October 25, 2015

Quinault Beach Resort and Casino

"The ocean stirs the heart, inspires the imagination and brings eternal joy to the soul"

After leaving Sol Duc Valley, we just could not get Olympic National Park out of our system. We were addicted. So we tried to stay one more night at the most southern point of the park, the Quinault Rain Forest. Unfortunately, the National Park Service Campgrounds would only accommodate tent campers. Although we were bummed, it was pretty cool knowing that some parks stay "pure" to the true way of outdoor camping. So off we went southwest, grateful for the awesome experiences we had in Olympic.

Located on the beach at Ocean Shores, Washington, Quinault Beach Resort and Casino proved to be quite a find. Surrounded by the majestic Pacific Ocean and nestled amidst over 200 acres of protected wetlands, the resort and it's grounds were pretty cool. The resort is an enterprise of The Quinault Indian Reservation. Their world is a land of magnificent forests, swift-flowing rivers, gleaming lakes and 23 miles of unspoiled Pacific coastline. Another example of the extensive Native American influence in Washington.

And our stay was FREE, FREE, FREE. Here we had a beachfront gravel site that was 27' x 60' large, miles of beach walking, a casino that offers free wi-fi in it's very relaxing lounge, three restaurants with good food and for other gambling souls, rows of slots and tables that choose not to pay you sh@#.  It was no brainer that we changed our mind of staying just one night into three nights, (granted, hindsight did slap us...we shoulda, coulda stayed one more night at Sol Duc with Patrick and Cheryl). Our third day at Quinalt was on a "game day" and we got to experience the #12 phenomena!  Sunday morning gave us an opportunity to sit down to a fabulous brunch with a beach side table and front row seats to view all the fervent Seattle Seahawks fans arrive at the sports bar and demonstrate their 12th man power.

Another blogger inquired, why the Amazon link? We advertise the Amazon logo on our site because BlaNicS Waypoints is a participant in the Amazon Associates Program. What is the Amazon Associates Program? This advertising program is designed to provide the means for sites such as ours to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. When bloggers create links and their readers click those links and buy products from Amazon, they earn a referral fee.
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At Waypoint 47.041400-124.170460 

October 20, 2015

Sol Duc Campground

"If you don't know where you are going, any road will get you there."
Chesire Cat, Alice In Wonderland
We left Salt Creek Recreation Area with no real plan of where we were going next. We only knew three facts; it was time to head south, Hwy 101 would be the route and the magic number of days left prior to reaching our Central Coast Hidey Hole was dwindling down.

Patrick and Cheryl had left us and planned to stay within the Olympic National Park at Sol Duc Valley and were hoping we could join them for a night or two. So that option became our first choice. 
The drive down to Sol Duc provided us some beautiful "postcard" quality scenery of Olympic National Park. Lake Crescent, a deep glacially carved lake, offered just one of those breathtaking views of natural beauty.
As we turned east and headed into Sol Duc, we knew that there may be a chance we would have to do a u-turn and head back out. Olympic National Park campgrounds tended to have limited sites that were large enough to fit both our trailer and truck, so if we were not able to secure one of those sites, option two would prevail...continue to motor south until a new waypoint sparked our interest. 

But leave it to Patrick and Cheryl to ensure we continued our celebration with them and embrace Sol Duc together. Not only did they find a gorgeous creekside spot for their own Class A, they also secured a beautiful "rainforest" spot close to them that would easily fit our rig. And, to make our stay even more accommodating, we would not have to disconnect. SWEET!

In 1865, a novel written by Lewis Carroll was published. It was titled Alice In Wonderland. Can you remember and visualize the story? Well, we fell through a rabbit hole into a fantasy world when we entered Sol Duc Valley and the search for that grinning Chesire Cat began. For Sol Duc is truly a Wonderland.

