Monthly Archives: July 2018

Salt Creek Recreation Area, WA July 26, 2018

We left the Port Townsend area and headed west to Salt Creek Recreation Area.  We were last here in 2014. Somehow back then we missed the WW II bunkers at Camp Hayden (built 1942-5).  You can actually drive your car through the bunker! Camp Hayden was used during World War II as a harbor defense military base.  The two concrete bunkers housed 16-inch guns and several smaller bunkers. IMG_20180727_144311IMG_20180727_144556

The huge guns were 45 feet long and shot one-ton projectiles 28 miles. IMG_20180727_144407

The guns were only fired for practice. While in the area we found several geocaches. IMG_20180727_150226

From our campsite at Salt Creek Recreation Area we had a beautiful panoramic view of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Crescent Bay and Vancouver Island, Canada (British Columbia).  Our front window gave us views of cruise ships and barges passing by until the fog rolled in each day during the evenings. IMG_3255

The international boundary between the United States and Canada runs down the center of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. IMG_20180727_142124IMG_20180727_142145IMG_20180727_145933

On Saturday we drove to nearby Port Angeles to meet a friend of Bill’s who now lives in Washington state. Her family went to the same church as Bill in the 1980’s.  We had a lovely lunch and introduced her to geocaching. IMG_20180728_141938

We saw this wall mural of a old car ferry. Port Angeles has regular ferry service to Victoria, Canada. 20180728_142242

While in the area Bill and I went to the Olympic National Park Visitors Center and drove up to Hurricane Ridge. Due to clouds and haze the view of the glaciers clad mountains was not as good as it was when we were here in 2014.  IMG_20180728_16250720180728_163423

Hurricane Ridge, at 5,242 feet is the most easily accessed mountain area in Olympic National Park. IMG_20180728_162351

Hurricane Ridge got its name from the intense wind often experienced in the area. While we were there it was a nice 70 degrees with light winds. We saw a few deer lounging around. IMG_20180728_163652IMG_20180728_163735

On Tuesday we drove once again into Olympic National Park along the picturesque Crescent Lake.  IMG_3252

Our main purpose was to hike to two waterfalls. The first waterfall was the Marymere Falls, a beautiful 90 foot waterfall we accessed along a one mile walk through the forest. IMG_20180731_121414IMG_20180731_121705IMG_20180731_123106IMG_20180731_122516

We then drove to the next waterfall and hiked another mile to the Sol Duc Falls which splits into four channels as it cascades 48 feet into a narrow, rocky canyon. IMG_20180731_145858IMG_20180731_145701-EFFECTS

It was a wonderful day and we got in almost four and a half miles of hiking. IMG_20180731_151014IMG_20180731_130330

Next stop: Clallam Bay, Washington

Chimacum, WA July 19, 2018

When we left Birch Bay, which was our northernmost point in Washington this year, we planned to go to a campground near Port Townsend, Washington. We had a decision to make.  We could either drive over four and a half hours down to and around the Seattle /Tacoma area and fight horrendous traffic, or we could drive 90 minutes to Oak Harbor and take a thirty minute ferry over to Port Townsend. Hmmm. Even with the cost of gas, the ferry was the more expensive way to go. So, take the much longer way through terrible traffic and spend less money or shorten the trip by more than half, enjoy a leisurely scenic trip on the ferry but spend more money. What would you do? Yep, we took the ferry! 20180719_114616

From the ferry we had a short ten mile drive to our campground in Chimacum, just outside of Port Townsend, where we had a very nice campsite.

On Sunday we drove down to Bremerton.  On the way we stopped in the charming little town of Poulsbo and on the advice of our friends Peter and Beth we stopped at Sluys Bakery.  We waited in a line stretching out the door and had the best donuts we had ever eaten in this little family owned bakery. The very picturesque town of Poulsbo, overlooking Liberty Bay, has a strong Scandinavian heritage which is evident throughout the town.  In the 1880’s ninety per cent of the town’s population was Norwegian. 20180722_10381420180722_103915IMG_20180722_104808IMG_3205

After finding a couple geocaches we stopped at the nearby U.S. Naval Undersea Museum, an official naval museum which talked about the ocean environment, submarine technology, undersea weapons as well as diving and salvage.  IMG_3206IMG_3209IMG_3210

This is one of ten Navy museums operated by the Naval History & Heritage Command whose purpose is to preserve and collect Naval undersea history and science. Exhibits included U.S. torpedoes including the Howell torpedo IMG_3207IMG_20180722_120201

and a simulated control room from the USS Greenling. IMG_3211

Other exhibits show the NOMOADS underwater suit. IMG_3214IMG_3215

How the US Navy uses marine life to augment searches. IMG_3213

Next we continued on to Bremerton, home of the Naval Base Kitsap-Bremerton and the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard established in 1891, the city’s largest industry.

