Category Archives: Beaches

Diary of a Lighthouse Keeper

New Dungeness LighthouseDiary of a Lighthouse Keeper #1

A week in January at the New Dungeness Lighthouse - An adventure and an honor

Six of us keepers left the lighthouse transfer station in Carlsborg, WA, about 6:45pm on a Friday night. Two 4-wheel-drive vehicles were stuffed with all our provisions and personal gear for the week. This was my first time as a keeper and not altogether sure what I had gotten myself into. Luckily, three in our group had been keepers before and I knew two of our crew. We were assured that although the drive to the lighthouse was going to be rough, bumpy, dark, and a little scarey, the drivers were experienced and would keep us safe.

I knew I was in good hands, but wondered if this was such a good idea - a week with three women I'd never met and probably a minimum of a six-hour walk for me to get "off the island". At this point, I was committed and it was one of the best decisions for a "vacation" I've ever had.

load and unload gear at the lighthouseWhen we arrived at the lighthouse the returning keepers had all their gear ready to be loaded into the trucks for their trip back to civilization. All of us scrambled to unload/load as rapidly as possible to ensure the trucks could get back on the beach during the low tide change. So, there were were, watching the red tail lights disappear down the beach. STRANDED! Or so it crossed my mind! Another slight moment of "what have I done?"

We had organized ourselves as three groups for planning purposes during the weeks before we left and for duty shifts at the lighthouse. My work rotation for the week was: cook, day off, lighthouse duty - Repeat! I at least knew what was expected from me.

Lighthouse RoomGiven all the boxes of food and luggage we had to carry in, and the good humor among all six of us, I knew: a. we would not starve and, b. we all seemed to be kindred spirits.

First order of business was to unpack the groceries and settle into our rooms. I had a charming room with a quilt on the bed and a desk upstairs facing the lighthouse. I didn't close the blinds the first night, nor any other night there. I wanted to see the light flash in my room on its rotation. Later that first night, we all sat around the living room, most of us knitting, and introduced ourselves with a little of who, what, when and how we all ended up on this adventure together. One person who knew us all and had made all our arrangements and facilitated communication among us prior to the trip.

I studied a bit about the lighthouse that first night. The property had been continuously occupied since 1857. It was the first lighthouse built on the Strait of Juan de Fuca. What an honor to be part of that tradition. Our Keeper's Quarters were built in 1904. The Coast Guard had lighthouse duty for a period of time until 1934. In 1934, electricity was brought to the property through a cable underwater across Dungeness Bay. In April 1980, New Dungeness Lighthouse welcomed Seaman First Class Jeni Burr, New Dungeness’ first woman Head Keeper.  So many dates and interesting changes to the property and much more to learn - tomorrow!

I slept like a baby in the new surroundings! More Day #2 at the Lighthouse in the next blog.

Olympic National Park Entrances

Hwy 101 Scenic Byway map

Olympic Peninsula Hwy 101 Scenic Byway

From Hood Canal to Lake Quinault, follow the Highway 101 Scenic Byway to find several possibilities for entering the Olympic National Park. Each place offers different terrain, experiences, and chances to learn more about the park. PORT ANGELES - The primary Olympic National Park Visitor Center is open daily 8:30am - 5:00pm. General information, a children’s Discovery Room, bookshop, maps, exhibits and a near-by nature trail makes this a must stop while in Port Angeles. Be sure to take time to watch the movie. If it isn't running, just ask one of the rangers to start it. For park information call 360-565-3130. If all you want to check is the 24- hour recorded road and weather update, call 360-565-3131. If you need backpacking information or permits, or to acquire required bear cans for backcountry camping, check with the Wilderness Information Center (WIC) May 1 - June 11,  8am - 4:30pm daily June 12 - September 10, 8am - 5pm daily (until 6pm Friday, Saturday) September 11 - 30, 8am- 5pm daily.
Hurricane Hill walk from Hurricane Ridge

Hurricane Hill walk from Hurricane Ridge

HURRICANE RIDGE - The Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center is open daily 9:00am - 5:30pm with information, maps, exhibits, an orientation film, and nearby trails. The snack bar and gift shop are open daily 10:00am - 6:00pm. The information desk is staffed daily 10:00am - 5:30pm. Enjoy the Terrace Talk, daily 10:30am, 1:00pm, 4:00pm. Learn about this amazing wilderness park at a 20-minute talk. Topics vary. Join the easy one-hour guided walk to explore life in the mountains for a Meadow Walk, daily at 11:30am. and 2:00pm. Discover wildlife, wildflowers and other features of the Olympic landscape. HEART O’ THE HILLS - At Heart O’ the Hills Campground amphitheater, join others to enjoy the Evening Program,on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday at 8:00pm. Topics will be listed on bulletin boards. Junior Ranger Forest Activities are on Saturday at 10:00am for one hour of forest activities. Meet at the campground amphitheater.
Fall at Lake Crescent

Lake Crescent

LAKE CRESCENT - Storm King Ranger Station is open Wednesday - Saturday 11:00am - 4pm with information, activities for kids, and access to trails. Join the Marymere Falls Forest Walk on Fridays at 10:00am. Meet on the Lake Crescent Lodge porch for this easy, 1-1/2-hour guided hike. Got a younger one with you? How about them becoming an Olympic Junior Ranger? This program starts Saturdays 10:30am at Storm King Ranger Station. Join a ranger for an hour of hands-on activities. One of the highlights of summer in the park are the evening programs. Lake Crescent evening gatherings are on Tuesdays and Saturdays 7:30pm at Storm King. Learn more about the park after dark. Topics will be listed on bulletin boards at the Ranger Station. MORA - Beginning June 25, the Mora Ranger Station is open Friday - Monday 1:00 - 5:00pm for   information and maps. Bark Rangers - If you have a dog with you, you might want to show up on Saturdays, Sundays at 10am at the Rialto Beach Trailhead. Learn how to visit the park safely with your pet and earn a Bark Ranger Badge for your pup. There is also an Evening Program - Monday, Friday 8:00pm at the Mora Campground amphitheater. Topics will be listed on bulletin boards at the Ranger Station.
beach

