Monday, September 10, 2012

Guest Blog: A Weekend with Nick and Hallie

Nick and I set out Saturday the 1st for the Olympic Peninsula. Neither one of us had much of a plan or aspiration for the weekend--just to go somewhere. Therefore, I decided that rather than taking the ferry, which is expensive, we'd just drive south and then curve back up the peninsula. Time wise, it should have been about the same. I had us on course for the south end of the Olympic National Forest. Once we had driven for a couple of hours Nick announced that he wanted to go to the NORTH end of the forest. Sheesh! If I had known that he wanted to go to the north part of the forest, I would not have suggested driving. Nevertheless, we covered a lot of ground and saw a lot of beautiful territory. Along the way, we passed a couple camp sites that we were interested in, but they were full--after all, it was the busiest camping weekend of the year and we didn't have a reservation. Luckily, we found a good camp ground just 7 miles outside of Port Angeles that had some room (barely, though). We set up camp and then headed back into town for dinner. Some form of camping, huh?

Car camping is definitely NOT for real campers. I witnessed a couple of guys from B.C. trying to start a fire. I guess they were having trouble, so the one guy pulled a giant unabridged dictionary from the truck of his car. He was selective at first, just pulling the front couple pages from the book. Soon, it was, "Okay, there go the As!". Women in the bathroom were doing their best to all but shower in the sink. Is mascara really necessary for camping? Nick started our fire with the help of two strips of paper, just 3" x 1". Yesterday, we drove up the mountain to Hurricane Ridge. It's an area where you can see all of the tallest peaks of the Olympic mountains as well as a view of the sound, Victoria, and the San Juan islands. It was fairly clear, so we could see almost everything. This is a not difficult hiking--the trail is paved and only about 1 - 1.5 miles long. There were lots of people and the wildlife was tame. Nick came within spitting distance of a grouse and its babies and got some pictures. Upon straying off the paved path, I was startled by a doe who, not at all startled by me, strolled past and starting munching greens not 20 feet away from us. That doe was so calm that we were able to speak to each other normally and it didn't spook. THEN, just as we were marveling at how strange/cool that was, a buck came trotting up the trail. I saw it first while Nick was still taking photos of the doe, and I said, "Niiiiiiick? Nick. It's a buck." I wasn't sure if the buck was going to come my way or not, but instead he took the lower Y of the trail and trotted on past like we weren't even there. CRAZY!

We headed out around 3:30 to make our way back. At the campground, we had seen a woman picking little red berries with a bunch of young kids. Nick overheard her saying that she would make a pie. We later concluded that those were lowland huckleberries and regretted not picking them ourselves. We would have liked to have found blue huckleberries, but I don't think we were at the right elevation. I think the campground was too low and I think Hurricane Ridge was too high--just above the treeline. We did find some berries that I think were huckleberries but they weren't ready. They tasted neither sweet nor tart.


Chris said...

Gorgeous photos! Sounds as if you had fun and even if it wasn't really the "wilds" (as in far from civilization and people), it was beautiful. I love the going out for dinner part!! :-) Dan says that when I "camp" I, like Patrick McManus' wife, prefer something between me and the cold hard ground--like a seven-story luxury hotel. :-)

Kathy said...

I'm with you on the camping, Chris. It's not just the hard ground, it's the work. Camping is real work!

I almost posted an update to this post because Hallie and Nick went out again last weekend and found huckleberries. I decided it's their story and they know they can post again if they want to. It's significant in my book that they found and picked huckleberries, especially with the competition in that place.

Leah said...

The photos say a lot. This is why people go camping or hiking. Such beautiful scenery. So close to home. Are you lucky or what?

Thanks for the diary of your trip.

Hallie said...

Camping gives my nervous energy a purpose. The Therm-a-rest air pads were a great improvement over the thin foam pads we had been using. The only thing I need to figure out is a good pillow. I bought an inflatable pillow, but it just doesn't do the trick. I've tried using my folded clothes as a pillow, but they're not very soft. Other than that, I think it's fun sleeping in a tent!

We ARE fortunate to live in this beautiful area and especially fortunate this time of year when there are clear skies enough to see and enjoy it. :)

Kathy said...

Mike is proud that he raised children who enjoy camping. (His wife is silent on this point.)

We had one camping experience where I was miserable on the cold ground. Mike got up and said, "That was the best night's rest I've ever had while camping. I could barely feel the ground. Why Kathy! Look at this! I had my pad and yours, too. No wonder I slept so well." That's the last time I went camping.

But if it's what you want to do, if you find it restful and invigorating, then more power to you!

Chris said...

LOL!! LOL!! I can't stop laughing about Mike and pads!!

I absolutely love being out in the woods, but I was fortunate enough to always have a cabin right there to sleep in, complete with cot, bathroom, and kitchen. :-) Best of all possible worlds.