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  1. #1

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    Winds of change in the Valley of the giants. Another slice of Americana. (Pics)

    As the plane was descending into the Seattle/ Tacoma Airport the sky was as clear as I had ever seen it on the many trips I had taken here over the last 2 1/2 years. Mount Rainer could be seen rising out of the eastern sky and the Olympic mountains could be seen to the west. Seattle is a water town and from my seat I could see plenty of it before we touched down. The landing went well and we were soon headed to the rental car bldg to pick up the mini van we always rent for our trips. As we exited the rental car lot we were dreading the afternoon traffic we usually face as we head south towards Tacoma on
    I-5 , but luck would find me this day and the traffic was not bad at all. Our trip to Silverdale went by at a nice pace and before we knew it we were checking into the hotel.
    We had two objectives for this trip, first and foremost was visiting my son, his wife and my grandson and the second was getting to Olympic National Park. My son was able to take leave from the Navy during our stay so this gave us lots of opportunity to get out and explore. We made plans to stay at a cabin for a few days at Lake Quinault which is located on the southern side of Olympic National Park. We would use this as a base for hiking and eating and also for a trip to the pacific coast which has been on my bucket list for a long time. I spent a fair amount of time in California as a teen and young adult and had plenty days hanging at the beach and swimming in the ocean down there, but I’ve never dipped my toes in the waters of the pacific in the great northwest.
    As we got our stuff settled in the room I gave my son a call and told him we would see them in a few minutes. He lives minutes from the hotel so we were soon parking in his driveway. He and his family were there as we stepped out, with my grandson leading the way. He will be two in June and is non stop energy and talking. He has grown since the last time I saw him in February and is beautiful kid with striking blue eyes. The next couple of days were spent playing with the baby and just catching up with my son and his wife. We did manage to make it to the store to get our supplies for our trip to Lake Quinault and on Friday we headed out for lands none of us had seen before. My sons wife told the grandson we were heading out for an adventure and this became the slogan for the trip as he repeated this more than once which I loved every time he said it.
    The trip to Lake Quinault would take us through the small town of Aberdeen Washington which to me was just another working class town on the way to my *big adventure * but to grunge music fans this is a place that must be visited as this is where Curt Cobain came from. I don’t think my son is a huge grunge fan but he wanted to stop at a little Park that is somewhat of a shrine for Cobain as it is where he hung out as a young guy growing up and playing music. It was somewhat interesting as they had some music based statues and other witty signs explaining this and that about the grunge legend.
    As we left the park and got back on the famous Hwy 101 we made a northern turn and headed for lake Quinault. Lake Quinault is a large lake fed by the Quinault River. It is around 210 feet deep and used for recreation such as fishing and pleasure boating. I saw just one boat the whole time I was there and saw no one fishing so don’t know what the deal was there, but could have been the time of the year. The lake is controlled by the local Indian tribe to some extent, but I think the state has a stake in it also as I saw regulations about boat inspections and fishing license. The lake is located in what is called the *Land of the Giants*. Massive spruce, pine, cedar, hemlock and fir dominate the landscape and stand like giant guards protecting their forest. These giants are absolutely stunning. Like the redwoods on other parts of the pacific coast, these trees are something everyone should see. Most are hundreds of years old and some older. There are many world record trees located in this valley. One of the grandest and world record setting tree is a giant Sitka Spruce which stands 191 feet tall and is 1000 years old. We were able to visit this tree as it is located on the same property that the cabin was located on. Anyone who visits this tree has to be humbled by its size and age. From what I saw the tree is still in good shape and may well be here another 500- 1000 years. The valley is a temperate rain forest with tons of rain cascading off of the Olympic mountains which creates one of the most unique eco system on planet earth. We were able to hike some trails in the area and also visit some local water falls. On the second day at the park we headed further north up Hwy 101 and made our way to the coast. As I mentioned before I have always wanted to visit this area. As a kid growing up I would read articles of the Pacific Crest Trail that follows the Pacific Coast all the way from Canada to Mexico. The pictures I saw in the books and magazines were of fog filled beaches and weathered piles of driftwood. As we parked the car and headed down to the beach we were not disappointed. The beach looked just like the pictures I had seen as a beautiful fog hung on the beach and piles of driftwood were visible as far as the eye could see. This spot was a perfect place to explore and hang out and just take it all in. My grandson had the time of his life. He climbed every piece of driftwood he could master and threw many rocks in the the ocean. I made sure he put his hands in the waves that lapped the beach and took as many pictures as we could. The whole family did the same thing as him as everyone knows we are all kids no matter how old we are. We finally had had enough and we headed back to the cabin for our last night at the park. We were all up early on the last day so we ate a nice breakfast, packed the car, and visited the giant Sitka Spruce one more time. On the way out we took the loop the went around the lake and the northern section of the Quinault River and were glad we did. This area is remote and the river is beautiful. The banks and the islands of the river are covered in beautiful river stone. The amount of stones I saw would take a Cambridge mathematician days to calculate. I wish I had a truck load or three to take home with me. The path this could make in my back yard would be unbelievable. The loop ended up back at Hwy 101 and we headed south back to Silverdale. The ride back went well, with a lunch in Aberdeen and small talk about the trip. We all agreed that this was one of the most beautiful places any of us had ever seen.
    The next few days were spent hanging with my son and his family at their home and visiting short hiking trails and sharing many meals. Kudos to his wife who is the best mom in the world. She takes very good care of my grandson. The night before we left my son cooked us some nice steaks for dinner and we played with our grandson as much as possible. We would not be able to see them the day we flew out as we had to be in Seattle for 6 am. As the afternoon passed and evening set in, we bid them farewell with hugs and kisses and promised we would see them soon. We really hate this part of the trip, but hey, all good things must come to end, so we sadly got in the van and headed back to the hotel.
    The winds of change that I spoke of in the title are happening to me and my son son simultaneously. My days at the Department of Agriculture are coming to an end as is my sons hitch in the Navy. I’ve spent the last 32+ years working at the same place and it’s time to move on. My son has been in the navy for 5 years and he’s ready to move on. The life of a submariner is not a easy life. Any service in the military is a a great sacrifice for the enlisted and their families. There is a good chance he will be moving home, which for us will be a beautiful thing, but we just really don’t know at this stage. They really love Washington, but they realize having family around them would go a long way to having a quality life. Time will tell, so now we wait. As for me the ole beeman is not going anywhere. Ever though I’m retiring from one job, I have always planned to work at something, so I’ll keep working my bees and pursuing a few job opportunities that I’ve been working on. Who knows I may be able to write a little more as I plan to travel more and take many more bites of the delicious pie we call America.

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    Last edited by Labeeman; May 20th, 2021 at 04:54 AM.

  2. #2

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    More pics

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  3. #3

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    Always enjoy your travel reports. Grandchildren are a real joy, too.
    "Let us speak courteously, deal fairly, and keep ourselves armed and ready." T. Roosevelt

    God Bless & Help America

  4. #4

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    Thanks for sharing your awesome trips. Hoping to do a good bit of traveling when I retire.

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  5. #5

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    These are great. Best of luck to your son as he transitions out and to you as you move along.
    Thanks for the beautiful photos and travelogue.

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  6. #6

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    Well when you retire you could get a job as a travel writer for travel/leisure magazine. ...

    My vacation pics and story go something like this...Went to Washington and Oregon to visit relatives , here's some pics !! haha

    Great story and my own travels to the "Great Northwest" I've had a hard time finding a more scenic or majestic area of the country.

    ..."Beautiful place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there"

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