Mount St. Helens

October 7 – 9, 2018

Rain and gloom for two straight days.  We’re so damp from this stop and the last one that the window sills are growing mold.  As usual, we picked a perfectly shady spot, so no drying out to be done.  But then the sun isn’t out anyway.  Hope springs eternal though, and we’re crossing our fingers for just a glimpse of Mount St. Helens.

Seaquest State Park

This park is strategically placed almost directly across the highway from the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument visitor’s center.  Exactly what we needed to plan our visit to the mountain.  There’s a path from the campground that goes through a tunnel under the road and dumps you out along a wetlands area.


On our first walk to the visitor’s center, we were told to stand right at this spot for the best view of Mount St. Helens.  The clouds and fog just won’t budge so we don’t see anything but the wetland area.  Picture a volcanic peak in the background.


Fall is here, though, and the non-evergreen trees are showing off.


Jackson says “Happy Fall ya’ll”.

The Visitor’s Center


That same visitor’s center view two days later.  Looks promising that we might actually see the mountain in all its glory.

We weren’t prepared for just how fascinated we were with the place.  We remember the big eruption from 1980 of course, but didn’t remember or probably never knew the details.  Pat remembers the ash falling in North Dakota a few days later.  That ash made it to the east coast in a matter of days and around the world in about 15.

In addition to the the side of the mountain blasting off, huge barges ran aground in the Columbia River due to ash and silt clogging the outlet to the Pacific.  They had water shortages as far east as Spokane, WA when everyone tried to wash off the ash that blanketed everything, and power transmission lines were short-circuited.

57 people were killed, over 200 homes were destroyed and miles of roads and railways were damaged.  The most striking story I read was about photographer Robert Landsburg.  He took some amazing photos of the eruption only a few miles away and realized that he couldn’t outrun the ash cloud.  Instead, he took what last photos he could, rewound the film,  put it back in the camera, put the camera in his backpack, and then lay on top of the backpack to protect it.  National Geographic published those important shots in 1981.

The Drive

It’s our last day here and we’re taking the drive to the Johnson Observatory site no matter what the weather.  Our first stop was at an overlook for a silt retention center.  It was built to keep all that ash and silt with the consistency of pudding from clogging all the waterways leading away from the mountain.


Next stop, Hoffstadt Bridge.  This is 14.8 miles from the crater and at the edge of the blast zone.  Hard to imagine that everything that far out perished or was knocked flat during the eruption.


Toutle River Valley on the way to the mountain.

We were fortunate to meet a couple at the Elk Rock viewpoint who were from the area.  They told us stories from that day and brought the history to life.  He was a logger working about 11 miles from the blast and his crew dropped everything and hauled it out of the area when they felt the eruption.  Eleven miles out and they still had to book it to survive.  She was home with the kids and sent them to the coast with the grandmother until she could find out about her husband.  Fortunately their home was out of the blast zone and out of danger from the killing mud flows.


The mountain played peek-a-boo with us while we listened spellbound to the couple telling us about that day when the skies turned dark with the ash cloud.  I’d read at the visitor’s center that local people didn’t hear the blast and I just couldn’t believe it.  According to park signage “sound waves were directed upward and debris in the cloud muffled the blast creating a ‘zone of silence’ within 50 miles of the volcano.  However, people as far away as 575 miles heard it”.  The couple we met confirmed that was true.  No sound for them.

The Mountain

Mount St. Helens did not disappoint and showed herself completely at the Johnston Ridge Observatory.



Mount St. Helens with 1,000 feet blasted off the top, and a look inside the crater.  A bulge inside continues to grow from smaller eruptions as recent as 2008.


The surrounding terrain forever changed.


A few more from the hike above the observatory.  In the end we couldn’t have asked for a better day.

The Cascades Volcano Observatory issues a weekly update on the active volcanoes in the Cascade Range.  We checked before we got to the campground and were happy for a ‘green/normal’ activity report.  I think I’d be a little nervous to live in the shadow of this mountain, but then Glacier Peak and Mt. Rainier are also considered active and we didn’t even realize it while we camped in their shadows.  I guess every place has something to keep you up at night and you just get used to it.  A highly educational and beautiful spot and we enjoyed it very much.

