The Twilight Zone
20-August 2011 to 23-August 2011:
By about 5:30pm, we arrived at the Hilton in downtown Seattle, but there was a sign that caused Julie to fret in disbelief as the Alamo desk closed at 4pm! The town car driver had to tend to another call so we couldn't go back to the airport immediately with him. And so we were stuck at the Hilton with an increasingly fussy baby (she didn't have a good rest and she was not comfortable with the unfamiliar surroundings and people) and time running out on our errands while we were trying to figure out what to do...
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Day 1: CLUELESS IN SEATTLE
It was about 1:05pm when we boarded the Alaskan Airlines plane. We had a lot of anxieties about bringing a baby on board along with all the extra stuff we brought along on this trip (especially considering this was an overbooked flight). But despite all of our fears and reservations, we checked in our bags, made it through security, and left our stroller per gate check-in without any real hassle other than the next anxiety about whether all of our pieces of luggage would arrive in Seattle.
For this flight, we had used our miles to secure a pair of first class tickets. But I wasn't to enjoy the fruits of my own miles since we were also bringing Julie's mom along. All the ladies, including our daughter, were in first class, while I was 7 rows back in coach.
At least the first class passenger status afforded us to bring on the extra baggage without additional cost.
The flight pretty much went on uneventfully other than a half-hour delay and the lack of air conditioning at the very start of the flight. I didn't have a window seat on the right side of the plane so I didn't get to check out any of the volcanoes or features that the pilot pointed out throughout the flight - e.g. Yosemite Valley, Mt Shasta, Mt Hood, Three Sisters, and Mt St Helens. I found it funny that the pilot didn't mention Mt Rainier as we were about to land at the Seatac Airport.
I still couldn't believe how much snow was still draped over Mt Rainier! It made me wonder what it would be like when we would get there later in the week.
When we landed at the airport at around 3:30pm, we spent quite a bit of time waiting near one of the restrooms at the gates. There was this hilarious drinking fountain that let out huge water sounds whenever anyone pressed the button for a drink. But after about 45 minutes, it kind of got old.
It turned out that Julie decided to pump at this time. Plus, Tahia seemed to have pooped as well so we also had to tend to her diaper after Julie was done pumping.
When all was said and done, it was about 4:30pm when I managed to pick up our luggage, which was one of the last of the carousel to be picked up. I was still waiting another 15 minutes or so before Julie, Tahia, and Julie's mom finally joined me at the arrival level.
At this point, we went outside with all our luggage and waited for our town car. The problem was that the town car wasn't here. And after Julie called them, she realized that the town car driver had already left a while ago and now had to circle back to pick us up to bring us downtown.
The plan was to hire a car at the Alamo in downtown Seattle. By doing that as opposed to hiring at the airport, we were supposed to save over $200 on the overall rental fees alone. Anyways, after the town car driver made Julie feel bad about not giving them her cell phone number over the phone, we eventually picked us up at around 5:05pm.
The town car was spacious, and the heavily tattooed driver engaged in some small talk with us over some rap music. It was an amazingly clear day, and I swore it was probably the first time ever that we had been in Seattle under such weather conditions. Unfortunately, today was nothing more than an errand day as we still were supposed to go shopping for supplies (since we didn't bring them on the plane) after picking up our car rental.
By about 5:30pm, we arrived at the Hilton in downtown Seattle, but there was a sign that caused Julie to fret in disbelief as the Alamo desk closed at 4pm! The town car driver had to tend to another call so we couldn't go back to the airport immediately with him. And so we were stuck at the Hilton with an increasingly fussy baby (she didn't have a good rest and she was not comfortable with the unfamiliar surroundings and people) and time running out on our errands while we were trying to figure out what to do.
When we learned that it would be way too much trouble to get Julie's cousins to pick us up (they happened to be living in Everett), we eventually hailed a more cramped taxi cab to bring us back to the airport.