Bill took a tour of the USS TURNER JOY, a former U.S. Navy destroyer 1959 to 1982. IMG_3216IMG_3217IMG_3218

The vessel was named after Admiral Charles Turner Joy and constructed here a Puget Sound Naval Shipyard.

The USS TURNER JOY has been restored to her Vietnam War configuration and most of the rooms and facilities are open and appear to be operational. 


Medical Bay


Engine Room


Every fifteen years stationary ships must have their keel cleaned. Last year the USS TURNER JOY was moved to a shipyard to have the barnacles removed. IMG_3228IMG_3230IMG_3232

On Tuesday we did some geocaching in Port Townsend, including at Fort Worden State Park where the movie “An Officer and a Gentleman” was filmed.   20180724_145125IMG_3235IMG_3237

On the way home we came across a doe and her two fawns. The fawns were happily prancing along the side of the road. IMG_3242IMG_3243

Next up we continue west to Salt Creek Recreation Area near Port Angeles, WA.                                                                                                                                    

Orcas Island, WA July 17, 2018

We continued our stay in Birch Bay, WA and on Tuesday we took the car on the ferry to another one of the San Juan Islands: Orcas Island.  20180717_11083920180717_110906IMG_20180717_110952

The ferry made a brief stop on Shaw Island to pick up a few walk on passengers. It was another great ferry ride with beautiful scenery. 20180717_11133920180717_11145620180717_111729

We arrived at the tiny village of Orcas on the southern shore.  Orcas Island, at 57 square miles, is the largest and most rugged of the San Juan Islands.  Horseshoe-shaped, it has the highest peaks of the underwater mountain chain forming the foundation of the San Juan islands.  

Unlike Friday Harbor on San Juan Island, there is no big tourist area here.  Eastbound, a small village along the waters of Fishing Bay, is the major town with a few restaurants, shops and art galleries. Around the island are several bed and breakfast and small resorts for those desiring a remote get away. Rumor has it that Oprah Winfrey recently bought a house on Orcas Island. IMG_20180717_120204-EFFECTS

The gem of the island is Moran State Park, Washington state’s fourth largest.  The park is 5,252 acres with five lakes, 38 hiking trails and several campsites.  MT Constitution rises 2,409 feet from the Salish Sea and is the highest point in the San Juan Islands.  We drove thirteen miles to the park along forests and hilly farmland with cattle grazing in the fields. IMG_3195

Once we entered the park, the road was winding, narrow and steep to the top.  Almost at the top was Little Summit with a geocache and great views. IMG_3145IMG_3146

At the top is a stone tower replica of Russian watchtowers from the 12th century.  20180717_142915

The view of the San Juan Islands, MT Baker, the Cascade Mountains and Rosario Strait was magnificent.  IMG_3168_stitchIMG_3186IMG_3173

Can you see my prince in the tower? 20180717_142640

This 53 foot stone tower was built by the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) and completed in 1936.  It is one of twenty historical buildings built by the CCC in the park.

While in Moran Park we also hiked to Cascade Falls and another smaller falls. IMG_3141IMG_3143

We had a wonderful day on this beautiful island, including finding some geocaches. While geocaching we saw a deer munching on some apples from an apple tree in a yard. IMG_3137

After we left the park we came to a rock wall with some really weird artwork.  Creepy! IMG_3197IMG_3203

Before we knew it, it was time to catch the ferry home. IMG_20180717_161550

We really enjoyed our stay in Birch Bay and nearby Blaine. Blaine is such a quaint little town with a Main Street decorated with flowering hanging baskets and America flags. 20180718_143107

