The 2005 Olympic Peninsula Death March

We went on a holiday in Washington this week; three days on Vashon Island and driving around the Olympic Peninsula, finishing up with a 4 hour sprint home on US highway 101 and Interstate 5, arriving home at an ungodly hour in the morning.

We saw wildlife:

There was a family of half-tame deer where we were camping on Vashon Island. A blue heron was fishing in a swamp in the Hoh Forest part of Olympic National Park The rare and elusive Western Dust Mite on holiday

Ships! (mainly carferries, but one or two cargo ships as well)

an oil tanker sits at anchor while a tugboat pulls a barge past it.  Vancouver island sits like a beacon of liberty in the distant background

Locomotives and streetcars:

Rayonier Pacific Coast Shay #10

You just haven't visited Seattle until you've seen a trolley bus.

And we took the opportunity to get a few pictures of non-artificial items as well. Crescent Lake, which is near the northernmost point of Highway 101 (a point which we drove past a couple of times when looking for a place to have lunch in Port Angeles), is stunningly beautiful, but then again much of the rest of the (non-clearcut) parts of the Olympic Peninsula are beautiful too.

Mount Rainier is always worth a few pictures. When we went to the Mount Rainier Scenic Railroad (home of Hammond #17) I was planning on getting more pictures of it, but my Pentax 18-55mm lens developed a condensation spot right in the middle of the lens, which resulted in a great deal of pictures that were blurry exactly where I didn't want them to be. By the time we'd worked our way down to sea level, the condesation spot had vanished, but I still used the telephoto when I took the picture of Mount Rainier from the ferryboat going from Tacoma to Vashom Island.

The Hoh Rain Forest is absolutely wonderful. It's difficult to describe being in a place where there are so many huge old trees that you have trouble telling them apart. After living in the Pacific Northwest, I've grown used to seeing occasional Big Trees punctuating regions that have been repeatedly clearcut, but walking in a forest where trees that are hundreds of years old are growing sometimes cheek to jowl doesn't feel like it's a part of the same United States as I'm living in. Pictures don't really do it justice, so I'm only showing one of them here.
When we left the Hoh Rain Forest, we were intending to come directly home, but the sun was setting when we reached the ocean, so we stopped at Ruby Beach to sightsee while the sight was still seeable.

And no trip is complete without a few pictures of the bears:

Russell at the Seattle Art Museum Silas at the Seattle Art Museum Russell, Silas, and Dust Mite, sleeping in our tipi on Vashon Island Russell and Silas running their machine at the Hoh Rain Forest Russell at Ruby Beach Russell at Ruby Beach Russell and Silas acting dignified at Ruby Beach

Finally, we got an iconic view of the Seattle Space Needle from the Vashon Island to Seattle speedboat passenger ferry. No monorail pictures this time -- we ran out of steam before we could walk to the monorail, and instead returned to Vashon Island to gorge ourselves on clams and oysters.

--david parsons
index.html 2005/08/05