Kalaloch Beach

KALALOCH - Kalaloch Ranger Station is open daily with information, exhibits, bookshop, and maps. Science on the Shore is held Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday Times and topics vary with changing tides. Explore the shore with a ranger in this hands-on program. Schedule and location information will be listed on bulletin boards. Vacation Volunteers can take a walk on the coast with a ranger and help leave this park better than you found it -  Saturdays 10:00am - noon.  Bark Rangers - Daily, 1:00 p.m. at  at Learn how to visit the park safely with your pet and earn a Bark Ranger Badge for your pup. Meet at the Kalaloch Lodge Gazebo, daily at 1:00pm.  The Evening Program is held on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday at 8:00pm at the Kalaloch Campground amphitheater. Topics on bulletin boards. QUINAULT RAIN FOREST - Quinault Rain Forest Ranger Station on North Shore Road is open Thursday - Monday 9:00am - 5:00pm. It is closed for guided walks and lunch. You find information, exhibits, a bookshop, maps, and nearby trails. Life in the Rain Forest Walk is scheduled Thursday - Monday at 1:00pm. Learn about rain forest plants, animals and homesteader lore. Meet at Quinault Rain Forest Ranger Station for this easy 1-1/2-hour, 3/4-mile walk.
Hoh Rainforest

Hoh Rainforest

HOH RAIN FOREST - The remodeled Hoh Rain Forest Visitor Center is open daily 9:00am - 5:00pm. At this visitor center you'll find general park information, a bookshop, maps, and nearby trails. You can get backcountry wilderness permits and bear cans here. There is the Rain Forest Walk at 2pm daily. Learn about giant trees, wildlife and more on this 1-1/2-hour easy walk on the Hall of Mosses or Spruce Nature Trail. Meet at the Hoh Visitor Center. The popular Evening Program begins at 8:00pm at the Hoh Campground amphitheater. Dates and topics on local bulletin boards.
Staircase trailhead sign

Staircase Trailhead Sign

STAIRCASE -  At the south end of Hood Canal you'll find the Staircase entrance to Olympic National Park. The Ranger Station hours vary. They do have information, exhibits, maps, trails nearby. If you are headed into the North Fork of the Skokomish River you will need backcountry wilderness permits and bear cans that are available. Thursday through Sunday at 2:00pm there is a Forest Walk.  Meet at bridge for 1-1/2 -hour walk by the Skokomish River. Discover Staircase!  on Sundays at 10:00am. Meet at the ranger station for this 1/2 -hour talk about the plants, animals or history of Staircase area. Fun for all ages! Evening Program is held Thursday through Saturday 7:30pm. Meet at the Staircase amphitheater.

Thirteen Special Places

Get ready to overload your schedule with 10 + 3 special places on the Olympic Peninsula. There have been several lists compiled over the last few weeks, all with gorgeous photos and travel hints for the peninsula. Let's start with ExOfficio's  10 Totally Amazing Places to See on the Northern Olympic Peninsula. This list has amazing photos, as well as short descriptions of some of our favorite places.
Dungeness Lighthouse

Dungeness Lighthouse

We totally agree that the places on ExOfficio's list shouldn't be missed, but we think there are a couple missed opportunities to get into the flavor, history and fun. Dungeness Spit is mentioned #1 in ExOfficio's list and we are glad it made the list.  Dungeness Spit is especially precious. It's the longest natural sand spit in the USA. The 5.5-mile walk out to the New Dungeness Lighthouse is a test of endurance, since the walk is totally on sand.  You can sign up to be a lighthouse keeper for a week. Lots of responsibility, but a once-in-a-lifetime experience, or as the lighthouse keepers website says, Stay a Week...Memories for a Lifetime!
SR112 Joyce Museum

Joyce Museum

Joyce Museum and Joyce General Store count as one stop.  Summer hours for the museum are Thursday - Monday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Try to go when Margaret is there. She is the all-knowing docent of wisdom when it comes to the area. The log building, built in 1914, was once the train depot. Now it houses historic photographs, newspapers and examples of the days gone by.  Lots of artifacts and info about the recent Elwha River dam removal project is housed here. Take a reality step back in time when you enter the General Store. It's still got its brass mail boxes and absolutely everything you could possibly need - from motor oil to Wesson oil, from brushes to clean mushrooms to brushes to paint the house. Plus they have bumper stickers that say, "I ♥ Joyce", a definite memento for anyone you know named "Joyce".
John's Beachcombing Museum

John's Beachcombing Museum

John's Beachcombing Museum. A new must-do on the peninsula - near Forks. Here are some comments from visitors to this unique collection:
  • "Some very cool and very unusual stuff in there!"
  • "This place is amazing!!! I am an environmental science teacher and I learned an amazing amount of information about what washes up on our shores. Thanks John for a great and informational time."
  • "Absolutely loved our trip through John's museum. It was great listening to John's stories and the kids were totally engaged from the drive in until we drove away... Thanks John, this is a must see and we will be back." Admission to tour the museum is $5. Prepare to spend some time there! It's open 10 a.m.-5 p.m., or for group tours by appointment, for more information or questions call 360-640-0320.    

Travel the Olympic Peninsula w/o a Car

Yes, travel to the Olympic Peninsula without a car can be done

Travel to the Olympic Peninsula without a car can be a challenge, but it can be done. There are many resources to help you plan your visit sans automobile. We hope this blog post will inspire you plan and navigate your way around with a bicycle or on foot. If you are bicycling, check out the Olympic Discovery Trail for transportation corridors across the peninsula. If you are arriving at SEATAC Airport, Seattle, The Dungeness Line or Rocket Transportation shuttles are easy to find at the south end of the airport. The Dungeness Line has a scheduled route, while Rocket Transportation will deliver you to your specified destination.