Across the harbor we could see the Canadian town of White Rock. 20180718_142953

Next up: Another ferry ride, this time with the RV, and a new campground

San Juan Island, WA July 13, 2018

We continued our stay in Birch Harbor, Washington (pop 8,400) which is very close to the Canadian border.  In fact the nearby town of Blaine, located on the U.S./Canada border is the busiest border crossing between British Columbia and Washington state. IMG_3107

In Blaine is the Peace Arch Historical State and Province Park with a Peace Arch. It commemorates the signing of the Treaty of Ghent in 1814, the peace treaty between the U.S. and the United Kingdom that ended the War of 1812.  IMG_3122IMG_3100IMG_3115

The Arch, dedicated in 1921, is 70 feet tall and the first such structure in the world.  It was built on the International Boundary between the two countries. IMG_3120

School children from the United States and Canada donated money for the purchase of the land surrounding the Peace Arch.  IMG_3111IMG_3118

It is located in a WA state park with beautiful gardens, including one garden representing the flag of the United States and another flower garden representing the Canadian flag. IMG_3126IMG_3112

We could walk freely between the two countries at the Arch with no need to worry about a passport.  

It was interesting to see the houses and the street across from the state park are in Canada. IMG_20180715_13412820180715_134221


On this Border is a Ditch and Not A WALL

On Friday we took the ferry over to San Juan Island.  This island is the westernmost island of the San Juan Islands and lies between the mouth of the Puget Sound and the Vancouver Island.  it is also the second largest and most populated of the 172 isles of the archipelago (group of islands). We originally planned to just walk on the ferry and ride a bus around the island but decided at the last minute to take the car along if there was space available.  We had to drive from our campground in Birch Bay to the ferry landing in Anacortes and arrived about an hour before departure. To our delight there was room for the car. Quite a surprise on a Friday in the middle of summer. The ride took a little over an hour and we certainly enjoyed the view of Mount Baker in the distance.  IMG_3043

Since San Juan is the westernmost island we also passed the major islands of Shaw, Lopez and Orcas. IMG_3030IMG_3046IMG_3048

We arrived at Friday Harbor which is the island’s largest town, ferry landing and a U.S. Port of Entry.  It is one of the last remaining 19th century wood-built fishing villages in Puget Sound. One square mile in size, Friday Harbor has about 2,000 year round residents and 15,000 summer residents.  Friday Harbor is the touristy section of the island with shops, restaurants, etc. We knew the rest of the island was going to be remote and without restaurants. Because we just decided on the way to the ferry to take the car, we hadn’t packed any food or drinks.  No worries. We stopped by a Friday Harbor grocery store and stocked up on snacks and drinks to get us through the day. Off we went! 20180713_10291720180713_10294120180713_103023

The island is only 55 square miles of land and it only takes fifteen minutes to travel from east to west.  We were surprised at the farmland and woodlands, prairies, as well as small seaside villages with miles of sandy beaches and bluffs.  It was typical to see unattended baskets of eggs for sale along the side of the road. IMG_3065

First up was the English Camp part of the San Juan Island National Historical Park, located on the northern part of the island.  Near South Beach and the southern end of the island is the American Camp. This English Camp commemorates the British and American struggle for possession of the San Juan Islands.  

The dispute resulted in the Pig War of 1859. Ever heard of that war? Neither had we. The war began in 1859 when an Englishman’s pig strayed onto land claimed by an American and started eating his potatoes.  The American shot the pig, who was the only casualty of the conflict. Both sides set up camps to lay claim to the land with neither side wanting to go to war, especially Lincoln who had the approaching Civil War to worry over.  For 12 years there was a joint U.S./British occupation of the island while the countries argued over who owned the San Juan Islands. Finally in 1872 arbitration gave the San Juan Islands to the United States and set the boundary between the United States and Canada.  

We read that this former English camp in a National Historical Park is the only place in the United States today where the British flag is raised each morning. The ranger pointed out that the park has an American flag on higher ground up the hill, therefore the American flag is always higher! IMG_3059

We were surprised to see a totem pole there as well.  Dedicated in 2016 it acknowledges the history of the native Coast Salish people at the site of a Coast Salish village. IMG_3062

Later in the day we stopped by the American Camp.  Not really all that much to see at either camp, but still a fun piece of history to learn about! IMG_3087

