Storms, Volcanoes and Hanging With Friends – Silver Lake, WA

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Mount Adams

Hoquiam River

Just as we began our southward migration through Washington, the weather turned really bad.  The rainy days continued as we drove down the coast to our planned overnight stop at Hoquiam River, just off the coast in the southwestern corner of the state.  One night turned into six as major storms hit, and we pulled in the slides and dropped the satellite dish to wait it out.  We canceled our stop at Astoria because winds were even worse there, and we were bummed that we missed our favorite fish and chips in the whole world at Bowpicker. We’d been waiting for weeks to have them again – darn!

Hoquiam River

“Baldy” keeps an eye on Hoquiam River during the storm

To keep us entertained and busy, we made a bunch of lumpia for future happy hours.  So when any of you meet up with us down the road be sure to ask about the stash in our freezer!


No campfire in this pit today!

During every break in the weather we drove 20 miles to the beach to hear the pounding waves, breath the ocean air – and buy some more seafood!  When we learned that the Quinalt Casino offered an all-you-can-eat Dungeness crab dinner buffet, we just had to partake in that as well.  It was one of the best casino buffets we’ve had.

Ocean Shores

These hard-core clammers weren’t bothered by the weather or the huge waves

Ocean Shores

That’s an angry sea!

Ocean shores

My only hike for the week

Since we can’t seem to get enough of this crustacean, we bought even more for our own crab feast at home.  I have to admit we did overindulge, but we were trapped in Dungeness crab heaven and I totally blame the storm for it!

We were fortunate that the towns of Hoquiam and Ocean Shores were spared from the brunt of the storm, and the only inconvenience we felt was being cramped with our slides in for several days.

Hoquiam River

We heaved a sigh of relief when the rains stopped

Windy Ridge, Mount St Helens

We resumed our travels and made one last stop in Washington, at Silver Lake.  We got along so well with Bob and Dee Dee at Puerto Peñasco, Mexico last February that we went out of our way to stop by their beautiful property for a visit.  We gladly accepted their invitation to snuggle Betsy into the full hookup site right on their property for a couple of nights.

Where else would we celebrate our first meal together then at an excellent Mexican restaurant, the perfect place to reminisce about good times in Mexico.



Betsy’s looking good parked in front of their beautiful shop – and the price was right!

Bob and Dee Dee live near Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument, which we visited in 2012.  But this time they graciously drove us around to the northeast side of the volcano, often referred to as the Windy Ridge side.  It lived up to its name on this cold and blustery day.

Windy Ridge Loop

We watched a helicopter haul cut boughs for Christmas decorations and drop them near a waiting truck

The drive to Windy Ridge is a winding trek through the blast zone, and is the best location from which to view the devastation of the eruption that occurred on May 18, 1980.  We saw clear evidence of the blast’s full impact.  And despite the biting wind we climbed hundreds of steps up the hill to one of the best vantage points around.

Windy Ridge Trail

We read that there were 361 steps to the top

Views from the summit of Windy Ridge trail:

Looking down

Looking directly into Mount St. Helen’s crater just five miles away

Pumice Plain

A pumice plain created by ash and pumice that flowed from the crater

Spirit Lake

Spirit Lake’s immense floating forest left from the 1980 eruption

Mount St Helen

Blasted trees have remained untouched since the eruption

Mount Saint Helen

Thanks Deedee for capturing our wind blown ‘do’s

It might have been a gray day, but we were fortunate to get such clear views of the volcano and surrounding mountains:

Mount Adams

Mount Adams stands 32 miles to the east

Mount Hood

Mount Hood is the tallest mountain in Oregon, and we could see it from 62 miles away

Mount St Helens

The foursome with Mount St. Helens in the background

We had a wonderful time and really enjoyed Bob and Deedee’s hospitality.  Thanks guys, see you at Puerto Peñasco next February – the first Margarita is on us!


Next up:  Beautiful Bend, OR


Crabs, Coasts and Mountains – Port Angeles, WA

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Hurricane Ridge
The Dungeness Crab and Seafood Festival

New friends Mark and Laura from Victoria Island, BC

By October we would typically be halfway through our southerly migration, but this year we made a westerly detour to the Pacific Northwest, with the Olympic Peninsula as our destination.  As we all know, that area is famous for its fairly mild but often rainy weather, and we had plenty of rain during our stay!  We were constantly looking up at the sky and checking daily forecasts so we could plan our activities accordingly.

Geographically speaking, the Olympic Peninsula is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean, on the east by the Hood Canal and on the north by the Strait of Juan de Fuca. And of course it’s anchored by the majestic Olympic Mountains.  Our home base was at Port Angeles, a coastal logging town at the doorway to Olympic National Park.

