17 December 2009

catching up: washington vacation

Since we're leaving on Friday to spend Christmas and New Year's in Washington with Greg's family, I thought it was about time I got around to posting about our summer vacation there.

It had been three years since the last time we'd been to Washington in the summer, and we'd almost forgotten how much there was to do there in warm weather. Such as horseback riding:

And trips to the beach:

(I believe that was Evan's first time at the Pacific Ocean.)

We went to the Hoh Rainforest in Olympic National Park, one of the few temperate rainforests in the world. It's full of giant old trees all covered in hanging moss, which, on a sunny day, is quite lovely. I've actually never been there on a rainy day, so I can't speak to that experience, but I'm sure it's neat then too.

Icidentally, the drive to the rainforest takes you through the small town of Forks, which is now well-known as the setting of the Twilight books and movies. It's amusing to see the Twilight mania in this little logging town -- every business with a sign out front welcomes Twilight fans to town, there is a store on the main street selling only Twilight merchandise, and we even saw some teenage girls posing in front of the "Welcome to Forks" sign as we drove into town.

Anyway. This photo is of one of the more memorable parts of the trail through the rainforest, and gives you a bit of an idea of the size of some of the trees.

Greg and I were able to take a couple of days to ourselves to go hiking and camping in the Olympics (thanks again to Greg's parents for watching the boys for us!). We hiked to Royal Basin, a lake that is only reached after climbing a seven-mile trail that rises over 2500 feet in elevation along the way. Needless to say, we were sort of useless in the movement department for a day or two after we got back. But that view is worth it, don't you think?

We also saw our first wild bear on that trip, although we didn't get any photos. We saw him only because he heard us coming and started crashing through the underbrush trying to run away from us, so even if we had gotten a photo it would have been of his rear end. So.

We went to Salt Creek, which is a very pretty beach and a great place to look at tide pools. We've been there many times as well, but it never fails to amaze us with its beautiful scenery and the interesting creatures you can find there. In addition to all of the tide pool animals we've seen there (such as sea stars, mussels, crabs, sea cucumbers, sea urchins, snails and fish) we've seen bald eagles, sea lions (or were they seals? I can never remember), sea otters and whales.

It's also just fun to play in the sand and water there:

We hiked out to the Devil's Punchbowl at Lake Crescent, along the Spruce Railroad Trail, a trail that actually used to be a railroad. We've done this hike many times in the past but it's a good one for kids (relatively short and flat), plus it's beautiful, so we keep going back again and again. Here's James on the bridge over the punchbowl:

And here's Evan along the shore of the lake during the hike:

In addition to all of these day trips we took, we also had a lot of fun just hanging out with Greg's family, playing games, watching movies, berry-picking, walking the dogs, building with Legos, eating fresh seafood, and just generally being on vacation.

Last night I finally got around to posting some of my photos on Flickr, so click here and take a look if you're interested. Those are maybe half of my photos from the trip, but it took about eleventy-zillion hours to upload and label them all, so I think that's all there will be. There are more photos of horses, hiking, the beach, the rainforest, and tide pools, among other things, so check it out.

We're headed back to Washington tomorrow morning, and can't wait to spend the holidays with Greg's family! And hopefully it won't take me quite as long to post photos from this trip once we're back home again.

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