August 29-31, 2013 – Port Angeles, WA and Olympic National Park
Thursday morning we were planning to leave Tim and Terri’s around 10 o’clock and things were going well until Rex was checking the 5th wheel tires and noticed a broken spring. Luckily he and Tim found a shop with a spring not too far away and with the both of them working the spring was replaced in a couple of hours. During this time we lost Cody – Nancy and Teri were in the house and thought Cody was outside with the guys and Rex and Tim thought he was inside. Teri and Nancy looked all over the house and the back yard. We couldn’t find anyplace he could have gotten out of the back yard but decided we needed to look around the neighborhood just in case. We walked and drove all over the neighborhood in the rain and still couldn’t find him. Teri decided there was no way he could have gotten out of the back yard and she went back into the house to check one more time. She found the little monster in the spare bedroom lying between the bed and the wall happily chewing on a rawhide bone that he must have found under the bed. We were all very relieved to find him safe and sound but also very angry with him for not coming when he was called. Looks like he will need to go through some intensive refresher obedience training! After the spring was finished and Cody found, we had a nice lunch with Tim, Terri and Logan and then headed out.
We drove south around Puget Sound and then headed north along the west side of the Sound. At the north end of Puget Sound we headed west and stopped at Port Angeles. We are staying at the Elwha Dam RV Park – according to their sign “the best RV Park by a dam site”. This is a very nice park close to the site of the Elwha Dam which was removed over the past couple of years. After dinner we walked a short path to an overlook of the Elwha River where the dam used to be. The largest dam removal project in US history began on the Elwha River in 2011. The Elwha Dam has been removed and the Glines Canyon Dam is currently being removed and is scheduled to be finished this year. With the removal of these two dams the Elwha River will flow freely from its headwaters in the Olympic Mountains to the Strait of Juan de Fuca for the first time in 100 years and salmon and other migratory fish can return to 70 miles of spawning habitat.
Friday morning we returned to the overlook and then hiked down to the Elwha River and along a trail to the dam site and where Lake Aldwell used to be. We followed the trail along what would have been the shore line of the lake. It was a beautiful hike and we were amazed at how much vegetation has already filled in where the lake used to be.
After lunch we went to the Olympic National Park Visitor Center in Port Angeles and spoke with a ranger who told us about the best places to visit in the northern part of the park. We then headed up the road to Hurricane Ridge. We came upon this doe and her twin fawns grazing beside the road. There was no one behind us so we were able to stop and watch them for a short time.
It stated getting foggy and the farther up the road we went the foggier it became so our views from the overlooks were not very good.
We stopped at the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center and listened to a ranger talk about the flora and fauna in the park. At the end of the talk a doe came up to the patio. She jumped the wall and started licking one of the picnic tables. The ranger told us that someone probably had french-fries or something salty on that table and she is trying to lick up the salt.
We decided it was too foggy and wet to do any hiking up here today so we headed back to Port Angeles.
Saturday morning we were heading to Port Townsend when we saw a Ford dealership and Rex wanted to see if we could make an appointment for the truck. The truck has been running rough since we left Agassiz, BC a few weeks ago and Rex thought we might have gotten some bad diesel. After adding some diesel fuel additive and running a couple tanks of diesel through the engine it was still running rough and getting worse. Price Ford told us they were very busy next week but could look at it today and they found that we had a bad fuel injector, 2 bad glow plugs and a couple of bad hoses. The repairs took most of the day so while we waited we had lunch, walked around downtown Port Angeles and did some window shopping. We also walked around the dock area and were able to see a number of these beautiful purple starfish on the rocks.
Around four o’clock we went back to Price Ford as they were just finishing with the truck. We were very impressed with the service we got at Price Ford and it is good to have a smooth running engine again.
Sunday, we headed to Port Townsend and stopped at Fort Warden State Park. In the late 1800s, the US Army chose Point Wilson for the site of a new fort. The first soldiers arrived at the newly constructed Fort Worden in 1902. The fort was named for Admiral John Lorimer Worden, commander of the ironclad Union warship Monitor during the Civil War. The fort and its neighboring posts, Fort Flagler and Fort Casey, worked together to guard the entrance to Puget Sound. Fort Worden featured state-of-the-art mortars and guns in permanent concrete fortifications – much like we saw at Fort Casey. In the early 1900s, Fort Worden became the headquarters of the Puget Sound coast defenses. In 1953, the Army closed Fort Worden and four years later a portion of the fort was purchased by the State of Washington.
After looking around the fort we walked to the Point Wilson Lighthouse. Activated on December 15, 1879, the original light was located atop the light keepers house. It was moved to its present position when this structure was built in 1913. The lighthouse has been closed to the public since its automation in November 1976.
We could see Mt. Baker in Canada from the lighthouse.
We went back into Port Townsend and had lunch at Sirens Restaurant. We sat on the patio and watch the ferry and other smaller boats go by.
We were on the second floor and could look straight down into the water where we saw a dead jellyfish floating upside down.
We walked around Port Townsend and came upon this bell tower. A sign on the tower said it was built in 1890 and for more than 50 years the bell was used to call volunteer fire fighters to their posts. It is the only known tower of its kind in the United States and was restored in 2003.
On the way back to Port Angeles we stopped at a wine and cider shop and bought some apple cider and some raspberry cider.