Monday, December 30, 2013

The Hoh Rainforest


We took a trip to the Hoh Rainforest.  It's located within the Olympic National Park.  It is about a 3-1/2 hour trip from Port Townsend.  It was a sunny day, but when we hiked some of the trails, it was still dripping wet from all the branches.  The Hoh Rainforest gets 12 to 14 feet of rain in a year...and most of it falls during the winter season.  There are a variety of trees including the Sitka Spruce and Western Hemlock.  They can grow over 300 feet tall, and 20-plus feet in diameter.  
 
 
The trail name speaks for itself.
 
 
  
Lots of tropical looking ferns and lush vegetation
 
Within the Hoh Rainforest, it is not uncommon to see trees growing up out of fallen logs. These are called "nurse logs" and help seedlings grow by providing a solid foundation and nutrients for roots, while boosting them off the forest floor and above the competition with other seedlings. 



 This is what the trees look like when the 'nurse log' finally decays and disappears.

 

View looking up at these tall trees.  This one is well over 200 feet tall.





 
 









Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Cape Flattery and Neah Bay

We decided to take advantage of a nice sunny day, so we took a 3-hour drive to Neah Bay.  It's situated on the Makah Indian Reservation.  We had breakfast at a the Warmhouse Restarurant.  At the restaurant we purchased an annual pass to gain access to the Indian Reservation Lands.  A short drive from Neah Bay is Cape Flattery.  Cape Flattery is located on the most North-Western tip of the Continental United States.  We took the easy hike on Cape Flattery Trail.  It's only 3/4 mile, but it was really nice.  The trail winds it's way through a Sitka Spruce Tree forest.  A lot of the hike is on a cedar plank and cedar stump walkway that was created to avoid sloshing through the mud.  It was really built well, and seems to belong in the forest.  Along the way, there were several lookout observation decks.  At the end of the trail was an observation deck that had a spectacular view of Tatoosh Island and the Cape Flattery Lighthouse.












Tatoosh Island-Cape Flattery Lighthouse in the background  


Close-up view of the Lighthouse

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Moved to the Beach - November 2013

After a week in the Upper Forest Campground, the Ranger asked us if we would like to move to the Beach Campground.  Apparently the Camp Host never showed up on November 1st, and they need a Camp Host.  They also asked us if we would be willing to stay for a few more months, so we committed to staying here until February 1st.  We really loved the Upper Forest Campground because it was very quiet and picturesque with all the big trees and the daily deer visits.  But the Beach is also very nice with the wide open views, though it often gets windier at the beach....The only problem is that the park will be shutting off all the fresh water to the campgrounds in December...So we will have to fill our water tank on a regular basis.  I guess that's a small price to pay for being able to live in a place surrounded by such beauty.

Since last week we managed to see and do a few things.  Linda & I took a drive through Sequim (pronounced skwim) and Port Angeles.  These are nice coastal towns with plenty of shopping.  Sequim has Walmart and Costco, and some other major chain retailers.  Port Angeles has more local retailers.  We still prefer Port Townsend for it's quaint downtown charm and historical Victorian architecture.  We also went to a place called Lake Crescent.  It's located within the Olympic National Park.  We visited the Lake Crescent Lodge for a nice lunch and went on a great hike to Marymere Falls.  On another day, Linda took the Kingston Ferry to Edmonds, where her friend Rebecca met her.  They enjoyed the afternoon shopping at some real nice places.  While she was visiting, I stayed in the Olympic Peninsula and explored some of the coastal towns nearby.  I stumbled upon the Naval UnderSea Museum in a town called Keyport.  It was really cool to see the evolution of the submarine, Navy Scuba gear, mines and torpedoes.  Later that day, I took the Bainbridge Ferry to Seattle where Linda and I met Rebecca and Russ for dinner at Ivar's Acres of Clams.  It was great seeing them again!



Sunrise outside our front window...Yeah, Sunrise on the West Coast...We're actually on a peninsula.  The sun rises on one side, and sets on the other.

