Washington Coast, Hoh River and Olympic Rain Forest-USA Road Trip
Washington State Coastline
On Friday we travelled north towards Grays Harbor and Olympic National Park. This is temperate rain forest area and obviously the NW corner of the USA. We had expected to find traffic getting less and to some degree that happened, if you compare it to California and Oregon.
As we hit the edge of Olympic National Park the first rain in many weeks arrived and as we pulled into the camp ground at South Beach camp ground a steady mist interspersed with light rain made our camping difficult and so we put up the gazebo, had supper of sandwiches and retired to the comfort of Matilda. But I repeat myself! The brave campers who had been starting their fire under a raincoat persevered, and when there was a bit of a break in the weather actually managed to cook whatever they were cooking.
An early start meant we arrived at a misty Ruby Beach and enjoyed a walk and photographic opportunities before the crowds arrived and they did. When we got to the parking area at mile 165 we were the only car there and when we left a few hours later it was full. Another bonus of the early arrival is that we saw some good birds still to be identified but the Waxwings were a joy to behold, surely one of the most beautiful American birds.
Then it was on towards Forks and a decision as to whether we would travel to Cape Flattery or turn eastwards towards Seattle, but as usual something unexpected waylaid us. A detour onto the Hoh River and a Forestry Campground ended with us claiming a gorgeous camp spot on the river and a trip into nearby Forks to stock up with supplies. The Hoh River is the most beautiful turquoise colour you can imagine and our camp ground in the rain forest next to it one of the most scenic we have had yet. To cap it all, it is a free camp ground!
Forks also had its surprises! As we arrived it the town, population 2609, it was obvious that some big event was taking place and further enquiries informed us that on five Saturdays during the summer enthusiasts from far and wide come for the drag racing and soon I saw my first view of cars, trucks and something looking like a long soap box cart with a big engine and large back wheels racing past on the local airport that runs along the main road – highway 101. Thought about giving Matilda a run against some of the very noisy trucks that obviously are not tuned very well, judging by the noise they make, but decided not to as we did not want to embarrass them.
We also noticed that cars were stopping next to the road and groups of excited teens were hopping out to have their photos taken next to various buildings and signboards all saying something about Twilight or Wolf. Further enquiries at the local Saturday market (which is like the one in Portland only much, much smaller) and sells a variety of curios, we were told that a big time movie (‘not a chick flick’ I was told but by a gentleman in the grocery store, with a good story if you get past the first 20 min.) called Twilight had its story set in this town, ensuring instant fame and making it a major tourist attraction, with many young people coming here to look for the local Were Wolf (specially at full moon!). The story is about a 17 year old girl from Arizona who moves to Forks to live with her Dad, the local Sherriff, and gets involved in a relationship with a fellow school pupil who is actually a werewolf! We will watch the movie when we are well out of this area. Noticed werewolf droppings and vampire blood on sale at the local Supermarket – Ugh!
The rain forest with its mixed/dark lighting and often eerie feel obviously is a good place for such a movie, but even though it is nearly full moon and we are camped in the rain forest we decided to stay, but are sleeping in Matilda, just in case.