Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Always Take the Road Less Traveled

 Morning fog over the valley

"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I, I took the one less traveled by,And that has made all the difference"-Robert Frost

When we left Quileute Sunday morning our biggest decision was whether or not to take the same route back to Seattle  or take the long the road less traveled,heading south to Aberdeen.  We knew it would add another 100 miles onto the trip home,but we were in no hurry to return,so we headed south.  And we were so glad we did. As we headed to Rialto Beach for a quick beach stop we came up the crest of the hill and they valley blanketed in fog lay before us.  It was just the kind of moment you hope for when traveling -J didn't even have to ask if he should stop for some shots-he stopped Ruby in the middle of the road and I quickly jumped out .  Thank goodness it was so early in the morning and no one was following behind us.  When you travel a lot of smaller back roads you get really good at jumping in and out of your rig to take advantage of the incredible scenery.

 Fog lifting on the Sol Duc River
As we approached Forks we saw the turn off to Mora and Rialto Beach, another side route that took us over the Sol Duc River-one of J's favorite fly fishing spots.  I could see him chomping at the bit to be out there trying for that elusive Salmon.  That's another trip and another story.

  Sol Duc Sunrise Reflection
We came up to the second bridge ,here the Sol Duc slows a little in a wide bend-and then joins up with the ocean.  At that bend , the river was so smooth and with the deep blue sky it made for some wonderful photo opportunities. And I took advantage of them-with J stopping mid span on the bridge, I quickly jumped out and snapped away.  The only disadvantage to small country roads-no road shoulders-so you adapt !

Gorgeous drive to Rialto Beach

 Rialto Beach,just north of First Beach

 A family of Inuksuks on Rialto Beach

Rialto Beach is just as wild as her southern neighbor-First Beach.  But at Rialto you don't have as much safe distance between you and the surf-gets the adrenalin pumping when you are trying to take photographs and not get pulled into the surf. Because the tide was in we couldn't do much beach walking but did a lot of log climbing for better views !

From Rialto Beach we headed south along Highway 101 towards Aberdeen.  We had never been this far north on Highway 101 so around every bend was a new surprise. Our next beach stop was at Ruby Beach-so pretty with her sea stacks and flat open beach.

The day was made for driving,steam from the fog coming up from the road; grass still frosted over where the sun hadn't reached it yet; the sun high enough to warm us but not blind us from the beauty that surrounded us and the best part-hardly anyone else on the road with us. Next time we head over this way we want to go to Lake Quinault and Willaby Creek Campground.(Willaby is the only one open all season).  There is a 30  mile Rain forest Loop Drive and according to the information it " takes you around Lake Quinault on the south side of Olympic National Park. This loop is a very scenic drive so be sure to bring your camera. Keep an eye out for Roosevelt Elk, Black Tail Deer, Cougars, Bald Eagles, Bobcats, and even Black Bears."

 The morning sun, just outside of Kalaloch

We've stayed at one of the rustic cabins at  Kalaloch Lodge, many moons ago and that was the farthest north we ever made it on Highway 101-until this trip today.  The approach into the area of Kalaloch was stunning and felt very spiritual.  A canopy of Sitka Spruce, Hemlock, Douglas Fir and Western Red Cedar trees lined the road and the sun's ray shone through, it looked like Nature's cathedral-so beautiful.

 The Road Not Taken
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I marked the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference. 
Robert Frost

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Of Surfers,Herons and Rainbows


When I woke up Friday morning (after the howling wind storm during the night ) I didn't know where I was.  You know the feeling-you're all fuzzy headed and not focused and you can't seem to put a full sentence together.  I fell asleep reading Julia Child's My Life in France and for a brief moment I thought I was in Paris. That brief moment disappeared when I heard the waves crashing outside of Ruby and I remembered we were on the beach at Quileute. And what a lovely surprise when I raised the blinds and saw the sun shining brightly, big puffy white clouds and blue skies.

 We had a quick breakfast of hot oatmeal with the last of the season strawberries and some good hot coffee, then quickly threw on our clothes and took off outside to enjoy this burst of gorgeous weather.

We must have sat for hours on the logs just watching the waves crashing in and feeling that wonderful warm sun on our faces. The cabins and lodge at the Quileute Resort were full but it seemed like everyone  had stayed inside to enjoy the view.  The only people out on the beach were the RV'ers.  If we didn't have an RV I definitely would stay here in one of the cabins. They sit high on the crest of the beach and the front of them are all windows -giving you a the beautiful views of the ocean. They have  camper cabins,motel rooms,luxury cabins and a special place called the Wolf Den-rates range from $59 up to $280 nightly;something for everyone. The Resort also has a laundry,grocery store and wifi office for those who need to stay connected. (PS. I have not received any compensation for saying these things about Quileute or for camping here ).

Every time we walked by the cabins we could see everyone sitting inside drinking their morning coffee and gazing out the windows.  We snuck a few little peeks at the hand carved furniture in some of the units-very pretty.

