I determined to go to the Olympics the summer of 2021, not in Japan (though that would have been the chance of a lifetime), but the Olympic Peninsula of Washington State. Following are photos of what I could explore, and links to more. I traveled around the Washington peninsula from east to west, and didn't have to pay for the tollbridge going that direction. This post is about the Olympic Mountains; the towns and beaches I explored will be featured in a following post.
Olympic National Park Visitor Center--3002 Mt Angeles Rd, Port Angeles, WA
List of places to go: https://www.nps.gov/olym/planyourvisit/conditions.htm
Area Info, links to details: https://www.olympicnationalparks.com/discover/area-information/
1939 Guidebook https://www.nps.gov/parkhistory/online_books/brochures/1939/olym/sec1.htm
Hurricane Ridge--continue up the road for abt 17 mi, figure abt 45 min, depending whether you make stops at the view points. You'll need to pay or show a pass. A pass gets you past the pay point more quickly. I think I counted about 15 short guardrails top to bottom. One of many Olympic roads not really suitable for a huge RV. The sign at the beginning of the descent wisely advises shifting down to 2nd gear. You'll be on the steep precipitive side of the road in the decline.
Elwha Valley--Madison Falls is only about 10 mi from Port Angeles. Go west on Hwy 101 to Olympic Hot Springs Road, which follows the river south upstream and you'll get tantalizing glimpses along the way.
Harness your enthusiasm when you see the sign that says 50 mi between Port Angeles and Forks WA ... don't think in terms of freeway speeds! The highways of the Olympic Peninsula are often narrow, winding, undulating, and sometimes a line of vacation vehicles, logging trucks, and various others. "City" buses also connect communities and points of interest.
I stopped at
Sol Duc Hot Springs--resort; hiking & waterfall not wheelchair accessible as far as I could tell
Hoh Rain Forest
Not far south of the small town of Forks WA, is the Upper Hoh Road, leading east to the visitor center. As with most of the Olympic National Park, I would advise a person with a wheelchair to have either a motor or a hale and hardy/hearty helper. On the way up to the Hoh Rain Forest Visitor Center you’ll be intrigued to stop at:
Quinault Rain Forest North Shore Rd to the Quinault River Ranger Station (flat trails & old Kestner homestead)
Amanda Park--Hwy 101 between North Shore Rd & South Shore Rd
Quinault Rainforest South Shore Rd--Lake Quinault Lodge etc.
I stayed 3 nights at the Olympic Lodge in Port Angeles WA, and will say more about that in an upcoming post "Forks, Port Angeles, Sequim". I ended up car camping one night at Mora, and will include that in the aforementioned post. And I stayed one night at Lake Quinault Lodge--not for spare change. See photos and captions below.
Here are the long and short of the stops I made on the Quinault Rainforest South Shore Rd
Quinault Rain Forest nature trail
Lake Quinault Lodge
Olympic National Park encompasses ocean beaches as well as the Olympic Mountains, but I decided to include them in a post with the towns "Forks, Port Angeles, and Sequim" coming soon.
After COVID-19 in '20 put off the 78th annual Morton Logger’s Jubilee, I was excited to be able to go this year . . . except for the heat. Even though the skies were hazy from far away fires, 92º and humidity kept the ice cones and cold drinks from food vendors in bustling business. I took a couple ice bottles—drink bottles I refill with water and freeze—in a “shiny bag” (cool bag) to protect my legs as best I could, and drank the ice water as it slowly melted. Additionally, hats and sun lotion were in order.
Morton’s Loggers Jubilee website had a helpful map, but I also contacted them to check on accessibility and when it was wise to arrive. The woman went out of her way to help, with photos and info. She said to arrive about 10am or so, in order to ensure getting a parking spot and a good place along the parade route. We arrived a bit after 10am, found the handicapped parking by the handicapped entrance to the arena, walked through the craft vendors, and up the street to Main where the bed races were held.
https://loggersjubilee.com/ check out the information and events tabs in particular
Bed Races on Main Ave
Parade, east on Main Ave, south on 2nd St, then west on Westlake Ave
Great announcer, though at times hard to hear with the noise of the logging trucks. Lots of Logging trucks from near and far, and all over--as far away as Forks WA. It must have been a considerable investment to send all those big trucks to be in the parade. If you have a lover of all kinds of vehicles, this is the event not to miss!
Craft Vendors between 1st and 2nd Streets, and Collar and Westlake Avenues
The field was rather rough and not really ready for manual wheelchairs--bring a motor or a pusher, though people were very willing to help. Maybe at some point the organizers or the community will be able to have the field graded and replanted with grass. Photos below show just a small portion of the many vendors.
Food Vendors southwest of the arena, Westlake Ave & Knittles Way
German sausage & curly fries, wood fired pizza, authentic Mexican, shaved ice and snow cones, elephant ears, rootbeer floats, caramel apples, lemonade, big soft pretzels, burgers, Italian ice . . .
Loggers Jubilee show and competition in the arena--Contestants came from as far away as Montana and Alaska!
A pair of binoculars might be helpful. While they tried to have a contestant for each event at each corner at the same time, sometimes the action was far away. At the price of lumber, the sponsors gave generously for the Jubilee to be staged.
More of Morton WA--we went exploring a bit and saw lots worth enjoying, though some of downtown could use a coat or two of paint, and some of the sidewalks could be smoother for the disabled . . .
Riffe Lake Overlook (Riffe Lake created from the Cowlitz River by Mossyrock Dam)
On the way home we had the time to stop at this intriguing view of Riffe Lake.
Mossyrock Dam--public vista area and fishing access, Hwy 12
I wanted more photos of the hamlet of Mossyrock I had visited before. For more info, scroll down at https://www.travelpacificnw.com/accessible-travel-blog/mt-rainier-hwy-12
See also https://mossyrockwa.blogspot.com/2012/09/klickitat-prairie-park.html
Captain Clameron provided a fantastic crabbing/learning experience for myself and a mom & son in Waldport OR the first weekend of August 2021. He was a park ranger for some years, he's knowledgeable (not only of crabbing, but the Oregon Coast), professional, but fun and friendly--encouraging, patient, gives easy instructions, explanations, and demonstrations for us beginners. He's flexible, and adapts to what you want to do. He's a great guide! He provided the equipment, and I was so encouraged by the lightweight, easy to manage and inexpensive traps he brought, I thought, "This is something I can do!"
Waldeport has a wonderful, accessible crabbing dock with a couple tables to work from. There's also a long dock from which you can toss your traps or lines, and small motor boats you can rent (including equipment)--named after the characters of Gilligan's Island. There's at least a couple places within a block or two that will clean and cook your crab. There are some great eating establishments, public restrooms, boat launch, and a park with picnic tables.
While prime crabbing occurs in months ending in -ber, I was delighted even to see the little guys scurrying from the traps as quick as they could. The 10 year old caught the one keeper in our group. It was an overcast day, so not hot, and the sprizzly rain held off until we were done (the tide headed back out to sea).
Captain Clameron rocks!
Captain Clameron is quite a rock collector, and put them on show for us to see what you can find along the beaches--agates to fossils. Of course he has polished the shiny ones.
More Port pictures--Port of Alsea, Waldport OR
Alsea Bay Marina & Robinson Park
Governor Patterson Memorial State Recreation Site
also known as Governor Patterson State Park
I've been in a wheelchair for 30+ years. It poses some challenges for traveling. Maybe others can benefit from my experiences.