Another Year of Awesome

8 09 2014

This morning was so nice and cool, I had to slip on a sweater while sipping my coffee. Summer is coming to a close! That also means the last couple months of absolute craziness are coming to a close, as well. But the end of summer comes with a super awesome celebration: J and I’s anniversary!

This year, we actually had to celebrate the weekend before Labor Day since J had to work, but it was no less awesome. As is our tradition, we pass on the gifts and opt for adventure instead. (Flip through the archives if you want to read about some of our past anniversaries of adventure…like the time J tried to kill me, or the big, shiny rock I got last year…)  This year, we celebrate the big cuatro, so we planned a whole weekend getaway.

Ok, so “plan” is a bit of a stretch…more like we just threw our camping gear in the car and headed west with a general idea in our heads. Neither of us have been to the Olympics on the west coast of Washington, so we decided this would be a good time to change that. What could be better than coast and beach and rainforest and camping and hiking?

NOTHING, that’s what. We had the best weekend, and it was exactly what we both needed after the crazy summer we’ve been having.

Summary: We took off Friday afternoon, west bound and giddy, car loaded for fun. We finally hit the Olympic National Forest, spent the night in the car after a bit of  a hiccup with campgrounds, and hit Ruby Beach nice and early Saturday morning. If you’ve never had the pleasure of experiencing an early morning on the northwest coast, this a taste of what you’re missing:

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Yes, this is in August. It’s not sunny, it’s not warm, it’s not tropical – it’s magical. We roamed for a few hours, sipping the coffee J boiled for us on our camp stove, enjoying the mystic morning and all the wonders to be discovered.

tide pools Olympic National Forest Ruby Beach

 

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Ruby Beach Washington

 

After we spent several hours poking around, we somehow – by some miracle! – managed to snag probably the very last available campsite on the entire Washington coast. And boy was it a terrible spot…..

camping in the Olympics, WAThis pretty much sums up the rest of the day for me. We explored this new section of beach, played in the driftwood, watched some dolphins, collected rocks. It was lazy and relaxing and splendid. We made lunch on the camp stove, drove down to the cute little lodge, stopped at the Big Cedar, and we smack-talked over a rowdy game of gin rummy. Best way to spend a day.

Big Cedar, Olympic National Park WAThis is called the Big Tree. Well, one of them. There’s the Big Cedar and the Big Spruce. There might even be a Big Pine in there somewhere, but we have one of those at home. This guy was made into a tourist attraction with a sign on the side of the rode pointing to it. So I hugged it. We’re friends now.

After a delightful Saturday and the best night of sleep I’ve had in a long time (possibly due to the pounding surf just beyond the tent flap), we woke Sunday not wanting to leave. J took a run down the beach with Simba and I relaxed for just a teeny bit longer. Then we packed up and made one last stop before hitting the open road: the rain forest!

Hiking in the temperate rain forests of western Washington is like being transported to a Jurassic Park movie. Thankfully, it wasn’t raining and we had a gorgeous hike. Massive old growth trees, ferns and flowers, vines and babbling brooks. The trail followed a little creek canyon of sorts and we took a longer loop to see a waterfall. (Sadly, we’re quite spoiled to spectacular waterfalls here in the Gorge, so it wasn’t much…) The second half of the loop followed the shores of the lovely Lake Quinalt, the sun sparkling off the water and inviting us to swim.

Then back in the car to drive home. Now we can check off another place from our list – another Northwest jewel has been explored! I still think we need to make another trip to the north side to see more of the National Park and maybe climb Mt Olympus, but Simba can only go in the National Forest, not in the Park, so that trip may not be anytime soon….

Oh, and I might be a bit biased, but I think I caught myself a keeper. Here’s to many more years of adventures, honey. 🙂

rain forest of Olympic National Forest, WA

 

 

 

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