While we were enjoying our peaceful morning on the beach, another person had a different idea for how to spend this incredible morning.  Now I don't want to say he was crazy, but you wouldn't catch me surfing in this cauldron of waves.  It was obvious he knew exactly what he was doing and it was fun watching him and living vicariously through him !  He lasted about 20 minutes and came back to shore to warm up . Watching him was much better than watching any adventure show on TV. And yes, even though I thought he was a little crazy, I was a little jealous-I'm dying to learn how to surf-but I would much rather my first attempt be in the warm waters of Baja and not the freezing waters of Washington.

Another blessing for this wonderful day-a rainbow.  Did you know the Inca and other Native Americans regarded the rainbow as a gift from the sun god. They also believed that gods traveled on the rainbow because it moves so rapidly and that the rainbow carries heroes between heaven and earth. I like that; now whenever I see a rainbow I'm going to think about those heroes traveling between heaven and earth.

As we were walking south to the other end of the beach I looked up and saw the heron.  He was gliding through the air so gracefully-I stopped and watched him land just feet away from me. The Heron is my 2nd favorite bird right behind the Bald Eagle.  I found out a little about the symbolism attached to herons when I was writing this :
"Most Native American tribes took note of the heron’s inquisitiveness, curiosity and determination. As such this set the heron as a symbol of wisdom in that this creature seemed to have good judgement skills.
Specifically, the Iroquois tribe held the blue heron as a very good omen, a very lucky sign. They recognized the heron as an expert fisher/hunter. As such, they believed that sighting a heron before a hunt was a sign that the hunt would be a good one.
As a water creature the heron is also a symbol of going with the flow, and working with the elements of Mother nature rather than struggling against her.
The heron is a beautiful creature, exhibiting grace, and noble stature. It’s no wonder the Native Indians and ancients honored the heron throughout the centuries."

We ended up spending most of the day outside-only returning to Ruby for nourishment or some coffee with Baileys to warm us. The weather held all day and we were treated to another incredible sunset.  Last night's was all pink and blue and purple-Friday night's was all golden and blue-another perfect ending to a perfect day.

And then the icing on the cake,the skies were fairly clear in the evening and we enjoyed the rising of the moon.  Couldn't think of a better place to enjoy the view and feel a closer part of this magnificent Universe.

"Yeah we all shine on, like the moon, and the stars, and the sun."
John Lennon

Monday, November 26, 2012

A Wonderful Thanksgiving on First Beach

We decided to spend Thanksgiving in La Push at Quileute Oceanside Resort.  We both have a lot to be thankful for each and every day.  After the year that I have had, I feel especially grateful this Thanksgiving.  And it felt very spiritual to be spending it  next to the ocean on Native American land.

The Bainbridge ferry seemed like a good choice-better than heading south and driving around the Hood Canal.  We caught the 7:55am and the fare was less than what we expected with Ruby-score !
The day was gray and overcast-just what you expect this time of year in the Pacific Northwest-but it never dampened our spirits.  The Olympics had a beautiful dusting of snow and some trees still had their Autumn leaves .  The ride to Port Angeles went by quickly .

We hadn't been along the route to La Push out of Port Angeles for at least 15 years  I had forgotten how beautiful it was.  The road winds along Lake Crescent in Olympic National Park and every turn holds a view prettier than the last.

It took us about 4 hours, including the ferry ride, to get to the resort.  We were prepared for rain so imagine how happy we were to find overcast skies and no rain ! We pulled into our spot and set up for the long week end.  We were in space #38 with the ocean right out our front window.  The sites are gravel with electric,water and sewer hook up. This time of year there aren't many people camping so we had lots of  breathing room between neighbors.  There were about 5 RVs to our right and only  1 to the left,so we had a very peaceful week end.

The view from our front window

It's amazing what you can accomplish in a tiny kitchen-especially for Thanksgiving.  I made a small turkey breast,stuffing,mushroom gravy,garlic mashed potatoes and fresh cranberries. I passed on the sweet potatoes-if I can't have my sister's special sweet potato casserole it's just not the same.

Add a little candlelight,some good wine (Viognier from Starlite Vineyards) and a quiet moment of reflecting over what we were both thankful for -it made for a perfect evening.

This was the first time we put the awning down and it didn't stay down for long.  After dinner I did a quick weather check before we headed out for a walk on the beach. Oh-Oh, a high wind warning for our beach-predicted to be 45-50 mph winds.  So down came the awning and at about midnight we were very happy that we rolled it up.  The winds were howling so much I thought we were going to get lifted up and dropped in Kansas ! Ruby was rocking and rolling well into the wee hours of the morning.

Do you see the face of the Wind spirit in the tree stump?

The beach here is one of the wildest ones in Washington.  The whole area feels untamed and the waves are crazy incredible !

The beach foam reminded me of snow and felt a little festive.

You can't believe the size of some of the logs on the beach-and it's even crazier to see the ocean roll them around like little sticks.

Our parking enforcement officer.

We thought it was going to be a grey sunset with a little streak of pink and orange.

And then the skied started to turn more blue and purple.

And just when we thought nightfall was settling in, the clouds literally parted and we got to witness one of the most beautiful sunsets I have ever seen.


As we watched the setting of this gorgeous sun, we knew we were very blessed .  An absolutely perfect  ending to day of gratefulness and thankfulness for all that we have.