we've been back from our weekend getaway to the coast since monday, but it's taken me a few days to get the chance to sit down and recap it. i actually had very little cell service while we were there. it was sort of nice to unplug, but at the same time i came back to lots of bookkeeping and board work, laundry, no food in the house, and a flurry of "end of the (school) year" activities that require planning and coordination, i've been running around like a chicken with its head cut off for the last few days. whew!
i wasn't really sure what to expect on our trip. i had seen pictures of the coast of washington and was informed there are rainforests there and a lot of the peninsula land is indian reservations. the weather was great. not hot, mind you, but around 60 every day with sun in the afternoons. if you look on a map, the coast doesn't look all that far from seattle, but it's actually about a 4 hour drive. admittedly it was probably the easiest road trip we've done with the kids to date because we invested in a second amazon fire tablet. we had one before and a portable dvd player, but the tablet has been the coveted item. having one for each kid = sweet sweet silence :) totally worth them having too much screen time! we took a bajillion pictures over the weekend and it was really hard to narrow them down for this post, but I tried.
saturday morning we stopped in olympia for coffee on the way to the peninsula. we haven't really spent any time there, it's a cute town! then we stopped for groceries in aberdeen (we planned to make our breakfasts and dinners at the cabin). soon we made our way to quinault mercantile in the olympic national forest for lunch.
we got burgers and fries and then left to enjoy the surrounding beauty. this is lake quinault:
this picture is not edited in any way. the colors were unreal!
at the visitor center we learned the oldest spruce tree in the world (around 1000 years!) was a short hike away.
it was really impressive!
next we drove to the quinault rainforest to do another short hike. it was sunny during our drive, clouded over when we parked, and by the time we were five minutes into the trail, it.was.pouring.
but it was beautiful!
you can barely see the rain in this picture, but we booked it back to the car right after snapping this. oh well! apparently this rainforest gets over 12 feet of rain each year!
we kept seeing these gorgeous yellow flowers lining the two lane highways during our drive, so thatcher pulled over to take a picture of them. turns out they are invasive, but pretty none the less!
our next stop was ruby beach! like most of the beaches on the peninsula, there is a hike involved to get to the beach. ruby beach is very popular and i can definitely see why:
always throwing rocks...
finally, we drove the last leg of the trip to our rental cabin at the quileute oceanside resort in la push. ashford referred to it as "our new house" all weekend, which was super cute. the cabin was pretty modest, but the location and the views were top notch! i could have lived on the front wrap around porch.
overlooking first beach
we made smoked salmon pasta for dinner and then headed out to check out first beach.
the kids loved the waves. the sound doesn't really get waves so it was definitely a novelty!
so many monstrous trees on every beach
the beaches were especially magical at sunset
sunday morning we made breakfast at the cabin, then thatcher took the kids out to the beach again while i got ready for the day.
it was cloudy every morning, but the sun always came out by lunch time.
our first stop on sunday was the hoh rain forest. i'm happy to report it did not rain on us this time.
our drive to the rainforest
these trees were so cool!
we did the moss trail in the rainforest and it was super mossy! :)
this boy loves streams almost as much as he loves throwing rocks :)
after our hike we stopped for lunch at another mercantile. i guess that's the thing to do in the national park :) then we drove a ways to check out second beach, which required another hike. i have to say, the kids were really good hikers all weekend. azalea walked a ton with minimal complaints and though ashford was carried a lot, they both really seemed to enjoy the hikes. and i don't consider myself much of a hiker, but they weren't super long, so i enjoyed them too.
second beach was my favorite beach of the weekend. super smooth sand from the low tide and tons of space to run and spin and play. is there any better feeling than standing in front of the wide open sea? it was heaven!
the kids were so wet and sandy (but happy!) by the time we left to hike back to the car!
we drove back to our cabin and made chicken, rice and veggies for dinner. the kids and i went to bed around 9, but thatcher stayed up and actually woke azalea up at 11 to go look at the stars. she was tired and a little scared of the dark and strange noises, so they didn't last long, but he is glad they did it.
monday was thatcher's 35th birthday! we woke up and made breakfast at the cabin and even saw a whale off the coast! it was so cool! our destination that morning was cape flattery, which is the most northwestern point of the lower 48. cool huh? we ended up spending a lot more time in the car on monday than we anticipated. it took about 1.5 hours to get there. it was a cloudy, cool morning, but nice for our hike to the point. and the view when we got there was awesome!
we had hoped to go to hurricane ridge as well, but we were feeling like it was going to get too late for getting back to seattle. we set out to drive to port angeles for lunch. it should have only taken about an hour to get there, but google did not alert us of some construction delays along the two lane highway and it ended up taking more than two hours to get there.
we ate a super late lunch at a diner in port angeles and didn't spend much time in the town because we still had another hour drive to get to the ferry to take us back to seattle. (yes, we only took the ferry on the way back). the ferry leaves from kingston every 50 minutes and i kid you not, we arrived at 6:09pm for a 6:10 departure and we were the last car on the ferry. it was crazy!
i'm so happy we took this trip. it was a part of the state i didn't even know i needed to see! the kids were awesome travelers aside from their typical sibling fights (which happen no matter where we are). i'm so happy we can make these memories for them and for thatcher and me. we didn't get a romantic getaway for our 10th anniversary, but i have no complaints about doing this instead. if you made it through this whole post, congratulations!