Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Hoodsport Trail, Hoodsport, Washington

Connected to the Sunrise Campground is the Hoodsport Trail. This is a series of trails consisting of several loop trails that are maintained by local 4-H members.  The trails take you through 2nd generation forests consisting of fir, big leaf maples and large alders. The Hoodsport Trai ranges from easy to slightly moderate ascending through dense forest with the floor carpeted in ferns and various berry bushes. The main access and parking lot for these trails can be gained off Highway119 on the right, about three miles from the town of Hoodsport. No fees or passes required. The length of your hike can range from .5 to 1.5 miles.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Dow Creek Resort, Hoodsport, Washington

We are staying at Dow Creek Resort for a few nights using our RPI membership. This campground definitely has it’s good points and, shall we say, areas in need of some work.

Good ~ well forested with lots of mature trees – gives a feel of a state park; sites are large and private (in fact, Brad’s been enjoying, shall we say, watering the shrubs instead of using our facilities) :-) ; very quiet; clean; staff (the one guy we spoke to) was nice; sites have picnic tables and fire pits

Not so Good ~ the “clubhouse” is an old, musty single-wide trailer that just gives off an “icky” feel; the dump station (not all sites are full-hook ups) is nearly impossible to get to – a narrow road outside of the main campground that has huge potholes and standing water; although as we said it’s clean, it’s a bit rundown

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Hoodsport, Washington

The main area of Hoodsport is one street that is bordered on one side by the Hood Canal. There are a few gift shops, a decent IGA food store, a gas station, a dive shop (there is a lot of SCUBA diving in the Hood Canal), and a pier for people to catch crab and fish.  There are also a few houses built partially on land and partially on the water (on poles) which are pretty neat.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The New Dungeness Lighthouse, Sequim, Washington

At the end of the 5.5 mile Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge is the New Dungeness Lighthouse, which is still in operation and managed by a group of volunteers from the New Dungeness LightStation Association.  When we arrived for our tour, a new family had just arrived for their weekly shift.  They told us that they were driven out at low tide the night before (which happened to be midnight) and dropped off for the week – at a price of $300 per person (so it’s not a free volunteering gig). Each lighthouse keeper is responsible for bringing their own food and supplies for the week, giving the tours of the lighthouse, maintaining the lighthouse and residential house, maintenance of the grass, and cleaning the public restroom (one).  This family had been on the waitlist for three years to get a week in the summer where they could live at the lighthouse for a week, so if you’re interested, it’s best to plan way ahead!  The compensation for a lighthouse keeper – incredible views – not only of the Dungeness Bay and Straight of Juan de Fuca, but of Mount Baker as well on a clear day.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge, Sequim, Washington

The Dungeness NWR is one of the world’s longest natural sand spits, bordered by Dungeness Harbor to the south, Dungeness Bay to the east, and the Straight of Juan de Fuca to the north. Much of the spit is closed to the public as it is a national wildlife refuge for over 250 species of birds, 41 species of land mammals, and eight species of marine mammals. However there is a small portion of the spit along the Straight of Juan de Fuca that is open to the public, and herein lies 5.5 mile walk along the beach to the Dungeness Lighthouse.

We visited Sequim about a decade ago and didn’t have the time to do this walk/hike, so we did it this time.  It was a long walk, right along the calm Straight, yet rocky, so shoes were a must.  For about 2/3 of the walk the lighthouse is not in view, then as one turns a corner, the lighthouse appears in the horizon. There isn’t much to say about the walk – it’s long (took us just shy of 2 hours to get to the lighthouse and about 1 ¾ hours to return) and quite honestly, a bit monotonous.  It does need to be planned according to low tide, unless you are willing to scramble a bit (which could be fun).  We did not see a lot of wildlife, which would have been fun, nor a lot of boats, except for a couple huge cargo ships.

The lighthouse itself (which is still in use) is nice – not too large – and there is a free tour to those who made the trek (the previous week saw 375 visitors). There is also a large house for the lighthouse keepers – yes, the lighthouse is personned (manned) by volunteers who take weekly shifts and there’s a nice grassy picnic area to enjoy your lunch.

Seventy-seven steps to the top! (Yes, we counted.)

