The next leg of our travels took us up the Olympic Peninsula, with Forks as our destination. We selected Forks as it appeared to be the best jumping off point for most of the places we wanted to visit. The RV park was not the most glamorous, but the wi-fi was the best yet and the coin operated showers were long and hot. Both of those things count for a lot! Forks is definitely a little rough around the edges, and very focused on Twilight, that tween-tastic vampire book and film saga that took the world by storm a few years back.
Forks Outfitters provided us with some much needed walkie talkies for backing into RV spots when we have no cell reception, along with a nice selection of groceries. The organic section of the grocery wasn't huge, but I appreciated that it was there, especially given that the total population of the town was about 3,500 people. We ended up finding a good selection of food options, I've been impressed with the food availability in some of the smaller centres we've been to thus far. We plan ahead and stock up on harder to find items when we are in big cities and then supplement with a few things (or make do with what we've got) when we are in small towns. So far this has worked out really well!
Our first morning on the Olympic Peninsula was spent driving back down the west coast to visit the Quinault rainforest. When chatting with people about recommended stops along the Olympic Peninsula the Quinault Rainforest wasn’t mentioned, so we weren't sure what to expect, but he walk was absolutely breathtaking! We selected the 1/2 mile Quinault Rainforest loop as we were hiking with little ones, but we would love to go back and explore some of the trails further at a later date. The rainforest reminded us a lot of walks we’ve taken on Vancouver Island, with lots of old growth trees and greenery. Quinault Lake is a lovely little resort town, with a selection of shops that were mostly closed for the season. We popped into the Lake Quinault Lodge to check out the building, and it would be a lovely place to go for a retreat! The water was crystalline, the view was breathtaking and the surroundings were peaceful and tranquil. We stopped in at the Ranger Station for an America the Beautiful parks pass, which is apparently good at National Historic Sites along with National Parks & Forests.
We stopped for a late lunch at Ruby Beach. We timed it well and the tide was out, which made for a very impressive view! The kids enjoyed walking over all of the logs and exploring the beach front. Juliette made up a Lemon Garlic Lentil Soup ahead of time, which we packed in thermoses. We’ll have to look for a couple more, as each one is perfect for a single serving (given that our kids have big appetites!)
We had just enough time to drive to La Push beach after that, for some gorgeous sunset pictures. The beach curved around the coast, with three separate views and huge pieces of washed up driftwood that the kids had a blast climbing on. It was crazy cold (due to strong winds) but absolutely breathtaking, one of our favourite spots thus far on the trip. We noticed that they have an RV park right on the beach! Next time we might have to check it out, you certainly can’t beat the view. We finished the day with a warm and nourishing Tom Yum Noodle Bowl, which was much needed as we were all frozen solid.
The next morning we got an early start and drove out to The Hoh rainforest, walking along the Hall of Moss trail with the kids. It was a good length for the kids at 3/4 of a mile, especially given that there was lots of snow and the pathway was a bit slippery. The moss was gorgeous, our Lonely Planet guidebook mentioned that the walk was very Tolkien esque and I could see Frodo and Sam making their way through a forest much like this one.
We had decided the night before to include Port Townsend as a last minute destination, so we headed up the highway, stopping in Port Townsend en route for a snack at the Country Aire health food store. It was a gorgeous shop, with lots of organic produce and a great selection of food. The drive into Port Townsend was fantastic, we wound around a beautiful lake and drove through a stunning tree lined archway to get into town. We stopped in at the Tourism office for a map, and took a little driving tour to get acquainted with the area. Port Townsend is a quaint spot, the lovely old Victorian homes are so well maintained that It feels a bit like stepping back in time! We followed the drive with a walk down the historic Water Street in search of food, and then made our way down to the boardwalks and waterfront for a gorgeous sunset. It was lovely, and a place I would like to return to at some point in the future.
We grabbed tea for the road at a local tea shop and came home to a chili dinner Juliette had prepared that morning. We are getting into the groove of advance meal prep, we have been caught out a few times when travel took longer than anticipated and food options were either difficult to find, or expensive, or both! We are trying to strike a balance between planning meals in advance while also leaving some flexibility to try new foods we find on our travels. We are finding that planning meals for a couple of days at a time works really well to strike this balance, and also accommodate the size of our small fridge!
Olympic Peninsula Highlights
Quinault Rainforest - a gorgeous rainforest located close to Lake Quinault. We chose the 1/2 mile Quinault Rainforest Trail, and were treated to gorgeous old growth trees and beautiful rainforest vegetation. It is well worth a visit!
America the Beautiful Pass - covers national parks and wildlife refuges in addition to national forests and grasslands. Similar to the Parks Canada pass!
La Push Beach - The La Push Beach is gorgeous, one of the most visually spectacular places we have been to yet! Definitely worth a stop, and if you are into seafood there is lots of local fish available via the first nations at La Push.
The Hoh National Park - a beautiful moss covered rainforest, reminiscent of something dreamed up by JRR Toklein. The drive in is beautiful also!
The Country Aire Health Food Store - A fantastic health food store, located in Port Angeles. They have a wonderful selection of organic produce and healthy food choices - including a deli counter that serves smoothies.
Port Townsend - a beautiful coastal town with lots of history and well preserved Victorian era homes. Their harbour front is beautiful, especially at sunset!