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Brief trip report on Washington State

Hi all,
Well, lazy Sunday so thought I would write down a few things about our recent trip to Washington State (my home state). With the virus, I wanted to do something low risk. Mostly outside and away from hotspots.

We landed at Sea-tac and rented a car and were off. We drove to Lake Chelan (on the eastern side of the state) and spent four nights there. Our timing was perfect as the wineries had just opened back up. Visiting the wineries is one of our favorite things to do. We managed to visit three in our three days there. My favorite was Siren Song. We had our wine and food outside at all three places. We also did the Riverwalk everyday, but did not get to some of the other hikes I had hoped for. The weather was great and we enjoyed the change of scenery.

After our four nights in Lake Chelan, we drove to Port Townsend, which is on the western side of the state. It was a long day of driving and we got to Port Townsend about 4pm. We had dinner outside at a restaurant and then walked around the upper town to look at the Victorian houses. We saw lots of deer, all of whom seem to be very tame as we got quite close to them. The next day we drove to Sequim to visit some of the lavender farms. There are quite a few, but we only had time for two. Again, we really enjoyed the change of scenery and smelling the lavender!

After meandering around the country roads there, we drove to Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park and did a couple of easy hikes there. Then back to Port Townsend for a second night. The following am, we checked out of the hotel and our first stop was Lake Crescent (this is a lodge located in Olympic National Park), where we did the Marymere Falls hike and had lunch at the lodge. Then it was on to Sol Duc, where we drove the long road into the park and did the Sol Duc Falls Hike. So very beautiful! Some of the trees are over 750 years old and have been around since before Columbus landed on the shores of North America. After the Sol Duc hike we continued our drive on to Forks, where we spent the night. In the am, it was back on the road to visit the Hoh Rainforest. This was my favorite part of the trip. The trees, moss, lichen, well words cannot do it justice. Suffice to say, it was just what my soul needed. Although we saw lots of deer on this trip, we didn't really expect to see other wildlife. Well, we got lucky and on the Hall Of Mosses hike we spied a black bear way up high in a tree. He was stripping the bark and appeared to be eating insects. We couldn't believe how high he had climbed and that pretty much put the kabosh on my thoughts of climbing a tree to escape a bear if I ever needed to! Right next to the Hall Of Mosses hike, was the Spruce Trail hike. Neither of these hikes are very long, so we did them both.
After hiking, we continued driving to Kalaloch (on the western coast of Washington) to take our photo with the Tree Of Life. (google it to see pictures). Amazing tree, which seemed to be the theme of our trip! This was the only night that I had not made reservations. We ended up driving to Moclips and spent the night at Oceancrest Resort. We had our one special dinner here (inside, but with social distance). The food was fabulous! The next morning we drove to the original hotspot of Kirkland so my kids could visit with their cousins. Then it was back to Alaska. Upon entering Alaska you fill out paperwork saying you will take the covid test at the airport or quarantine for two weeks. We all chose to take the covid test and I'm happy to report that we were all negative. I will also add that in Alaska I don't drive very much and this trip was definately a lot of driving, which I enjoyed. We put 1,200 miles on the rental car.

Posted by
3645 posts

I enjoyed your trip report. Those of us who live on the Olympic Peninsula are fortunate to enjoy the beauty of Olympic National Park on a regular basis. I am sorry you didn't get a chance to hike the Dungeness Spit. You'll need to come back and do that next time. I hope you had a chance to do Hurricane Hill Hike. The wildflowers along that trail are absolutely outstanding right now.

I am especially glad you found a way to create a fun vacation for yourself, even though it wasn't your original plan. It is always good to hear about successes like this.

Posted by
1863 posts

Carol, you do indeed live in a beautiful part of Washington State. However, I could not live there as it is too far from an international airport, which will be a requirement for me in my retirement years.

Posted by
3924 posts

Diveloonie, the SeaTac airport is an international airport with direct flights to Amsterdam, Paris, Frankfurt, etc. heading to Europe and of course, several destinations heading to Asia. And flights to Canada and Mexico are international, too.

Posted by
3645 posts

Jean, I think Tammy meant that she would want to live closer to an International Airport, not that there wasn't one. When I go to the airport I have to leave 2.5 hours for the trip. I can easily drive there in 2 hours, but I always have to leave another 30 minute cushion in case the Hood Canal Bridge opens and leaves me sitting there on the road while a submarine and attendant vessels pass by. When I return from a flight to Europe, I often just stay the night at an airport hotel so that I am fresh (and safe) on my drive home the next day.

I wouldn't say I live "far" from the airport, but I certainly can understand why Tammy wants easier access in her dream retirement location.

Posted by
1302 posts

Tammy, that sounds like a wonderful and relaxing trip! Thanks for reporting on it!

Posted by
2949 posts

Very nice trip report. We will take a road trip to the PNW soon, I hope and you’ve given us a lot to think about. I wonder if any states other than Alaska and Hawaii are requiring their residents to test at the airport or isolate for 14 days? Several, I think, are asking returning residents to isolate for 14 days.

Posted by
1863 posts

Yes, Jean, what I meant was more than 1hour from the airport is farther than I want to be. Of course, I know that Sea tac is an international airport, but when you live in Port Townsend or Forks, it is quite a drive to get there.

Posted by
1427 posts

Hi Tammy, I enjoyed your report. Made me a little homesick. Fortunately, living in Mexico is a joy!

