Saturday, June 17, 2006

2006 July trip to Oregon and the Olympic Peninsula in Washington

This was a somewhat difficult trip.  In June, my Dad had gone to the Dr. because of extreme fatigue after returning from a trip to the Holyland.  After a series of tests, he found out he had stage 4 prostate cancer.  He was still waiting for any treatments when we were there, so it was really hard seeing him in pain, even though he did a good job of trying to hide how he was feeling.  It probably didn't help that I had scheduled a few nights at Depoe Bay Worldmark and then a 3 or 4 night trip to the Olympic Peninsula.   I knew he had always wanted to go to the Olympic Peninsula, so he insisted that we still go. 
From our 3 bedroom condo at Worldmark Depoe Bay looking towards the heated pool and big jacuzzi.
 Looking towards the little bay on the other side of our unit.
 My sister and sister-in-law even came out for a day and the 3 of us went shopping and sightseeing.
 Nice to see Dad smiling and enjoying a beautiful sunset by our condo.

Another view of our resort from the far end of the complex.
 Sunset over Worldmark Depoe Bay.
 We made it into Newport one of the couple days we were there. 
 One of Ken's venders lives in Portland and he and his wife often come visit us when we're in the state.  Here they joined us for another great lunch at Rogue Brewery, then a walk along the docks.
 And a walk around the little town of Depoe Bay.
Looking down at the little bay.
 Even found a friendly chipmunk looking for a handout.
 And a raven bidding us ado.
 The cute little bridge at Depoe Bay.
After a couple nights on the Oregon coast, we were on our way up I-5 towards the Olympic Peninsula.  I had booked us a couple more Worldmark resorts to stay at along our way.  The first one was Discovery Bay.  It was great base for checking out Hurricane Ridge and a few other places on the sound.
View of Discovery Bay from our room.
Inside our 2 bedroom unit.

 the master bedroom.
It even had 2 levels in our unit.
 Another look at the grounds.
 The next day we took it easy and checked out one of the Lavender farms in the area.  Apparently they like the cool moist weather of this area.

 The next day we checked out Hurricane Ridge, checking out a few deer along the way.
 We hiked the paved 1.6 mile trail called the Hurricane hill trail with an elevation gain of about 700 ft. Even as poorly as Dad was feeling, he still enjoyed taking lots of pictures and doing this hike.
 The walk was beautiful with lots of wildflowers along the way.
 We saw spectacular views of the Olympic National Park from the trail.
 More wildflowers

 Hurricane Ridge is named for its intense gales and winds.  We happened to be there on a particularly beautiful day. 

 Even in July there were still patches of snow along the trail. 

More views along our hike.

Wonder how many people accidentally wander off the edge here?!
Almost there.
Made it.
 More sweeping views with more wildflowers.
 We also visited the Hurricane Ridge visitor center and checked out it's exhibits.
The next day we headed on up and around the peninsula checking out Puget Sound and the many lakes along the way.
Even came across some odd sculptures.
Note the tin bird.
 This one happened to be real.
 Another lake as we were driving by.
 Our next stop was the Hoh Rainforest.  It is one of the largest temperate rainforests in the U.S.

The Hoh River valley was formed thousands of years ago by glaciers. There are several hiking trails here, too, but we only did about a mile of 2 of it.  It was also very impressive.

 Many unique mosses and lichens are present in the rainforest.

 A nursery log providing nutrients for other growing trees.
 The dominant species in the rainforest are Sitka spruce and western hemlock; some grow to tremendous size, reaching 312 ft in height and 23 ft in diameter.
 It was another pretty day for exploring the Pacific Northwest.  We did get a little rain here, but it's a rainforest, so we were just happy it didn't pour.
Before our long drive back to Dallas, Oregon, we spent one more night on the Pacific Ocean side of the peninsula in another Worldmark Resort in the little town of Long Beach, Washington.  I'm glad there are so many Worldmarks and Wyndhams around that we can stay at with the comforts of home.  This was another new one for us.
Dad's room.
The living area.
Small but adequate kitchen.
 The pool area.
 I even got to enjoy another sunset on the beach.
 The short walk from the condo to the beach.
I'm glad we went to the Olympic Peninsula with Dad.  I don't know if I ever would have gotten there if it hadn't been something Dad talked about wanting to do for so long.  Too bad we didn't go when he was feeling better and were able to spend a lot longer there.  Hopefully I'll get back there some day.

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