During our first few days here, our activities were limited by fog, rain and the constant lowering of the clouds that made the days grey and dreary.  Although a bit bummed by the weather, we had to figure out things to do with our time at this place surrounded by beautiful coastlines, mountains and glaciers.

One activity that brought our spirits right back up was the Dungeness Crab and Seafood Festival held in Port Angeles.  When we learned about this huge party during our planning a few weeks ago, we made sure we wouldn’t miss it.  The city celebrates its maritime heritage and bountiful seafood offerings by featuring Dungeness crab, one of our all-time favorites. It’s obviously loved by many others around here too, as ferries packed with folks from Victoria, BC steamed into the harbor to join in the festivities.

Dungeness Crab Festival

Sweet tasting and simply delicious Dungeness crab – yay!

While crab was king here, we also enjoyed fresh oysters, scallops and crab cakes.  The festive mood inside the tent with a Canadian couple we met while in line was more than enough to keep us happy as we enjoyed the bounty of seafood.

We had missed those crabs so much that we went to a local fresh seafood market the next day and got more to enjoy at home.  Yum!

Around Port Angeles

Port Angeles, WA

Port Angeles is nestled between the Olympic Range and the Strait of Juan de Fuca

Port Angeles

This city is the largest on the Olympic Peninsula, and has been an active deepwater seaport since the mid 1850’s

We made a few purchases of yummy locally-grown produce at the farmers market:

Ediz Hook

A long narrow spit of sand called Ediz Hook extends into the Strait of Juan de Fuca, helping to protect the Port Angeles harbor from ocean swells.  On most days we could barely see the spit across from the marina, but on the clearest day we drove onto it and enjoyed great views all around.:

Mount Baker

Mount Baker, San Juan and Lopez islands seemed to float on the strait of San Juan de Fuca

Glacier Peak

Glacier Peak stood out in the Washington Cascades

Olympic Mountain Range

The Olympic Mountain Range forms a dramatic backdrop for Port Angeles

Port Angeles

Living on the edge

Around our campground, Elwha Dam RV Park

Our campsite (Steve’s review here) was was less than a mile from where Elwha Dam stood for 100 years.  We learned that the removal of the old structure was the largest dam removal and restoration project in U.S. history.  Following the restoration, the river now flows freely from its headwaters in the Olympic Mountains to the Strait of Juan de Fuca.  And for the first time in a century the salmon and other migratory fish have been able to return to their spawning habitat.

The trail leading to the old dam was laden with moss-draped trees and giant ferns:

Cape Flattery

One day we drove scenic Hwy 112 all the way to its end at the most Northwestern point in the continental United States, Cape Flattery.  We followed the short trail that took us to a dramatic overlook where we could see the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the Pacific Ocean at the same time.  The trail passed through misty forests and some interesting huge trees.  We were surprised that this relatively remote cape was so popular, as we passed a lot of folks during our exploration.

Candelabra tree

A candelabra tree

Me in a tree.  That’s as high as I climb!

Cape Flattery

Sea stacks at Cape Flattery

Tattoos Island

Lighthouse on Tatoosh Island

Cape Flattery

Makah sandstone formation riddled with sea caves

Hurricane Ridge at Olympic National Park

Olympic National ParkThe main feature on the peninsula is the multiple rugged, saw-toothed peaks of the Olympic Range.  No roads traverse the park’s interior, which is protected by Olympic NP.  Because of its diversity comprised of snow-capped mountains, wild ocean beaches and lush rain forest, the park is uniquely labelled “three-parks in-one”.  Bad weather during our visit forced us to wait four days before we could drive up to Hurricane Ridge to hike just one trail.


Another chilly hike, that’s frost on the ground!




Hurricane Ridge

Winds gusting over 75 miles per hour frequently buffet the ridge, giving it the “Hurricane” moniker

Hurricane Trail

There was a 700′ elevation change on this short but steep trail

Ediz Hook

That strip of narrow land across the water is Ediz Hook, with Port Angeles in the foreground

Hurricane Ridge

Watching the fog and clouds form

Hurricane Ridge

Weather changes happen fast here!

Olympic Wilderness

Olympic wilderness

Olympic Mountain Range

Mount Olympus is the tallest peak here at 7,979′, and we were lucky to get this clear view

Hurricane Ridge

“The hills are alive….”

We missed a visit to the rain forest and didn’t do any tide pooling, but considering the weather we got a pretty good feel for this beautiful place during our short stay.


Next up:  Hunkering down for a big Pacific Northwest storm