Have you ever thought of being a lighthouse keeper?  We can tell you how, tomorrow!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Wildflowers of Hurricane Ridge, Olympic National Park

As we posted yesterday, we took a short hike in the Hurricane Ridge area of the Olympic National Park. As it’s been cooler here in the Pacific Northwest this summer, the wildflowers were all in bloom rather late in the season. Here are a few photos and (most) of the names ~ enjoy!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Hurricane Ridge, Olympic National Park, Washington

The Olympic National Park is broken into many regions, the closest to Sequim (one hour) is the Hurricane Ridge area, so we drove over for a day to enjoy the views, see some wildlife, and take a short hike. After passing the Heath O’ the Hills visitor’s center just south of Port Angeles and paying our $15 entrance fee, we came upon the Hurricane Ridge area where there’s another small visitors center, cafeteria, and the start of some short hiking trails. We lucked out (well, not really ~ we had checked the weather) and had great weather with clear views of the various mountain ranges, bodies of water, and Canada.
We took a short combination hike of the Cirque Rim, Big Meadow and High Ridge Trails for about a mile to mile-and-a-half in length to Sunrise Point where we had a 360 degree panoramic view of the area. The meadows were bursting with wildflowers (more on that tomorrow), we saw quite a few deer along the way (some hiding in the brush), and incredible views. 

Saturday, August 20, 2011

3 Crabs Restaurant, Sequim, Washington

If you followed us before when we traveled, you know we like to eat! So we tried a well-known restaurant here in Sequim ~ 3 Crabs Restaurant on Three Crab Road. Of course we ordered an open-face crab sandwich – we ordered the larger one on the menu (most items come in two sizes) and split it for lunch. Unfortunately, we were disappointed in 3 Crabs ~ although we were one of only 2-3 groups at a time, the service was slow and unfriendly and the food was mediocre in quality and poor in portion-size given the prices. The only redeeming part of going to 3 Crabs Restaurant s the scenic drive to get there with views of Dungeness Bay, the Dungeness Spit and Lighthouse. In sum, enjoy the ride, but bring a picnic lunch.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Purple Haze Lavender Farm, Sequim, Washington

Sequim is known for it’s wonderful lavender and plethora of lavender farms, so we chose to stop by one today ~ Purple Haze Lavender Farm. Although late in the season, the lavender was in full bloom and we meandered around the rows of lavender. They have more than 15,000 plants with more than 50 varieties of organic lavender – who knew there were so many varieties! You can purchase lavender plats, buy cut lavender, or go to the field and enjoy cutting some of your own. There’s also a small gift store with lavender soaps, lotions, oils, honey, salad dressings, sachets ~ you get the idea – if it can be made from lavender, it was sold at their store. If course we had to try some lavender ice cream – we were hoping it would be a vanilla base with a strong lavender taste, but all they had were mixtures, such as peppermint & lavender and white chocolate with lavender (our selection). It was good, but not so fabulous that we went back for more. There are many other lavender farms in the area, so if you’re in Sequim some day, be sure to check out one or two.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Diamond Point RV Resort, Sequim, Washington

We are staying here under our RPI membership and it’s a pretty nice park, albeit simple.  The sites are a bit close together, but clean and with a picnic table.  The park is very well maintained and the employees (and visitors) very friendly. There are a few activities (already looking forward to the ice cream social on Friday night) in the clubhouse, a nice book exchange, free DVD rentals, potlucks, a spa, community firepit (bring your own wood), the typical puzzle, games, etc…  It’s a very quiet campground with resident deer that meander in the early evenings.

Be sure to check our Zoey's blog: http://zoeythefulltimingdog.blogspot.com  She has a new post she'd like you to read!  :-)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Hello from Sequim, Washington!

We made it! We are finally fulltimers as of 11:14am on 8/14/2011. For our first foray into the fulltiming world, we’re staying at Diamond Point RV Resort a few miles from Sequim (closer to Diamond Point, thus the name). It took us longer than expected to get everything in the rig organized, and we’re just about where we (read: Suzanne) are happy with the arrangement.

Pictured above is the new rig – it’s Montana High Country 343RL by Keystone RV – here’s a link to their site so you can see the inside and read all about it: http://keystone-highcountry.com/montana/index.php?page=floorplans&coast=&model=343RL

We are ready to explore the surrounding area, so check back soon for the highlights (and possible lowlights) of the local vicinity.

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