Next up – Cape Disappointment and our last Washington stop of the year.  See you on the way!

Coast To Coast

September 24 – October 6, 2018

I had my nose in a book for the past two days, but I finished it, so back to the blog.  This post gets me a lot closer to being caught up, and I’ll be talking about fun on both coasts.


Olympia, Washington is the state’s capital and our home for ten days.  We picked this one to be somewhat closer to the Seattle Airport.  My friends Barbara & Patti twisted my arm to attend a crafty weekend in Florida, so I have a flight back to the sunshine state.  I won’t lie – looking forward to a little more sunshine!  So damp here that we’re growing mold on the window sills.

Crafty Weekend

A few days after our arrival in Olympia, I packed up my card-making supplies and a few clothes and hopped a plane to Tallahassee, FL.  I’m headed to stay with my good friend Lisa and her husband Al for a week.  After Barbara & Patti convinced me to join them, I was on the hunt for a 4th person to round out our crafty group.  I practically bullied Lisa into finding a new hobby so she could join us.  “Anything you can do at a 6 foot table”, I said, so she took up knitting.  She took lessons, fully embraced the retail aspect of hobbying (buying stuff), and had the lightest load of any crafter there.  In case you didn’t know, paper is very heavy and paper crafters tend to bring everything but the kitchen sink to these events.


And here we are!  Barbara, me, Patti & Lisa.  I hadn’t seen Barbara & Patti for over 18 months, so it was a grand reunion.


I ended up making 30 cards, Barbara worked on her travel scrapbook and Patti worked on some layouts while attending a family wedding the same weekend.  Always the overachiever.  And look at Lisa go.  She was a knitting fool and made great progress on several projects in spite of the wildness going on around her.  Lisa even managed to walk away with the big prize everyone wanted.

My friend Annemarie hosted the weekend at the Baptist conference center on Lake Yale, close to Leesburg.  We had such fun thanks to her games, make-and-takes, and prizes.  Everyone was a winner.  Such a nice group of friendly ladies, too.


It was a beautiful spot right on the lake with sunrises, sunsets, and long strands of moss dangling from the trees.


I didn’t really think I missed much from Florida, but turns out there were a few things.  I love a good rousing thunderstorm, or at least the cloud formations.  Mom, Dad and I used to sit out in the garage and watch the rain and lightning.  That is, after we ran around unplugging everything.  No storms at Lake Yale, but the clouds were something.  And the oaks and the moss – missed those, too.


Before and after the craftiness, I got to enjoy the stay at Lisa and Al’s home.  It was like a luxury resort compared to living in the Lucy shoe box.  Plus, Lisa is an excellent cook and provided copious amounts of wine and beer.  The retreat center didn’t allow alcohol, so Lisa called it the Betty Ford Crafty Weekend, and we had to imbibe before and after at her house.


Al is a master gardener, so I admired a few things in his garden like these jalapenos.


And the Hurricane Lillies.  Good thing I didn’t visit a week later or I’d have been there for Hurricane Michael.


Of course I miss friends and family from Florida, too.  Since my sister also lives in the area, I got to have lunch with her twice.  Nice to catch up after being away so long.

And The Boys?

While I was away on my big crafty vaca, Pat & Jackson had a visit from our friends Steve & Ann. They went to the nearby fish hatchery and saw Mt. Rainier from afar on a clear day.


I asked the guy next to me on the plane about the mountain in the distance, but he was from Boise and didn’t know for sure what we were seeing.  Together we decided it was Mt. Rainier, so I got to the view the peak, too.

Mt. Rainier National Park

We ended up staying in Olympia an extra three days.  That’s because we were headed to a campground in Mt. Rainier National Park next and the forecast didn’t suit.  They were predicting lows in the 20s and snow.  Nope.  A day trip sounded like a much better plan.



First stop on the way in was the Nisqually Glacier valley.  The glacier is just out of sight around the corner from the bridge.


We took these signs seriously.  A really loooong way down.


Then we took a short hike to Narada Falls.  You can just make out the walking bridge we crossed way at the top.


When we finally made it to the visitor’s center, there was a mama bear and her cub munching on the ripe huckleberries near the trail.  People were getting way too close and the rangers had to come out and call them back.  Seriously, just how much is that photo worth to you?


Fall is definitely in the air here.