Links to local websitesto connect around the Olympic Peninsula:

  • Clallam Transit Bus. Contact the Clallam Transit center directly for questions about their routes and prices 800-858-3747.  Keep in mind, also, that you can rack a bicycle on the Clallam Transit buses for free on a  first-come first-served space.
  • Mason County Transit Authority. All MTA buses are equipped with bike racks to carry two or three conventional single seat, two-wheeled bicycles.
  • Jefferson TransitThis website has a page with a listing of other auto-less transportation options for the entire area - Seattle, Victoria, Kitsap, Whidbey Island. A useful resource!
  • Grays Harbor Transit
  • Another option is hiring a private tour guide to take you anywhere you want to go.  Here is a link with a list of them.
If you are based in Port Angeles, you'll find these bus lines with some suggestions of things to see and how to get there.
pt erider a new way to travel in Port Townsend

PTe-rider - a new way to travel in Port Townsend

#30 Port Angeles to Sequim. Once you're in Sequim you can schedule a Dial-a-Ride to take you out to the Dungeness Rec Area where there is camping and hiking.  This needs to be scheduled 24 hours in advance. From Sequim to Port Townsend take the Jefferson Transit #8 bus.  There is a cool new way to explore this charming, Victorian seaport. It's the PTe-rider. Hop aboard the first electric shuttle service in Washington State. Open April through October, they offer taxi service tours of Port Townsend's historic districts. #10 Port Angeles to Joyce on Hwy 112 will drop you off at Camp Hayden Rd. which is about 4 miles south of Salt Creek Recreation Area. It would be a hike to get to Salt Creek, but if it's low tide and you are a tidepooler, it might be worth it. Even if you don't want to go as far as Salt Creek, I'd recommend the blackberry pie at the Blackberry Cafe - also the jalapeno burger if it's still on the menu. Two must dos are the Joyce General Store and the Joyce Museum. Words can't adequately explain - it's part history, part now. Start by talking to Margaret at the museum. She can tell you the historical details, local lore and guide you through the museum that used to be the old railroad station. #20 Port Angeles to the Olympic National Park Visitor Information Center where passes and permits can be bought.  This route will drop you off a couple blocks down the hill from the Visitor Information Center. You would need to hire a vehicle to take you up the mountain, either taxi or guide. Here's a link to guide services.  Green 8 Taxi Service.  Black Tie Taxi Service.
Travel Lake-C-fall-pano-lo.jpg

Lake Crescent

#14 Port Angeles along Hwy 101 around Lake Crescent.  Stopping here at Lake Crescent you can hike to Marymere Falls and into the backcountry. A visit to Lake Crescent Lodge is an historical treat. Sit on the sun porch with cool drink in hand, relaxing in wicker chairs and watching the kayakers and swimmers. This route will also take you to Forks, if you ever want to travel from its serene shores.
Travel Camping on Second Beach

Second Beach

#15 Forks to La Push.  At La Push are the hikes to Second Beach and Third Beach, both great for setting up a tent and falling asleep to the sound of the waves. These beaches are located in the National Park and so camping permits to stay overnight need to be obtained from the Visitor Center in Port Angeles.  There are no amenities or camping sites on these beaches and everything must be packed in and packed back out. Forks south to Lake Quinault. Jefferson Travel from Forks (Forks Transfer Center is located at 552 S Forks Ave & E Street) can take you south to Lake Quinault area, stopping at Lower Hoh, Kalaloch, Queets and then to Amanda Park Mercantile at the lake. From Amanda Park you can transfer to Grays Harbor Transit, which will require a separate fare and exact change. #16 Port Angeles to Neah Bay.  The Makah Reservation has its own bus system once the Clallam County system drops you off.  There is a bus that will take you to the Cape Flattery Trail but contact this bus system directly to make sure.  Cape Flattery is the most NW point of the contiguous United States. There are views of Tattoosh Island and lighthouse along with excellent wildlife viewing. If the whales aren't around, the birds will be. There is no service of this bus system on Saturdays, Sundays, or Holidays. Be sure to visit the Makah Cultural and Resource Center. It's a world-class museum with artifacts and displays highlighting the history and culture of this part of the world.

Travel to Victoria, Canada - Bring your passport!

The side trip popular with many visitors is to travel to Victoria, BC, Canada, is a simple, 90-minutes, walk-on ride on the Coho Ferry. The ferry docks in the beautiful inner harbor across the street from the Parliament Building. Make your visit a "two-nation vacation"! If you are bringing your bike or would just like to have a lovely walk, put the Galloping Goose Trail from Victoria to Sooke on your itinerary. Here are some photos from their website. Have fun and travel safely!

