2009 Sep 3-5 – Days 9-11 – Washington Coast

We left Victoria the morning of September 3 and took the ferry across Juan de Fuca Strait to Port Angeles, WA.  The Strait separates the southern end of Vancouver Island, British Columbia from the Washington Olympic Penninsula, much of which is protected in Olympic National Park.The 18-mile drive from Port Angeles up Hurricane Ridge takes you ever-deeper into dense forests of Douglas fir, hemlock, western red cedar and alders.

About half-way up is Lookout Rock where there are views – on a clear day – of the strait and Mount Baker.At Crescent Lake there are a few cabins and a couple of resorts.  The area is very popular for hiking holidays in the summer.  There is a road that encircles the park but most of the natural beauty spots have to be reached on foot.
Marymere Falls are at the end of a three-quarter mile trail.  The falls drop 90 feet down the rock face in a pretty cascade. Unless you are camping (and I don’t camp), there are not many places to stay along the coast of the penninusula so we drove back to Port Angeles for the night.

The next day we began to follow the coast road south.  There are many nice beaches and coves along the route and we would often pull over and take a walk along the shore. Our drive took us through one of the many WWII defensive bunkers that were built along the western coast of the United States in case of further attacks by the Japanese.

We really liked Ruby Beach and we spent quite a bit of time wandering over the rocky beach.  The shore is littered with driftwood and completely covered with round rocks, smoothed by the ocean tides. That night we stayed in the community of Aberdeen which sits at the end of Grays Harbour, an almost-completely enclosed natural harbour.

A short drive down a spit at the end of Grays Harbour takes you to Westport Light; which, naturally, has to be climbed.

At Westport there is an excellent Maritime Museum. Westport also has a very active fishing fleet and there were many boats tied up at the marina. The Westport area is home to huge cranberry bogs.  Cranberries are big business here and there is a nearby processing plant. We crossed the bridge to Astoria, Oregon and had a lovely dinner at a restaurant with a beautiful view of the water and the bridge.  After dinner it was time to check-in to our hotel for the night.

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