After a rocky start to our second day, we headed on the road. It was going to be a long day, we knew, but hopefully the kids would be up for it with the breaks and pacing we had planned. We started by heading east from Port Angeles around Olympic National Park. This is beautiful area, starting with Crystal Lake and then circling around to the coastal side of the state. Our decision was to have the longest part of the driving take place in the morning, from Port Angeles through Forks and then on to the Hoh Rainforest section of Olympic National Park.
Yes, we drove through Forks, that town made famous by a certain book series that is currently enjoying success with theatrical adaptations. We stopped only for gas on the way back through after visiting the rainforest. Most people understand that the small town is attempting to capitalize on its newfound popularity, and I don’t blame them. The books and films have really been a boost to the economy. I just have to say that not once did I see a sparkling fairy… er, vampire.
We arrived at Ho Visitor’s Center at lunchtime, as was the plan, and had our lunch. We had packed sandwich makings, juice boxes and fruit from home, planning on having a picnic lunch each day, and not only was this a cost saving measure, it really helped with time.
Ciárán tried to chase a squirrel. Literally. After some food and a little time out of the car, we went on a short walk around the rainforest. This was one of two things that Laura wanted to do on this trip, the other being Hurricane Ridge. Again, because we have small children, we couldn’t go on the kind of hikes we would have liked, but still, it was nice to be able to get a taste of another vastly different geographical area that is so close to home.
On the way out of the rainforest, we had to stop so that Laura could nurse Xavier. This provided a time for me, August and Ciárán to take a small side trek to … well, wherever the path led us. In actuality, I knew where we were going, not because I had been there before (because I hadn’t) but from the sign that mentioned a fishing spot and permits needed or something of the sort. I didn’t need to read the full sign to know that the river was just a short trek away. Well, that and the sound of rushing water.
We followed the trail through the trees, out into a clearing, then onto the river bank. The waters weren’t receded, but the water level was rather low, so we wound up walking a bit in the riverbet before getting to the water. August and Ciárán both touched the river (sticking their finger in the water) and that was thrilling enough for them. We started back, and the whole trek took maybe 20 minutes total. That was enough time for Xavier to get fed, have a last “potty break” and get enough of the wiggles out before we moved on to our next destination.