Washington National Parks, and then some (2020)

Well, it's the middle of a coronavirus pandemic, but travel isn't fully restricted, and we needed somewhere to go. Somewhere away from other people, to properly social distance? Well, the area around Seattle seemed like a pretty good idea, so we booked flights and a place to stay. Then the wildfires hit, and I checked the forecast q15min, wondering whether we should cancel. Plus, there was this ring I had to give Caitlin... Well, the trip went much better than I could have ever expected, so let's get to it!

Day 1: Fly to Seattle

STOPS: Seattle/Tacoma Airport

Both Caitlin and I are postcall. She flew to DFW, where I met up with her and we flew together to SeaTac. From there we drove to our AirBNB in Sumner.

Environments: inside of an airport?

Today's Miles: 22

Total Miles: 22 (22/day)

Day 2: Mount Rainier NPS

STOPS: Mount Rainier NPS - Skyline Trail, Grove of the Patriarchs

Apparently we were both on East Coast time, as we both woke up prior to 5AM. Well, why waste it? We got dressed, picked up coffee and some food, and hit the road for Mount Rainier. To start, we figured we'd hit up the Skyline Trail near the Paradise area, which is normally full of wildflowers in the summer, but was now full of fog. Well, it was cold and windy and foggy and we couldn't see, but it was an adventure! From there, we drove east to the Grove of the Patriarchs. It's a fun little trail with loads of huge trees, a suspension bridge, and the most peaceful creek ever. Very relaxing. We backtracked, stopping at a couple pulloffs and Christine Falls. Having enough for one day, we picked up groceries and headed back to cook dinner and enjoy the AirBNB alpacas (yes, real alpacas).

Environments: mountains and fog

Today's Miles: 171

Total Miles: 193 (96/day)

Day 3: Sumner to Port Angeles

STOPS: Aberdeen, Kurt Cobain Park, Kalaloch Beach, Olympia Game Farm, Dungeness Wildlife Refuge, Next Door Gastropub

Time for a drive! Headed west past Olympia to Aberdeen to see the dilapidated bridge Kurt Cobain used to hang out under. From there, headed north on 101 to Kalaloch beach to enjoy some sand, surf, and sun and see the Tree of Life. We stopped in Forks for some tacos, then continued farther north with Caitlin falling asleep just long enough to surprise her with a trip to the Olympia Game Farm, home to bears, bison, llamas, zebras, and so much more. We drove to the Dungeness Wildlife Refuge (just stopped for a look), then went into town for dinner at Next Door Gastropub before going to our AirBNB, which btw had a llama, goats, sheep, corgis, a cat, a ferret, ducks, and chickens (whoa).

Environments: grunge, beaches, Disney animals

Today's Miles: 288

Total Miles: 481 (160/day)

Day 4: Olympic National Park, pt 1

STOPS: Lake Crescent, Rialto Beach, Hoh Rainforest, Ruby Beach, Songoku Sushi

Today we got up earlyish to time our visit to Rialto Beach for low tide. On the way, we stopped by Lake Crescent to see the fog creeping along between the hills. We walked to Hole in the Wall, and found all sorts of critters - sea anemones, sea stars, and tiny hermit crabs. Caitlin found something else - an engagement ring! Yep, proposed in the tidepools in Olympic National Park. Fortunately for me, she said yes! We made the walk back and celebrated with some BBQ in Forks, then went to Hoh Rainforest to see the Hall of Mosses. Never in my life have I seen something so purely green, it was wonderful. Last stop was Ruby Beach, which was very gray and rainy and not ideal for watching the sunset. Another time, then! To celebrate further, we went to Songoku Sushi, then went back to the AirBNB.

Environments: tidepools, lush rainforest, gray beach

Today's Miles: 218

Total Miles: 699 (175/day)

Day 5: Olympic National Park, pt 2

STOPS: Route 112, Sol Duc Falls, New Day Eatery, Hurricane Ridge, Salty Girls

For once we actually slept in, and our AirBNB made us waffles! We took scenic route 112 the long way 'round to Sol Duc Falls. No salmon leaping this time of year, but the waterfall and hike there were nice. We went into Port Angeles to New Day Eatery (highly recommend) then drove up to Hurricane Ridge. There's a short paved walk which was chilly but nice, and we saw some deer scrounging for food in the trees. Finally, Caitlin's favorite stop, getting crab legs and oysters at Salty Girls in Sequim! Then, time to head back for bed.