We had to bundle up for this hike, but it was gorgeous.


At the higher points of the trail, we practically had the place to ourselves.  Well, except for the ptarmigans.  They didn’t seem particularly afraid of us and Pat finally just continued walking.


The clouds were really rolling in, so our hope of seeing the glacier vanished right into that fog.  We knew the peak of Mt. Rainier was out of the question.


This would be a nice glacier overlook, but we’re completely socked in with fog at this point and it’s even snowing just a teeny bit.


A few more from the day.  Fall color at the feet of the evergreens, my friend the raven and just some plants that I admired.


Such majestic views.  And we did check out that campground we were supposed to visit.  It would have been quite a chilly stay with no services, so we’re glad we passed at this point in the season.  Maybe next time.

That’s a wrap for our East Coast/West Coast stay.  Next up: Mount St. Helens.  See you on the way!

Bogachiel & The Beaches

September 20 – 23

On to our next spot on the west side of Olympic National Park.  For this stop, we’re staying at Bogachiel State Park and hoping to catch all the pretty beaches we can handle.  Also hoping to verify once and for all if the Hoh Rain Forest is really closed.

Bogachiel State Park

Bogachiel State Park is one of those places that was built before the advent of giant motorhomes and trailers.  We threaded the needle between huge trees to find a first-come first-served site that was reasonably level and big enough for us.  We’re well into the off-season so it’s not like the place is full, but they only have six spots with power.

It was here that me met our rudest neighbors yet, but the nicest ones, too.  After what we’ll simply call ‘the unfortunate encounter’, two guys scouting locations for good elk hunting invited us to sit around their campfire.  They passed around homemade peanut butter cookies and elk jerky.  They also invited Ila and Leo, a couple who were bicycle camping.  These two twenty-somethings are from Israel and biking from Whitehorse, Yukon Territory to San Francisco.  From there they have to decide where to go next.  Ila wants to go to the Grand Canyon – by bike!  Cutest young couple and both said that a bike vacation in the US was the big dream. They’ll go until the money runs out.  We were enthralled with their story and ended up passing them on the way to our next stop.


It’s rain forest country and therefore it rains quite a lot.  We passed the rainy day time by visiting the Forks Timber Museum in tiny Forks, Washington.

Fall in Washington state with the colorful leaves and apple trees loaded with fruit.  The museum sign and Pat checking one of the big logs out front.

In the 70s, this town had the nickname of “Logging Capital of the World”.  Logging is still big business here with trucks on the road back and forth from the mountainsides to the mills all day long.  We checked out lots of old logging equipment and newspaper articles, but still aren’t entirely sure how the whole logging operation works then or now.  But there was the lingo lesson.  Loggers get their monthly insult (pay check) on alibi day (camp payday) and try to find a way to hit the pike (head for town).


Finally a so-so weather day, so we head west to the Pacific beaches.  Lunch in La Push started the day with a great view from our table.


Something was up with the birds in the area.  There were hoards of gulls and other water birds everywhere.  The locals weren’t sure why they were all flocking to this particular place.

After lunch we walked over to First Beach.  Surfers were in their wet suits trying to catch a wave and the ravens hung about hoping for handouts.


Second Beach was our favorite of the day and home to some pretty awesome sea stacks complete with an arch.


Pat really enjoyed clambering over all the huge driftwood logs.  I kept walking down the beach and at one point I turned around and he had disappeared from sight.  He tells me that’s when he fell off a big log.


He was last seen on top of this stack….


More scenes from Second Beach.

I was content stuffing my pockets with rocks of all sizes and colors, and all perfectly smooth.  They feel so good in your palm.  My favorite was dark grey with small white spots.  I call it my ‘starry night’ stone.


James Island in our look back view.


Then there’s Rialto Beach.  This part of the coast is less protected and the Pacific really gets your attention with its sound and fury.


Whipped cream shoreline and huge trees tossed like toys by the thunderous surf.


Kaleidoscope of sea foam bubbles on top of those smooth beach stones.


Raccoon tracks on the beach!  The trash pandas must be after all those poor unfortunate crab parts we saw washed up.