We returned to the airport at about 7pm after being stuck in traffic on the way out of downtown Seattle. About 20 minutes later, we finally got our rental car while lugging stuff around. Unfortunately, the rental rates were almost double what we were hoping to pay from renting downtown with the same company.
So in the end, we not only paid the original rental rates from the airport, but we were also out a round-trip distance from the airport to downtown Seattle and back to boot. Not to mention, we lost out on another three hours of time.
Well, at least I got to see the gorgeous Mt Rainier dominating the southern skyline. Unfortunately, I didn't have a camera handy at the time to capture the photograph given all the chaos caused by our rental car drama.
Lesson learned - when you're looking to pinch pennies, you have to consider ALL the details. In our case, it was the closing times of the rental car office that caused us so much grief.
Anyways, once we got the car loaded up and driven out of the lot, the first order of business was to head over to the Target to stock up. And as we followed the GPS there, we eventually hit a dead end as there was some kind of road construction that blocked our direct path there.
So we spent a bit more time trying to find a detour to get to that damned Target, and I was losing hope that we might get a photo of Mt Raininer in soft afternoon glow. Who knows when, if ever, we'll see the huge volcano under such clear conditions again?
Eventually, we made it to the Target at 8:10pm. Julie had to pump again so Julie's mom and I were in the Target trying to stock up on the stuff we didn't bring with us on the plane. Keep in mind that we still had to drive to downtown Seattle to check-in and spend the night for an early start tomorrow!
Anyways, after another hour or so of shopping (especially looking for baby stuff that was organic and/or chemical-free more-or-less; most of which we didn't find), we drove right into the heart of Seattle via the I-5 but not before another round of detours and getting lost along the way to the freeway.
It just seemed like the hits kept coming on this day...
At 10:05pm, we finally got into our room at the Moore just a couple blocks from Pike's Market. It was happening in the downtown area though it wasn't because of Pike's. It was because it was a Saturday night so that meant the night club and bar crowd was out and about. We weren't going to partake in the atmosphere given the infant, our late arrival, and the fact that we were getting an early start tomorrow to get to the olympic Peninsula.
After checking in, the receptionist managed to give us some insider information about the parking situation, where the spot behind the passenger loading spot we were in was about to be vacant. What's more was that apparently, street parking was free until Monday morning.
So this insider info got us what he called, "Rock Star Parking." I guess it was the one break that went in our favor all day long. So we did save about $12 of parking on this night.
Anyways, in our room, Tahia was really overtired and she was crying hard after midnight. Apparently, she wasn't comfortable with the unfamiliar surroundings, and the rental car drama that cascaded into a slew of calamities probably didn't help her temper either.
It wasn't until about 1am or 2am when we finally got our sleep; as did Tahia.
It was too bad we didn't get to enjoy the spacious room that we were in. And at less than $130 a night in such a prime location, this boutique hotel was quite a find by Julie. At least we're supposed to be coming back here on Tuesday night and staying for another five nights thereafter. Maybe we'd have a more enjoyable stay then...
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Day 2: BEYOND FORKS BY TWILIGHT
I awoke to my 6am alarm though everyone else was still asleep. I guess Tahia's crying episode last night really took a lot out of everyone. Still, we had to get up and going as soon as we could since we couldn't control the ferry schedule, and we had to make it all the way to Kalaloch on the state's west coast by twilight. It sounded simple, but we also had some excursions planned along the way.
I had aspirations of catching the ferry ride to Bainbridge Island at least before 8am. Unfortunately, it wasn't until 7:50am when we left the room and it wasn't until 8am when we arrived at the ferry dock on Pier 52. We had just missed the 7:55am ferry!
I guess with all the chaos from yesterday (one of those times where you wondered what else could go wrong), there was still tension in the air when it came to trying to rush to get out the door for today's activities. But all that got thrown out the window when we had to consider Julie's pumping schedule, Tahia's demands, Julie's Mom's pace, and all the luggage that we had brought (I still thought we had brought way too much and I lamented it every time I had to drag all that luggage from place to place).
