Friday, July 18, 2008

Sequim Lavender Festival

Every year in Sequim, WA, there's a weekend festival based around lavender. Sequim is a unique town about 30 miles east of our campground. All of those mountains that you saw in the pictures of Hurricane Ridge are directly west of Sequim. Most of the weather comes from the ocean to the west, so the rain falls in the western slopes of the mountains. By the time the clouds get to Sequim, they have lost most of their moisture. Therefore, where the Hoh gets 12 feet of rain a year, Sequim gets less that 2 feet. This creates a nice microclimate for growing a lot of different crops from all kinds of berries to lavender.

The festival celebrates lavender in all kinds of different ways. There's a lot of different food flavored with lavender, including lavender wine. There's a tour of 8 different farms where over 144 different varieties of lavender are grown. At some farms you even pick your own lavender. There's also animals at some of the farms such as these lamas.

The lavender is really beautiful as this closeup shows.

At one of the farms there was a classic car show. Linda saw one of her favorite cars, a '57 T-Bird.

If you would like more information for next years festival, please click on the following link:

To see more photos of the festival, please click on the following link:

Monday, July 14, 2008

Hoh Rain Forest

About 60 miles west of our campground on Lake Crescent is the Hoh Rain Forest. This is one of the largest temperate rain forests in the world. The road follows the Hoh river up into the Olympic mountains, leading into the rain forest.

It's about 14 miles inland from the coast, gaining slightly in elevation. The further you drive along the road, the larger and closer the trees are together and the deeper is the moss. There's a visitor center, campground, and hiking trails. We got there in time to join a ranger led walk through the Hall of Mosses.

We learned a lot about the different types of moss. The forest receives 12 feet of rain a year, but very little snow because it's so close to the ocean which keeps the temperature above freezing. We also saw examples of nurse logs. These are logs on the ground from trees that had fallen due to winds or age. New trees grow on the logs, and as the nurse logs rots away, the new trees roots extend down to the soil creating unique root structures.

It was very interesting and a great learning experience. As you can see, there's a lot of different areas in the Olympic National Park which allows for a very diverse visiting experience.

We had a great sunny day, which is very unusual weather wise. If you want to see some of the other photos, please click on the following link:

Marymere Falls Hike

Today we decided to do a short hike to Marymere Falls. The hike starts at the Storm King Ranger Station on Barnes Point, where the Lake Crescent Lodge is located. This is also the area where we get our mail and a lot of the rangers live in park provided housing. The hike is about 3/4 mile one way, and it follows Barnes Creek back to the falls. Here's a picture of one of the wooden bridges over the creek.

And here's our intrepid party braving the bridge. You'll notice that Lois is carrying a hiking pole. Linda and I bought those for our hiking trips and it really make a difference when walking on the gravel paths. Plus, if a bear attacks you, you can hit him with your pole just before you become his dinner.

Here's a view of the falls. It doesn't have a lot of water, but it is very pretty and makes a beautiful sound as the water falls. At the very end of the hike there's a pretty steep path to get to this view, and it's all on wooden platforms.

After we hiked back to the trail head, we moseyed over to our favorite spot, the Lake Crescent Lodge. Linda had packed a very good lunch that we ate outside sitting in the nice shade with a beautiful view of the lake. We spend a lot of time at the lodge because they have wifi internet access and our cell phones work here. It's about a 5 mile drive from the Fairholme campground, but it seems longer because of all of the curves in the road around the lake.

If you would like to see more of our pictures of the hike please click on the following link:

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Hurricane Ridge

One of the major highlights of the Olympic National Park is Hurricane Ridge. The road leaves Port Angeles at sea level, and about 17 miles later you're at 5,000 in the heart of the Olympic Mountains. What's amazing is that it's a good road without bad curves. Here's the view back down to the Strait of San Juan de Fuca and Port Angeles.

When you turn around and look towards the South and West, you can see the beautiful peaks and glaciers of the Olympic range.

It's called Hurricane Ridge because of the extreme weather at the top. At any time of year you can experience 75-85 mile per hour winds. In the winter, the snowfall averages 30 feet. Needless to say the summer season is short. We visited the ridge in the middle of July and there was still some snow on the ground. Of course Lois and Linda had to play. Some women never grow up-and that's a good thing.

There's a visitor center, gift shop and snack bar. Linda packed us a delicious lunch and we ate outside on the deck of the visitor center. At the same time a ranger was giving a talk on the area, so we even had entertainment during the lunch.

It's a beautiful setting and we learned a lot about how the mountains were formed, the animals that lived in the areas, and the weather conditions. If you would like to check out the current conditions at the ridge, they have a webcam with a nice view of the mountains. Just click on the link
As I sit here writing this, there is cloud cover at the campground, but the webcam shows blue sky up on the ridge.

