~Throwback to summer! I’m a bit behind on posts, so enjoy this one from late August.~
THE ANNUAL DAY TRIP! Cheers to the third year in a row! Let’s recap, first it was Cannon Beach, Vancouver that same summer, and then WA Coast. Our preliminary plans of the San Juan Islands were dashed after Hunter’s scarring experience with the ferry…nothing bad, just how much it cost, a price we were very much not about. We formulated a plan to do another overnight trip, similar to last year’s, camping overnight at Second Beach on the Olympic Peninsula.
Our little trio had blocked off a date well in advance to ensure that it would happen. We managed to also be done at work in the early afternoon, allowing us to leave much earlier than anticipated. Hunter and I rushed up to Sharon’s after getting off of work, and Sharon had the ferry schedule, plus the latest updates, at the ready. We zoomed over to the Edmonds Ferry Terminal and made the car cutoff. Riding onto and off the ferry was too cool. Relaxing upstairs on the ferry, we threw together some more concrete details - sort of.
Popping back into the car, and driving onto the peninsula, we set our sights on Port Angeles where we grabbed a bite to eat. Along the way, we realized that we literally made no effort to plan since we didn’t have a camping permit. Our last minute attempt was completely futile when we saw that the office closed at 5 pm that day. Wing it then.
Thus began the long haul to the Pacific Ocean. It was mostly winding roads and a general tiredness of being in the car and a long day. We pulled off to admire the dope sunset, and I made the grand realization that it is pointless to photograph sunsets. They never look as good.
As we approached Second Beach, we tried to figure out where to park and ended up in the overflow area which didn’t bode well for “having the beach to ourselves” as we had intended. As it was getting late, we hustled out of the car and attempted to find the trail to the beach and were uncertain of the correct path. On the sidewalk, we neared a man crouching down and honestly thought he was homeless, turns out it was some Australian dude who had been staked out in that spot all evening taking photographs (?) of the road. He adamantly directed us the way to go, and for whatever reason, we followed his directions.
Hiking to the beach with our bags, pillows, sleeping bags and tent in the evening was kind of terrible. It’s DARK. It’s WET. It’s CREEPY. No wonder why it’s considered Sasquatch country. On top of all of that, the trail started uphill. A steady ascent that we really weren’t prepared for. WE WERE SUPPOSED TO BE HEADING DOWN TO THE BEACH. NOT UP. Relying on a phone and spotty flashlight, we tread lightly on the trial and across the large driftwood logs scattered over the beach. The whole experience can summed up as harrowing.
Next, we had to find a spot. Looking down the way, the beach was dotted with colorful tents in the distance. We set up our tent far enough from the water to avoid high tide (that would have been a rude awakening) and moved quickly because we were tired. Looking at the tent, I was skeptical that it would fit the three of us, let alone all of our stuff. Hunter reassured us and started throwing his stuff in.
Settled inside like three little sardines, we worked on finding our “dune number” in the sand. Get a dune in the wrong part of your back and it was game over for your restful nights sleep. We managed and fell asleep quickly, tired from a busy day. That serenity was abruptly interrupted when we awoke to loud music from the tent next to ours at midnight. Who in their right mind would play music that loud and late? We yelled at them, and they turned down heir music, and eventually stopped. Sweet slumber awaited.
Very wrong. The music from our tent neighbors started back up at 3 am. WHO DOES THAT.
Somehow we fell asleep and woke up to a misty morning and not a bad night’s sleep. I was pleasantly surprised. We usually kill ourselves with these trips and to be rested for once was quite the feat. We waited for the rain to dissipate and ventured onto the beach to explore.
The peninsula is something else, with large rock formations perched on the beach and trees growing on them. It looks straight out of a sci-fi movie. On our wandering, we kept our eye out for the various invertebrates we had all studied in undergrad. The mist made visibility fluctuate, revealing the rocks and ocean in one moment, and in the next making them disappear as if it were just another gray day.
We quickly tied up our makeshift campsite, bid adieu to our terrible neighbors, and made our way back over the beached logs (somehow I almost fell twice in broad daylight as opposed to the prior evening with literally zero visibility) and onto the trail back to the parking lot to freshen up for the day.
Provisions were our highest priority once we were on the road. All roads had to lead to food. The nearest city was La Push and coincidentally, there is only one restaurant open for breakfast on a Sunday morning and we definitely weren’t the only ones who were hungry. After a grueling hour long wait, we scarfed breakfast down which consisted of a significant amount of carbs.
Since we were out here, we did a little joy ride around La Push, the sleepy town of Twilight fame. Let me tell you, this town embraced the Twilight a little too much with references and tours everywhere - it’s an excruciatingly, grotesque level. As we hustled out of La Push, we meandered the north side of the peninsula, admiring the view Lake Crescent provided. Thank God for the views because now we enter part two of the day trip: trying to get back to Seattle - a saga.
There are a few options to get you off the peninsula via ferry, and we were planning on doing the same Edmonds Ferry route. Simple. Easy. Yeah, it was a Sunday, but we had left the beach early in anticipation of this. Let it also be known that Sharon had clearly stated at the start of the trip that she has bad experiences with ferries. This would only serve to be foreshadowing.
As we got into service and closer to the terminal, we popped the destination into Google Maps and followed the directions. We should have known when we were notified to go on surface roads and avoid the long red street on the map. Naive. Google, with every intention of getting us there quick and dodging traffic, spit us out right onto the main road for ferry terminal boarding and we gawked at the long line of cars behind us. SCORE. As we approached the loading area, our dreams were dashed by a ferry worker decked out in an orange vest asking to see our green ticket. Uh…what green ticket?
Turns out, in times of high traffic, there is a police officer post on the main road specifically for ferry cars, doling out green slips of paper to assuage the influx of cars and loading. Thus began the drive of shame when we turned around to get the ticket and we passed every other car. The line kept going and going and going.
We waited about two hours to get a stupid green ticket. The whole time we were stagnant, parked on the shoulder amongst the other travelers. This was island gridlock. We ended up securing a spot on the third ferry to disembark since we had started the waiting game. As we patiently waited to drive onto the ferry, we parked the car and scurried into the town to grab a snack. Holla at the crepes right by the terminal.
The strenuous wait was FINALLY getting on the ferry. The worst part about the whole thing was that the ferry ride took under 30 minutes. All that time for 30 minutes. WHY. From there, it was a quick drive back into Seattle to conclude the day.
Rather than this being an experience driven trip, it was a bonding one. We filled our time with funny stories of our friendship, recounted our previous, ridiculous day trips, and told riddles to pass the time. Annual day trip, check!