Tag Archive: Olympic Peninsula


I was mellowing on the coast of Washington, the anxiety and depression that plagued me with the near decade of losses and trials were being eviscerated by wind, rain, sun, the sea from bluffs, sand dunes and lively beaches; the antics of birds, rabbits, deer, elk, squirrels, muskrats, otters, dense rainforest, wildflowers all over with butterflies and dragonflies, grassy lakes; encounters with folks loving the dogs.  It felt good to be active the entire day, fixing things, mending a paw, taking out stickers, going shopping for food…  and yes, I do think the dogs wonder about these solo hunting excursions and what will I bring back, going places, driving, hiking, untangling leashes, sweeping away the sand and filling the water bowl. There was a cougar around, kept seeing the posting, but we never saw him. The wild berries were not ready but the trees looked vibrant: spruce, hemlock, firs, cedar, alder, yew and pines. The summer rainforest rain is a soft plink. You can walk in it and not get very wet. Ferns and grasses mix with lichens and mushrooms, herbs and mosses and other berries and plants I don’t know the names of.  There are big birds like  eagles, osprey, hawks, herons and ravens, geese and swans,  and of course little things like banana slugs, I was always taking those off the dogs and spiders, and frogs we could hear but not see.

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Taken at Beach 4, just after the road construction. Slightly drizzly no one there but me and the dogs 🙂 Just perfect. tidepools at the beach.

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Red Berries, like a Toyon, does that grow here?

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I came upon a group of young eagles perched at water’s edge, I could not understand what they were. I wasn’t thinking about eagles in June, the birds were so large I was shocked, they took off rather placatingly, making no effort; it was only later hearing others talking about the all the eagles hanging around that I got it, and there was a posting about them too. I had a few moments wishing they would ignore me and the dogs but of course being birds they like to go up into the air. It was later in the trip that I saw them. Drove around Kalaloch Lodge and Beaches by number, adored Beach 4, just after the road construction. Was slighly drizzly in the rainforest and no one there, just me and the dogs, perfect, tidepools at the beach.  Finally reached the little town of Forks which wasn’t how I pictured it’d be, from there I took the road west to La Push at the mouth of the Quileute River.  I stopped at a little coop, West Co Op on the way, wanted to buy something, but they didn’t even have bananas or apples, no carob malt balls, nothing I could use.

There’s some hotels/ resorts in La Push, a marina that did not draw me in. There was trash left on the ground at the beach stops and lots of sharp gravel which Mason hates. We walked a bit, I carried him a bit.  Jackson was super happy to be out of the RV again but I wouldn’t let him swim, I didn’t see any other dogs. Three Rivers Resort did not impress me, perhaps if I’d come to fish. It was a bit stark. I went so far as to drive around and choose a space before I left. Second Beach I thought more inviting by far than First Beach  with its lovely and scruffy folks that might or might not have been more friendly or more interested in seeing what was inside my RV.  The parking area at Second Beach was jammed packed and to me, seemed also not on the safe side, at least on that day plus it takes a good hike to the water.  I wasn’t sure if it was a dog okay beach or not, I passed it by wanting another gorgeous and less used spot that the dogs could run on; I was already spoiled.

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I backtracked and headed to other side to Rialto Beach, lovely and scenic, but still I wasn’t so sure about the dogs. we walked around on leash and then I took off.  There were a lot of tourist. Mora campground near Rialto Beach seemed really nice but for me too dark; beautiful forest but no open vistas.   I want to see a landscape or better, water, a harbor, a lake, a river; sure I love trees but it’s dark under there. I want to stretch my eyes and look faraway, I want a view, and light, the natural kind from stars and sunsets, from tress swaying and making shadows.  I thought about staying there and then imaged the night, walking around and then returning to my very dark spot in the woods and I went on. It was no problem since I was getting up so early and with the sun in the sky so long the days were endless. I figured I’d find a place in Forks, ah, well no, well ok then I pushed on and took the road to Cape Flattery. You see I had this idea that I’d camp by early afternoon and play with my dogs, maybe read a book…ha, not me. I would have made an excellent explorer but not so good at staying put. Teaching ‘stay’ is very difficult for the dogs, me too apparently.

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This the parking lot for the cars. Lots of people there, I’m parked further away in the RV lot which was nearly empty. I had to carry Mason as the RV parking is in a sharp gravely and uneven spot.