It's always been my plan to go back to Seattle once a year since moving here. But not this year, I'm sorry to say...

Stay well!

Posted by
434 posts

Oh Port Townsend! My adopted hometown. A truly beautiful part of the country. Gone, but not forgotten.

Posted by
429 posts

I am glad you enjoyed your time here:)

You hit some of our favorite areas. We did a backpacking trip to the eastern part of the state this weekend to get away from people, and it worked, lol.

I really worry though about all the visitors this summer. Our numbers are skyrocketing again. On our drive home from backpacking, we could see a popular swimming hole in the river and it was just a sea of people and you could not see all the rocks which is normally what you see even with people down there, and it was only 67 degrees outside. It was nuts.

Posted by
295 posts

Great trip report! Have seen a few of the places you visited but need to see the others. This gets me fired up to see more of my home state. Thanks!

Posted by
2788 posts

I grew up in Washington State but got tired of the gray sky and drizzle about 6 months of the year. Instead of becoming a Snow Bird, I became a Rain Bird and went to Hawaii where I now spend 6 months of the year. It is nice to return to Seattle in May or June when the weather is nice as the scenery here truly beautiful.

Posted by
2773 posts

Tammy, My cousin Chris owns the Gorman Winery. Did you happen to stop there? Have a little Evil Twin?

Posted by
1863 posts

Wray, we did not get to your cousin’s winery, but I will put it on the list for next time. Next trip I also want to hit up Walla Walla as my husband loves that town and I have not been there in over 20 years when it was thought of as the prison town. Apparently, it has become a hot foodie and winery area.

Posted by
2638 posts

I have visited Kirkland many times, then my friend moved up to Arlington.

Posted by
378 posts

I grew up in Washington State but got tired of the gray sky and drizzle about 6 months of the year.

That's funny -- the unending, soul-crushing, depression-inspiring claustrophobic leaden skies are why I love this place so much! Perfect drinking weather!

-- Mike Beebe

Posted by
13 posts

Oh my. Every once in a while I tune in to the travel forum. Today I find this wonderful travel report on my home state and it happily reminds me that I live in a fantastic region of the world. Moved to Seattle 40 years ago (from Ohio) and have had the pleasure of traveling all over the Pacific Northwest. This travel report touched on many of the places that are near and dear to me and makes me feel lucky to live here, especially during COVID 19 shelter-in-place era with the accompanied travel restrictions. I especially appreciate hearing about the airport experience. As domestic travel opens up gradually your Washington State travel report is especially helpful. And uplifting!

As for those "gloomy" grey skies, it is not called the Evergreen State for nothing. There are many shades of grey to compliment the many shades of green all around this corner of the continental USA. Plenty of blue skies too which I am encouraged not to admit to, but there ya' go. Oh, the sunsets! While international travel is restricted I am glad to have my Washington State backyard for travel adventures. Thanks for this travel report!

Posted by
31 posts

We are Midwest transplants to Washington state (18 years now!) and still can’t believe our good fortune that we landed here. Our My Way Alpine trip was canceled...it was to have celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary. So we planned a camping trip in our “home” state instead. Five days at Deception Pass on Whidbey Island and three days in the beautiful national forest near Lake Wenatchee. I am reminded that really, we could travel only in the Northwest for the rest of our lives and still be happy. (I will say, though, that describing Chelan and Wenatchee as Eastern Washington does an injustice to the actual eastern part of the state....we live 150+ miles east of Chelan and are still Washingtonians!)

Posted by
1863 posts

Beth, your right Chelan is probably more mid-west, but since it’s over a mountain pass and the weather is different, to us westerners, it’s eastern.

Posted by
1209 posts

Western Washington is Wet and Green with Ferns and Douglas Firs; Eastern Washington is Dry and Earth Tone with Sage Brush and Pine Trees. They are very different from each other in attitude and lifestyles. My family came to Washington before it was a state with the Railroads. Most stayed in Spokane. Boeing and WWII brought some to Seattle. I was born in Seattle...so as a native I have to say that it probably rains too much for most folks!

Posted by
19 posts

The line for the ferry which is used to leave Port Townsend and return to Seattle was five hours long over the weekend. There is a lot more traffic on this side of the water this summer. Jefferson County has the highest number of elderly residents in the state. Now our Covid-19 numbers are going up with the influx of tourists. We have taken several day trips and it is not easy to find restaurants and rest rooms that are open. We live in Port Ludlow which has not even opened up facilities for residents--- so wear your masks if you are coming to the Olympic Peninsula.

Posted by
7809 posts

As a native "wet sider", I have never heard anyone question that Wenatchee and Chelan are in eastern Washington.

Have never heard the term 'midwest' ( or 'mideast' ) applied either. Only a 'foreigner' would use such a term! :-)

Posted by
2978 posts

As a native of Seattle, and yearly visitor to Lake Chelan, we have referred to the area as "east of the mountains." It's interesting to hear folks in the Methow Valley, eg. Twisp refer to Seattle as the "coast." We think of the coast as the ocean. ;)

Tammy, glad you enjoyed your visit and for reminding me of our favorite places in our lovely State.

Posted by
1209 posts

I've had more than one visitor to Puget Sound think that the body of water they see is a lake. Now Vancouver and Seattle share the Salish Sea.