Olympic Peninsula Park Passes Made Simple

Some parks and trailheads around the peninsula require a pass. Generally, you can purchase passes at each entrance to each kind of park. ONP annual passEach national park has its own pass. For example, you could buy an annual pass to Mt. Rainer OR Olympic National Park. This year these cost $50 each. Weekly admissions to the parks are sold at the entrances or Visitor Centers for $20 (going up to $25 on June 1, 2016). Only four entrances require a pass: Hurricane Ridge, Sol Duc, Staircase and Hoh Rain Forest. You can either pay as you enter these entrances or stop at the Olympic National Park Visitor Center in Port Angeles to purchase the pass. America the Beautiful Pass is an interagency pass good for all Federal lands - National Parks, National Forest, monuments, etc. This costs $80 for an annual pass. If you plan on bicycling or walking in, it's only $7/person. Learn more here, or check with the park 360-565-3130. Some of the info on their site is outdated. But you will be able to see the different types of passes:
  • Private vehicle
  • Motorcycle
  • Per person
  • Wilderness camping fees
  • Campground fees
  • Commercial tours
  • Non-commercial groups
  • Dump station fees
There is the equivalent to the interagency pass for active military - one year is free with documentation. These are only dispensed by rangers. There is the equivalent of the interagency pass for seniors (62+) or disabled people. This is a lifetime pass that costs $10 and is sold only by rangers to people with proof of eligibility. discover pass logoWashington State Parks, like Fort Worden require a Discover Pass which you can learn about here. If you click here you can see the State Parks By Region which will tell you which parks require which pass. Last time I went to Fort Worden, I just paid at the entrance kiosk by the parking lot. But if you wish to purchase the Discover pass ahead of time you can do there online hereDiscover annual passes ($35 from vendors/$30 if you purchase them at the same time you pay your car license renewals or from a ranger at the park) are for the Washington State parks.  Discover day passes cost $10 ($12 from vendors) and are good for State parks for one day only.  These can be purchased in advance or at the park. Similarly, there is Olympic National Forest (ONF) that offers miles of hiking trails in the woods has a different set of passesForest Service pass. Here is a list of trails that are on ONF land that require an Olympic National Forest pass (different from an Olympic National Park pass). A lot of these spectacular trails are on the east side of the peninsula with access from Hwy 101 along Hood Canal, except for the  Quinault Rain Forest trails, which are in the southwest area of the peninsula. Some, by by no means all of the National Forest trails, require either an annual pass or a day pass for parking. Day passes cost $5. Passes are not sold a the trail heads, so they must be purchased in advance. An annual pass for the National Forests in Washington and Oregon only (no parks and no other state's national forests) costs $30. Print a pass for the ONF on your computer before you come! $5.00
horizontal Hobuck Beach

Hobuck Beach, Neah Bay

If you are headed to Shi Shi Beach, Cape Flattery or other spots in Neah Bay on the Makah Reservation, the Makah Tribe requires visitors to have a $10 Recreation Pass. The Recreational Use Permit (RUP) is available for sale at the Makah Museum, Washburn’s Store and at the Makah Tribal Center at a cost of $10.00 per car and is good for the calendar year in which it is purchased. The permit is required if you are going to engage in recreational activities on the Reservation – hiking, camping, kayaking, sports-fishing, etc.
Dungeness Lighthouse

Dungeness Lighthouse

Also, there is a small fee at the trailhead of $3 per family or per group (up to four adults) at the Dungeness Wildlife Refuge. Children under 16 enter free. Refuge Annual Pass, Federal Recreational Lands Pass, Senior or Golden Age Pass, Access or Golden Access Pass, Military Pass, Volunteer Pass, and a Federal Duck Stamp also admit family or group (up to 4 adults). One of the special things to do in this area is hiking on the Dungeness Spit to the lighthouse at the end of the sandy spit.

Winter in Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary

Olympic Coast Marine Sanctuary photo - Winter Storm

Olympic Coast Marine Sanctuary photo

A winter visit to Washington’s Olympic Coast provides opportunities for a unique and rewarding experience. You will likely encounter few visitors, giving you an even greater appreciation for the remote wilderness of our rugged coastline. Winter storms create fascinating wave-watching conditions, with wind, rain and high tides yielding dramatic scenes of waves crashing against the rocky shores, as well as the numerous seastacks dotting the nearshore environment. Dress for the weather and make it a memorable day reveling in one of nature's best winter wonders. The winter is also a popular time for marine debris to wash up on shore. This is the perfect time for beach combing. If you feel like doing something wonderful for the environment, bring gloves and disposable bags to collect trash from the pristine environment you are enjoying and help keep our beaches clean and our marine organisms safe. You may even be rewarded by finding a rare item while beach combing - such as a prized glass float. Particularly high, or “King Tides”, during this period take place on the following dates (based on  December 23 high tide of 9.71 ft at 10:07am  December 24 high tide of 9.84 ft at 10:55am  December 25 high tide of 9.81 ft at 11:41am  December 26 high tide of 9.59 ft at 12:25pm  January 9 high tide of 9.2 ft at 11:24am  January 10 high tide of 9.37 ft at 12:06pm  January 11 high tide of 9.37 ft at 12:48pm  January 21 high tide of 9.16 ft at 9:54am  January 22 high tide of 9.27 ft at 10:45am  January 23 high tide of 9.28 ft at 11:31am  January 24 high tide of 9.17 ft at 12:14pm For more information and locations of King Tides, visit:

Tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov

Remember to stay safe while enjoying the moody beauty of our Olympic Coast!

For more information about Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary, visit: OlympicCoast.noaa.gov Facebook at www.facebook.com/usolympiccoastgov/

Twitter at Twitter.com/OlympicCoast

Thanks to Karlyn Langjahr, guest Blogger:  Olympic Coast Discovery Center Manager

Family List #100 – Twenty-one Free Things to Do on the OP

for web_ hurricaneridgepanolorespurchased - CopyTwenty-one free things to do on the beautiful