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Rialto Beach, Washington

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Neah Bay made me want to stop and plant myself right there, could take in this view for the rest of my days but of course there were no turnouts or anything like that where I could take a picture and worse I went over one of the bumpy / vibrating things in the road, I hate those things!  Both pups took to terrified shaking and panting, but you have to cross over those stupid things. All I could do was stall my RV taking up a big space in the road until a car showed up and at the same time I was trying to calm down and comfort the dogs.  Wish I could show you how beautiful it was, you’ll have to use your imagination.

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On the Cape Flattery Trail. It was raining in one spot and dry in another.

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I don’t know why these photos don’t stay full size. I’m posting them that way but they shrink??? Lagotti on a bench.

Mason was worn out by the time we arrived at the Cape Flattery trail so the pups and I did the hike while he took a nap. It was already a long day. The trail was so cool. A bunch of walking sticks crafted by a Malkah Indian artist were placed by the trailhead, you could take one and return it on your way back or if you wanted to keep it then you could donate $5. I grabbed a short one having some experience with walking canes, too long is not good. Dogs welcome on the trail … yeah! It was one of those places where you see almost no one on the road but once you arrive all kinds of people are there. All ages of people including an elderly petite lady having a bit of trouble but determined. I walked past her responding of course to her nice comments about my dogs, later I passed the rest of her family, passed them twice actually, it was on the way back they asked me to tell her to sit down and wait for them as they thought the trail would be too much for her, when I ran into her I told her what they said, but I added that I thought she should go on, it wasn’t much further and the view, OMG, the view!  She could make it, she agreed and off she went. Heck I was having pain in my both my feet, on the bottoms, my TO (Thoracic Outlet Syndrome) was acting up and my GERD which was giving stomach and shoulder and chest pain and I made it.  My dogs were not understanding the leash thing, they often don’t get that. They did tug me uphill however; others were huffing and puffing I had my 8-legged engine. I don’t worry too much about things except for my dogs. I’ve done enough worry already in this lifetime to last for several lifetimes so I can take a break from that. I needed to get back without too much delay since Mason was in the RV on his own, that and the fact that I knew there was no place nearly to camp that I liked and pulling over on the road was not a possibility.

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Cape Flattery… it was raining but absolutely radiant.

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Cape Flattery, Washington

Cape Flattery is the northernmost point in the US. Forrest would absolutely have wanted to be in this place. The views are stunning, it’s wet and cool and sunshiny and sparkling, much of the trail is on cedar boardwalk, you’ll see the  Pacific Ocean and the Strait of Juan de Fuca.  Not knowing where the trail led added to the excitement. I didn’t see any whales, but that was fine.

 

I’d checked out Hobuck Beach Resort and several others before taking the road to Flattery and rejected them. I wanted to be on the water. So I headed back the road I’d come up wondering where I would go?  Maybe Port Angeles?  Turns out instead I opted for the small town of Sekiu on Clallam Bay, a saltwater river, I’d passed the area earlier in the day and had wondered what was down the road. Yeah, a harbor!  I decided after first picking the lower RV park to take the one up on the hill…  Mason’s Resort! Mason Olson’s Resort.  It overlooked the harbor, the docks, the seawall, a little beach, it was cool. The office when I found it, took me like 20 min to figure out where it was, was closed. They’d been watching me tool around, funny people, when I called the number on the office door that I finally found they came right out and collected my money. Lots of daylight left for walking in the rain….  walked and walked and walked as if I hadn’t been walking all day.  I love the rain, this kind of summer rain, feels so good. Took the pups all over while Mason waited all warm and comfy in the van, then we had a late dinner. Darn blasted lights were so intensely bright at the harbor I had to put up the black out curtains, was bummed not to be able to peek out through the night and fall asleep to the moon poking from the clouds. Isn’t sleep supposed to be important?  Some places, like this place seem to insist that night is another form of daylight where shops and services are closed but there must be so much light that don’t know it’s night time. Maybe the ghosts come out if it gets dark?  You have to wait until morning before it darkens down. I was  miffed about it as when I talked to the owners I mentioned that I rejected the lower RV Park as it was directly under bright night lights and I had trouble with that; they insisted that they only had a few decorative lights in their harbor buildings to make it look sparkly and fun.  I paid for a full site, that meant, water, power and sewage; my site had no water and no sewage and no wi-fi that they said was free and available. I don’t like it when people lie while being all friendly and looking you right in the eye. They were quick to take my money and it wasn’t’ cheap. I paid in cash so they wouldn’t have to open their shop which they opened anyway to get me the wi-fi passcode (that’s right, the one that didn’t work.) The shower in the bath house the next morning was so cold I left shivering.

