Saturday, November 8, 2008

Washington, Part III

29 OCT continued: We wanted to explore as much as possible prior to boarding the ferry scheduled for 6 p.m. From the seaside village of Coupeville we headed south to Fort Casey State Park and Admiralty Head Lighthouse. Originally built in 1861, the lighthouse was reconstructed in 1903.

Built in the late 1890's and situated above and guarding the entrance of the Puget Sound on this now 467 acres, Fort Casey with its huge bunkers and disappearing guns never saw a shot fired during the wars. In fact, a few years following completion, the airplane was invented and this technology became obsolete.

We relished the fresh and chilling air, and as we viewed the gun emplacements and the fortification, the vast sweeping views gave us pause to linger and wonder about those who had been here.

In the distance, north of the lighthouse, we could see a large flat area and decided we had time to explore. A quick jaunt up Eagle Road to Hill Road and toward the prairie overlook at Ebey's Landing National Historic Reserve, and rather than climb the hillside, we decided to walk along the driftwood and stone-covered beach, head down, looking for agates, and filling our pockets with select stones, our new found treasures to take home.

It was time to head for the ferry and get our place in line. Look, a cafe across the road and that couple walking has ice cream. When was the last time we had ice cream? We sat and watched the brown bobbing head of a lone sea otter staring back at us, and once we were on board and en route, he disappeared and a large school of porpoise emerged.

A report of rain moving into the Pacific northwest on Friday made our decision to travel west to the Olympic National Park and Hoh Rain Forest the following morning.

30 OCT: We departed Discovery Bay at 8:30 a.m. and wound our way along 101. We thought this should be fine with a high cloud cover and 48 degrees, but within several miles and upon cresting the next hill, a light fog descended softly upon us - with one stroke the landscape had been transformed.

We passed through Sequim, called the lavender capitol of North America, and bypassed Port Angeles. The forest was ablaze in color as we saw our first sign announcing Olympic National Park. As we descended, the mountains rose around us from the vast body of water. . . Crescent Lake.

Were the few droplets of rain a forecast of what lay ahead? The steely blue of the water cradled the reflection of golden foliage at its boundaries. Gentle layers of elongated clouds hung suspended, lingering. We rode along the water's edge in silence, respectful and in deference to her beauty.

My apology, for the photos do not represent the experience, the absolute: the powerful vastness and the hush which captured all within its reach.

We left the lake and the forest behind and traveled a flat plateau at a constant 55 degrees. 26 miles to Fork, a small town on the west side of the Olympic peninsula and the last place to find food prior to entering the park, but we had packed our lunch this morning so no stop was necessary. Once we reached there, it would take another half hour to arrive at the visitor's center. Heavily gray and more ominous cloud formations lay ahead. It was 11:20 as we made a left turn toward the Hoh Rain Forest.

Tomorrow I will post the fourth and final part of our Washington trip. See you then.