I didn't sleep last night. Was too busy visiting friends and meeting a fiance to get home early enough to pack before needing to leave at 4:30am. I was determined to stay awake on the ferry to Port Angeles, just because it's a different ferry going the opposite direction that I usually go. I failed miserably, hence being woken up by Katrina putting a piece of mint chocolate in my mouth. Apparently it was open. Apparently I should expect such things when travelling with my chosen accomplices.
Turned out not to matter that I slept, since there wasn't anything to see. Except a lot of water. Both in the ocean and the sky, but mostly suspended in between, blocking the view of everything. We arrived shortly after my sleep was disturbed by a ferry employee coming our little seating area and saying "Apparently we are in Port Angeles Bay." To which my only response was "Apparently we are in a fog bank."
Luckily, our first stop was a hike on Hurricane Ridge, and we ascended above most of the cloud. My temporary narcolepsy ensured I missed most of that 17 mile road. When we got to the top, it was a gorgeous day with incredible views of mountains in every direction. There were also views of very tame deer in the parking lot. The hike was pretty nice, but not too strenuous. There was snow, and lots of trees and wildlife. (For a complete listing, see Appendix A.) I brushed up on my sub-alpine vegetation, and learned to recognize some new types too. One of the neatest parts was when we followed the trail along the top of the ridge, and there was a warm wind blowing from inland which alternated with a cool breeze from the water. If we looked towards the ocean we could actually see Victoria and Sooke! Or at least some fog where Victoria is…
If we looked in the other direction, we saw the road we had driven up, and there were a few sights to see there. Very happy motorcyclists were one. There were both very happy and very unhappy cyclists on the road, depending on which direction they were going. Some of the cyclists we had seen on the ferry earlier like the guy Steve christened "Ugly Shorts". We also saw some more than slightly stupid tourists getting out of their cars to look at the bears. Wait, bears!? Yeah! We saw bears! A mother and cub black bear crossed the road as we were watching from the ridge, and that was really neat. Don't see those too often, and we're glad we saw them from that far away, even though it was slightly worrying to know that they were going in the direction of the trail we were on.
We also saw a raven. Well, we saw several, but this particular was talking, and Katrina decided to talk back. There was some discussion for a few minutes until the raven got a disgusted look on its face, and with one last contemptuous caw, flew off in a huff.
The trail was a really long one, but we had decided to not do the whole 4 miles out and 4 miles back, since we needed to get going. We did start getting the "just one more peak" syndrome going on, but we eventually stopped when we saw the one we dubbed Mt. Steve. When we turned around and started walking back there were a whole lot more people on the trail, and significantly fewer deer in the parking lot. A good thing to have gone so early in the morning.
On our way back down the road, I could see why the cyclists and motorcyclists were so happy. A very nice road, and steep so there was no need to pedal to get up to extraordinarily high speeds. It looked like more fun than being in the car.
But I could sleep in the car.
After a lunch of the MOST AMAZING SUBWAY SANDWICH EVER in Port Angeles (It was UltimateTurkey Bacon Avocado. I can't believe they don't have it in Canada.) I got in the car and woke up at the Hot Springs. They were…very nice. It was still sunny and the pools were hot, and there was a cold pool too, and room to sunbathe and…it was a happy couple of hours spent. It's the kind of happy that deserves more words, but doesn't need them, so I'll leave it at that.
At our next stop, we followed the trail of despair down to the abyssal beach in the cove of ruin. We stopped to take a picture under the tree of evil.
Actually it was called Ruby beach, and although it didn't look rubyish at all, it was still very cool. Breaking waves over jagged rocks was a highlight. So were the incredibly smooth stones that were so much fun to skip across the creek. We walked down the sand and I enjoyed the mist and the water and the rocks for a while. Karen didn't walk as far, and when we got back to her, we found out why: she had been watching some otters! There were 4 or so of them, and the adults went off after a bit, and left he 2 young ones playing on one little rock island. They were incredibly cute little water rats, slithering in and out of the ocean, and just generally being adorable.
Does that sound like a full enough day? Pretty much. We headed for our destination: Pacific Beach Navy Resort. It was 8pm by then, and definitely time for dinner. We had an hour and enjoyed it with some pretty good food, and a most excellent waiter named Kirk who appreciated and even shared our silly sense of humour. Of course, he couldn't really give us a good wine recommendation, but we could hardly hold that against him when he had just carded us and told us he was 20. Right. American drinking laws.
You think I slept enough in the car? Nah, still slept most awesomely. And didn't hear the alarm the next morning. Which was okay, because everyone who heard it, ignored it anyways. A most excellent way to start a vacation.
Ravens, chipmunks, bumblebees, red-tailed hawk, tree swallows, house finches, robins, Oregon juncos, deer, black bear (and cub) western hemlock, douglas fir, cedars, yarrow, magenta paintbrush, indian paintbrush, alpine lilies, dandelions, bluebells, lupins, sickle-top lousewort, red mountain heather.