Anyways, the next ferry wasn't until 8:45am so we used that time to feed Tahia, get some quick breakfast, and entertain Tahia. Eventually, the cars started to move and we ended up on the ferry itself, which moved without warning. Basically, the only way we were aware that we were moving was the fact that it got windy within the car deck.
So Julie, Tahia, and I went upstairs. Julie's mom stayed in the car, and fortunately, there were no diesel fumes down at this deck (unlike other ferries we had ridden on before).
While we were on the windy sun deck, we caught glimpses of the Seattle skyline against the sun. It was too bad the lighting was bad at this time of day because the fair weather would've made for nice photos. I guess this was more of an afternoon view.
Up ahead, we could see there were still speckles of snow on the mountains where we were approaching. I wondered if those were the mountain ranges of the Olympic Peninsula. Plus, I wondered if Hurricane Ridge offered some spectacular close-ups of some of these peaks we could see from down at Puget Sound.
Eventually as 9:30am approached, we all returned to our cars, and we were off the smooth ferry ride, and onto Bainbridge Island. We pretty much followed the traffic straight northwards until we eventually rejoined the US101.
So far the drive was smooth and there wasn't too much complaining from Tahia. If anything, perhaps she was getting a little caught up on sleep.
As mid-morning came around, Julie told me that she thought Tahia had pooped. It was a little unusual considering she had just pooped yesterday, and she hadn't been regular on a daily basis very much in her young life. But Julie smelled her bottom and knew that she had done the deed, so that prompted us to find the nearest stop we could find to change her.
Fortunately at 10:40am, we found a large Wal-mart store near the city limits of Port Angeles.
It was there that Julie and her mom tended to Tahia's diaper duties while I was trying to shop for supplies to streamline our stay here.
It turned out that after I was done shopping, Julie and her mom were still in the family restroom with Tahia because apparently she had a blowout. Some of the poop had gotten onto her onesie so that meant a longer than anticipated stay in the restroom. But when I finally found them at the family restroom, it was just in time when they were wrapping up.
So once Julie was out, she bought the remainder of the stuff that she usually uses, and then she spent some time buying some fruits as well as a Subway sandwich. Julie's mom was looking for some clothing for Tahia.
With all this going on, I was wheeling Tahia around the store and giving her attention. There would be random conversations with strangers because of Tahia's cuteness. It was kind of comical how public one's life becomes after having a baby. Otherwise, we'd normally keep to ourselves and others would do likewise. There had to have been at least five conversations with complete strangers and employees during this time at the Wal-mart regarding Tahia.
There must be something universal about parenthood because it seemed to be one of those things that almost everyone (except youngsters and DINKs [dual income no kids] or SINKs [single income no kids]) seems to understand.
Anyways, we were finally out of the Wal-mart at 11:55am. And the drive was for the most part uneventful though I was kind of bumming that the fine weather from the past two days were mostly spent inside the car. I had been itching to get outdoors in choice spots the whole time.
Nonetheless, I did see dark clouds looming on the horizon towards the inlet side to the north. The weather definitely seemed like it was ripe for a change.
We made a short detour off the US101 into Elwha Valley. The detour was short because we were only looking to check out Madison Creek Falls. And we managed to be at the car park at 12:20pm.
Julie's mom and Tahia were in the car during the time that Julie and I made the short paved walk to the viewpoint of the probably 60-75ft falls.
Once at the viewpoint, I was surprised at its height. I guess I had no expectations for this waterfall, and a lot of times, that's when you get most pleasantly surprised. Perhaps I shouldn't have been surprised, though, considered how busy this car park was and how many people stopped at the falls while we were there.
In any case, this waterfall also seemed to have higher tiers, but we really couldn't tell for sure other than the fact that there were hints of falling water above the very top of the visible main tier that we paid attention to.
Anyways, once we had our fill of this waterfall at 12:45pm, we headed back down towards the car, rejoined Tahia and Julie's mom, and continued on our way westward towards the state's western shores.