Olympic Peninsula, Washington

Family List #100.  If you are family travelers, start here to find 21 free things to do on the Olympic Peninsula. Have a great time planning what will intrigue, excite and stimulate your family. You can build your own itinerary at: OlympicPeninsula.org.   back pack iconSign up and then click on the Backpacker Icon to get started. You can make more than one itinerary. Have fun deciding what you are going to do on each trip.  
  1. OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK. Several times a year, National Park entrance fees are waived. Consult http://www.nps.gov/findapark/feefreeparks.htm. These days usually are:
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in January;
  • five days in April for National Park Week;
  • August National Park Service Birthday celebration;
  • National Public Lands Day in September; and
  • Veterans Day weekend in November.
With nearly one million acres of playground in rain forest valleys, alpine meadows and 60 miles of unmatched wilderness coastline you’ll find plenty to explore: Hurricane Ridge with vistas revealing glacier-covered peaks and steep river valleys; Lake Crescent with 12 miles of pristine, idyllic water; and the ocean beaches with rocky headlands and fascinating tide pools are three popular locations to entertain the whole family.  http://www.nps.gov/olym/
  1. Take a Twilight tour in Forks to look for vampires. There are organized tours to see places from the popular Stephenie Meyer book series, or you can simply stop by the Forks Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center to pick up a free Twilight map to make your own self-guided tour. While you’re there, take a picture with a replica of Bella’s truck! http://www.forkswa.com/HomeofTwilighttheBook.html
Check out really BIG TREES. The Quinault Valley has some really big living trees. The largest in world of their species are Western Red Cedar, Douglas Fir, Sitka Spruce and Mountain Hemlock. The Yellow Cedar and Western Hemlock are the largest in the United States. The trails to get to these big trees offer something for everyone. The largest Hemlocks are in an area called Enchanted Valley, a 15-mile, one-way backpack trip. The Western Red Cedar is found after a short walk. You can climb inside the trunk of this largest tree in the world outside California. (They have Sequoias and Redwoods, after all.) On an easy, five minute walk you can see the Sitka Spruce that is estimated to be over 1,000 years old. http://rainforestgetaways.com/html/valley_of_rainforest_giants.html
  1. Travel the “Magical Misty Tour” on the Olympic Peninsula Waterfall Trail. A delightful way to explore the Olympic Peninsula, the Waterfall Trail offers year-round adventures and dramatic beauty. From the cliffs of Cape Flattery to the glacial fjord of the Hood Canal, waterfalls of all sizes and shapes abound. A sweet little summer trickle can be a thundering torrent during spring run off. There is a falls for every level of adventure. One waterfall can be seen from a paved, wheelchair accessible path, one can only be reached by kayak or raft, others require short hikes, some can be seen from the car, while others require route finding skills or a backpack trip. http://www.olympicpeninsulawaterfalltrail.com
  1. Walk the fragrant lavender fields in the Lavender Capital of North America™ Sequim, Washington. Visit the many colorful lavender farms in the Sequim Valley. With over 40 farms, lavender is one of the most fragrant and useful herbs. The weather conditions in Sequim are perfect for lavender. The U-pick season typically lasts from July to the first of October. America’s largest celebration of lavender is always held the third weekend in July with Lavender Weekend in Sequim activities throughout the valley. http://www.lavendergrowers.org/
  1. Explore World War II forts. Three forts offer history buffs in your family an opportunity to see where guns were located to protect Hood Canal, to check out the still-in-place bunkers or visit the museum at Fort Worden in Port Townsend. Hiking, camping, tide pooling and other activities are also in the areas of these historic reminders of our past.
http://www.parks.wa.gov/fortworden/interpretive.aspx http://www.parks.wa.gov/parks/?selectedpark=Fort%20Flagler
  1. Speaking of tide pools! Check out mysterious critters in the tide pool areas around the Olympic Peninsula. Salt Creek with its stunning views of the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Victoria, British Columbia, is the perfect setting to explore some of the most exceptional tide pools in the Northwest. Come during low tide, and you'll see starfish, sea cucumbers, crabs, sea anemones, and urchins among the plentiful sea life on display. Many of these tide pools are located at the Tongue Point Marine Life Sanctuary, which is under water at high tide. Slip Point near Clallam Bay and areas in Port Townsend also have great tide pools. http://www.visitolympicpeninsula.org/tidepools.html http://www.olympicpeninsula.org/things-to-do/salt-creek-recreation-area
http://www.olympicpeninsula.org/things-to-do/its-time-tidepooling
  1. Take a hike to the ocean in search of petroglyphs. A nine-mile triangle hike (three miles into the beach, three miles along the beach, and three miles back to the trailhead) can be customized to your hiking level. Do the complete nine-plus mile triangle or opt to walk the northern trail to Cape Alava to see ancient petroglyphs of humans and whales.
http://www.olympicpeninsula.org/things-to-do/ozette-wilderness-hike
  1. We have a 5-acre outdoor art gallery in Port Angeles. Part of the Port Angeles Fine Arts Center, the Webster’s Woods Art Park features art in many mediums from metal sculptured ferns to a “shoe tree” to a large labyrinth to walk in the meadow. The Woods are open all daylight hours year round. http://www.pafac.org/websters-woods.html. Port Angeles also has a free Art on the Town self-guided sculpture walk through downtown with its award-winning Avenue of the People.  http://portangelesdowntown.com/avenue_of_the_people.php
  1. Experience our wonderful native cultures. Each Tribal community offers places and/or activities for respectful visitors. In late winter and spring in La Push watch the migrating gray whales or join in traditional song with the Wednesday night drumming group. On the grounds of the Makah Cultural and Resource Center and Museum in Neah Bay there are several large totems. And, in Blyn, location of the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribal Center, Longhouse Market and 7 Cedars Casino you can find many more totems. The Resort at Port Ludlow in Port Ludlow and the Cedars at Dungeness Golf Course in Sequim also have totems. To watch this ancient art being re-created with traditional tools and methods, check out the House of Myth on the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribal Center property. Take a walk on the Warrior Path to an estuary of the Elwha River near the Lower Elwha Tribal Center to see birds and maybe even some river otters. To learn more about the Olympic Peninsula’s native people and cultures visit the web site www.explorepacificnwtribes.com

http://www.makah.com/mcrchome.html

http://www.jamestowntribe.org/#

http://www.elwha.org/

  1. Watch for real “tweets” at the Dungeness River Audubon Center. Want to see the detail of Bald Eagle tail feathers or the webbed feet of a seagull? Here’s the place to get up close to native species. Or, you can join a group for a Wednesday morning bird walk to check out birds in the wild. The Dungeness River Audubon Center is located at the site of the historic railroad trestle that crosses the river north of Highway 101. The trestle has been converted to a planked section of the North Olympic Discovery Trail. Territorial views of woodlands, river vistas, local wildlife and native flora beckon from th nature trails. The Center offers interpretive programs, summer science day-camps, and river talks and classes in the River center building, as well as exhibits, displays and specimens.

