Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Dosewallips State Park and Olympic National Park

Sometimes as I write posts for this blog, I remind myself that I'm doing it to record our travels, so that someday I can sit back and remember all of the wonderful places we've been. Although every day may not be eventful or exciting, as a whole they are precious and worth remembering. 

My posts are also a sort of "postcard" to my family and friends, and anyone who might want to know what we are doing.

In the third week of August we were at the Dosewallips State park on the Hood Canal. As you can see, the sites are large and fairly open. Unfortunately we had a little smoke haze, but overall the temperatures were pleasant and the sleeping was good.

While here, we went on a couple of nice walks from our site.

The Dosewallips River runs to the Hood Canal along the edge of the park. It was rather low, but we saw the evidence of much larger flows, probably from spring storm runoff.

We walked to and out onto the beach along the Hood Canal, when the tide was out.

As we walked the path through the wetlands at the edge of the beach, we notice what at first appeared to be a leaping fish sculpture in the distance. It seemed like a strange place for such a thing, but it was intriguing.

It turned out to be a large piece of driftwood. It's interesting how one's mind can transform things to explain what you're seeing.

The beach was very broad and composed of mucky puddles, coarse sand, and billions of clam and oyster shells.

The above picture makes it look deserted. It was not; there were many people out digging for clams. But none of the pictures I took of them were in focus, so I haven't included them.  Although it looks gloomy, there was some sun. The sky was grayed by the haze from the fires, not clouds.  

We chatted with several clamming families, who were digging their limits of 40 clams each. Since neither of us had boots or a rake and shovel, or wanted to dig in the muck, we decided to eat clams at a local restaurant later in the week.

Another of our walks took us up into the forested part of the park.

The Steam Donkey and Maple Valley Trails formed a three mile loop through replanted logging land. 

Most of the trail was easy, with just a bit of up and down.

Many of the larger (dry in summer) streams had little platform bridges across them. 

There was really only one place were the trail split and we had to decide which way to go, up or down. We choose up.

At one switchback turn shortly thereafter, I noticed this tree that seemed to point the way we should go.

It was correct. We think the downward path just went into the canyon below, but it wasn't on our trail map so we were glad we didn't take it.

I know three miles isn't a very long hike, but it has become just about right for me this year. I've been having a little knee pain, and was happy to rest with an ice pack when we returned to the Alfa for the afternoon. I hope it doesn't get worse.

On Thursday evening we went over to the Geoduck  Tavern for some local seafood. Readers who know about shellfish will recognize "geoduck" as the largest burrowing clam in the world.  We were disappointed that the restaurant didn't serve their namesake.

The patio seating overlooked the Hood Canal.

We enjoyed watching the swallows swooping over the wetlands to catch their dinner.

I had the clam chowder and a fish and chips basket, and Craig had an oyster sandwich. All was quite good.

On Friday we headed north to the Sol Duc Hot Springs campground, which is ten miles into the Olympic National Forest. 

Five years ago, at about the same time in August, we camped there while our realtor made the final arrangements and put our home on the market. Although it took some months for a final sale, I look at that time as the beginning of our fulltime RV adventure. We never again slept in our house, preferring to stay in the Alfa at Camp Driveway until we were free. 

What an amazing five years it has been! 

Image from the Web of Sol Duc Resort
We only went into the hot spring pools once while we were there. The above picture, while from the web, shows how crowded it can be. In fact, I think we shared it with as many people as are pictured here.  Plus the water was not very hot, and was a murky green with "stuff" floating in it. It just did not feel healthy, so we skipped further soaks.

However, the Olympic National Park did not disappoint. We went on a couple of nice walks through the forest.

The Ancient Grove area was magical. 

We were lucky there were no others on the trail when we walked it.

I will never stop being amazed by how tall the trees grow. It makes me a bit dizzy to try to see the tops.

On another day we walked to the Sol Duc Falls. There was a steady stream of other hikers, and we did have to wait a bit for a parking spot, but there was also an overwhelming feeling of awe and sharing. 

The National Parks belong to all, and all are welcome.

This time and this place is definitely "Merikay's Dream". 


  1. So glad you are enjoying your travels in Washington State, and all that green definitely makes the smoke seem less troublesome. We have a lot here right now, and are hoping that sooner or later it will clear out. With the weather forecasts, it will no doubt be later, maybe late September. Such an awful summer for so many of us, glad yours is good.

  2. I have frequently thought about you and wondered how the fires were effecting your neighborhood. I often check the Northwest wildfire map and see a lot of activity not far from you. We are surprised to see smoke here on the West side of the Nat. Park, but are told it has come down from BC. The forests re so beautiful.

  3. If you go to the hot spring pools early and on a weekday things aren't so crowded..
    I found another hot spring coming out of a pipe between the electrical sites and the river..
    Looks as if you are having great weather.

  4. Really enjoy your blog and your photos. We too use the blog to record our travels and also to remind ourselves that although we aren't seeing as much as would have like to we still have seen a lot. We also prefer 'digging' for clams at the nearby restaurants :-)

  5. Like yourselves we prefer the beauty of the outdoors more then the Manufactured Landmarks.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

  6. Five years! Doesn't time just race by. I hope your knee shows some improvement, but even so, 3 miles is a pretty good stroll :-)

  7. Great pictures, we really loved the National Park.

  8. What a beautiful blog with awesome pictures.
    Mother nature serves up the best sightseeing.

    1. Thank You for your comment, I often read your blog and are reminded to be grateful that I woke up this morning!


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