Before a couple of weeks ago, I had only seen it in maps and photographs, but Mike and Heather are always yapping about it: the Olympic Pensinsula (the OP to locals). Mike and Heather really like it out there on the OP.
Their friends Kihm and Laurie were visiting from Skaneateles, N.Y. Kihm has just published the book Skaneateles, the Character and the Characters of a Lakeside Village (in fact, Mike has been reading excerpts to me every night before bedtime, and I heartily recommend it; you can order it online from the Skaneateles Historical Society website). Kihm and Laurie’s visit prompted this brief November excursion to the Pacific Coast and the rain forest around Lake Quinault. Kihm and Laurie didn’t mind that I was coming along, since they, too, are dachshund owners, of an apparently pushy little guy named Gus. Compared to what I heard them say about Gus, my behavior is already exemplary, which I will be mentioning frequently in my future dealings with Mike and Heather.
But I digress. The first destination on our trip was Ruby Beach, which was really pebbly, with huge trunks of driftwood and many sea stacks, large rock formations rising from the ocean. Heather and I were attacked by a rogue log that washed in with the high tide, and she had the bruises to prove it. Not to mention wet feet and jeans. I emerged unscathed, of course, and ready to resume chasing the surf and the passing gulls.
The next beach , where we stopped to watch the sunset, wasn’t nearly as scary. It was wide and flat, and I could run way out towards the water to chase the gulls without danger. Too bad it was getting dark, because I really would have preferred to stayed longer.
Mike and Heather told me we had a lakeview room at the Lake Quinault Lodge that night, but you wouldn’t know that by me. It was dark when we got there and dark when we left. Mostly I saw the inside of my canvas crate, and I was more than happy to be in it. This OP hiking takes a lot out of you.
Next morning they went to breakfast, and unbelievably, Mike did not bring me back even a tinsy taste of the lodge dining room’s legendary sweet potato pancakes with maple syrup and hazelnut butter. Not one damn plate to lick. Who called this a vacation? Not for everyone, apparently.
I had even stronger doubts about this whole “vacation” thing some 3 hours later, as we were ending our little jaunt through the rain forest that surrounds the lodge. The hike was great at first–lots of great new stuff to smell, waterfalls, neat bridges, stuff like that–but then it started to rain. And then it rained harder. And harder.
On the OP? Nobody mentioned this part.
Next time, let’s try Eastern Washington. It’s supposed to be drier there.
But in most ways, I liked traveling, and I’m already looking forward to my next trip. Taking my first with Laurie and Kihm was such fun that I urge everyone to buy his book, so they can afford to visit me again soon.