Sol Duc comes from the Quileute name meaning "sparkling waters." With it's river, cascading falls, hot springs and lush old growth forest, Sol Duc offers a spectacular example of a primeval temperate rain forest. 
The campground features two loops right along the Sol Duc River nestled under a thick forest canopy mostly made up of Douglas Fir and Sitka Spruce. Lichens and moss-cloaked  trees dotted the shaded forest floor, while seas of glistening dew-moistened ferns gave the forest a "jungle-like" feel. Even the air seemed green.

As we would only be here for one night, we decided to go on the most scenic hike we could find close to our campsite. We chose the 6.5 mile Sol Duc Falls and Lover's Lane Loop Trail. The first part of the trail meandered through our old growth forest up to Sol Duc Falls. Our passing through would have been silent upon the carpet of wet, spongy and soft spruce needles, but we all just had toooo much to talk about...Patrick is passionate about every moment, Cheryl radiates the message of nature and the BlaNics just don't possess a mute button. The hike was truly awesome and the most perfect way to experience Sol Duc. By the time we finished our hike it was too late to enjoy the "hot springs" that draw many visitors to this area of the park. Patrick and Cheryl did manage to get in a soak the following day after they spent many mesmerizing moments watching the salmon leap up the rapids in their quest to get upstream (the Sol Duc is one of the few places where salmon run in every season). Sounds like they had a perfect day.

To close out our stay here, we had a late night celebration, warmed by a cozy campfire and hours of listening to "girl" talk...must have been the wine. We bid a fond farewell to the Devines and continued our way south with no destination in mind.

At Waypoint 47.965400-123.85600

October 16, 2015

Salt Creek Recreation Area

"The language of friends is not words, but meanings"
Henry David Thoreau

RV living can be golden when your campsites mirror each other, i.e.beauty for beauty (and your rig easily fits your site). Well that was our lucky draw as we left Paradise Bay in Port Ludlow and arrived at Salt Creek Recreation Area in Port Angeles. Although this campground was full and our sites were close together, this brief relocation turned out to be perfect, as it was a gathering of dear friends. Patrick and Cheryl and Dick and Melinda joined us for some hugs, laughs, story telling (they love my embellished rants) and "catch up" time. And for all of us to choose a "normal campground" versus our beloved preference of boondocking, this reunion had to be special. 

Parked on the sea cliffs of the Pacific, with panoramic views of the Strait of Juan De Fuca, Crescent Bay and Vancouver Island, Canada, this County Park is truly a gem and the perfect setting for exploration and discovery.

Salt Creek is recognized to be the home to some of the most exceptional tide pools in the Northwest...ALMOST as wonderful as our own beloved central coast. Low tides will provide you a bountiful array of sea life to view not only at Tongue Point Marine Sanctuary, but on the shoreline of the entire bluff campground. 

Birdwatchers can keep those binocs and spotting scopes warm most of the day with the many different sea birds to see on the cliffs, water and in the air. Not to be outdone for camera time, playful otters can be seen diving for food or lazily floating atop the rhythmic shoreline swells.

Casual walking trails or more challenging hikes also entertained us during our stay. We attempted a short hike with some great views of the coastline below us, but halfway through our hike we chose to turn around. After the recent rains, the trail was extremely slick and proved to be unsafe. No chances would be taken to be a Humpty Dumpty.

From the campground you had a front row seat to watch the many container ships, tankers, freighters, cruise ships and maybe an occasional submarine pass through the Strait of Juan De Fuca. We were fortunate to have a Trident Submarine sighting as it worked it's way up the coast toward us. Flanked on each side by large tenders, we anxiously awaited it's arrival with binoculars and ready cameras. Unfortunately, prior to reaching our viewing station, and for whatever reason, the sub made a U-turn and headed full speed out to open water. 

The Salt Creek Recreation Area was previously Camp Hayden, a harbor defense military camp during World War II. The remnants of Camp Hayden, two concrete bunkers which housed 16" cannons are still there to view with interpretive boards providing many historical facts.

We had a wonderful stay here and reconnecting with friends is perfect no matter where we are. After many days together, carving our initials in two states, Dick and Melinda had to head back home. We don't like goodbyes...so we try to avoid them. Our time away from each other is only an intermission, like pressing a "pause" button. Those wonderful elebrations with each other will always resume somewhere down the road... 