Environments: waterfalls, mountaintops, oyster bar

Today's Miles: 167

Total Miles: 866 (173/day)

Day 6: Port Angeles to Fidalgo Island

STOPS: Port Townsend Ferry, Ebey's Landing, Deception Pass State Park, Taylor Shellfish Farm, SneeOosh, Pelican Bay Books + Coffee, COA Mexican Food

Got up and packed up to make the Port Townsend Ferry to Coupeville. Nearby, we stopped at Ebey's Landing to walk the Bluff Trail along the cliff edge. Windy and gray but very pretty. From there we drove through Deception Pass State Park, which has a bridge that's a perfect vantage point for finding seals! We drove through Fidalgo Island to Taylor Shellfish Farms, where we ate more oysters but nixed our hike because it was super rainy and that would have been zero fun. We drove back to Anacortes, stopping at SneeOosh along the way...just to say we've been to SneeOosh. We found some good books and coffee at Pelican Bay and Caitlin bought a pair of binoculars for seal watching. We went back to Deception Pass to walk the Goose Rock Perimeter Trail, with one more seal sighting. It was around this point we realized we were close to an Air Force Base, because of the constant noise from fighter jets flying loops overhead. We arrived at our AirBNB in Yokeko Point, which was on the waters of the bay with a small backyard down to the water. I picked up takeout from COA Mexican and we did a little star/moon gazing before bed.

Environments: seaside cliffs, seal habitats, rainy fishing boat, air force base, small town PNW, nocturnal navigating skies

Today's Miles: 180

Total Miles: 1046 (174/day)

Day 7: San Juan Island and Back

STOPS: Anacortes Ferry Terminal, San Juan Islands National Historic Park, Lime Kiln Point State Park, Whale Museum, The Bait Shop, Crows Nest Coffee, San Juan Sculpture Park, San Juan Island Brewing Co

Went back to Anacortes to get a ferry across to San Juan Island, with some sea otters hanging out in the water nearby. We landed at Friday Harbor, heading to San Juan NHP which was very rainy so we didn't get out, but we did see a bald eagle and gray fox. Lime Kiln Point seemed more promising, and although we didn't see any orcas, we did see a few dolphins hanging out. We went back to town for some fish n' chips and coffee, then learned more about orcas at the Whale Museum. Refreshed, we headed over to the San Juan Sculpture Park to meander around and appreciate some art. All tired out from our adventures, we went back to town to relax, then got some salads and beer at San Juan Brewing Co before catching the ferry back to our AirBNB.

Environments: boatsboatsboats, whale watching rocks, sculpture park, island town

Today's Miles: 71

Total Miles: 1117 (160/day)

Day 8: Fidalgo Island to Seattle, via North Cascades

STOPS: Calico Cupboard, North Cascades National Park, Seattle

We headed out, stopping at Calico Cupboard for an excellent breakfast. We drove into North Cascades which was extremely rainy. I was determined to reach Washington Pass Overlook, so despite Caitlin's protests (I bribed her into a nap) we made it to the overlook, and she was even willing to check it out (until she got too cold and wet and ran for the car). Having enough of these shenanigans, we backtracked and headed to Seattle for our final night, and picked up some takeout.

Environments: extremely rainy mountain drives, city life

Today's Miles: 264

Total Miles: 1381 (173/day)

Day 9: Seattle to DFW

STOPS: Portage Bay Cafe, Fremont Troll, Olympic Sculpture Park

Sad, our last day. Met up with Caitlin's med school friend for breakfast at Portage Bay Cafe, then stopped by Fremont Troll and Olympic Sculpture Park on our way to the airport. And that's a wrap!

Environments: city life, airport terminal

Today's Miles: 24

Total Miles: 1405 (156/day)