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Sekiu, Washington. Halibut, rockfish, blackmouth salmon, coho salmon and Chinook.

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Can you see my little one there. Most of these folks are here to fish. Next time would be better to get a spot further up on the hill, that would be nice.

I didn’t sleep much that night, falling asleep late struggling with the overly bright lights, then Jackson woke me up 3 times being sick. I gave him a stomach pill and hoped he’d be feeling better in the morning. Come morning all 4 of us walked all around again. I dug the view and the fishing boating ambience but the town was small and nothing to keep me there and nothing to eat, nothing open when I woke around 5:30 am, not being into fishing or boating, it was time to move on.

 

 

 

 

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There have been many places I could have happily boondocked or dry camped. I decided not to for the dogs. I’d not traveled with Jeana and Jackson before and Mason is not so young now. Jackson had issues. I wanted power to run the heater for Mason and later the air conditioner, campgrounds often have trails or at least the grounds for walking. It was easier to stay at parks, and I had the money to pay. Oh and how I love having money! You know that dumb saying Money Can’t buy You Happiness, no of course not silly, you buy that yourself. You craft and shape and choose and make decisions that the money in your pocket will allow. Make stupid or abusive choices and you won’t find any happiness.

In the 70s boondocking was free. I don’t think it had a name then, we just did it, sleeping in the VW or out in an open field under the stars. Being close to nature did not have such a steep price tag but outside of family vacations or summer camp might be thought of derogatorily as escapism; like being a vegetarian and living off the land was a sure way to a quick end, by malnutrition, well I don’t know.  They said you had to be a little crazy to live like that.  I did back then, and adored it. Outdoor showers in a waterfall or a cool spring or soaking in hot water, watching the milky way spiral, knowing direction from the stars and weather from the birds, halos and the sounds of leaves in the wind. What happened?  Large populations moved into the cities. Little by little they started to crave adventure. The simple became unique. The price tag started to rise on the outdoors. Adventures became complex and technical. Far too many abused the landscape leaving mounds of trash, getting wasted, starting fires, landslides, destroying what they could not understand. Then rules and regulations followed by fees and fines and more fees and supervision and lists of NOs and annoying signs and more fees. Still more people came. They lined up in their motor vehicles with skis and backpacks, boats and ATVs, off-road bikes, racing bikes, in car clubs, motorcycles clubs, camping clubs, wine clubs, luxury glamcamping; families took to the outdoors for reunions and bought themselves an RV and the fees went up and up, then the economy tanked to the point where the homeless were not so broke they could not afford a car to live in or an RV to live in or a van and more people retired and wanted to travel, wanted to be free of escalating mortgages. Maybe it is really natural and normal to want to wander but now one has to pay for so much that once was free. See a pretty waterfall, pay for it, climb a mountain, pay for it. Camp out, pay for it. Want a campfire, pay for it. Hot springs, pay. You can park in a cement parking lot at a Big Box store or a Travel Center for free, lights on all night, not putting out a lawn chair or an outdoor grill. You can sleep in a rest stop or a tuck stop, sometimes a pull over spot, maybe a Camping World or REI or Safeway lot, casinos are free for the night, sometimes there are places where RVs are allowed for homeless campers and you can stay there for a few nights if you want, or in Forest Service Land, maybe $3, or BLM land, otherwise pay up and the prices might be high.

OK, that’s my rant. How expensive everything is and why I’m not free camping.

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BUT It makes me  SOOOOoooo  happy I can pay the prices. It also makes me picky. If I’m gonna pay I better enjoy it. I do not want to sleep in a blazing field of bright lights, canned noise, smoke, non-stop motor vehicles, screaming people, TVs, other people’s music, drunken revelry…  my money is limited and I want what I want which is calm, sweet, beautiful. I want to hear the wind, birds, animals scurrying and calling, I want to watch the sun rise and set, see the stars, the clouds, rain, sun, thunder, the wind, the gentle sounds of village or a harbor, a train passing is fine, footsteps, I can handle a dog barking, a cat, someone singing, the bright light of a full moon, a splash of water, the crackle of a smokeless campfire (note smokeless, not a burning pile of rubbish), or the roar of the ocean.  I do not need a TV set or outdoor electronics; a campfire program yeah sure, but turn down the lights and the all the noise at 10 pm, and campers remember don’t walk through another’s space, only takes a few steps to go around.