http://www.dungenessrivercenter.org/index.html

https://www.facebook.com/dungenessriverauduboncenter

  1. Sit in an old buggy at the Joyce Depot Museum. The original log train depot built in 1914 is home to the Joyce Museum.  Housing historical memorabilia from the towns of Joyce, Lake Crescent, Twin Rivers and the former town of Port Crescent you will find yourself surrounded by the rich history of the area.  The many displays of various artifacts are but a small part of what makes this museum stand out.  On shelves casually housing many historical books, you can find nuggets of treasure that bring history to life. Don’t forget to visit the Joyce General Store across the street. If you can’t find it there, you probably don’t need it! Be sure to take a photo of the mailboxes on the wall. The bulletin board outside the store will give you a good idea of things going on in this rural community.

http://www.joycegeneral.com/muse.htm

  1. Watch for whales on the Whale Trail. There are several locations on the OP designated good spots for seeing whales, if they are in the neighborhood. Bring your binoculars for scouting on the horizon, but don’t miss seeing ones that may be very close to shore. Keep your eyes peeled for other marine mammals, too.

http://thewhaletrail.org/

  1. See how far you can skip a stone in the ocean. Ruby Beach with a meandering creek, dramatic sea stacks, and drift logs is named for its sometimes garnet-colored sand. Witness this phenomenon especially near sunset. A gold mining operation was located here in the early 1900s. Olympic National Park protects over 73 miles of the some of the most primitive natural coastline in the 48 contiguous United States. The views of ocean, cliffs, headlands, islands and sea stacks, coupled with the dramatic changing sea, provide a unique wilderness experience. Most of the coast can only be accessed by foot. Rialto Beach and Kalaloch beaches, including Ruby Beach, are accessible by road. You’ll find prefect skipping stones at Rialto Beach near La Push.
 
  1. Indulge in a section of the Olympic Peninsula Culinary Loop. Local farms and markets are a source of entertainment for young and old alike, to say nothing of tantalizing the taste buds. Check out the open-air markets during most of the year across the peninsula. Or, introduce yourself to a row of carrots, some bushes of blueberries or take some photos of salmon in a stream or on your plate.

http://olympicculinaryloop.com/

  1. Pedal the Olympic Discovery Trail (ODT) or challenge yourself on the Adventure Route. There are many places to enter and exit the ODT that will eventually connect Port Townsend to LaPush with a 130 miles of paved, multi-user trail. This is a perfect place to bring the bikes and get out to see the area. If you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, take on the 25 miles of groomed, single-and double-track trails.

http://www.olympicdiscoverytrail.com/

http://www.olympicdiscoverytrail.com/side_trips/adventure_route.html
  1. Explore a Lighthouse. At 5.5 miles in length, the Dungeness Spit is the longest naturally occurring sand spit in North America and home to the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge is a sanctuary for over 250 species of birds, 41 species of land mammals and eight species of water mammals. Its trails and picnic areas offer breathtaking views of beaches, the Dungeness Harbor and the strait of Juan de Fuca. If you’re up to hiking the spit, you’ll find the old Dungeness Lighthouse, built in 1857 and now on the National Register of Historic Places. Access to the light Station is limited to hikers at low tide

Wildlife Refuge:  http://www.fws.gov/washingtonmaritime/dungeness/

Lighthouse:  http://www.newdungenesslighthouse.com/

  1. Indulge your inner cowboy at John Wayne Marina. The great film legend, John Wayne, was a frequent visitor to Sequim Bay aboard the family yacht, the "Wild Goose." John Wayne was struck by the pristine natural elegance of Sequim Bay and believed it was the perfect location for a marina. An ideal destination for water adventurers, the marina stands on land donated by the late film star in 1975. The main Marina building has a collection of John Wayne memorabilia on display. The facility is designed to be compatible with its surroundings, so barefoot mariners can look forward to a quiet cove and excellent amenities. Visitors seeking restful waterscapes as a backdrop for picnics and uncomplicated walks will find this picturesque setting ideal.
The Marina offers a restaurant, showers, laundry and banquet facilities, and provides boat launch ramps, fuel facilities, public beach access and picnic areas. Transient moorage is usually available for those who wish to boat up to Sequim Bay and enjoy the weekend.

http://www.olympicpeninsula.org/things-to-do/john-wayne-marina

  1. Get a history lesson at the Forks Timber Museum. Harvesting timber plays an historic and important role in the economy and development of the Olympic Peninsula. The museum displays exhibits depicting local history dating back to the 1870s. It is located next to the Visitor Information Center in Forks and is open May through October.

http://www.forks-web.com/fg/timbermuseum.htm

  1. Drive one of the newest Scenic Byways. Highway 112 from Joyce to Neah Bay is truly “scenic” – all 249 curves of it! Take the beautiful drive and count them yourselves! Make extra time to stop along the way at overlooks and at the easy-access beach turnouts! No telling what you’ll find.

