Saturday 23rd September - day 4 - Vancouver to Everett, Washington, to the Olympic National Park. 105 miles.
Well, that was a very short night! Another one!
We woke at 4.30 ready for our 5.15 taxi. After an 'eat the fridge' breakfast we were outside with our bags and away to the station.
As our train is travelling from Canada into USA there is a lengthy check in process with photographs and finger prints and bag check in, but eventually we are on board and settled into our comfy leather seats for the 3 hour journey south to Everett, near Seattle. On the route we planned and discussed the next few days. At the border, we were instructed to stay in our seats as the police worked their way through the train checking passports. Everett was very warm and sunny. And as far as we could tell, that summarised it's good points. With the aid of google maps we navigated our way to the local 'swift' bus and rode south for 30 minutes to the Cruise America centre. After the customary introductions, educational video and guided tour of the motor home, we were finally off!
We made and changed our plans many times...
At first we had thought that an afternoon in Seattle would be good, but parking would be a challenge and as our motor home was ready several hours earlier than expected, we decided instead to make the most of the beautiful sunny weather and start our drive to the north coast, Olympic Park and Hurricane Ridge.
We needed to provision our motor home and so bravely battled our way around Walmart... So many cakes and toys, so few vegetables....
Fully equipped we set off for the ferry to Whidbey Island, but were beaten back by the tailback of the queue expected to take two hours to clear. Instead we drove south and sailed from Edmonds to Kingston. Another long queue, but in fact we were soon loaded and on our way to Port Angeles. Bill and Chris drove and the journey flew by.
The Visitor centre was closing as we arrived, but we headed on up the Mountain to Hurricane Ridge.
This exceeded all expectations - a steep winding road for 12 miles, opening out at the summit into car park on the plateau with stupendous views to 180 degrees and a series of steep ridges leading off to the north.
Chris set off to run up the longest ridge to the top and B&K ran up Hurricane ridge to Sunrise point. The views of snow capped mountains, tree covered slopes and the straits of Juan de Fuca were stupendous. No wonder the guides claim this to be one of the most beautiful
places in the world. We watched the world around us in the company of a small chipmunk, nibbling at some eidelweiss flowers at our feet as the sun set behind a filmy bank of cloud.
It was noticeably chilly as we descended and we revelled in the cosy comfort of being able to brew a cup of tea when we got back to the RV. As well as drinking tea and watching the view we unpacked and organised the van
To make a cosy home for the next 4 weeks. As darkness fell there was a knock at the door and I flung it open, expecting Chris. I was wrong - it was a bearded astronomer in s down jacket asking if we would turn off our outside light in order to reduce light pollution (we had no idea that we even had an outside light!) he was charming and invited us to wander over and have a look at the night sky through his telescope later.
Next step was to start cooking supper which we did, whilst glancing up at the mountains, hoping to see signs of Chris's head torch bobbing its way back down to us. All we could see was the pinprick of light coming from the head torch of lady a little bit older than us, about a hundred yards away, cooking bacon and pasta out of the back of her converted estate car
At 8.30 it was inky black outside and we were beginning to speculate as to what we would/could do if he didn't appear / had broken his leg.
Luckily, just then a beacon of light came bouncing down the trail - ( well done Mike for an excellent birthday present)!
A very happy and quite sweaty chris then appeared, full of beans after his spectacular high level ridge run. After drinks and snacks we wandered over to the astronomer with his home made telescope where he showed us Saturn, a dying nebulous and two distant galaxies - called dim fuzzies - formed 13million light years away.
We drove back down the Hurricane ridge road to the Heart 'o the Mountain camp site, and parked in a secluded spot between the trees. Our first supper aboard was roast chicken thighs, gnocchi and spinach - all very healthy - especially when followed by a good nights sleep!