the wandering chick
...The Olympic Peninsula
beaches, mountain peaks and rain forests
The well-known sailboat The Adventuress takes cruises out from Port Townsend into the Puget Sound.
Washington's Olympic Peninsula is a very diverse stretch of land that is home to the Olympic National Park and Olympic National Forest as well as Mount Olympus.
Oh, yes, and it's also home to Forks, which is of interest to those who are fans of Stephenie Meyer's ''Twilight" series.
Each of its four sides, the north, the east, the south and the west, is completely different. Enjoy the pounding waves of the Pacific Ocean on the west side, the more sedated water of the Strait of Juan de Fuca on the north and the long, narrow fjord called the Hood Canal on the east side. South, a little more industrial, are the towns of Hoquiam and Aberdeen, both of which border Grays Harbor, with a number of rivers flowing into it. The most northwestern point of the lower 48 comes off the peninsula, at Cape Flattery, and the peninsula has three rain forests: Hoh, Queets and Quinault.
And in the middle of the peninsula lie the Olympic Mountains, which can be seen on clear days from just about anywhere in the Puget Sound and Washington mainland areas. Its highest peak, Mt. Olympus, can be easily viewed by driving up the 17-mile Hurricane Ridge Road in the national park.
The peninsula can be reached from the south and the east by car, or by ferry from the north. The Black Ball Ferry from Victoria, B.C. docks in Port Angeles, and the Keystone (Coupeville) ferry from Whidbey Island docks in Port Townsend, both on the north side of the O.P.
If you go by ferry to Port Townsend from Coupeville, you can easily spend a day in the city without your car. Go on the ferry with your bike, or as a pedestrian.
There's plenty to do in Port Townsend between the old town shops, eateries and wharf. Its old buildings are superb as are the Victorian homes that sit up on a higher level overlooking the harbor and the downtown.
A super fun spot to visit on the OP's north side is the Dungeness Spit. There's a scenic loop road you can take outside the town of Sequim (or, as the locals pronounce it: Squim) that leads to this stretch of beach. The beach is filled with timber and logs that have been uprooted and washed smooth over the years. And if you have time before the tide comes in, you can walk down the spit to the lighthouse which is five miles out. It might be kinda smart to check the tide schedule first, YA THINK??? There's also a trail above the beach that offers stunning views of the area.
The upper trail above the beach heads off into a pasture filled with birds and ....well, somestimes a deer. Also, the seagulls often perch up there and don't seem to mind their picture being taken.
Further along the Dungeness scenic road is Cline Spit, filled with fishermen and crabbers.
Today, the more modern Black Ball ferry approaches the dock at Port Angeles from Victoria, B.C.
The MV Kalakala (pronounced Kah LAH kah lah) skimmed the waters of the Puget Sound from the 1930s, carrying passengers from Victoria, B.C. to Port Angeles. It was retired in 1967, rusted and showing its age. But its current owner is requesting funding to have the Kalakala restored and placed on the list of national historic landmarks.
This mural of the Kalakala is part of the Nor'wester Rotary Mural Project and is located on the side of a Port Angeles downtown buidling near the Black Ball ferry landing.
On a clear day, a drive up Hurricane Ridge out of Port Angeles will reward you with a view of Mt. Olympus and the Olympic Mountain Range. There are several hiking trails that offer panoramic views and a visitor's center. . . and red-tailed deer.
Mt. Olympus (above) and Carrie Glacier (below).
The incredible views are not just at the top. All the way up and down the 17-mile Hurricane Ridge Road there are overviews and places to pull-out to enjoy the scenery.
Below are views of Mount Baker, part of the Cascades Range, and the Dungeness Spit, both to the north.
Crescent Bay is on the peninsula's north shore, just off Highway 112. It's a fascinating area of tide pools and, suprisingly, is popular with surfers. Because when the waves come in off the Strait of Juan de Fuca, they come in high and fast. Just like the surfers like 'em.
Facing the camera is well-known sea kayaker Chris Duff. It so happened that the day I was there, he was also, testing a kayak he's making in preparation for an upcoming venture. Duff has broken world-records in solo sea-kayaking and has covered more than 15,000 miles since 1983. He has solo-circumnavigating New Zealand, Iceland and the British Isles.
The trees of the Olympic Peninsula are unique. They're not just old, but, partly because of the damp and rainy climate, they have taken on mosses and growths that give them a very haunting appearance, unlike any trees I've seen.
Crescent Lake is a glacial-fed lake on the OP's north side. It's 8 miles long and runs along the Olympic Highway, Route 101. The Lake Crescent Lodge sits stately on its shore and is a popular tourist destination. More pictures of the lake and the lodge follow.
Above and Left: the Elwha River, also on the OP's north side
More pictures of the Olympic Peninsula, including some of the beaches, the Hoh Rainforest and Cape Flattery can be found on Page 2.
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