http://www.highway112.org/

  1. Explore the historic Dungeness Valley. Driving around the Dungeness Valley Scenic Loop and around the outskirts of Sequim, (pronounced skwim), you’ll find an abundance of things to do and see. The organic farms, lavender farms, Audubon Center, Olympic Discovery Trail, and Dungeness Wildlife Refuge and Lighthouse (mentioned separately in this list!) are only the beginning of the story with this fertile valley. Steeped in history, this special place is located in the so-called “blue hole”. Contrasting to the 120 inches of rain in the rainforests to the west, Sequim is nestled in the shadow of the Olympic Mountains where the area only receives about 17 inches of rain per year. With the fertile valley and easy access to the Strait of Juan De Juca there is a rich history of this area. Some of these locations are geocache sites on the Geocaching.com website. To get more information about geocaching, check out https://www.geocaching.com/
Start your journey into history with the uncovering of bones from a 13,800 year old Mastadon by Emanuel Mannis in 1977. You can visit the field where he found the bones and then view them in the Sequim Museum and Arts Center. http://www.macsequim.org/exhibits/45-manis-mastodon.html Pioneer Memorial Park has a spectacular view of the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the Olympic Mountains. Many early settlers and their families were buried here, but have since been moved to other cemeteries. There are old tombstones and a lovely garden to see here. http://www.sequimwa.gov/Facilities/Facility/Details/6 Stop to see where a double-hipped carriage house stands to signify the location of the Evergreen Farm off North 5th Avenue in Sequim. The original barn, which is no longer standing, was built in 1911, attesting to the long-standing agricultural record of the area. The second story of this building has a solid wood floor so the children of the family would have a place to roller skate! Another stop along the Dungeness Scenic Loop is the Dungeness schoolhouse, which opened in 1893 with 73 students, aged five to 20, closing in 1955 with the Dungeness and Sequim school districts merged. http://www.dungeness.com/schoolhouse/history.htm The Knutsen Family Farm house still stands. It was ordered from the Sears, Roebuck and Company’s mail-order Modern Homes program! It is private property, so please park at the edge of the property. http://www.geocaching.com/geocache/GC41702_mac-9-knutsen-family-farm You know we’re all about big trees! One of the largest cottonwood trees in the area can be viewed by traveling south on River Road, west of Sequim. If it’s spawning season, you’ll be treated to a miracle of nature watching the salmon return to the river. Good viewing is also at the Dungeness Railroad Bridge at the Audubon center. NOT QUITE FREE!!  Walk to the edge of the NW United States. OK. We realize that this is not exactly FREE because you need to purchase a parking permit for the Makah Reservation for $7.00 per car. But the price is worth the experience, view and bragging rights! You will have planted your feet at the most northwestern point in the contiguous US on Cape Flattery bluff overlooking views of the Tatoosh Island lighthouse, the Pacific Ocean and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Tatoosh Island is sacred place for the Makah. The trail to the overlook is a cedar plank boardwalk that takes you on a moderate hike. Likely you will see eagles, cormorants, sea otter and, if you’re lucky, one of the resident whales! Anticipating hearing the sound of the ocean as you walk through the trees is finally satisfied with the sound of constant wooshing waves when you.

http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/cape-flattery

http://www.olympicpeninsula.org/destinations/neah-bay-cape-flattery

http://www.neahbaywa.com/where.htm

Hood Canal!

ciderrouteBeyond Voyage had a guest blogger, Elizabeth, who spent one week exploring Hood Canal and one week investigating Seattle with her eight-year-old son. One of the surprises she found was lower lodging prices compared with east coast costs of Cape Cod, for example. She recommended a minimum of a four-night stay, but stated that she could have easily filled two weeks things to do along the canal.  They sampled local ciders (check out Cider Route map!) and Hama Hama oysters and generally had the canal experience with a side trip into Port Townsend vibe. She was impressed with the beauty of Lake Cushman after entering Olympic National Park at the Staircase entrance. All in all, made me want to replicate her visit! yogurtAnd, I live here. I thought it was charming that she found Oregon Tilamook yogurt and Pacific Northwest Marionberries were exotic finds. One of the many rewards of working with visitors to the Olympic Peninsula, learning that things we have and are normal to us, are special and memorable to our visitors. Thank you, Elizabeth!

News Spotlight on the OP!

The Olympic Peninsula has been all over media in September! Here's a sampling of what's being said: Congratulations to Port Townsend for the “5 Fabulous Things to Do In Port Townsend” by writer, Paola Thomas, for Seattle Refined, a partner with KOMONews.
  • Breakfast at the Blue Moose Café,
  • Visit the Northwest Maritime Center,
  • Shop at Port Townsend Farmers’ Market
  • Afternoon tea at Pippa’s Real Tea, and
  • Shopping on Water Street.
The Olympic Peninsula is so proud of the Olympic Discovery Trail (ODT). Terri Gleich of the Kitsap Sun covered “Olympic Discovery Trail an Expanding Wonder”.  Almost 80 miles of the trail are complete. The ODT is used for both commuting and recreation and will eventually link Port Townsend to La Push with a paved path.
Port Angeles during Crab Festival

Port Angeles during Crab Festival

Of course, the Olympic Peninsula is taking some of the cudos for Port Angeles being named one of the “America’s Best Towns” by Outside Magazine. Second only to Chattanooga, Tennessee, Port Angeles made a strong showing, coming from a wild-card placement in the competition. And, with a population of about nine times smaller than Chattanooga, it’s even more impressive to have lost in the polling by a small margin. The top five places went to:
  • Glenwood Springs, Colorado
  • Eau Claire, Wisconsin
  • Iowa City, Iowa
  • Port Angeles, Washington
  • Chattanooga, Tennessee
Olympic National Park Sign at Rialto Beach

ONP Sign at Rialto

Tripping, the world’s largest vacation rental site, named Rialto Beach, in Olympic National Park, one of "10 Perfect Honeymoon Beach Destinations". Other places mentioned were Honeymoon Beach in St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands; Wailea Beach on Maui, Hawaii; Carmel in California; and, Hanalei Bay on Kauai, Hawaii. Take a look as some stunning photographs from Shi Shi Beach from an article written by Kristin Jackson for the Seattle Times, "Visiting Washington’s wild and magical Shi Shi Beach". We couldn’t agree more that’s it one of the most stunning, magical places on the Peninsula! Moira Macdonald, a Seattle Times arts writer, captured the charm and essence of Port Townsend in her article, "There’s Something for All Kinds of Tourists in the Olympic Peninsula Town" – culture, history and the outdoors!
Washington State Ferry

