Sunday, August 17, 2008

go west, young man

Wishing to capitalize on the finite supply of sunny weekends in the Pacific Northwest, I loaded the girls in the car on Friday afternoon and headed as far west as I could. After making a layover in Port Angeles that night (thank you, Hotwire), we resumed our journey in the morning and eventually found ourselves hiking the shores of Rialto beach.

Much to our chagrin, the area immediately surrounding the trail head was shrouded in a thick fog. Pity the overwhelming majority of families who refused to venture more than a couple hundred yards from the parking lot. Roughly a mile up the beach, the sun was out again.

For those readers who have never experienced a northwestern beach, you should cast away any notions of nap inducing warmth, refreshing water, and beaches of perfectly silky sand. However, what these beaches lack in traditional accoutrements, they more then make up for in raw, rugged beauty.

After the beach, we headed towards Forks. Frankly, we were somewhat disappointed by the lack of vampire related tourist attractions (if confused, see here). I guess not everyone wants to cash in on the fame imparted by best sellers.

Following Forks, Emily vetoed my Hoh Rain Forest aspirations and plotted a course for one of the most photographed features of Olympic National Park: Marymere falls. Turns out the honor of "most photographed" has more to do with accessibility from major road than scenic grandeur.

Fortunately, in the neighboring environs, we discovered the East Beach of Crescent Lake. By this time of day, the tourists had fled and the natives were enjoying the local swimming hole. It was a good reminder that the average American in no way resembles the average inhabitant of Seattle's East Side.

Having gone as far west as we could in one day, it was time to turn eastward. Remarkably (given how much she loved her Yellowstone excursion), Summer was rather well behaved on the trip home. And yes, she may have inherited an affinity for ferry rides.

Rialto Beach.  La Push, Washington.

Emily and Summer experiencing the beach.

Summer discovers sand.  And eats it.


The creature from Alien?  No, just seaweed.

While she may love ferries, we learned on our trip that Summer hates cold water.

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