Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Long Journey Home

We are finally home.  We took a four hour trip and turned it into twelve hours by driving around the perimeter of the Olympic Peninsula.

Our first stop on our journey home was the Hoh Visitor Center in the heart of the Olympic National Park.

Did you know the rainforest on the Olympic Peninsula receives 140 inches of rain a year?  That is a lot!  You can imagine the how green everything was.  The trees are huge.
This giant spruce was over 270 feet tall and it was just a seedling when Christopher Columbus found the New World.  There is also a lot of moss growing on everything.

 We learned a lot about Nurse Logs.  These are fallen trees that give new trees a "leg up" when trying to grow and survive under the dense canopy of the forest.  Since sunlight has a hard time reaching the forest floors, those seeds that land on fallen trees are able to grow and thrive since they are higher up.  What we found were rows of trees on growing off these fallen giants.
 Brian is still our energetic hiker who is looking for every rock or tree to climb on or in.  I have a video of him when he was two years old.  He was climbing on every rock in our path and we were constantly calling him back to the path.  Nothing has changed in the past eleven years. lol

Did  I mention earlier that the moss grows on everything?  Bonnie got a kick out of this old phone booth. I don't know if it was the moss on it or that the archaic phone booth existed.

Ten miles down the road from the Hoh Visitor Center was Forks where we stopped for lunch.  By the way, Forks does not have much of anything.  The only fast food restaurant was Subway, but if you want to go on a Twilight Tour or Big Foot Tour there are lots of those around. 

Another hour down the road and we drove through La Push and hit the 2nd Rialto Beach.  The beaches on the northern end of the peninsula are more rocky than where we vacationed at so there is a better chance of seeing some sea creatures that get left behind in the tidal pools.

 We tried to time our visit to the beach so that it was after high tide. 
 We saw lots of sea anemones.  They were beautiful pinks and greens and everywhere.
 Once again, Brian was in heaven with all of the rocks to climb and explore.
 We found various crabs, mussels, snails, and barnacles.
 Our favorite find was all of the starfish.  The kids were surprised how hard they were and just how strong their suction power was.  They did not want to come off the rocks they were clinging too.

 Our last stop was the ferry in Kingston which would take us over Puget Sound to Seattle.

It was so nice to finally head over Stevens Pass and drive back into Leavenworth.  Our weather the whole week was awesome.  Sunshine every day and mild, comfortable temps.  Unfortunately, it is grey, rainy and cold back at home.  Tomorrow marks the first official day of summer and I am ready for it to start. 

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