Hoh Rain Forest

Since we’re only camped 12 miles away, I had the big idea of driving to see if the road to the Hoh Rain Forest was really closed.  Maybe they finished that road work early.  It’s touted as a ‘must-see’ for Olympic National Park, so worth a shot, right?


Yes, it is indeed closed and there is no access to the Hoh Rain Forest.

But what they didn’t say was the road all the way to the sign was open and plenty of rain forest abounds along the way.  So, we pulled off the road and decided to make the best of it.


I’ve been to the Black Forest in Germany and these woods are deep and dark like that.  Plus moss-laden everything and ferns, ferns, ferns.


There wasn’t a trail, so we just tromped along on the fuzzy ground and stepped over old trees.


Here’s what the ground looks like, complete with these banana slugs.  They serve as the garbage disposals for the forest floor, eating just about anything dead and yucky.

That hike didn’t last long since we mainly just wandered around within sight of the car.  From there we went back up the road to hike the lesser known River Trail by the Hoh River that led to the even lesser known Frog Bog Trail.


I was rewarded with not one, but two frogs to make the Frog Bog hike completely authentic.


The Hoh River coming out of Olympic National Park.

Other Things Of Note

There were signs in a few of the small towns advertising ‘Mushroom Buyers’.  We guess that people go off in the deep dark woods and pick mushrooms to sell to these buyers.  I don’t know what they pick, but we’ve seen mushrooms that look like pancakes, meaty looking things, and tiny yellow and white ones growing in glistening colonies.

And the coffee stands.  We’ve passed through plenty of towns with more coffee shops and shacks than traffic lights.  Just how much coffee do they drink up here to keep all these little places in business?

That wraps it up for our stops in and around Olympic National Park.  A place we’ll definitely return to one of these travel seasons.

Next up – Our extended stop in Olympia, Washington so I can jet back to Florida.  See you on the way!


Olympic National Park With Friends

September 13 – 19

Next up on the people stops is Olympic National Park and the surrounding area with our great friends Lisa & Al.  We must not be too bad to vacation with since they’re joining us for a second time this year.  And a disclaimer up front.  This may be a long-ish post since we saw some amazing scenery and I’m having a hard time narrowing down the photos.

Ediz Hook

There’s a scrawny strip of land right next to Port Angeles that they call Ediz Hook.  With iffy weather and our friends still feeling the east coast time zone, we thought we’d try an easy outing.


This sand spit was created by wind and water action and shelters the harbor of Port Angeles.

Lisa has an eagle eye for being jet-lagged and spots what appears to be a bunch of dogs looking at us from the water.  Curious harbor seals swam around and checked us out.


Olympic National Park

Lisa & I compared notes before their arrival so we could prioritize all the best stuff to see.  We both had the Hoh Rainforest and the Hurricane Ridge hiking trail at the top of our respective lists.  Well, it’s now the off-season and neither of those “must-see” sights are do-able.  Turns  out the road to the Hoh Rainforest is closed for construction, and the Hurricane Ridge trail is the site of the big mountain goat capture & relocation event.  Well darn.

We stopped at the visitor center to get the scoop firsthand.  Much of the park looks like a rainforest, so we really won’t miss out on that experience.  And Hurricane Ridge does have other trails we can hike.


Our first hike in the park was to Lake Crescent and Marymere Falls.  These, my friends, are some serious trees.  Lisa and I enjoying our snack time on the lake dock, until the liquid sunshine moved us along.  And our trail look from the backside.  Photo credit for all three shots goes to Al.

Lisa gets credit for this one of Pat, Judy & Al posed in front of the falls.  Yes, it rained. A lot.  But we have good rain gear and waterproof boots.


Lisa & Al under this enormous moss-covered tree was my favorite of the day.

Cape Flattery

Lisa really wanted to go to the most northwest tip in the contiguous US, even though it involved a hefty drive and purchasing a visitor pass from the Makah tribe.  I really wanted to go, too, but since it would be a very long day, Pat opted to stay behind with Jackson.  He’s good like that.

Our first stop of the day was a roadside park.  Lisa catches me taking pictures of stuff on the ground.  Barnacles on rocks needed to be documented.  As well as the birds – seagull and heron.


We kept winding our way to the end of the earth.  Well, just North America.  Then we bought our visitor pass from a guy who really didn’t want to sell them.  Here’s the first Pacific coast view from the Cape Flattery trail.


