Zen On Dirt

PNW tour continues – Apparently we did a lot of stuff

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We’re somewhere on the order of one week away from launching into our ‘big’ summer adventure, and I’m still a month behind here. I is totally failing at this recording of life business. Still, I want to get it down before we head north again.

Back to where I left the narrative off – We spent the night at the Hoh rainforest campground surrounded by giant trees and a handful of RVs. Interestingly enough, there didn’t seem to be a huge RV culture up in that area of the world. Most people who we camped near at the three official campgrounds that we utilized this trip were tent camping. I feel like the southwest/four corners area has far more RVs per capita than the PNW. Which is funny, because it rains a lot more in the PNW.

Energy was definitely starting to run a little bit low for both Scott and I by this time in the trip and we were almost ready to welcome the rain that was forecasted. Of course, the morning dawned clear.

A run through the Hoh area fairly quickly devolved into a hike, and then into a meandering through the close-in nature loops.

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It felt ancient in there.

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And magical.

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It made me wish we had backpacking gear so that we could see beyond our five-mile radius. Someday, we said.

The skies were still clear-ish when we pulled into the Mt. Muller parking lot a few hours later. A must-ride, we were told by a reliable source. I looked up at the mountain, searching my brain for any excuse not to pull the bikes out. I was tired. The last thing I wanted to do was climb steep PNW trails (Trails there are either straight up, straight down, or flat. They haven’t discovered railroad grade in that area of the world yet.)

Hot springs? I suggested. The Sol Duc hotsprings, part of the NP, were just down the highway, and a ways up another road. There wasn’t much to do up the road besides camp and soak in the commercial hot springs…but we had to find somewhere to camp anyhow, and hot springs sure did sound nice. And they had $14 dollar camping, which wasn’t much more than traditional $12 National Park camping.

I guess Scott was as tired as I was because he agreed.

We soaked. We went and set up camp and read for a while. Then we went back and soaked some more.

As it turned out, a rest day was exactly what we both needed. Running to a small waterfall in the morning was a great way to start the day.

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So much green!

The climb up Muller was indeed steep, but with fresh(er) legs, we both enjoyed the ascent. The clouds rolled over us and we were sure we were about to get rained on.

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Until we climbed out of the clouds, catching glimpses of peaks in the sea of white and Mt Olympus far in the distance.

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It was a screaming descent back down. Definitely a must-do if you’re in the area.

Our Olympic Peninsula time was officially coming to an end as we pointed to the east end of the land mass to put the car on another ferry to Seattle. But no visit to the Peninsula is complete without a second visit to Little Devil’s Lunchbox in Port Angeles. Burritos, BBQ, oh my!

Seattle held three goals: Visit Scott’s sister and brother in law and meet their kitties, visit Scott’s friend Martin and go for a little ride and get some ride beta, and eat some good food.

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We sampled a Cuban place, ate Trophy Cupcakes (theoretically Seattle’s best cupcakes – I thought they overdid the frosting and everything was too sweet, but that’s just me), followed Martin around some twisty, rooty local trails, went hiking in Discovery Park with Nick and Lisa and watched seals playing in the ocean, and then just 24 hours after we’d arrived, we shot south, avoiding the worst of the famed Seattle traffic, headed for Mount Saint Helens.

Then it got dark. And it started to rain. As in pour. We drove the pitch black highway watching google maps countdown the miles to our destination. 11:30pm arrival? Seriously?

We pulled up to a hotel in a random town, fully ready to splurge for our first hotel room of the trip. After hours – Call this number. Rooms are $125.

Forget that, we said and got back in the car. The dark miles took an eternity until we saw the most welcome ‘You are entering National Forest’ sign. The rain abated. The first left, we pulled off onto a dirt road. Deeming it deserted, we set up our tent in the middle of the road. We settled into our little abode only to hear the rain start back up. We were in the PNW after all and we couldn’t have perfect weather forever.

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