“We’d need a month to see everything here,” Ric declares as we pour over a map of the area.
We’re in the foothills of Mount Olympus, and the scenery here calls out to my spirit, begging for exploration. It has been rainy though, and the temperature is not far above freezing.
We decide to drive along highway 101 for a bit, stopping at posted areas and taking pics.
“All our pictures will be grey, unfortunately,” Ric remarks as the sky is heavy with cloud and threatening to rain at any moment.
No matter; we’ll take what we can get. All the ingredients are here for an ideal shot: mountains, tall trees, water, and rocks. The area on the left has a trail leading to hot springs, which would be worth seeing, but I’m hardly dressed for the weather, our winter coats well packed away (if not left behind). And then there is the problem of my legs.
“We can always come back here on our way back home.”
“I’d love that.”
We drive a little farther and come upon Lake Crescent, where we turn off the highway and follow a road leading to the town of Joyce and highway 112. Like most mountain roads, this one weaves in and out, and as the traffic is light, we travel slowly, not wanting to miss the views. As we come around one bend, I spot slight movement in the woods beside me.
“Stop! Back up slowly.”
Three deer are grazing, and equally as startled to see us, take a couple of steps back from the road. They linger long enough for me to get a few pictures, before deciding to disappear back into the camouflage of the forest.
The map we are following is a roughly sketched outline of the area, provided by the office of the camp we are staying in. Chris, one of the owners, marked a few spots we might enjoy, and that is where we are headed now. A road, running off highway 112 and just past Joyce leads to a place called Salt Creek. There are no signs posted, and at one point the road splits and so we just take our chances, driving past private property signs and another RV park before we come upon a small parking lot with a public washroom and a sign indicating this is our destination.
Steps formed by tree roots and rocks provide a rugged approach to the sandy area surrounding tidal pools which lead to the ocean.
Despite the greyness of the day, this place exudes tranquility. The waters closest to the entrance are mirror calm, and just beyond a family of buffleheads play in the water. As we raise our cameras to get a shot, a shadow passes overhead and I look up to see a bald eagle in flight. Ric is quicker than I am and snaps a few shots. I walk on towards the shore and watch as seagulls play in the surf.
Ric catches up to me and just as he does the eagle returns, flying past us at eye level, something long and fluffy in his grasp.
“Moss,” Ric explains. “He’ll be building a nest.”
Sure enough, we watch as he lands high atop one of the giant pines, delivering his find and then flying off again to continue his hunt. There are a pair of eagles we soon realize and we watch as they come and go and eventually return to the nest. My camera focuses on the one nearest to us, but Ric manages to capture both sitting beside the nest.
A passerby directs us to another location further down the road, where we will see “tons of eagles”, and we decide to give it a try.
It’s another beach, near the town of Sequim, and by the time we arrive it is clear that the rain that has so nicely held off all day is running out of patience. There are no eagles to be seen, only a cluster of noisy seagulls, attracted by picnickers.
Time to head back to camp, and warm up. Fingers crossed that tomorrow is a sunnier.