“It’s up to you,” Ric places the decision heavily on my shoulders. “You pick; I’ll drive.”
The choices are to drive two hours to Neah Bay, where if we are willing to trek over fallen logs and a bit of a rocky trail for a mile, we might be able to see whales; or to drive an hour and a half to La Push to see rock formations in the Pacific Ocean.
It’s still cold and rainy, and since I can’t be sure my legs will make the trek – although I would love to see whales – I opt for La Push.
La Push is situated at the mouth of the Quillayute river and part of the Quileute Indian Reservation. We pass a parking lot for one beach, and drive right to the coast where the river meets the ocean. There is a parking lot right at the beach and we pull in and hop out to get a better look at the place. It is cold and the wind is relentless, but we are determined to capture images of the rock formations, and tiny islands that dot the shore line. Rows of logs and other driftwood line the beach – signs we later learn of massive waves that passed through just a month before.
We decide to get a late breakfast at the River’s Edge restaurant just beside where we parked. Inside, we discover a bright dining room with a high-peaked ceiling and large picture windows overlooking the water. Rae Lynn, our waitress, tells us they are now serving lunch, and at first glance, I’m not sure I’ll be able to find anything to eat. I am on antibiotics now, but still need soft food.
“The salmon burger is the best,” she tells me. “It’s a real fillet, not chopped up fish stuck together.”
I order that, no bun, and the garlic fries she suggests. Ric opts for a burger and the soup of the day: cabbage meatball.
A binder containing photos and descriptions of the local wildlife sits on the table and we are soon entertained by the presence of sea lions rolling about in the water. Rae Lynn fills us in on some of the history of the area, and tells us the fish must be plentiful judged by the activity on the river.
When lunch comes the salmon is just as she promised but I note that the fries are breaded.
“Can I get you a salad instead?”
I can’t crunch anything right now, so I tell her it’s okay. She goes back to the kitchen and a little while later returns with fries, cut fresh and cooked just for me.
After lunch, we find a place by the river where we try to catch the sea lions in action, but apart from a quick nose or a rolling fin, we are not in luck. The rain forces us to move on and we take a different route back, deciding at the last minute to go into Port Angeles and check with the ferry about tomorrow’s ride.
I wander down by the docks and get a shot of these American widgeons playing nearby, and then it is time to head for our site and begin the process of packing up.