For the next 20 minutes the drive westward along the US101 was pretty smooth and uneventful. Ultimately, the drive hugged the rather large Lake Crescent, and shortly after first seeing this lake, there was a signposted turnoff for the Storm King Visitor Center as well as the trailhead for Marymere Falls.
That was supposed to be the waterfall highlight of the day so of course we had to stop here.
Once we parked at about 1:05pm, we once again left Tahia and Julie's mom at the car so Julie and I could walk to Marymere Falls. I think it was around 1.6 miles round trip according to the literature so I knew it might take a little time.
The car park was also quite packed with cars and people. This place definitely drew quite a crowd, and I was a little surprised by its popularity considering that I didn't think that many people were that keen on seeing this waterfall. I guess it goes to show you that preconceived notions mean nothing until you're actually there in person and see it for yourself.
The hike began with a walk past the visitor center with some glimpses of Lake Crescent. Then, the trail went through a tunnel that went underneath US101 before it emerged in a forest where tall trees flanked the well-used and wide open trail.
Some of the trees nearby the trail seemed to have a wide girth and could've been photo ops if one was so inclined to show how much he or she would be dwarfed by the trees.
Anyways, the pleasant trail went past a few spurs and junctions, including the Storm King Trail, which looked difficult. I wasn't sure where it went, but I'd imagine it would've yielded nice views of Lake Crescent. I always believed lakes were better photographed from a higher vantage point as the shoreline shots generally aren't too impressive given how flat it would make everything look.
The trail then reached a creek where I saw two bridges. One modern-looking one and one more charming log bridge.
I went ahead and followed the trail over the two bridges before the trail started climbing in earnest. It wasn't much longer before the trail branched off into a falls loop. I opted to veer left and hug the ravine which contained the waterfall. Within a few minutes, I could see parts of the tall wispy waterfall, and not much later, I was at the somewhat crowded overlook full of a combination of kids, people in their prime, and parents.
I managed to climb up additional steps to get a different perspective of the falls where I could see the entire falls in one frame plus use the onlookers to provide a sense of scale.
After taking some people shots with Julie, we continued the falls loop where we saw there was a different overlook that was slightly overgrown. Still, we got our shots, but it was easy for one person to hijack the view (which happened in our case), and we just retreated towards the rest of the falls loop.
Julie took one slip and fall in this stretch as it was a little steep and slippery. Apparently one other person also cut herself taking a spill in the same spot so I guess I couldn't say anything about Julie being a clutz.
We were back at the car park at 2:30pm. We changed Tahia's diaper on one of the picnic tables before takng off at 2:45pm. It was amazing that the car park was still full and people were actually waiting for our spot when we left!
Next, the drive continued westwards past Lake Crescent then past the Sole Duck turnoff. I anticipated taking this turnoff on our way back to Port Angeles so we skipped it. The road continuing west was quite straight shot at that point and it was smooth driving as we made our way towards Forks.
Everyone in the car was asleep for this stretch of the drive, but I knew how much of a Twilight fan Julie was so I alerted her when we got into the town limits of Forks at 3:30pm.
When she learned that we had passed the Welcome to Forks sign, she made me U-turn and go back to it so she could get her Twilight shot on her iPhone and Facebook it to her friends. When we were done being silly and taking the sign (interesting that there was a No Trespassing sign next to it), another pair of young ladies pulled up behind us and were probably about to do the same thing.
Yep, I'm sure the Twilight movie did for Forks tourism (let alone the Pacific Northwest) what the Lord of the Rings did for New Zealand.
It was kind of comical as we were passing through town how much of a Twilight town it was. We saw some boutique shop called Alice's Closet, lots of Dazzled by Twilight galleries, and Twilight Tours as well as something about Team Edward on one of the signs.
There was also a police car waiting to nab someone surpassing the 30mph speed limit as well.
About a half-hour later, we saw a signed turnoff for Ruby Beach. My original plan was to wait until sunset to come to the beach and take photos. However, we could see that the fog was rolling in and there probably wouldn't be another opportunity to visit the beach and its sea stacks.
