Mileage today: 123 Total: 790
We had a very nice continental breakfast delivered to our room this morning – not bad for an Econo Lodge!!! Actually better service and nicer staff than the Marriott Towneplace Suites the previous night.
Set off about 9 and called into Safeway to fill up with petrol and get some more bug spray – rainforests lie ahead! The petrol here is about £4.50 – $4.79 per US gallon. No doubt it’s cheaper than home but it’s a horrid horrid shock to most Americans. We have a hybrid for this trip but even that only does about 45 to the gallon. I tremble to think what the great, enormous motorhomes we see around are consuming. It must change the cost/value equation enormously.
Our first stop was Hurricane Ridge which is an area within the national park, set on a high ridge where you get great views of the Olympic range of mountains – the interior of the park really – and from where a number of trails start. Didn’t feel quite up to the ascent to the top so we did some nice flattish ones along the ridge at the level below the final trail, and around a high meadow. The flowers in the meadow – looked like lilies – were sadly passed, but it must have been a sight when they were in bloom. The views of the mountains were sublime though and indeed it was a lovely drive up to the ridge through the forests. It was cloudy at first today – although warm, we were in singlets and shorts, but it brightened as the day went on.
We had lunch up there at an overlook facing the Olympic Mts. The highest peak is Mt Olympus. Not as high as the Cascade chain and therefore not quite as much snow on top. After lunch we set off down the hill and saw our first bit of large wildlife – a deer grazing on the edge of the woods. The flowers on the lower slopes were beautiful – yellow, orange and pink.
We headed west to Lake Crescent – about 40 minutes. We had clear views to British Columbia, Vancouver Island north of us. Lake Crescent is a very large glacial lake in the park. There are two park run lodges but it is very serene. Some beaches around the lake, non motorised craft for rental. We are staying for 3 nights at the historic Lake Crescent Lodge in the main lodge building in a historic room That means shared bathrooms again. However we got very lucky and were upgraded to a corner lake facing room (still with a shared bathroom). It is absolutely charming, beautiful wooden bed, two huge leather arm chairs you can sink into and two big windows overlooking the lake and beach. They are bug screened so we can have them open all night. By the time we got to the lake, the sun was fully out and remained that way for the rest of the day. The only problem with these places is that because they are so old, there are no elevators and we have a lot of luggage to get in….. oh, and they don’t have anyone to help either…. no wonder Bob’s back is strained!!!
The lodge itself is just beautiful, all wood and leather furniture inside. Lovely adirondack chairs and sofas outside and on the wraparound porch. We sat out there reading for a while. There is a lovely restaurant and bar. It’s all just what you think an old fashioned lakeside lodge is going to be like….. cabins in the grounds, thick forest around, deer emerging onto the lawns. We spent the late afternoon just relaxing around the place. I dipped my feet in the lake and it was warm in the shallows. I knew it must be because there were quite a few swimmers in there. Have definitely scheduled some swimming for one day. We will also take to the kayaks.
About 6pm we decided we needed dinner. To be honest the restaurant here is really expensive so we will go one night but tonight we decided to drive out. Took an interesting cross mountain route to a recommended place to find it was closed, very closed, as in , out of business. So was the second one we tried. In the end somewhat desperately we drove 19 miles to the Fairmount Diner which appeared online to be open. It was! Hooray. And what a find. A proper old fashioned diner with the waitress constantly circling with coffee refills or cold drinks. And nice coffee too. Not the tasteless weak stuff usually on offer. The menu looked great. Bob went for one of the dinners – chicken fried steak, gravy, veggies, garlic bread and mashed potato. It was preceded by a bowl of clam chowder. $18 and massive. I had the oyster platter which was so huge……. quite a pile of fried, breadcrumbed oysters with coleslaw, garlic bread and onion rings. The oysters would have been enough. The chef was good. I was half expecting over-fried leathery oysters but these were big and soft inside the crisp breadcrumbs. $20. I had endless coffee and Bob had endless diet coke. It was a great dinner. We decided we will definitely go back tomorrow night but perhaps order less…….. They had a mega selection of dessert pies which Bob had his eye on but was too full to try.
Got back as the sun started to go down – saw some little deer on the lawns. We sat down by the lake side and walked on the wooden pier watching the sun go down. Still people in the lake….. Fabulous sunset. I gave up a bit too early so will stay down later another night. No filter on the ones above btw. Just a beautiful sky tonight reflected in a lovely, still lake.
Loving this lodge. It reminds me so much of places you see on films set in the 60s when families spent the summer at such resorts.
Tomorrow we are hiking a couple of the trails around here and then going to Sol Duc hot springs nearby for an afternoon of wallowing.