I clean my RV everyday.  There are 3 dogs on board and they bring in mess. They get brushed, fed twice a day, picked up after, exercised, we go on long long walks, they only bark in alarm, otherwise I teach them to be quiet, we look at the deer, the deer look at us. I spend most of my day with my dogs. They each have their riding spot when I’m driving and they each have their sleeping spot. In the morning they jump on my bed and look out the window….  where are we, where are we! We watch, we explore, they make friends everywhere. We are all happy but it’s not free. “Camping” has become expensive. I am so grateful I can afford this. I almost always feel safe in the places I choose and when I don’t I leave.

That happened on this day. I was looking for the Quinault Lodge that Ricki had mentioned. She showed me a photo of her VW camper parked in the woods and told me they allowed use of the Lodge with camping. I wasn’t sure where she meant. I stopped at the Lodge, it looked lovely but they did not have camping or RV spots. I was tired and confused so took the advice of the first person I saw, he referred me to a campground down the road, I wound up going back the way I came and then around in a circle to get there following the inne advice of my GPS.  When I got there I didn’t think I found the right place. I wanted to not be driving. Up here in one moment you are in Olympic National Park, the next, Olympic National Forest and then tribal lands.

Rules change depending on what land you’re in…  dogs ok, dogs ok on leash, no dogs not even on leash. I paid for a spot at the campground I found, I think it was tribal land, it was near the water and there were cabins in front, then a long row of parking spots all the same with partial hookups, there was only one other camper, actually two together, they seemed to be in some sort of cult, not smiling but marching hand in hand in couples while looking glassy eyed.  even the children did not smile at my dogs or at anything that I could tell. The dogs were okayed to swim off leash but the water was mucky so I opted for a hike in the rainforest. We didn’t go that far, I had a strange feeling; when I returned to my RV it was evident someone had tampered with the locks. I was told at the check-in store/office that if I left my spot (the entire campground was empty except for the strange folks at the other side) that my space would be given to anyone else that wanted it even though I paid and had a receipt.  No, they couldn’t be expected to remember that they had rented it to me for the night. I tightened up the RV shutting all the blinds and went for another walk, my cell phone went weird, it flickered and then suddenly lost its entire charge and went to battery zero! It was pretty in the rainforest but the road ahead was National Park and that meant no dogs on trails, no dogs on overlooks, no dogs left in vehicles I wasn’t sure how far we could walk on the trail before getting into different land. National Parks do not treat dogs like people (like the state of Oregon does!) they are less than people, less than wildlife, they are non-entities, they are treated as pests. I was not happy and ill at ease. I checked out the bath house and it was kinda creepy. I packed up and drove from my spot thinking I’d just drive around, maybe do the loop and return and then go to sleep if my space was still there. It doesn’t get dark for a long time. Funny thing is I went the other way and just kept driving once I started. I felt good to not be there so I kept going. . . and going until I reached the ocean. The further away from that place, the more at ease I felt.

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$7.50 for this spot with a senior pass

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Up on the overlook

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Yep, would rain for awhile, then the sun would come out and then it might rain some more. Lovely and cool, fresh air that smelled and felt good.

That night I found myself in one of my happiest places. I landed at South Beach. It was $7.50 with my senior pass. I parked on the overlook above the ocean. It was heaven, the only mar was the rather strange 2 women parking in the space next to me. They were from Texas, car camping and clueless. i listede not very patiently to their tales of near tragedy in Portland landing as they did with the hookers and did I think it would be cold…  it was raining and jacket weather when they asked fortunately I was able to convince them I was not all that friendly and they left me alone.   I did watch with disbelieve as they dined on some sort of pink and cold looking slurpee thing….  they decided to sleep in their car. The dogs ran and ran and ran on the beach. We found an overlook trail and there was no one there, no one but us. I woke around 5:30 am to see a double rainbow dropping into the sea, the colors were fantastically bright, I ran inside to get my phone, the colors were already fading, moments later it was gone. Everyone else was asleep.

We went down to the beach but Mason wasn’t happy being on the sand and wanted to check out rocks, he insisted I take this shortcut back up to the camping area so I took him back to the camper, we had breakfast then I took Jeana and Jackson back to run on the beach. Felt like I’d been on the beach all day but it was only morning when we left. The Texas girls had not yet woken.

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Mason checking out the rocks

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Flying Curls Jackson

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Jackson and Jeana on the beach just after dawn

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It’s so fun to watch my dogs have so much fun.

We stopped a lot after than. Checked out several beaches that were empty of other humans, hiked through rainforest and saw no one. It was a beautiful morning. I laughed thinking of the crowd and traffic back at Quinault and their silly no dogs rules. Jackson’s tail was back we were all feeling good.

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My own personal rainforest