So we decided to pull into the very busy car park, and all four of us went down to the rocky beach littered with driftwood and a handful of sea stacks. I'm sure if not for the crowd down here, this would've been quite the charming beach. Plus, we could see that literally minute by minute, the ominous fog was rolling in and not letting go of its shroud over the area.
It gave the beach a bit of mysterious feel to it, but I'm sure a sunset here would've been breathtaking. But alas, it wasn't meant to be on this pre-twilight hour.
Tahia was getting a bit fussy so the rest of the group went back up the trail to the parked car. Meanwhile, I stayed behind a little longer and took more photos. It was then that I noticed that one of the sea stacks that looked like a large phallic rock from the side actually contained a pair of tiny arches.
After taking my wannabe sea-arch shots, I then beat a quick retreat to join the ladies and continue on our way to Kalaloch Lodge, where we were to spend this night.
At 5pm, we made it to the fairly busy Kalaloch Lodge. It didn't appear that the fog had overwhelmed this part of the coast yet. But we knew it was only a matter of time.
Twenty minutes later, we were finally settled in our room.
The cabin was spacious though the floor was hard and we were worried about Tahia knocking her head down there. So we actually used some of the spare blankets to cushion her inflated pea pod and hoped that it would be enough to keep her happily asleep for the night.
When dinner time came around after 6:30pm, I noticed a family with delicious looking soft serve ice cream. I took a mental note to wait til after dinner to have some of that dessert myself. But after about 8:15pm, we were done with dinner and I was hit with the bad news that the lady that worked there turned off the soft serve machine so there would be no such dessert on this day.
Oh well, I guess it saved me a bunch of calories.
In any case, the fog overwhelmed the area at this time and there was to be no sunset walk on the beach with Julie. Instead, we retreated to the cabin and tended to Tahia's needs as well as tried to clean up ourselves.
And slowly the drama and tension at the start of the trip started melting away into the rhythm of this trip. It's amazing what a few waterfall sightings and beaches can do to your psyche. It just goes to show you that even on a holiday, a waterfall here and there could still take the stress out of the trip given all the things that could go wrong...
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Day 3: SUMMER SOAK
It was 6:15am when I awoke. Tahia had a night waking last night at around 2am as apparently we forgot to feed her at 10pm for her last feeding of the day.
Needless to say, everyone was quite tired and I was the only one that was awake.
The weather had definitely turned towards misty rain at this time of the morning. I was both not surprised by the Summer rain yet I was also surprised at the same time given how quickly the weather turned from picture perfect just two days ago.
Eventually, everyone awoke just after 7am including Tahia, and for most of her waking hours, she was fussy and made sure we knew about it with her shrieks.
As the morning wore on, it started to pour. And already, I was getting soaked as it was I who had to do the luggage duties loading the car. Once again, I lamented the overpacking that Julie made us do on Tahia's behalf, but it was what it was and I just had to deal with it.
It wasn't until about 8:45am when we finally left Kalaloch Lodge under pouring rain. When Julie checked out at the reception, she then went across the way to ask the convenience store vendor if she had the soft serve machine up. Unfortunately, they didn't, but it was real sweet of Julie to do that for me.
The drive north was mostly uneventful other than being on the lookout for large puddles and possible hydroplaning from the curves. We passed back through Forks again, but didn't make any stops as there didn't seem to be any takeaway breakfast places that attracted us. I guess I was hoping for something like the meat pies in Australia or New Zealand, but I probably just kidding myself to even fathom that option.
In any case, the pouring rain made it undesirable to make a stop here and take some more funny photos on Julie's iPhone so she could show off to her friends about the whole Twilight connection here (even though she said it wasn't even filmed here).
Shortly after passing through Forks, Julie had me turn left onto a road that led to La Push. It was somewhat of a detour, but I figured despite the pouring rain, we mind as well satisfy Julie's curiosity about what this place was like.
Anyways, it wasn't until about 9:55am when we arrived at a sign at the entrance to the tribal town of La Push. I had to get out in the rain to take the photo of those signs for Julie.
