We awoke to a clear, cold morning with the Pacific finally earning its namesake washing rhythmically against the sand under a slightly blushing eastern sky, The tide was low, but coming in, and a mile or so walk down the beach was just what the doctor ordered for breakfast. Part of the way along we heard eagles, which we spotted overhead a hundred or so feet away on a lone Spruce bow. It was a pair, and securing what all women know of all males, regardless of species, the male eagle was pestering for a little sunrise action. He got it, literally while we watched, and we moved on down the beach somehow ashamed of our intrusion.
The coastal zone of Olympic is less dramatic, but somehow more isolated. It’s one thing to read about a 60 mile stretch of undeveloped coastline, it’s entirely another to be on one. We left it wetter, but more appreciative of the role the coastline plays in this park. It is a foil for the dense rain forests and high alpine zones it abuts. It is a character actor that makes the drama more complete. It is a good place to fall asleep and a good place to awaken to a new day.
We worked our way south and slightly east meaning to follow the Quinault River up to its juncture with Graves Creek, high in the rain forest. There we would fish and rest and see new territory. As it happens, the road was washed out above the last bridge of the Quinault and we we couldn’t get to Graves Creek. This sort of thing happens when you travel the back roads of the parks, they aren’t as maintained and they aren’t a priority. Certainly not in the off season as it is now.
So we did what we do; we took the road that was open. Out of the park and into the National Forest, deeper north and east into the rain forest. Eventually, we were able to find a camp up the Queets River. We will sleep about 12 feet from the Queets River, in fact. It is a peaceful and nearly vacant camp, so we set up and head out to fish. An afternoon spent fly-fishing in a beautiful river is an afternoon well spent.
Dinner by the river, with a few bourbons, will give us a finale to this three act play of Olympic National Park. I have to say, it is the “Michael Jordan” of the parks. I’ve been to a lot of them, and it more than holds its own. Distinct regions, beautiful in their own right, collectively it can almost overwhelm. It’s best taken on the ground, in small frames, one region at a time. With a comfortable bourbon to ponder it.
Tomorrow, we head off the penninsula to clean the rig and pick up the family for a few days vacation on Vashon Island. But on the way, we will chat about our time together. And we will stop at Chelsea Farms for oysters. I could write a while to try and describe how nice times like this are. But I wouldn’t succeed.
I will be back here on Monday, plying the northern edge as I head east. See you then.