This is the beach across from the campground.  Point Wilson Lighthouse is in the background

One of the walking bridges on the way to Marymere Falls

Climbing the steps to the Falls

Marymere Falls near Lake Crescent.  It's located in the Olympic National Park

View of Lake Crescent from the restaurant inside the Lake Crescent Lodge

Seattle skyline view from the Ferry


Thursday, November 7, 2013

Our First Camp Hosting Job

It's been 3 months since we started our retirement adventure, and here we are at our first Camp Hosting Job.  I really wouldn't call it a job, because it's such a great environment to experience.  We're the Upper Forest Campground Hosts at Fort Worden State Park.  We have 30 sites here with Electricity and Water at each site.  Each site also has a picnic table and a nice firepit.  We also have 5 primitive walk-in sites for tents and backpackers.  Today, We only have 3 campsites filled.  It's pretty slow this time of year, but hopefully it will pick up this Veterans Day Weekend.
There is also a Beach Campground here with 50 full hookup sites.  All the sites are paved with plenty of green grass.
Fort Worden is comprised of over 430 acres.  It's an old Military Fort that was established around the turn of the 20th century.  It was built to protect the Puget Sound.  It remained a military facility until after World War II.  There are many buildings that have been fully restored.  The Commanding Officer's Quarters allow visitors to tour the building, and see all the furnishings inside as well.  We haven't taken the tour yet, but hope to see it before we leave.  There are also a couple of small museums, gift shop, cafe, spa, laundry facility.  Fort Worden is also home to a number of schools, including the Port Townsend school of Woodworking, 
We have so much to explore!


Our Camp Host Site 
This is a view of the campground - looking out from our door

This is the old HQ Barracks and Dormitory...There are quite a few other buildings that look similar to this. 
Alexander's Castle - This was here prior to Fort Worden

Marine Science Center on the East side of the Peninusla

We see deer every single day here...We even had to wait for several to cross the road in the middle of Port Townsend.

I guess they're a little bit exhausted

Military Cemetery here at Fort Worden

Friday, November 1, 2013

Last few days in Portland - October 2013

It's hard to believe that it's already time to leave the Portland area.  We have had a great time.  There is such a variety of things to do here...not to mention spending time with our loved ones.  The weather has been quite nice, and not a lot of rain.  We're having a little cold snap here now.  The overnight temps were down to about 35 degrees.   It's been really nice to be here during the changing of the Fall Colors of the trees.  We've gotten to seem them change from greens - to yellows - to reds and oranges...and now they are starting to fall to the ground.
This is a view of Multnomah Falls.  It's the tallest waterfall in the State of Oregon...and arguably the most beautiful.
Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden.  The parks and natural settings in Oregon are really gorgeous.  The variety of trees and plants are amazing.

I think he found the perfect pumpkin

Jessica, Erik and Myles in a sea of orange



Riding with Elmo

Downtown Troutdale, Oregon

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Sandy Riverfront RV Resort in Troudale, Oregon

We've been here in Troutdale, Oregon for a week now, and we've had some nice Fall weather.  We're staying  at Sandy RiverFront RV Resort.  It's less than a 30 minute drive to Jessica & Erik's apartment in Portland, so it has been pretty convenient.  We've been able to spend a lot of time with Myles.  We took him on walks to the park, shopping, and a trip to the Oregon Zoo earlier in the week, and he really enjoyed that.  We'll be doing some more baby-sitting, so we will have to find some other fun things to do!

Laurelhurst Park near Jessica and Erik's Apartment
 


Erik racing at the CycloCross Race at Alpenrose Dairy

 
I think Myles found a cycling friend...


 















Sunday, September 29, 2013

Saying Goodbye to Idaho

The weather here in Idaho has taken a turn.  It's been rather chilly, but it's been really fun being here for the past month.  We're going to miss Idaho, Wyoming and the beauty of the National Parks.  At the same time, we're looking forward to seeing Jessica, Erik and Myles in Portland.  We'll be staying in Oregon for the entire month of October, so that will be nice.  



I don't think we'll be riding the bicycles today.


Our cowboy-snowman.  He was gone the following day.


We found this hiking trail not far from our camping spot.


Linda made it across the creek...It's a good thing she didn't fall, because it was too far to carry her back to the truck!


Overlooking Jenny Lake in Grand Teton NP

Goodbye Victor, Idaho RV Park


Thursday, September 26, 2013

Yellowstone - September 2013

We took a day-trip to Yellowstone, and we sure picked a good day!  It was a foggy morning, so it seemed a little bit eerie as we were driving through the area.  As we got near the Continental Divide at the ridge of the mountains, we were able to view Yellowstone's first snowfall of the season.  These National Parks are huge, so it was an all-day adventure to drive around the park, and also do a little bit of hiking.  The trees in Yellowstone NP have grown quite a bit since the big fires of 1988.  It's quite interesting to see the different layers of growth.  We didn't see any Moose, but we sure saw our share of Bison.  




















Staircase to the Lower Falls in Yosemite...328 Steps...not too bad going down, but at this elevation...a challenge getting back up!!

We made it to the bottom of the falls...Now we just have to get back up to the top!!