Port Angeles – Vampire territory

I am a Twilight fan, well I was when the movies came out. I know it’s a bit cheesy and for teenagers but the whole forbidden love thing, I think all girls/woman get sucked into that. Anyway, aside from the fact the films were based there I have also wanted to see the Washington Peninsula and Olympic National Park for its natural beauty too. 

Fergus, Ian and I had arranged to get 5 busses up to Port Angeles but as soon as we walked the short distance to the bus stop, Jen came running out announcing that her shift for the day had been cancelled so she would be happy to drive us up there. How lucky were we?!?

We said our goodbyes to the Bremerton crew and headed off up highway 3 towards Silverdale and the Hood Canal Bridge. Stopped for coffee and snacks before driving through Port Angeles. 

A short distance from Port Angeles is Crescent Lake which is a big lake the road travels alongside into the National Park. We stopped about halfway along at a lookout and explored the area and took some photos. It was an overcast morning and the tops of the mountains were covered in cloud but the views were still spectacular.

We carried on down highway 101 (the main highway in this area) towards Forks. We passed huge forest, and steep mountainous roadside cliffs. I wondered how some of the trees survived on the angles they were growing at! Soon enough, the land became flatter and consisted of farmland and replanted forest and we crossed the bridge into Forks. Twilight was set in the small town of Forks but was not filmed here. There is nothing to really see except a few Twilight inspired shops and ‘Bella’s truck’ at the information centre. But for me it was nice to visit. 

We stopped at the welcome sign so I could get a photo and wandered around town and had a toilet break and got some lunch. I bought a souvineer Swiss Army knife. You never know when you’ll need something like that up here!

We carried on and headed out West then South to Ruby Beach. We originally wanted to visit La Push (also from Twilight) but heard Ruby was the better of the two beaches. From the outset the scenery was stunning. The weather had cleared and the sun had com out for us as we meandered down the path to the beautiful beach. 

Ruby is a pebbled beach covered in vast amounts of driftwood ranging from fully grown trees to smaller bits the size of your hand. Scrambling over all that we gathered on the lower beach to take in the views. 
There are large rocky outcrops that have been separated from the beach after years of heavy wave action and smaller rocks jutting out of the sand forming odd shaped turrets. 

We wandered along around the first corner climbing, paddling (the water was freezing) and enjoying the now warm sun. I also built a pebble stack I was quite proud of.

On our way back to Port Angeles we dropped Ian off at a great camping spot along Elwah river where he was to camp in his hammock for the night. 

Jen then dropped Fergus and I off at Toadlily House, a place we had booked through AirB&B but was actually a pleasant little hostel. We found a lovely cool room upstairs and unpacked our stuff.

We headed down to the main part of Port Angeles for our first ‘fancy’ meal of the trip. 

Bella Italia is where Bella and Edward had their first date. Again, the movie is set here but sadly not filmed here. The restaurant is very nice though and it was clearly a very popular place. We had the Italian antipasto to start followed by Mushroom Ravioli for me (that’s the dish Bella had too) and a massive Pizza for Fergus. 

It was a lovely, romantic date night! Wandered home to Toadlily house and took photos of the sunset over the harbour.

The following day we rented a car for the first time during our trip witch was great, we felt so free!! (Although It started off a little rocky due to Ferg having to drive on the right and drive an automatic for the first time ever) 

We stopped by Safeway for breakfast then headed off around 10:30 to pick up Ian from his campsite. Carried along up the Elwha river road to Madison Falls, a smallish but pretty waterfall near where the road ends. Ian and Fergus disappeared up the hill for a better look while I looked around the area at the huge trees, river and mountain views.

We decided to then head for Sol Duc Falls which is past Crescent Lake to the West. The road winds up a heavily forested valley to a small clearing where there are washrooms, picnic tables and a car park we could not fit into so had to park down the road and walk up to the trail entrance. We hiked about .8 of a mile through the forest, over small creeks and past a log cabin to the impressive falls. 

The water cascades down the narrow ravine in 3 separate streams, some brave people were getting quite close, I only managed to get close enough to fill my water bottle up with fresh, clear as day mountain water which was so refreshing. Mountain stream water is the best! Took some photos from the many wooden bridges and lookout points before heading back to the car.

We stopped in Fairholm at the head of Lake Crescent and had our lunch overlooking the lake and the mountains. Fergus and I had salads and Ian cleverly made Sushi rolls with fried mushrooms (cooked on a gas burner) asparagus, cold rice, pickled ginger and wasabi. It smelled yummy! 

While he cooked, Fergus and I sunbathed on the jetty and watched he people swimming and the ducks with their young ducklings paddle about. It really was such a relaxing place. 

In the late afternoon we drove all the way back to Port Angeles and up to Hurricane Ridge which is the closest area of the park you can drive to from Port Angeles. The very windy road starts out at a gentle gradient and you wonder how the hell you are going to get up to the top but towards the top it gets steeper and a lot more windy. We stopped about halfway up to scope out camping spots and got a great view down the valley to Sequim and up the valley towards the Olympic Mountains.

The views kept getting more and more stunning as we neared the top and all 3 of us were more impressed at every turn and very thankful we were in such a beautiful place. Once at the top we parked up and walked past wild (but very tame) Deer and even a young fawn, very cute.

Had a look around the information centre and restaurant and took some photos of the views from the lookout which lookes directly over to the Olympic Mountains and Mount Olympus. 

We headed up a trail that leads up to the highest point of the ridge and passed through a grassy plain to get views to the North, we past old dead forest where a stag shelterd under a couple of old ski huts beside a disused button lift. We even saw some snow that hadn’t yet melted.

Further on it got steeper and the views got better. From up the top we got 360 degree views of the surrounding mountins right over to the ocean near Sequim and Port Townsend. 

Down below us was another trail leading over the various ridges into the distance and we noticed some sort of animal walking along the trail. After a bit of deliberation we realised it was a mountain goat and there were more right below us folks were taking photos of. We headed down and got more photos before heading down the ridge to the car. 

We headed down the hill just as the weather was closing in and the sky getting darker. We dropped Ian off just out of town in some bush beside a creek and said our farewells.

Went back to Toadlily house and had a couple of ciders while chatting to fellow travellers and watching one hell of a lightning storm. It was very unusual to have such storms in Port Angeles I was told. Had noodles with eggs, mushrooms, Spring onions and meat for dinner.

The following day Fergus took the car back and we had eggs and bagels for breakfast before heading down to explore Port Angeles town. Went to the Pier, a lookout tower on the dock and to a few shops in the town. Port Angeles is small and there is not a lot there to be honest. It seems like a place people stop for one night before going to Vancouver island or into the National Park. 

We chilled in the afternoon, had a nap and planned the next leg of our trip. During the afternoon/evening quite a few people arrived including Alex from the US who had been on the road for 2 months and was at the end of his trip, a Swiss guy who was going to stay a night before going hiking in the forest and another guy who had been biking around the country and was going to continue to do so for the foreseeable future and a bunch of Austrians.  

Cody, the owner of the Hostal and who flutters in and out from time to time doing washing or welcoming people invited us all to his birthday bonfire he was having at his home (beside the hostal) later that evening so we all went to Safeway for drinks and food. We had an omelette and salad for dinner and had drinks with the others and listened to them play the guitar, they were both very good. Joined the bonfire later in and chatted to Cody’s friends and listened to the folk band.


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