Saturday, July 2, 2011

Road Trip: Seattle and Olympic National Park

Rainier Cherries at Pike Place Market
We approached Seattle thinking that we would be on our own to explore the city. To our surprise and delight, we were wrong. While driving along a monotonous stretch of I-90 West through the flat plains of eastern Washington, I saw two familiar faces waving frantically from the left lane. Apparently it's easy to spot our vehicle if you've been following the blog. Jeff thinks I'm crazy for [claiming] to see Batsies everywhere I go, but this time he couldn't deny it. It was Erin and Andrew, making their journey to Seattle as well, as we later found out. Thanks to the miracle of technology, we quickly communicated through Facebook and made plans to meet up in the big city.

Not a bad view from our campsite.
Our first stop in Seattle was Pike Place Market, a true tourist attraction, yes, but one that can't be missed. It was everything that I hoped for in a market – food, crafts, flowers, and more food. We had been dreaming of a Seattle sushi dinner for many days at this point, so we made sure not to overindulge in samplings at the market before our much anticipated feast. As we wandered from Pike Place I received a message from yet another Batesie who we hadn't seen since her last trip to Boston. Meghan was also living in Seattle and twenty minutes later, the five of us were enjoying happy hour on the waterfront overlooking the Puget Sound. While the sun did grace Seattle with its presence, it was quite chilly sitting on the shaded deck. As my lips started to turn blue we decided to leave for dinner.

Beach at Salt Creek
It's not hard to find fresh seafood in Seattle, so you can't really go wrong with sushi. Andrew did a quick search and Wasabi, a restaurant in the Belltown area, had great reviews and was nearby. Although I was limited to cooked items on the menu, there were many creative and satisfying options to choose from, unagi and soft-shelled crab among them.

Erin and Andrew generously offered us the new home they themselves had not yet had the chance to enjoy. Parker found a friend in their dog Marmite and the two of them would have played all night if we had let them. Laundry, showers, and a roof to sleep under were additional surprises of our Seattle visit and the timing was perfect. We left early the next morning to explore the Olympic Peninsula and National Park.

We drove north up the eastern side of the peninsula, eventually winding along the northern coastline of the Juan de Fuca Strait. We found a campsite at Salt Creek, perched on a bluff overlooking the crashing waters below and surrounded by a mossy forest of towering Sitka Spruce and Red Cedars. We located an access point to the rocky, rugged coastline, and Parker didn't hesitate to dive in.

 Back at the site, a squirrel continued to torment him,  running along the fence line, sitting on a branch just out of reach, and finally dragging Parker's Kong under the van to feast on the peanut butter remnants within. With the sound of the waves below, we enjoyed a campfire and a savory grilled cheese before retiring for the night.

One of many intense stare-downs with the squirrel nemesis.
Early the next morning, we set out to continue our circumnavigation of the peninsula. Our first stop was the Hoh National Rainforest, twenty miles inland. A hike took us through towering Sitka spruce, lush mosses adorning every forest surface, gigantic ferns, and crystal clear creeks. As we continued on route 101, we stopped at the Kalaloch beaches. Because Parker so patiently waited in the van while we hiked the rain forest, we broke the rules and let him run wild on the beach a little bit.

The very long day of exploration and driving ended with some disappointment at Cape Disappointment. The last campsite at the State Park was taken minutes before our arrival and we were forced to find an alternative further inland at a private campground. Fortunately we were still on the Long Beach Peninsula, so water wasn't far. Parker enjoyed another beach run and swim that evening in the cold waters of the Pacific.  He's now added two Great Lakes and another ocean to his swimming check list.

1 comment:

  1. For a second I thought it was going to be the Rainbow Festival couple!