The ridge is open year round and there's a lot of trails for hiking there, plus in the winter they have cross country skiing and snowshoeing. If you would like to see all of the pictures of our day on Hurricane Ridge, please click on this link:

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Lois Comes For A Visit

Linda's Mom, Lois, came up for a visit for two weeks in July. She had never been to the Olympic National Park, and we planned to show her all of the highlights of the area. We're really looking forward to exploring the towns and attractions in the area. We'll probably wear her out with all of the jaunting around.

We've discovered our campground deer. She's a doe with a fawn that was born this season. The rangers have told us that the birthing season was late this year because of cold and the rain. We've seen her almost everyday as we walk the campground. There are so many trees that there's not enough light to get a decent picture, so this is the best I could do.

We've had a lot of questions about how we spend our evenings. We rejoined Netflix to get some DVDs sent to us, and we were able to get a local library card. The library here has an excellent selection of videos, plus we can request books & videos from the other branches. We have our XM satellite radio which we listen to for news and of course Dodger baseball games.

Linda has been doing some hobbies such as beading and needlepoint. She also has been doing puzzles. This is one of the toughest ones she has attempted. It seems simple because it's only 9 pieces.

But all of the animals have to match. She started on it back in SD last year, then put it away. We discovered it again when we were reorganizing the cabinets in the coach, so she started on it again. Hours later she succeeded!

What's funny is that she tried another one and finished it in about 10 minutes. She's also become a Sudoku addict, working on the puzzles daily from the local newspaper.

With Lois here we start working our plan. Our first place to visit is Hurricane Ridge, one of the highlights of the Park.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Our First Visitors

We had our first friends visit us here at Lake Crescent! Our good friends Paul & Kathy Ross drove up from Albany, OR, for a weekend. The last time we had seen our good friends was at the wedding of their oldest son, Matt, in Austin, TX, last fall. Here's a picture from the wedding with the entire Ross family.

We've known the Ross' since we moved to Oregon back in the early 80's. Paul came up to replace John at the distributor John was working at before he went back to work at Gallo. Paul & Kathy's boys were about the same age range as Matt, so we spent a lot of time together as families. When we left Oregon to go back to California, we kept in touch with the Ross' and when we get together it's like we were still neighbors.

We met at the Lake Crescent Lodge for lunch. The lodge dates from 1916 with cabins, motel type rooms, and the Roosevelt fireplace cottages. It has an award winning restaurant with a view from the table out over Lake Crescent. The food is outstanding, if a little expensive, and the ambiance is thrilling. And the weekend was very sunny and clear, so the views were outstanding.

After lunch we went back to the campground where we spent the afternoon catching up on what's been happening in our life's since last fall. Paul helped John walk the campground and greet all of the new guests. They both seem to enjoy getting out around the campground and enjoying the views and the lake.

Linda prepared her famous Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas which we all enjoyed, then we played Mexican Train into the evening. The next day we met back at the Lodge for their breakfast buffet, then back to the campground for more conversations. Finally, Paul & Kathy had to leave for the long drive back to Albany, about a 4 hour drive.

We really enjoyed the visit and it brighten our days at the campground. We promised to visit again when we leave after Labor Day and head into Oregon.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

We Settle into a Routine

We're beginning to understand our new jobs, and how to do them. We've actually started to get into a routine, like our bad old days when had to "work".

Our day starts out with letting our dog, Pearl, outside and then feeding her breakfast. Then we move on to our breakfast, which we usually share with Pearl. Oh to live a dog's life. We listen to our XM radio to catch up on the news on the Fox News Channel.

Then Linda goes out into the campground to pull the tickets of those campers who are not staying for the next night. These have to be organized, and compared to the audit sheets we do everyday. Then we take a walk around the campground to check for any fires left going, or a messy site. We like to keep all of the sites clean for new customers. Linda usually sweeps out the restrooms. We don't have to clean the restrooms, but she likes to make sure everything is tidy. And then we take off to do something during the middle of the day on Sundays, Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.

After we get back to the campground, we feed Pearl, and then check the boards for new check ins. We record these on the audit sheet and then walk the campground and check if the campers are in a tent or an RV. We also greet all of the new arrivals, answer any questions on the Park or the area, and hand out the Park newspaper. We remind them of the campground rules which include no gathering of wood, no food left out at night, and quiet hours from 10:00pm to 6:00am. We also check to make sure everyone has paid for the night.

Our routine changes a little on Tuesday because we have to meet with the ranger to collect the money envelopes and get them ready for deposit.

On Fridays and Saturdays our campground get very busy, especially if the weather is good. Most of the campers are locals from the Port Angeles or Squim. They are mostly tent campers. Usually the campground is full by 4:00pm, and we have to tell people where they might find a site at other campgrounds. We also do the money collection with the ranger on Saturdays. It always surprises us how many of the campers move on Saturday after staying Friday night. Usually it about half of the sites become available on Saturday morning.

That's our normal week. We do a lot of walking up and down the hills of the campground, which we enjoy and it's helping us get into better shape. There's nothing difficult about it, but we work with some great people from the National Park, and we've met some very interesting people who for a short time were our guests.