Next up was Lime Kiln State Park, a 41 acre state park named after the former lime kiln operations in the area.  It is also called “Whale Watch Park” because it is one of the top places to view orca whales in the world. Unfortunately we did not see any whales even though several had passed by a couple hours earlier.  We did enjoy seeing the 1919 picturesque Lime Kiln lighthouse. IMG_3085IMG_308220180713_125051-EFFECTS20180713_12490520180713_130019-EFFECTS

In the distance we could see the snow-capped mountains of the Olympic Mountains. IMG_3067IMG_3068

We ended our travels at the far tip of the island called Cattle Point where we saw another lonely lighthouse standing guard. IMG_3089IMG_3093

We cut our visit a little short and got to the ferry early.  Since we didn’t have a reservation for the car, we wanted to be sure we could get on the late afternoon ferry back to Anacortes.  What a great day!

Mt Baker stands out in this area of Washington, what a sight to see. IMG_3098

Next up:  Another ferry trip!

North Cascades NP, WA July 4, 2018

After we returned from two weeks in Alaska we spent several days in Bothell, Washington unpacking, washing clothes and restocking the fridge.

Our next stop was in Anacortes, Washington where we spent the 4th of July holiday.   Anacortes is located on beautiful Fidalgo Island. It is separated from the mainland by a bridge over the Swinomish Channel.

On Friday we visited North Cascades National Park, a 505,000 acre park located in north central Washington.  The park terrain is a result of glaciation with more than 300 glaciers remaining today. The park contains more glaciers than any other area outside of Alaska, containing one quarter of all glaciers in the lower 48 states.   Some refer to the area as the “North American Alps”. As well as glaciers are 500 lakes and ponds and many, many waterfalls. IMG_2885IMG_2878IMG_2888IMG_2895IMG_2906



Ross Lake Dam

The first inhabitants in the North Cascades dates to at least 9400 B.C.  The park was established in 1968, making this year its 50th anniversary.  IMG_20180705_132241


Gorge Creek Falls – 242 foot drop

The North Cascades Highway opened in 1972 which allowed vehicular access through this beautiful park.  We drove part of the highway enjoying the beautiful views throughout the park. We stopped at the Visitors Center and watched several short movies about the park.  We were last here in July, 2014 but it is always fun to go back to our favorite national parks. We followed the Skagit River which is the largest river draining into Puget Sound and the third largest river on the West Coast.   We arrived at beautiful glacier fed Diablo Lake surrounded by glaciated peaks. Diablo Lake is one of three reservoirs from three dams built between 1919 and 1968 which supplies electricity to Seattle.  IMG_2927IMG_2910IMG_2911IMG_2913IMG_2928

On Saturday we met up with Bill’s college friend Todd and his granddaughter who lives nearby.  Todd gave us a tour of the area with some beautiful views of the San Juan Islands, including this one from Mt Erie, elevation 1,273.  We introduced Todd’s granddaughter to geocaching which she loved. 20180707_12215820180707_12235120180707_110014~220180707_105902-EFFECTS

On Tuesday we moved further north to Birch Bay, less than ten miles from the Canadian border.  For the first two days Bill was fighting a cold.

On Thursday we drove to see Mt Baker, one of the beautiful mountains in the North Cascade Range.  


A View of Mt Baker Driving Toward Artist Point

 We drove through the Mt Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest along the Mount Baker Highway, designated a National Forest Scenic Byway.  IMG_2950IMG_2955IMG_20180712_123217-EFFECTS

Our destination was Artist Point, elevation 5,100 ft., which is the end of the road. This section of road is usually not open until mid July.  The area has an average annual snowfall of 701 inches. IMG_2957IMG_2960IMG_20180712_131514-EFFECTSIMG_2996IMG_3005


Mt Shuksan, 9,127 FT


Mt Shuksan, 9,127 FT

Mount Baker is a glacier covered volcano rising 10,781 feet above sea level.  It is the second most active in the Cascade Range, with Mt St Helens being the first.  It was named by Captain George Vancouver for a young officer in his command, Lt. Joseph Baker who first spotted the peak. IMG_3012

The drive was amazing with hairpin curves, amazing scenery, cascading waterfalls and snow.  Piles and piles of snow! The temperature was 66 degrees but there was plenty of snow for people to play in, including Bill who decided to throw snowballs with Mt Baker watching behind him. 20180712_13011120180712_130129IMG_20180712_130046-EFFECTS

Our last view of MT Baker today. IMG_3017

Next up:  A ferry ride