Then, we continued aimlessly driving further into town as we got closer to the coast. Julie was hoping to catch a glimpse of something that would've reminded her of the Werewolves or something like that. I think there was a Jacob's Java stand, but that didn't count. She did want me to take a photo of some large dog and pass that off as a werewolf, but I was merely concentrating on the road.
In any case, when the coast was in view, we were pleasantly surprised by the impressive sea stacks off the coast that dwarfed anything we saw at Ruby Beach! Indeed, this place was quite beautiful and it was too bad that we happened to be here under such foul weather.
We made a brief stop within one of the RV Parks to take a coastal photo, but I had to do so in the pouring rain. So when I quickly took the shots, I came back to the car soaking wet. I guess that would set the tone for the rest of the day as it seemed my clothes would never dry despite them being synthetic quick-dry material.
At 10:15am, we left La Push and continued driving in the pouring rain back to US101. Then, we proceeded to drive northwards then eastwards eventually in search of some obscure waterfall I became aware of just prior to our trip - Beaver Falls.
It turned out that the pullout for the falls wasn't signposted, and it wasn't until I turned back and was about to call it quits when there happened to be a pullout with guard rails that compelled me to stop for some reason. As soon as I donned my rain poncho and got out of the car, I could hear the falls.
The nearest trail I took went only to the top of the falls. I didn't go all the way as soon as I became aware of this fact.
I then decided to follow the guardrails a bit until I saw an impromptu stream that seemed to have made a scramble trail its watercourse! So by following the whitish brown mini-stream, I eventually came upon a steep scramble ultimately leading to the base of Beaver Falls.
At about 11:10am, we continued on our drive returning to the US101 and then driving towards the Sol Duc turnoff. Once we had gotten onto the narrow two-lane road, then went past a fee station for Olympic National Park, we followed a caravan of cars towards a pair of single-lane traffic sections to accommodate construction zones. It was a bit of a delay, but I imagined there must've been some kind of landslide or road repair going on.
Anyways, we arrived at the Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort at about 11:55am. We decided to have a lunch here before Julie and I would do another hike together. This time, we were shooting for the pretty popular Sol Duc Falls.
The dining area at the resort was closed though the deli was open and we could have their food in the dining area. Unfortunately, it was the typical greasy fare and we didn't care too much for the wraps that they sold. The salmon burgers were fine, but I did regret having fish 'n chips not because of the flavor, but because I felt guilty eating the belly-bulging stuff.
After the lunch was over, we left Tahia with Julie's mom while they were chilling out indoors by the pool area. Meanwhile, Julie and I were at the trailhead by 1:45pm, but she had to pump and only then did she realize that she had forgotten the ice cooler to store the milk.
So we ended up making a return trip to the hot springs resort to give the milk to Julie's mom for immediate use when Tahia was hungry, and only then did we return back to the trailhead by 2:25pm.
The rain was still coming down somewhat moderately, but both Julie and I donned our rain ponchos and did the hike together.
The walk was pretty straightforward, but what was memorable about it was how just allowing our eyes to follow the path made us unconsciously drift our gaze upwards towards the tops of the tall trees around us. The tree canopy kind of deflected most of the relentless rain that fell at the moment, but droplets still did get through nonetheless.
Julie would tell me how this hike reminded her of Edward and Bella flying from tree to tree. And I guess I could see why after seeing the allure of these mossy trees all around us.
When we got to the noisy yet attractive Sol Duc Falls, we were taking plenty of shots both from the bridge over the gorge as well as from some of the side viewing areas closer to its brink.
It seemed that with all the green around us, this waterfall seemed more photogenic under rainy conditions than not. It was probably one of the few waterfalls that I had ever seen where bad weather seemed to have enhanced its allure rather than take away from it.
Nonetheless, in a place that gets 144 inches (12 feet) of rain a year, I guess it shouldn't be all that surprising that we got caught in a Summer soaking like today.
