  Our hostess, Trina, was there along with a handful of other WetWestie campers.  We had a group campfire on the gravel beach of the Humptulips and told tales, both short and tall.

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Shark Eats Bus, film at eleven

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WetWesties

Trina

chilly .. back it in, back it in

We had a late start on Friday, fixing a big breakfast of bacon, eggs, and toast outside on the camp stove.  It was a beautiful day and more people began to trickle in.  It was sunny off and on but cool and a bit windy – perfect weather for campfires and sleeping in the bus.  By bedtime, 19 buses had arrived.  Curt flew his drone over the campsite, taking video of the festivities.  There were people, dogs, and one kiddo, Abby.

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Saturday, the main day for festivities and the potluck dinner, was rainy.  Gary and Evie put up their “rain house” and EZ-ups and awnings sprouted around the camp.  Roadhaus did her best to be “glamorous” with decorative lights and prayer flags.  Larry spent a good part of the day under the awning, modifying and attaching clamps for the awning to the side of the bus.  Maggie escaped with Bernie into town during the rainy afternoon to sip coffee and check e-mail, coming back in time to prepare for potluck.  It was still raining, so the potluck was served in three separate covered locations.  After dinner, the rain let up enough for a big circle campfire.  Bernie was a hit as usual, relating stories of his bad judgement in picking up hitchhikers.  This led to more stories and much laughter and everyone went to bed with a smile.

Martini Time

Loren hosts … Martini time

Group of great misfits

Group of great misfits .. photo by Gary Marrs

Sunday morning the rain had thankfully stopped, allowing everyone to pack up without getting soaked.  We considered the campout a total success as we got to visit with many friends old and new.  There were 21 buses, 32 people, and 5 dogs present in all.  We said goodbye to Glamping and headed back out on the road.

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For more photos of this part of the trip, click the link below;

Photo Gallery Link: Click Here

Happy trails … Maggie & Larry