If you look at a map of Washington state you’ll see that funny part way off to the left up towards the U.S. and Canadian border and the Pacific Ocean. The city of Port Angeles is sort of the center of the universe in this part of our state. From there you can catch an auto/passenger ferry for a 90 minute ride across the Strait of Juan de Fuca to Victoria, British Columbia, you can take a 45 minute drive up to Hurricane Ridge referred to the Alps of Washington state, you can drive into the Olympic Peninsula rain forest, sit in the hot springs pool at Sol Duc, drive to the native American communities of Neah Bay and La Push and walk out to the north western corner of the United States at Cape Flattery. This was our destination in August…I hope you’ll come along and enjoy the ride.
(August 16, 2009) We left about 4pm and headed for the Hood Canal Floating Bridge which took us to that part of the state.
We arrived in Port Angeles where we camped out in the far corner of Albertson’s parking lot. (Albertson’s is a large grocery store for those of you who don’t have one nearby). There were actually other R.V.’s there, so we felt right at home~no hook-ups but the price was right.
(August 17, 2009) We brought our Passports thinking we might catch the ferry to Victoria, BC but that never happened. The first ferry leaves at 8:20am and it seems we could never get up and get ready in time to get the truck parked, get our tickets and actually board the ferry 15-20 minutes before it was due to depart. So this first full day in this area, after going to the local Goodwill and a great store called Swains (they have everything you can imagine except grocery items) we headed for Sol Duc Hot Springs. The resort has cabins and RV lot but we headed for the National Campground just up the road from the resort. It’s a lovely campground, it actually reminded us a lot of the campgrounds in the Redwoods~lots of big trees. While the resort’s RV park was like a zoo. No trees, just row after row of RV’s with their TV Satellite dishes aimed to the sky and their BBQ’s going.
(August 18, 2009) After some breakfast we drove down to the resort so Bob could hit the pools. How come breakfast tastes so good eaten at a picnic table in the woods?
The patio cafe where the bathers and others can enjoy a snack.
There are three hot mineral pools of varying temperatures, and one large swimming pool. I didn’t go in this trip but have been in them before. While Bob was soaking his weary bones, I was showering in the camper and then sat by the pools reading my book. It was a beautiful sunny day…so relaxing.
The springs, known to local Indian tribes for their therapeutic value, first came to the attention of settlers in the 1880s. An elaborate resort opened up in 1912, and was characterized as "the most noted pleasure and health resort on the Pacific Coast" until it burned down in 1916.
The resort was rebuilt on a much less grand scale in the 1920s, and was operated into the 1970s until it ran into trouble with its thermal spring in the 1970s. These problems were overcome, and the resort was rebuilt in the 1980s. It continues to operate until this day, attracting thousands of visitors a year. I can remember back in the 1970’s there was a pipe coming out of the hillside and the hot mineral water flowed out of the pipe into a large pool. It has all been remodeled since I was there in the 1970’s.
The Sol Duc River flows just along the edge of the resort.
I was actually sitting at a picnic table here reading for awhile. What an experience! So peaceful……
The Olympic Peninsula of Washington is considered a rain forest area. They get at least 12 inches of rain here every year. Thankfully while we were there, it was sunny, dry and warm.
When you walk thru this area you see all this wonderful moss hanging from the trees. It’s so beautiful….
And deer everywhere…..they were standing right at the edge of our campsite munching away.
The Sol Duc National campground was full for this third night so we went to a Bureau of Land Management campground along the highway. It’s very primitive (thankfully we’re fully contained) but very nicely laid out and FREE!
To be continued; A Twilight Experience