Washington State Ferry

Conde Nast Traveler has named the Washington State Ferry System as one of the most beautiful ferry rides in the world. And, we're in good company with Hong Kong, London, Sydney and Venice also being in this group! Why not hop on one of those WA State ferries and come out to the Olympic Peninsula, our very own UNESCO World Heritage site, the Olympic National Park.  The journey is part of the fun!  
Olympic Peninsula Sol Duc pools

Sol Duc pools

Here is a link to the online version of an article on Northwest hot springs resorts by Tamara Muldoon. This article, Play, Soak, Repeat at Hot Springs Resorts, includes Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort in Olympic National Park. The resort, open seasonally, has basic yet comfortable cabins, RV and tent campsites. Three hot spring pools, a freshwater swimming pool, massage, hiking trails complete the experience at Sol Duc.

Four Hikes Around Highway 101. Get out there!

With summer coming to an end and fall upon us, there's still time to get in a few good hikes to enjoy the spectacular weather on the Olympic Peninsula this year. Here are four hikes with different rewards waiting for your exploration.

Hurricane Ridge Area – High above the clouds

Ridge Trail near Hurricane Ridge

Ridge Trail near Hurricane Ridge

Towering 18 miles above Port Angeles, Hurricane Ridge is one of the most popular destinations in Olympic National Park. Magnificent vistas stretch far into the interior of Olympic Mountains and north into Canada and the San Juan Islands. There are many hikes in this area that you can customize to your activity level and suit your adventurous spirit.
  • Klahane Ridge is a 3.8-mile, one-way hike that gains 250 feet in the first 2.8 miles. The first 2.8 miles of this trail is on a ridge to a junction with the Klahhane Switchback trail. An additional mile climbs 800 feet on the Switchback trail to Klahhane Ridge.
  • The Hurricane Hill hike is a 1.6 mile one-way hike on a paved trail that climbs to a panoramic view of mountains and saltwater. The trail begins at the end of the Hurricane ridge Road. The first 0.25 miles is wheelchair accessible with assistance. To make it a longer hike, continue from Hurricane Hill through meadows and steep forested switchbacks to the start of the Whiskey Bend Road.

Sol Duc Area - Commune with Nature

Sol Duc Hot Springs mineral pools

Sol Duc Hot Springs mineral pools Sol Duc Area

The Sol Duc Valley offers outstanding beauty and recreation. If you are looking for a walk through the giants of the forest to a pounding waterfall and finishing the day with a rewarding soak in some mineral pools, bring your towel. You've found your bliss! Sol Duc Falls is one of the largest and most beautiful in Olympic National Park, with trail and bridge access. It is the only falls with viewing from above and it is one of the falls on the Olympic Peninsula Waterfall Trail. The Sol Duc Road passes through old-growth forest and parallels the river on its way to the Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort and trail head to start hikers headed into the Olympic Mountains.
Sol Duc Falls sign

Which way do YOU want to go?

The Lover’s Lane trail is a 6.0-mile loop through old growth forest that links the Sol Duc Resort to Sol Duc Falls. For a shorter hike, 0.8 miles one way, to the falls begin at the trailhead. For a 2.6 mile hike one way, climb 1,500 feet through dense forest to the sparkling Mink Lake. Further into the interior 3.8 miles one way, is Deer Lake with an elevation gain of 1,700 feet. After any of these hikes, soak in the mineral pools or get a massage! Relax!

Dungeness Spit – Bring your binoculars!

Dungeness Spit

Dungeness Spit

At 5.5 miles in length, the Dungeness Spit is the world’s longest naturally occurring sandspit and home to the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge. Its trails and picnic areas offer breathtaking views of the beaches, Dungeness Harbor and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. If you’re up for the hike to the end of the spit, you’ll find the old New Dungeness Lighthouse, built in 1857 and now on the National Register of Historic Places. Access to the Light Station is limited to hikers at low tide and small boats in calm seas. The Dungeness NWR provides habitat for many different species. More than 250 species of birds, 41 species of land mammals, and eight species of marine mammals have been recorded in the refuge. It provides critical habitat for a number of species, some of them threatened or endangered, and is an important stop for many birds during migration.  

Jupiter Ridge Trail – Ready for adventure?

Mt Jupiter Hiker

Mt Jupiter Trail and Vista

Trailhead is 22 miles north of Hoodsport. Enter off Highway 101 at Black Point (west Mt. Jupiter Rd –FS rd#2610-10).  Follow for 2.5 mi. to #2610-11-left fork. From the trailhead, you rise 500 ft. over 47 switchbacks!  Don’t let that discourage you.  You crest the top of the Jupiter Ridge and hike along its back through Olympic National Forest and The Brothers Wilderness area immediately.  Along the way, several spots give breathtaking views on both sides of the trail into the Dosewallips and Duckabush River valleys. The full hike takes you around one of the two false peaks back to the main Jupiter Peak. The trail is very narrow in spots so the 360° view No. & So. is of the valleys, E. to Seattle area, and W. into the Olympics and Mt. Anderson. Roundtrip is 15 miles. 3-5hrs. (with lunch time on top) Moderate climb most of the way. Wild flowers are spectacular. BRING WATER A MUST! We stash ½ gals. along the ridge after we crest the switchbacks. Great to have on the way down and a small amount for the summit. Refresh yourselves at Rocky Brook Falls on the Dosewallips Rd (3mi.) after the hike. It’s one of the falls on the Olympic Peninsula Waterfall Trail.