Day 5 of our Northwest road trip was filled with a wonderful adventure and for the first day since we left I didn’t spend any money in gift shops, which was a welcome respite for my wallet.
Our day began in Port Angeles. Since our hotel didn’t provide breakfast, we headed to out to eat.
We ate at the Chestnut Cottage with was an English-themed restaurant that had a fabulous menu. It took me a while to decide what to eat, but at the end, I knew that I just had to try the giant apricot scone.
It was delicious!
Now at home, I am fairly healthy in my eating habits. But when on vacation, part of the experience of learning different regions, is to try out the food.
After breakfast, we headed out to the Olympic National Forest, which takes up the majority of the Olympic peninsula in Washington state.
After driving to the Olympic National Park’s Visitor Center, just outside of Port Angeles, we decided to take one of the nearby trails into the beautiful, lush forest.
Everywhere you looked, you could see evidence of lush, green growth as a result of the large amount of rain that falls in many areas within the national park.
Ferns carpeted the ground.
I’ve always loved ferns, especially as their curved ends gradually unfurl their leaves.
Moss also covered many of the exposed surfaces of the trees.
While parts of the forest were very shady – there were also areas where the sun shone through.
Big leaf maple trees added a bright shade of green to the darker foliage of the other trees in the forest.
Did you know that the majority of a tree’s roots grow outward and not downward?
This is the root mass of a large tree that had fallen and you can see how wide the roots grew.
I really enjoy bright green moss and there was plenty of it.
Throughout the forest were fallen trees that were slowly breaking down and returning to the ground. Here you can see fungi that are growing on a recently cut tree. Over time, they will help break down the wood, which will return it back to the soil.
Walking down the path, my mother noticed this tree, which at first glance, appeared dead since it was hollow.
Yet, when you looked up, you could see live branches filled with leaves.
How can that be?
The living tissue of trees or in other words their vascular system that brings water and nutrients up and down the tree is located on the outer portion of the tree – not the inside.
**It might be interesting to some of you to find that the ‘Twilight’ book series was set in the Olympic National Forest and small towns nearby.
After our hike into the forest, we got in the car and took to the road to Hurricane Ridge, which is high up in the Olympic National Forest.
As we climbed, we began to see snow-capped peaks.
18 miles later, we arrived to a breathtaking view of Mount Olympus alongside other notable mountain peaks.
It was cold and windy at the top, but that didn’t keep hikers away.
Looking at the trees next to the visitor’s center, you can see the evidence of the hurricane force winds and how they affect the growth.
Adjoining the visitor’s center is a large meadow, flanked by trees. There were several walking paths and we got started on the second hike of the day.
There were a few deer grazing nearby who didn’t seem worried about our presence.
In fact, the closer we got, more came out from the trees to graze.
Wildflowers were beginning to grow with blooms soon to follow. This lupine will soon be covered in purple blossoms. In the meantime, you can see where water has collected in the center of the leaves.
Soon, it was time to head back down the mountains in order to catch our ferry to Victoria, Canada.
I am not afraid to admit that I am relatively inexperienced when it comes to taking ferries. While I have been on them a few times (another trip to Canada and one in Scotland), this time we were taking our car with us.
We got in line waiting for the ferry to arrive about an hour before it was due to depart.
We had to fill out a yellow paper with our names and birthdates, which also listed the items we couldn’t bring into Canada.
The ferry arrived and the vehicles on it drove off while we waited.
I was shocked to see five large trucks coming off the ferry. Some even had two trailers attached. I know next to nothing about boats, but I was surprised that they could carry so many cars AND big trucks.
Finally, it was our turn to board.
We were directed into a lane and then told to lock our car and go up to the passenger area.
No one could stay in their vehicle during the voyage.
The trip took over an hour from Port Angeles to Victoria, Canada.
As we approached Victoria, we were told to go downstairs and get in our cars while the ferry docked.
Then we drove off, showed our passports and were on our way to enjoy several days in Canada.
Tomorrow, we will explore the very English city of Victoria, which is also known as the ‘City of Gardens’.