Where to go when your visiting friend is in Washington for the first time and has only one day? And it’s raining. To the rainforest. Of course.
Back in Raleigh, in 2001, Ben insisted on hiring me for the best job I ever had, even though I was spectacularly unqualified. I held the job for eleven years before returning to the Pacific NW; I grew it and it grew me. I am forever grateful he took a chance on me; I hope I did him proud.
He accompanied his friend Karla across the country—he from North Carolina, she from Boston—in her aging Honda CRV, she moving to Seattle to celebrate her 60th birthday and have a new adventure. Sound familiar? They completed their journey at Three of Earth Farm. He planned to stay a week, but had to return to NC for a family turn of events. So I had 24 hours to show them my corner of Paradise then drop him at the airport for a late night flight.
We started at the coffee kiosk just before six a.m. then headed west to the Olympic Peninsula and the Olympic National Park. First stop was a brief one at Kalaloch beach to see the so-called Tree of Life. It was my parents’ beach after the family was grown, and we visited on what would have been my mother’s 105th birthday.
Next stop to worship the 1000-year-old “Big Cedar.” She finally split a few years ago, half of her falling across the trail. The park service re-routed the trail and finally put a protective fence around her. Still, the small road signage remains simply “Big Cedar.” She’s my Notre Dame, the Goddess of all Trees, the Nurturer of Life.
From there to Ruby Beach, the gem of the Pacific, my favorite of the diverse Peninsula beaches. In spite of rain, she didn’t disappoint. An interestingly low volume of drift logs, and many of them looked new. Does that mean it was a wild winter, moving the old weathered ones out and a few more recently fallen ones in? I don’t know. I wish I did. What would it be like to be here with the logs coming in and going out?
(Karla and I had to teach Ben “fuchsia.”)
Ben was bridge builder extraordinaire, and we crossed the glacial melt creek from the rock beach to the sand beach and some tidal pool life ahead of the incoming tide.
Ben said, “It’s so much fun here! Kids must love it! It makes the Atlantic beaches seem very dull indeed.” I am so lucky to have grown up here.
With the rain more earnest, we drove on to the Hoh Rainforest, a temperate rainforest that is the recipient of more than 140 inches of rain a year. Sadly, my favorite trail, Hall of Mosses, was closed for construction, so we meditated on green along the Spruce Trail to the Hoh River.
After late lunch at Kalaloch (take-out food, eaten in the dining room—when will we be done with Covid? Please encourage everyone you know to get vaccinated), we made a quick stop at Quinault Lodge to warm up by the fire, then headed back east.
There is no direct way to get to SeaTac International Airport from the OP. So much water! 1. Go south to Olympia then north on I-5. 2. Go NE to Bremerton then south along Hood Canal to the Narrows Bridge across Puget Sound, then north on I-5 from Tacoma. 3. Go to Bremerton and take the one-hour ferry ride to Seattle, then south to the airport. The ferry would have been terrific, but it doesn’t run often and there’s no way to know wait time. We were tired. We chose the Narrows Bridge, not really knowing quite how to get there and Siri was being ridiculous.
(Not my photo, obviously, there was no mountain this day!)
But we made it and Karla and I got back to Three of Earth Farm at 9:30. I don’t know what she did, but I fell into bed!