Day 39 – Monday, May 6, 2013

Trip Start Mar 29, 2013
Trip End Aug 01, 2013

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Flag of United States  , Washington
Monday, May 6, 2013

Today was a driving day—man what a driving day! We went out to Olympic National Park .   This is a huge park. There is only one way to get from one side to the other and that's to drive from Seattle, down to Tacoma, up one side of the peninsula, across the top to the Pacific Ocean.  It’s a 4 hour drive to the coast.  But we didn't do it all in at one time. 

We started with a scenic drive along the sound side.  The water, trees and vacation homes with piers into the sound were very picturesque.  The area reminded us a lot of the coast of Maine with houses built on narrow strips of land between the road and the water.  They use every little bit of land for house, drive, and garage with deck/patios/porches beside the water.  What a life! 

At the top of the peninsula is a small city called Port Angeles.  The park visitor’s center is here.  We stopped, got information and had a picnic before our first foray into the park.  We drove through the Alpine forests to the top of the mountain at Hurricane Ridge.  As we climbed higher we found snow still on the ground although the temperature was in the 50’s.  We stopped at on overlook and got someone to take our picture.  Four fellow travelers had all walked out on the snow while we snapped their pictures.  We also walked out.  Well, guess who found the soft spot in the snow were it had melted underneath—Barbara.  The snow was so deep, I sank to my knee!  Luckily I climbed right out and didn't get very wet.  What a hoot! 

 We drove on higher and higher with more and more snow.  When we got to the top, there was still 91" of snow with piles of snow 12 feet.  There we people skiing on the slopes around the ranger station.  We were certainly on top of the mountains and had a great view of Mt. Olympic and others in the Olympic Range.  What a view!  To come down the mountain, Jim had to use lower gears on the 7% grade on the road.  Boo, scary!

Next we drove across to the coast.  We passed along through both park land and private land.  The main traffic on the road (it’s the only road west) was logging trucks, one after another.  All through the mountains we could see the results of the logging industry with planned sustainibility.  We saw the current location of cutting, but all along the road were great stretches of land with trees of varying sizes.  These were places that had been logged and replanted.  There was a sign from the logging company that said "First Harvest, 1933; Second Harvest, 1986; Next Harvest, 2036.”  This is sustainable harvest in the wood industry. 

We drove past Lake Crescent which is a beautiful alpine lake gouged out by past glaciers.  The water was a brilliant blue because of the depth.  As we drove, the lake was immediately on one side of the road and mountains were immediately on the other.  It’s only a small two lane road used by residents, tourists, tourists with campers and logging truckers who know the road and don’t slow for much.  Along the road were many waterfalls of all sizes draining the spring thaw into the lake.  There were great gushing falls and little trickles and some that spouted out from the mountain side. 

As we got almost to the coast, we began to see fog around the tree tops.  We were very disappointed when we arrived and found everything fogged in.  The pictures you see are the best we could get.  A real bummer!  But what we could see was pretty amazing. 

The drive back was long, but we made the 7:10 state ferry from Bainbridge Island across to Seattle then down I-5 to home.  Taking the ferry cut off about 3 hours driving.  It was a long day and we broke bad to stop at McDonald’s for burgers and fries to eat during the ferry ride.  We almost never stop at McDonald’s, but it was welcome comfort food today.  
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