Trip to the Coast

Went to Olympic National Park and Forest to take care of some business that I have put off for too long.

It started with a camping trip that Chris, Keith and I had planned for the summer of 2012. We were about 1/2 way through planning it and Keith killed himself. Like so many of us, he just couldn’t hold it together. He left 2 beautiful children and his wife Anne to carry on which was so hard on them. What a devastating situation.

It took me almost 10 years to get back to the Olympic mountains to spread his ashes and walk in nature, hopefully with his blessing.

Keith in the Bisti Wilderness- New Mexico 2010

It was Chris’ idea to go on with our camping trip in Washington State and spread Keith’s ashes. So he had me ask Anne for the ability and I took them with me when I moved away from New Mexico.

We came up with this plan hiking just before or after Keith’s Celebration of Life 11/19/11. It may have been during the hike where I took Chris’ image below.

Chris hiking in Sandia Wilderness- Albuquerque, NM 2011

Chris and Anne couldn’t make the trip due to issues with the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic, so I set off by myself to see what the Pacific coast had to offer.

Wow, it was splendid.

The fog crept up the mountain like dragon’s breath

Early the next day I awoke and started the climb at the lower trail head. The lower trail head was free to park and allowed me a 2 mile warm-up, which I needed as I am so out of shape.

When I got off the plane, I immediately drove to the mountains and set up my tent in the dark. I arrived at a campground at the base of the mountain around 2am. It was a long trip from Virginia to Washington State and I was exhausted.

Rainier was out as I slowly ascended the mountain. It seemed like everyone was passing me, which didn’t surprise me as I am so out of shape, but everyone was nice and gave me positive vibes as I went up. the sun was out and I met a bunch of cool people.

Keith would have loved this hike except for all the people that were out and about. Oh well, everything else was perfect.

I made it to the top and had someone take a pic as I spread Keith’s ashes. No one said anything negative as I did it, so I was happy that it went well. Though, I asked no permission and told only the pic taker what I was doing. It was just as it should be…

Afterwards, I drank Keith’s favorite beer. It was good and just what I needed.

On the way down
When I made it down, I was totally exhausted. It had taken me all day and the rain was coming in. I staggered back to my car and drove down the valley to the next campsite. It was worth the drive to Olympic National Park. I spent the day in my hammock and rested in a cold camp.

Olympic National Park had open hiking trails and fewer people. It was rainy and cold, so that kept some away, but most Washington State people are used to the rain.

The beauty of the place was astounding. Everywhere I looked I found a better picture. I took several thousand, but have reduced it down to just a few for the website. I hiked along a river. The moss and ferns were everywhere.

small, but strong river

The river’s strength was evident as I left and saw the large tree trunks that were swept into the adjacent lake. I drove for 5hrs and made it to the west side of the park where I hiked for 3 days and 2 nights and Graves Creek.

Campsite- Graves Creek, Wa

Several waterfalls were along the road as I left. What a tranquil and beautiful spot. I shall not forget.

The valley opened up several times as I drove though the rainforest.

Then, I made it to the beach.

Don’t let the image fool you. There were hundreds of people here, but most were in their cars as it was raining.

I spent the day driving up the coast. I drove for several hours, but spend most of the time stopping and hiking down to the beaches. I visited 3 or 4. It started raining at noon.

I love the raindrops on the lens in this shot. Also, how grey the day is. It is almost a black and white photo.

I finally made it to my cabin on the coast and then for something different went down to the beach to take some pics.

First pic of the following morning
Surfer checking out the dawn
crows were competing with the gulls for food

In the distance islands stood centered above the waves.

The beauty of the morning blew my mind- so subtle, so perfect.

It was time to drive for another hike, so I went up the road and hiked to Third Beach.

As I approached the beach I had phone service and paused my call to take this pic.

The light was perfect at this time in the morning. The men camped on the beach were just awakening as were the gulls begging for food. A harbor seal followed me, looking for a handout, but I know better than to feed wild animals.

harbor seal’s head

I love the contrast of these pics

I headed back to the cabin only to find that the only restaurant in La Push, Wa is closed on Wednesdays, so I bought some gas station food and went to the cabin to sleep. I read and studied music.

I slept in and timed my next hike to get to my destination at low tide, which was at 1pm. I went to Hole In The Wall and it was packed with people, but sunny and warm.

Looking to the ocean were islands and columns sticking out of the water, but behind me were huge trees washed up like toothpicks on the coast.

Here you can see a couple people for size reference.

All the people were on the south side of Hole In The Wall waiting for low tide to hit, so I hiked over the top of a ridge to access the next run of beach. I had it all to myself.

Hole In The Wall

Mostly, I saw sea anemones in the tidal pools. I looked around for hours. It was great fun.

After the hike was over, I went back to the cabin for my last night indoors. I read some more, but before, I went down to the beach to take some pics.

You can’t go west, without taking at least one sunset pic.

The birds gathered as soon as the sun went down. Kind of cool.

Mostly, pelicans flew around in circles. I have alot of pelican pics, but I’ll spare you.

The Hoh Rainforest

about an hour from the coast

The next day I drove back into teh rain forest. I was looking for moss and boy, did I find some. The Hall Of Mosses in the Hoh Rainforest was incredible.

It was not just the moss that was interesting, but how the coated objects lost their definition and it was difficult to tell what was underneath it.

I mean, what is that thing? I’m sure my dog would have barked at it, if he had been around.

It was lush and dark, even though it was sunny out, it was like you were inside in your own little room. An intimate setting, though many people were around.

ferns grew on moss that grew on trees that grew on moss that grew on trees.

That night it rained and then I got up and left for the airport. I had 8hrs to kill, so I drove around for 5 and then called a friend- Willy and had dinner. He was nice enough to let me stay at his house, since my plane was delayed, but at the last minute I figured out that my plane was actually leaving that night (not the next morning), so I drove to the airport like a mad man and barely made my flight.

Who was this trip about, besides me? Who you might ask?

Keith
On the top of a mountain, while driving home, I ran into this rainbow. It made me think of Keith.

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