Upon our arrival to the Salt Creek Recreation Area, we put on our water shoes and climbed down to the shore. Although the fog blocked our view of the ocean, we had a clear view of the coastline leading out to Tongue Point.Thankfully, Ed drove to REI yesterday to purchase a set of hiking poles (TSA regulations prevented us from carrying them on the plane from Atlanta) while Joyce, Ron, and I were biking. The poles came in handy as we clambered along the rocky shore, which was covered in mussels and barnacles. We quickly realized that walking across the mussels was much safer than navigating the slippery rocks.
During our walk, we discovered hundreds of anemone, numerous starfish (blood, ochre, and black), hermit crabs, and a variety of kelp.
Phoenix and Emma Kate (our grandchildren) would have loved the little creatures scurrying across the ocean floor.
Our next stop was the Hoh Rain Forest, which was a 2-hour drive from Tongue Point. We passed glacier-fed Crescent Lake along the highway and marveled at how clear and calm the water was. Regrettably, we did not have time for a kayak trip across the lake … maybe next time. We stopped at the Hard Rain Cafe to purchase sandwiches for a picnic lunch and drove into the temperate rain forest, which receives about 12 feet of rain annually.
The ranger in the visitor center recommended that we take the Hall of Mosses Trail – a short loop through old growth Douglas fir, Sitka spruce, and western hemlock trees. Some of the trees were over 300 feet tall with a diameter of more than 20 feet. Before leaving the rain forest, we enjoyed our picnic lunch sitting at the base of a hemlock tree (I think).
Next stop – Hurricane Ridge, the jewel of Olympic National Park. I’d been following the webcam on Hurricane Ridge for several weeks prior to our trip, but I was still overwhelmed by the majesty of the glacier-topped mountains. Joyce and I purchased a t-shirt to commemorate our visit, and then the four of us took a walk along the Cirque Rim Trail. The Wildflowers were in full bloom, and a few deer enjoyed the bright sunny day in the colorful meadow.
Ed faithfully drove us another 2 1/2 hours back to Bainbridge Island, where we spent the night in a modern Best Western suite located near the ferry dock. We ate dinner at the Harbour Public House, a riverfront pub that serves locally grown vegetables and Seattle-brewed beer (a treat for Ed & Ron). After dinner, we returned to our hotel and promptly went to bed.