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{Olympic Peninsula} A Holiday Weekend

February 22, 2011

Matt, Reaghan and I all had a long weekend for the President’s Day holiday. Matt and I had been wanting to travel over to the Olympic Peninsula. It really could be more than a weekend trip. You could totally spend a whole week visiting The Peninsula because there is so much to see. We hit a few highlights, though, with hopes to go back again in the summer.

I don’t know about other people who aren’t from Washington, but before I moved here I really had never thought about the geography of this state. I knew about the Puget Sound, and that there was a West Coast. That the northern border was Canada. But as far as everything else went, I’d just never thought about it. And who knew about all those little San Juan Islands? :) Washington is such a large state with so many different climates. It’s amazing really!

Map of the State of Washington, highlighting the Olympic Peninsula

To get over to the Olympic Peninsula, the best route for us to take from Anacortes is to drive down through Whidbey Island and take the Coupeville/Port Townsend Ferry. Once you’re on the Peninsula, you can drive the very beautiful Highway 101 all the way around and back to Port Townsend. We didn’t do that on this trip.

This is the route we drove.

We left early to catch the 10:15 ferry from Coupeville. We had made reservations so we were one of the first cars to board. We had a great view right from our car. It was funny to watch our GPS showing us “driving” across the water!

It's a miracle! We're driving on the water!

This was our view as we sat in our car to cross Puget Sound.

The ferry docks in the beautiful little town of Port Townsend. You could spend a whole day in just this city window shopping, gazing out at the Sound and eating at many of the quaint little diners.

View of Port Townsend as our ferry approached port.

Alas, Port Townsend was not our final destination, so after a quick drive through the downtown area we headed on Highway 20 and then got on Scenic Highway 101. We slowly made our way to Forks. We stopped when we wanted  to take pictures, drove through the downtowns of the little towns we went through like Sequim and Port Angeles. It was all very beautiful. Highway 101 runs either right along the coast or through the lovely Olympic Mountains.

Outside of Port Angeles we stopped at Lake Crescent to get some photos. As Reaghan and I were standing there we watched four eagles fishing in the deep waters. (Lake Crescent is 600 feet deep in some areas.) I love to watch eagles fly. They are so graceful and majestic. It’s hard to get good pics of them, though. One, because you’re really not ever that close to them. And, two, when you are close (like one of my pics below) they are usually so high up in a tree that you get kind of an awkward upward shot. If anyone ever wants to buy me this lens, I’ll be happy to take some eagle shots and send them right to you!

We watched this huge guy swoop down from a tree, catch a fish and then carry it back to his nest.

These two eagles were flying in unison on the other side of Lake Crescent.

The big guy landed in a tree right by us!

After posing for a few pictures, he took off in the opposite direction, natch.

We drove on to our cabin which was just outside of Forks. I never saw Edward or any of his friends. It was sunny, though, so I’m sure he was out sparkling in some meadow somewhere.

Cabin Fever

The cabin was really cute and, um, cozy. :) It was a personal cabin that the owners rent out. It’s actually on their farm outside of Forks. It was very private though. This picture was taken on the day we left. As you can see there was some snow on the ground! It had snowed Friday, and the snow level got pretty low, so there were about 2 inches of it when we arrived on the first day. Reaghan and Shelby had a blast running and playing in it. Because the cabin was on a farm Shelby was able to run around off-leash. They had so much fun playing tag and catch.

The second day we drove up to the Northern Coast along Highway 112. It was a very beautiful drive right along the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Many times you can see whales and seals swimming along. Logging is the main industry in this part of the state, so every once in a while you’d see a big patch of land with tiny trees on it. Many of the homes here are far, far from any big store. I told Matt that this wasn’t just the “middle of nowhere,” it was the “END of nowhere!” The tip of the Olympic Peninsula is actually the very most northwestern point in the continental United States.

Awesome seastack in the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Vancouver Island, Canada is in the distance.

We continued along the coast to Neah Bay. We would have to hike the 1.5 mile round trip route out to Cape Flattery. We had such a great day for the hike. It was cool, but sunny. We were even able to see Tatoosh Island. Many people make this hike every year but are unable to see it because of clouds. The trail has recently been upgraded with cute boardwalks and fun little tree trunk steps.

Reaghan, Shelby and me at the Cape Flattery Trail Head. Yes, even Shelby wears a pack!

Family Photo Opp! Thanks, Random Stranger!

Lighthouse at Tatoosh Island

Reaghan, Shelby and me on the edge of the world!

Seatacks at Hole in the Wall, Neah Bay

Love, love, love the boardwalks!

On the way back to the cabin we drove down the Pacific side of the Peninsula. It was equally as beautiful. We did get to catch some people surfing! The waves were actually pretty big over there.

After the beach we toured around Forks, and went to the big Twilight store there in town. It was decorated cute. A little too busy for me. But that didn’t stop me from getting a token Forks hoodie! :)

We’ve had a great time taking Shelby on all our family excursions. We’ve fully embraced the northwestern “take your dog with you everywhere” attitude. She does great on car trips. She can usually be seen snoozing on her dog mat,

looking out the window,

watching movies with Reaghan,

just hanging out,

or helping Matt drive.

We had a great weekend. It’s always nice to get away. That’s one of the things I love about Washington. There’s SO MUCH to do and it’s relatively close and inexpensive. When we arrived back at Port Townsend, we had a few minutes before getting in line for the ferry. We visited Chetzemoka Park and I got this picture of some crocus that had just started blooming. Spring is on it’s way y’all!

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February 23, 2011 at 8:19 am

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 DAD February 23, 2011 at 5:02 am

Stop it! Stop it! Stop it! You can’t keep sending all those ‘National Geographic’ photos back to land locked Midwesterners! You want your whole dang family to move in with you? Cute dog.

2 Mom February 23, 2011 at 8:58 am

What a neat trip for the weekiend–I LOVED the little cabin :-) And the pictures were all gorgeous as usual!

3 Tina February 23, 2011 at 7:09 pm

So now you’re surrounded by straits, peninsulas, ports, bays, capes, ferrys and lighthouses. I guess you’ve got more to look at than “plains.” Can’t really sugarcoat that much. So beautiful!! And I love crocus. I hope Spring gets here soon. Here comes another 2-4″ of snow tonight, after a 60 degree day today.

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