I haven't done one of these in a while. I had a really great long weekend though. After spending a lovely, sunny 4th at 2 different BBQs, Brugos and I packed up the 'Stang and headed to the coast for a couple of days of beach camping.
Our trip got off to a slightly rocky start when the direction flew out of the car. Therein lies the problem with convertibles. But we'd read them and could (mostly) remember them and we figured signs would help us the rest of the way. After we made a wrong turn, I felt REALLY bad about losing the directions. But we turned around and were soon on the right track again.
When we finally arrived at La Push's Second Beach (the internet claimed it was the best of the 3 options), we parked the car and strapped on our hiking packs. We had to hike about half a mile down to the beach. Because we had all of our food and water for the next two days on our bodies, it was kind of a rough hike. But it was mostly downhill. When we got down to the beach and scaled the driftwood, we saw our new temporary home. It was truly breathtaking. It was also, miraculously, still warm and sunny which mislead us into thinking it would stay that way. We pitched our tent (we're getting really good at doing it quickly) and lay some rocks inside it to keep it from blowing away. (It was THAT windy). We then set about building a lean-to with driftwood to hopefully block some of the wind. Unfortunately, driftwood is much heavier than it looks and our lean-to ended up not making much of a difference. It was, however, a blast to build. And quite cool looking, if I do say so myself.
We ate dinner (everything we brought was dehydrated so we'd only need to boil water for cooking) and then sat around the little fire we built for a while, playing Uno. The view was amazing. Those rocks jutting out of the water look almost other-worldly. The whole scene was really quite romantic.
The next day, we awoke to a rather windy and cold morning. Given how sunny it was the day before, I thought surely the clouds would burn off. They never did. But Brugos and I are pretty much used to camping in inclimate weather anyway. We bundled up and set about exploring the beach. First, we went out to the big rock that was no accessible due to low-tide. We saw hordes of starfish and muscles doubtless unnerved by their exposure. Then we walked from end to end of the beach, enjoying the scenery and laughing at the post-apocalyptic looking communities other campers had set up. Someone had written Jacob in the sand and we hypothesized that Jacob was the hard but just leader of their community. We were in his territory now and we must abide by his laws or suffer his wrath.
The other end of the beach was much more isolated and we climbed the rocks and sat down in solitude for a bit before heading back to our tent to cook dinner. We whiled away the time playing cards. We couldn't really remember any 2 person card games so we kind of made up rules to Gin Rummy and Go-Fish. Yes, we couldn't even remember Go Fish very well. It was that kind of camping.
Saturday we woke up to mist covering the water. It was warmer than the previous day, but still a bit chilly, so we kept our sweaters on, ate breakfast and packed up. We weren't looking forward to the uphill hike back to the car. Luckily, we didn't have to lug the water anymore. Sadly, that was the only thing we'd brought that we used up and was also heavy. Our dried soups, though now gone, were pretty insignificant in weight. Luckily, there were benches along the way for the more grueling portions of the hike. That was nice of them. Half a mile seems like an eternity when you have a heavy pack.
Our next destination, for which I'd also lost the directions, was the Olympic Hot Springs. There is a commercial hot springs near by called Sol Duc, but we wanted to go back to nature, baby. So at Sol Duc, we asked directions to the natural springs. Their directions weren't very clear and the springs weren't listed on the map they gave us. So we drove on. We were briefly stuck in traffic as they cleared a head-on collision off of highway 101. After we got through, we stopped at Granny's Diner to fulfill my love of roadside diners. Our waitress was a somewhat maniacal young lady who was amazed at how much water we were drinking and who wandered around the restaurant commenting loudly on everything. Turns out she's from whatever town we were in outside of Port Angeles. I guess being a small town girl makes you kind of crazy. Also, for some reason, it took 45 minutes for them to prepare a veggie burger and a bowl of chili. We were on Granny's time. No matter. She knew where the springs were. And while we waited, we got to meet some goats, chickens and a cat with the biggest thumbs I've ever seen. They all lived out back.
Bellies full, we drove to the springs. It was an 8 mile drive up the mountain and then another 3 mile hike from the trail head. Maybe it was because of our after-lunch smoke, but the hike up to the springs was an eternity. We thought we'd never find the things. We also noticed something weird about the people who were passing us on the way back to the car. The closer we got to the springs, the more “swimmy” people looked. By the time we got there, we were passed by people with towels, and one completely naked hippie girl. Oh yeah, the springs are closing optional. Ew. Brugos also pointed out that whenever we seem to find a hike grueling, we are always passed by smiley old couples who seem to be doing fine. That helps us cowboy us a little.
We smelled the springs before we found them. We staked out a nice private one, stripped to our swim suits and climbed into the hot, smelly water. I know it doesn't sound very romantic, especially since our springs kind of looked like the outlet for a sewer, but it really was. The hot water felt really good.
We got out and made the trek back to the car which, of course, felt much shorter going back. Then we headed home, satisfied with our nice Northwestern Couple excursion!
See pics of our adventures here!