Alaska, Washington and Oregon
Thursday, Sept 17th

The final day of our trip. We had asked for a 9am breakfast, so I set the alarm at 8:00. Somehow I woke up at 8:30. The sun was shining, birds were singing, and I could hear the waves on the beach far below us (we were on a very steep hill down to the ocean). Bob was still very sleepy, so I got up and took a shower. I looked at the view out of the front living room, then went out into the yard - hammock, plaque saying 'in (some year) at this spot nothing happened'. Far below, past some hedges, the ocean rolled in. And there were tons of birds! I could see three blue herons and lots of smaller birds.

I ran back inside, got the car keys, and grabbed the binoculars and camera. There were clammers down there too, plus the birds. A gentle fog was lifting off the sound, and things were very quiet. The hostess came from the main house with breakfast - fruits and warm bread, OJ and tea. I woke Bob up and we ate, then while he showered I went down to the beach. The B&B's web page had talked about sand dollars, but I was completely unprepared for what I saw. Trillions of them! It must have been a sand dollar nursery or something. I gathered a few, wandered and took pictures of the various ducks and kingfishers and beach birds. Bob came down, and we were almost spat on by a clam. Or was it a geoduck?? We gathered our stuff and left.

Right on our way out, a female elk bounded across the road! It looked almost like a deer but had big, round, mickey-mouse ears. We started on 8 to 101 to loop around Olympic National Park. First west through deep, dark forests, all spruce. Again, different from the variety of Alaska, but now the roads were very quiet, paved, and one lane. Lots of logging trucks on them, tho luckily few RVs. There were signs where areas had been clear cut and replanted, to show how quickly things grow back. Now, north up the coast. We saw some bright blue birds, pretty large. Here, it was still late summer.

We stopped on the opposite end of the forest at Forks, thinking we were near Cape Alava, the westernmost point of the US. Nope, we were told, it may appear most west, but actually farther north at Neah Bay - Cape Flattery is the point, because of the way the meridian lines curve. We were off again. The oceans here were chock-full of cormorants.

Lisa at W Point
The roads became much more twisty and windy; the plant life more tropical and ferny. We went through an Indian reservation, very run down. There was a herd of cows in the road at one point; we waited until they wandered off. Finally after miles of dirt road we found the entrance, with five other cars in there. We read the warnings about black bear and cougar, then entered. It was a fun hike - some boardwalks, some log circles, the entire time joking about bears and their eating habits. Finally we reached the three platforms at the end - the cliffs were gorgeous! Waves pounded against them like at the Cliffs of Moher. Caves had been worn into them. There was a lighthouse on an island at the end, and while we watched a chopper brought down supplies for them.

Eventually we turned around and came back out. The forest on the northern side of this area was more temperate - more leafy trees, more cows and horses. We went past the Port Angeles, then the park entrance, where it rained a small bit and we saw two huge rainbows. We wended across small bridges through the various islands on our way back to Seattle. Soon enough the road was 5 lanes again, and we got back to the airport. From there we took an 11:45pm flight to Chicago, changed planes at 6am, and arrived in Boston around 9am Friday morning.

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