By about 3:40pm, we completed the 1.6-mile round trip hike and were back at the car. Once again, the rain seemed to have come down harder, and in light of this weather, we were amazed that there were still quite a few people in backpacking gear willing to brave the elements and even overnight in them!
At 3:50pm, we were back at the resort and picked up Julie's mom and Tahia. About 20 minutes later, we finally left Sol Duc and headed for Port Angeles. There were still those two long stretches of delay due to construction work, and it almost made me doze off behind the wheel as we waited.
Once we were back on the main highway, I followed a long caravan of cars probably also looking to head back to civilization.
I left the caravan when we glimpsed a large rainbow on the far end of Lake Crescent at 4:55pm. The pullouts were few and limited, but we eventually found a decent spot with the rainbow still there. The lemmings effect was in effect as at least three or four other cars crowded the pullout we were on to try to capture the phenomenon before it disappeared.
About a half-hour later, we finally entered the fairly large city of Port Angeles. Julie made me stop once to show a welcome sign since I guess this place was also part of the Twilight saga. In any case, we were at the Olympic Lodge to check-in at 5:35pm.
We'd spend the rest of the evening getting settled, pacifying Tahia, and even having a takeaway Italian dinner at Bella Italia (though the restaurant was more of a sit-down place). Apparently, Stephanie Meyer ate here before and I guess Julie had to get yet another Twilight fix while we were in town.
And so ended this soggy and wet day. I had expected such conditions in the Spring, but little did I know that it could be this way even towards the end of Summer. Though to the uninitiated, I'm sure the irony could certainly be felt and observed in such as way as to make one wonder whether or not he/she got caught in the Twilight Zone, literally!
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Day 4: FROM TWILIGHT ZONE TO MAGIC CASTLE
I awoke at 6:30am (probably ignoring my 6am alarm in the process). To my surprise, I saw Tahia put her hand through a hole between the pair of zippers enclosing the Pea Pod and she was actually opening the pod from the inside! What a smart girl!
I watched her unzip the door half-way before she was on her belly and stopped unzipping the door further. When Julie awoke shortly thereafter, I told her what Tahia did, much to her amusement.
All of us were beat and I guess we didn't really have much planned for today unless the weather smiled upon us and made it worth our while to go to the top of Hurricane Ridge. But alas, it was still drizzling and misty raining outside so that pretty much dashed any hopes of that.
So we all took our time getting packed up and ready to go. This would be the last time this week that we'd be vagabonding it. For the next five nights would be in Seattle.
It wasn't until about 8:50am when we finally left the Olympic Lodge in Port Angeles and then prompty arrived at the Wal-mart just minutes later.
While Julie and her mom were buying things like bottle brushes, Q-tips, and more water, I was keeping Tahia entertained. She was well past her morning nap time, but she seemed to have shown no interest or will in falling asleep.
It wasn't until 9:30am when we finally left the Wal-mart and started our day. The goals for today were to visit both Rocky Brook Falls and Dosewallips Falls in the eastern side of Olympic National Park. We were then supposed to catch the Bainbridge Island Ferry back to Seattle hoping to get some satisfactory views of the Emerald City's skyline from Puget Sound.
Anyways, the morning started off mostly uneventfully with a fairly significant drive east on the US101 then south towards the Dosewallips area. The weather was mostly a mix of intermittent rain with small pockets of sunshine, especially as we got to the eastern side of the Olympic Peninsula.
Eventually, we made it to the turnoff for Dosewallips Road and took this narrow road for a couple of miles before reaching an unsigned pullout next to the Rocky Brook Bridge as well as some hydroelectric building. I was worried about this sign that said this road was closed some 9.7 miles from the turnoff. I wondered if we'd even make it to Dosewallips Falls.
We weren't sure if we were in the right place or not, and we also weren't sure we'd be trespassing given the infrastructure that was here.
Nonetheless, I started off by walking the wide dirt path past the hydro building and into a forested area. It wasn't but 5 minutes before I reached the rocky base of Rocky Brook Falls. In order to get better views, I had to scramble onto some of the fallen logs and rocks, but that also meant putting myself at risk for the sudden changes in the stream level (as warned by some of the signs here).
