For several weeks Laura had been admiring this view from our front yard…
This is a view of Anacortes with the Olympic Mountain Range back behind. She’s been wanting to take a trip out to the Olympic Peninsula and head up into the mountains. Some friends of ours took that trip recently posted photos of fields of lavender. We decided that the time had come, so we took a spur-of the moment trip up into the Olympics.
We had visited this area once before. Back in the 1990s we drove with Laura’s mom all around the Olympic Peninsula, visiting Olympic National Park, the sea stacks, the Hoh Rain Forest, and eventually winding up in Aberdeen, where Laura was born. These shots are from that trip two decades ago.
But back to the present…
We got up early and took the Mini over to Whidbey Island and down to the Coupeville Ferry. As I argued with Laura, the ferry from Whidbey Island to Port Townsend isn’t really in Coupeville, but on the other side of the island. It’s just the closest town. The community of Keystone is close by, so the ferry terminal is often known as the Keystone Terminal.
The ferry terminal is right next to the Fort Casey Historical State Park. It looked like a fascinating place to explore later. A freshwater empoundment called Crockett Lake was just across the road from the terminal.
The time came to load up, so we headed to our favorite spot at the front of the ferry. The trip was much shorter than the passage to the San Juan Islands, but it still brought us great views of Fort Casey, Port Townsend, and the mountains beyond. A marine layer was rolling in, but the mountains looked mostly clear. We were hoping it would burn off before we headed upward.
When we reached Port Townsend we drove through the main commercial district along the waterfront. There were some very interesting looking stores and I’d love to explore the downtown area sometime. However, today we had other places on our agenda, and lunch/brunch was the first of those.
We found a great place to eat at Point Hudson where we had a relaxing late breakfast. As we were driving to the cafe I noticed a sign for Pygmy Boats. Pygmy makes wooden kayaks and I’ve seen their ads in Canoe and Kayak Magazine as well as other media outlets. I had no idea that they were based in Port Townsend. After we ate we walked around the corner to their surprisingly small retail operation.
The boats on display were stunning, but none of these were for sale. Pygmy only sells kits and supplies to build your own boat. As I browsed I decided that these were not for me. Apart from the satisfaction of building your own boat, I couldn’t see the benefit. Not to knock the quality of Pygmy boats, but light weight performance boats can be had for about the same price with much nicer amenities. I’ve seen other wooden boats and skin-on-frame boats with more convenient features. I’m sure these could be customized, which is the whole point of building your own, but standing there it just looked like more work than I was willing to invest.
Laura, on the other hand, was occupied with less water-born activity around the shop. There were several nests with swifts, one with baby birds that were just about to fledge. She didn’t even come into the shop, but preferred to stay and watch the birds.
From Port Townsend we headed down Highway 20 along Discovery Bay until we reached Highway 101. There we turned west, rounding the bay and enjoying the scenery. As usual, I was wishing I had a boat with me and the time to kayak in these waters.
We were a bit early in the season, but Laura still wanted to find a lavender farm. We found one that was open on a Tuesday near the town of Sequim. Following the GPS, we reached the Purple Haze Lavender Farm. There were some blooms, but we could see that this would be gorgeous later.
We continued on to Port Angeles, then to the entrance to the Olympic National Park. Hurricane Ridge Road was under construction and restricted to one lane, so there was a long wait before we could even get to the entrance. Finally we paid the entrance fee and made the drive up the ridge to the visitors center at the top.
The weather was much, much better than our previous visit, and the views were spectacular. We first went to the center, which we found to be frenetic and overcrowded. The peaceful vista outside was preferable.
We took a couple of the paved close trails along the alpine meadows. Snow packs lined the meadows and deer roamed freely, acclimated to the presence of humans.
Laura stayed down on the lower meadow trail and I ventured a bit higher. It was hard to resist constantly clicking the shutter and taking thousands of photos.
As peaceful as this might be, we had a ferry to catch. We drove on back down the mountain, taking a few shots along the way. Along the ridges you could see where landslides had caused major problems on the road. Mount Baker loomed in the distance. It looks much more impressive from afar, towering over everything, than from our usual vantage point.
Back in Port Angeles traffic was nightmarish, with gridlock and idiotic drivers. We were worried about getting to the ferry in time, so when traffic did finally clear we took the most direct route back. We did make it to the ferry in time.
Laura was exhausted and sunburned from riding with the roof back. She opted to nap in the car for the trip back. I took my usual spot and shot photos in the late afternoon sun. Several small dolphins graced us with their presence along the way back.
Back on Whidbey Island we stopped for dinner in Oak Harbor, then headed home. Our time was perfect. The sun was setting just as we were crossing Deception Pass. As tired as we were from the day’s journey, I couldn’t let the opportunity slip by.
There were more traffic delays outside of Anacortes, but eventually we made it home. It had been a long, exhausting day of traveling, but it was a good day.