Monday, August 22, 2011

The Pacific Northwest - The Olympic Peninsula

We started the morning out by heading to the Salt Creek Recreation Area. I had read about some tide pools at this Washington State Park and we were not disappointed.
This is Ada and our trusty rental car at the parking lot for the tidepools. There is a little piece of land that sticks out a couple hundred feet into the ocean. We scheduled our visit to coincide with low-tide so that the entire rock outcropping was above water. During high tide, I believe that the entire tongue is under water. This is the perfect setup for all sorts of marine life. Under every rock were many, many little crabs. It was fun to try and find the largest ones.
Kate walking along the mussels.
We hadn't planned on picking up any of the delicate wildlife, but some boys had pulled this one out of the water and let us hold it.
A couple more large starfish. No two were the same color.
This place was absolutely beautiful. We all enjoyed seeing the crabs, hermit crabs, anemone, starfish, etc. It was a wonderful place to spend a quiet Sunday morning.

We left the tidepools to drive up to Hurricane Ridge at Olympic National Park. The plan was to go from sea level to about a mile above sea level in around an hour. Instead, we had to stop a couple of times for Ada to puke. The drive up to the ridge was beautiful as the road wound through a couple of tunnels and through some of the densest fog and clouds.
Unfortunately we didn't have much time to spend at the National Park. This is the view looking south towards the Olympic mountains and the main area of the National Park.
This is the view to the north. On a clear day you would be able to see the strait and the Canadian Island of Victoria.
We were here on July 31st (which incidentally was our 8th anniversary) and there was still a ton of snow on some of the trails.
We then drove about an hour to Port Townsend on the northwest corner of the Olympic Peninsula. We caught a ferry across the Puget Sound to Coupeville and were on our way to Vancouver, BC.
Late the night before our ferry journey I decided to make a reservation for our ferry trip and as I logged onto the Washington State Ferry site, I realized that there were only a couple of spots left on the ferry. They leave every 45 minutes and I had expected to just go standby, but we were sure glad that we made a reservation because there were probably 50 cars waiting for the few standby slots. We would have been waiting for a long time.
The ferry was brand new and although the crossing only took around 30 minutes, the girls enjoyed some treats and being on the boat.
The longest delay of our entire trip was when we were trying to cross into British Columbia. It took us around 70 minutes to cross the border. August 1st is British Columbia Day or something and apparently everybody was trying to get there for the festivities.

We stayed in a Holiday Inn right downtown and we went for a stroll that evening along Granville Street (much of which was shut down for the holiday celebrations). The crowd was getting to be a little non-family-friendly, so we returned to the hotel for a late dinner.

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