It turned out that this waterfall was pleasantly tall (maybe 100-125ft or so) with an attractive rock tower above its brink kind of framing the fanning out drop of the falls. It was too bad that the sun was definitely out this morning because it created light and dark zones on the waterfall. Despite the dreary conditions of the past day-and-a-half, I kind of wished it was overcast so this falls would look good under the even lighting.
I spent a bit of time here taking both stills and movies, and I was wondering where Julie went. But after heading back, I saw Julie with Tahia not far past the hydro building. I joined up with them and helped Julie carry Tahia back towards the falls. It was there that Julie was impressed and proclaimed this to be the best waterfall we had seen so far on this trip.
Julie seemed to enjoy the waterfall and she was in quite the good mood as it showed on the photographs I took of her!
At 11:20am, we were back at the car park. We saw four other people heading to the falls when we left so apparently this falls wasn't as unknown as we had first thought considering how alone we were in this place when we started.
After changing Tahia's diaper, we were off at 11:30am. We decided to see if we could make it to Dosewallips Falls before the road closure. The pre-trip GPS waypoints indicated no, but we figured there was no harm in trying.
Soon enough, the road degenerated into a dirt road with some deep potholes. It was a bit nerve-wracking considering any one of those could pop the tires of this rental car. I'm sure Julie's mom must've wondered what we were doing since I don't think she had experienced unsealed driving on our own like this. I guess this would be our adventure in Washington as we always seemed to have at least one of these on each of our trips.
At 11:45am, we saw lots of cars parked alongside the dirt road. It turned out that we had hit a dead-end, and I guess this was what was meant by the road closure signs.
When I turned the car around and parked it, I got out of the car to take a look to see where the road went.
It turned out that the road disappeared into the river, and I began to wonder if the bare wall on the right side was where the road used to be. It appeared to have washed into the river!
There was now a trail that veered to the right then started climbing up some switchbacks. I'm guessing it was going up and over the landslip before rejoining the former Dosewallips Road. So much for that waterfall...
At 11:50am, I returned to the car and drove off. Julie was upping the urgency because she noticed mosquitoes (or at least what she thought were mozzies). We didn't want Tahia to contract anything like West Nile or whatever other pathogens mozzies might be carrying up in these parts.
The next 90 minutes was pretty much uneventful driving again. The weather seemed to have continued to improve and get sunnier the further east we went.
We'd eventually arrive at the ferry docks at 1:25pm, but it seemed that we arrived too little too late to catch the departing ferry as the lot of waiting vehicles was completely full. I don't know what's the deal with us and bad timing on ferry departures, but it seemed like we'd have to wait again for the next ferry this time.
Finally at 2:05pm, we drove onto the next ferry, and while we were on there, we changed Tahia's diaper again. When that was done, it was just in time to get to the front of the ferry so we could catch the Seattle skyline.
We tried to milk the photo ops as much as possible before it was time to get back down to our car so we wouldn't be blocking traffic.
By 2:40pm, we were back in the car, and at 2:50pm, we finally returned to the Moore Hotel. We were relieved that finally we could enjoy the remainder of our stay in Seattle without having to vagabond it with a baby in tow.
An hour later, we parked the car at a nearby parking structure on 3rd and Stewart. We got our golden ticket, which costed us $12/day for a grand total of $72. But considering the Moore was reasonably priced (as far as Seattle was concerned) at around $130/night, tacking on another $12/day to the room rate would still make this place quite the find.
Yet there was something quirky about this boutique hotel. The long corridors, the old-school furnishings, and the dark painting really reminded me of something out of the Magic Castle or the old computer game Thief (way back in my computer game-playing days). The avante garde style almost put me in a similar mental place to that hotel we stayed at in Forde, Norway with its strange and mind-provoking drawings.
And thus we had officially escaped the Twilight Zone, and I hoped we wouldn't have to be dealing with that for the remainder of our time in the Emerald City...
Have a waterfall travel story you'd like to share?
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