As we made that dreaded U-Turn south, we could see the shores of Canada beckoning and are looking forward to a return to the northwest and beyond!!! We are still yearning to explore more of Olympic National Park, so from here we will stay flexible to exercise the chance to explore another magical destination within the park's boundaries. Desire and time are key ingredients to manifestation. 

At Waypoint 48.165000-123.699040

October 7, 2015

Hurricane Ridge

"We live in a world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. 
There is no end to the adventures we can have if only 
we seek them with our eyes open.” 
Jawaharlal Nehru
Imagine this...each of you are writing your travel experiences at this moment on this blog, for a multitude of family, friends and blog followers to read. Our fellow bloggers can agree on this, it is definitely not an easy task to find words to describe the wondrous views of our natural lenses. But we have chosen to write because we want all of you to see, to feel, to imagine and maybe place yourself in our place and best of all, someday go out and experience these jewels for yourself. Our dear friends, Patrick and Cheryl, fellow lifedancers, highly recommended this next scenic gem and we listened. This place and those surreal views reminded us of why we share...natural wonders are inspirational.

Hurricane Ridge, named for it's intense gales and wind, is the mountainous area in Washington's Olympic National Park. We were told that on a clear day you can gaze far into the Olympic Wilderness, from deep valleys to steep ridges. 

We first stopped at the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center, located 17 miles south of Port Angeles and sits at an elevation of 5,242 overlooking the Olympic Mountains. The upper level of the center offers staffed ranger information and resources, exhibits and wonderful views (on a clear day), while the lower level features a gift shop and snack bar. This stop was a perfect way to acquaint ourselves with the park, trails and viewpoints.

There are spectacular vistas from the trail, but the best are at the viewpoint at the top of the trail. You can have views of the Olympic Mountains to the south, Vancouver Island, British Columbia to the north and Port Angeles below you. But for that, you need to hike the 1.6 mile trail, with an elevation gain of 700 feet, through subalpine meadows to get those rewards. And it was more than worth it!

No photos can describe our experience gazing upon the Olympic Wilderness and Mountains. Wispy fog tendrils rose beneath us, while rays of sunlight broke through the moving clouds allowing us brief glimpses of Blue Glacier on Mount Olympus. Glaciers have carved and adorned this park for millennia, but Olympic Mountain Glaciers have now lost over 30 percent of their surface area and some of the smaller glaciers in the park have completely disappeared.

If those magnificent views were not enough to stun our senses, add the shrill calls of mating hawks which caught our attention above us. Diving in death defying spirals down toward the valley floor and then just as suddenly, riding a thermal uplift and soaring straight upwards. 

As we slowly worked our way back down, we had a very cool visit from one of the local residents.., and I do mean "local. The Olympic Marmot is endemic to Olympic National Park and are found nowhere else in the world. This beautiful guy...or girl was just basking in the sun, posing for us as we walked by.

With our exploration time of Western Washington "running low", we were very happy to make the time to do this hike. For a visit to Olympic National Forest would not be complete unless you make the time to experience Hurricane Ridge.We would come to realize over the next week that there are far more things to do and places to see than we could have imagined.

Here is another item that we highly recommend...thanks to that amazing Susie.

"Poo Pourri Trap-A-Crap" Products are preventive Bathroom Odor Sprays. Although this is the most wonderful product for an RV/Motorhome bathroom, they will also work perfectly for your home. Now don't start laughing...unless your shit don't stink...but reality is reality. These little sprayers last a long time...up to 100 uses for the purse size 2 ounce sprayer and twice that for the rig size 4 ounce sprayer. They take up less room than those large aerosol cans most people stock in their bathrooms and feature no harsh chemicals or aerosol. In fact we heard from a reliable source it is made of " 4 parts Atlantis sea water, 2 parts Bermuda Triangle air and 1 part Unicorn pee." Just spritz in the toilet water before you poo.

At Waypoint 47.9692565-123.4985193