Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Olympic Peninsula II

The morning after our wonderful meal at Fort George brew pub, we took the Astoria bridge into Washington.  It was pouring rain.  We drove north through Naselle, Cosmopolis, Humptulips and Quinalt (There were other towns as well, but those names were irresistible).  Past Cosmopolis and Aberdeen (Grays Harbor) we were on the Peninsula.  The park doesn't start until further north, but it's a woodsy area with few people and lots of water, trees, and evidence of logging.

The highway comes back to the coast at Queets on the Quinalt river.  Just a bit north of that we reached the Cedar Burl Grove, a little area right over the beach where bacteria have caused a whole grove of cedar trees to grow large burls in a fairly concentrated area.  It was raining.  But we got out anyway to look around.  It was like walking through a Dr. Seuss forest.

Just a little further north we entered the National Park and pulled in to a place that had a shop selling coffee, Kalaloch Lodge.  It was around 3pm, we were wet and cold and needed a break so we stopped.  We had a nice chat with the park service guy running the shop.  He was from the southeast and finding the northwest coast a rather different place to live.

By the time we had the coffee our spectacular surroundings had started to sink in.  There's a main building with a restaurant, and a number of small cabins ranged along a bluff directly above a beach.  Everything arranged to have perfect views of the sea.  It was raining and there was obviously a storm coming in.  The waves were huge.  Without telling me where he was going Ken went into the lodge to ask if there were any vacancies.  He came back out to me with the good news.  By this time I'd had the same idea.  So we walked down along the drive behind the cabins.  We saw two that looked empty and had incredible views of both the ocean and the creek that emptied into the ocean on the north side of the bluff.

We got cabin 3.  It was wonderful.  Once again our non-planning of this trip resulted in a great experience.  Our own little haven, with huge glass windows looking out to the ocean from both the kitchenette table and from the sitting area.  We made reservations in the lodge restaurant for dinner at 6:30.  That gave us some time to move in, have a little tea and sit watching the ocean at our kitchen table.  You could hardly take your eyes off it.  I could have spent the rest of the week there.  I definitely want to stay there again.

Dinner was very good.  I had seafood pasta and a glass of St Josef's pinot noir.  Ken had a Port Townsend porter and the same pasta.  There weren't a lot of people staying there at that time of year, so everyone was given a good table at the large picture windows looking out to the ocean.  It was still raining, but no one seemed to care.

The next morning we had breakfast in the restaurant looking out at that same amazing view.  My only regret is that the weather wasn't a bit better.  It would have been fun to walk along the beach.  But with all the huge driftwood logs, the rough seas, and the almost-continuous rain, we decided not to.

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