Labor Day Weekend Roadtrip

Rather than firing up the Big Green Egg this Labor Day weekend, Diann and I decided to take a bit of a roadtrip to the western part of Washington – the Olympic Peninsula.

New Dungeness Lighthouse Our weekend roadtrip started at 6:30AM on Saturday to head to Edmonds, Washington, to catch the 7:50AM ferry to Kingston.  From Kingston, we headed out towards Highway 101 and then drove to Sequim (that’s pronounced "skwim" for you non-northwesterners).  Sequim is in the Olympic Mountain range rainshadow, and actually gets less than 15" a year of rain.  This isn’t really what most people think of when they’re thinking of western Washington.  Just past Sequim lies the unincorporated community of Dungeness, home to the Dungeness Spit.  I decided that we should make the jaunt out to the lighthouse at the end of the Dungeness Spit, which is a 5.5-mile walk.  Each way.

I didn’t really appreciate just how long an 11-mile walk is.  Heading out to the lighthouse took around 3 hours as we were frequently stopping to take pictures of the wildlife and various scenery.  We got to the lighthouse, made the climb to the top (73 steps, beautiful views), and then started heading back.  It’s about this time that my calf muscles started burning.  Walking 5+ miles in sand and rock really takes its toll.  I was quite miserable and cranky when we finished the walk, and I’m surprised Diann put up with me the whole time.

After we wrapped up at the Spit, we drove into Port Angeles and set up our camp site for the weekend.  Since both of our legs were a bit sore, we drove into the Sol Doc Hot Springs area in the Olympic National Park, and soaked in the hot springs for an hour or two.

Hurricane Ridge The next day, we headed up to Hurricane Ridge in the Olympic National Park.  We did a brief hike (I’ll post more details about the hike later) at Hurricane Hill.

After this hike, we made the three hour drive down to the other end of Olympic National Park to the Hoh Rain Forest.  It’s amazing to me that within the span of a 3-hour drive you can go from near desert conditions (in Sequim) to a temperate rain forest.  The Hoh Rain Forest gets up to 200" per year of rain, compared to Sequim’s 15".  We did some brief walks around the visitor center, and I’ll post more on those later.  After touring the Hoh, we drove back to our campsite and threw together a little campfire for the night.

Monday morning arrived, and we packed up our campsite.  We drove east towards Kingston, but took a brief detour to check out Port Townsend.  Port Townsend was a really quaint town with a great little downtown area.  We did some shopping, checked out some art galleries, and had some great pizza and locally-brewed beer.  Time had come to head home, and we drove to Kingston to make the hour-long wait for a ferry.  Ferry traffic can be a beast at the end of a holiday weekend, so I’m glad we got to the terminal around 2:00PM, before the traffic got really bad.

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