The Cape is slowly retreating according to the sign I read.  It’s made of sandstone and is full of sea caves formed from the pounding waves and wind.


Tatoosh Island with the Cape Flattery lighthouse, our prize at the end of the trail.


Zooming in to show the helicopter heaving large tote bags full of garbage to the mainland.  At least us tourists-who-don’t-know-anything thought that was the best explanation.  That helicopter took bag after bag off the island throughout our hike.


And my artsy shot.  Now that’s a tree that’s seen some weather.

Shi Shi Beach

Lisa also read that Shi Shi Beach has the best sea stacks along that section of coastline.  Well, we must see the best, even though that involves a three mile hike one way through shoe sucking mud.  This is really what made for the long day, but so worth it.


Shi Shi Beach and the famous sea stacks.  Thanks to Lis for this photo of me.


Top to bottom – the stacks with the crashing surf, backpackers headed down the beach to camp, and Point of Arches from a distance.

The frozen Arctic foiled me last year, but I wasn’t going to be denied dipping my toes in the Pacific this year.  I pretty much forced Lisa to play along and Al stood at the ready with his camera.


This is one of my very favorite photos of the day and possibly the whole visit.  Our expressions say it all and I’ll add that even standing barefoot on the sand was wicked frigid cold.


Me and cousin Al.  He really is related through my Aunt Maudie on my mother’s side.  He’s a good sport, too, but I think smarter than Lisa and me.  He didn’t dip his feet in that cold Pacific.

Our footprints leaving the scene, gull feather in the sand and my only somewhat clear shot from a tidal pool.  I wanted to see one with a starfish in it, but settled for this hermit crab.


More littles.  I can’t take credit for this one.  Al took this beautiful shot of a fungus as delicate as a flower on the side of a fallen tree.

Dungeness Spit

Lighthouses are one of my things and Lisa found one that involved a mere five mile hike along the Dungeness Spit.  Of course the tourist info suggested that you needed to get to the lighthouse at low tide to ensure you could make it there and back.  The tides were not cooperative, but we set off anyway.  According to the ranger, it doesn’t really matter about the tides unless there’s some wild storm afoot.


Dungeness Spit


We didn’t make it all the way to the lighthouse.  Honestly not even close, but we enjoyed our stroll and beach combing.


Strolling on the spit.  Lisa is leaving us in the dust and Al is documenting the whole thing.


Pat’s favorite thing is climbing all over the driftwood.

A few more from the day.

Port Angeles

Port Angeles turned out to be a great home base for us.  The town was in a perfect location for exploring the area and had some good amenities, too.  Lisa & Al found a restaurant that served Shipwrecked Bloody Mary drinks complete with skewers of shrimp, sliders, fruit, and I don’t know what else.  I wanted to get a picture of her with that thing, but we never made it back to actually order it.  We did, however, find a grand Thai restaurant, and also managed to eat our weight in fish & chips.


View of Port Angeles from Ediz Hook.

Hurricane Ridge

This was our last outing to Olympic National Park with Lisa & Al.  We picked a stunning sunny day where we could actually see the surrounding peaks.


At the overlook on the way up, basking in that glorious sunshine.  (Thanks Al!)


Mount Olympus and the glaciers from Hurricane Ridge.

We don’t often end up with photos of the two of us together, so it was nice to get quite a few shots from our friends.  Here we are on the trail and Pat’s pointing out Glacier Peak where we stayed in the North Cascades.


Simply stunning views of the coast and the town below from the ridge.


The road below from the trail.

All clear and beautiful, and then the mist crept in like a thief.


Deer parking only in this spot.  Contemplating life, or perhaps wondering why the tourists won’t give handouts?  Love this shot.

And that’s a wrap for our people stop with Lisa & Al.  Hopefully they enjoyed it as much as we did.

Next up – Bogachiel State Park, beaches, and is that Hoh Rainforest really closed?  See you on the way!


Olympic Peninsula & Wooden Boats

September 6 – 12

Time to play a little catch up on the blog.  We’ve been in several places lately that we like to call “people stops”.  This is when we spend so much time with friends or family that we barely come up for air with day-to-day chores.  Not to mention, the blog doesn’t get any attention.  If I’m lucky, I jot a few notes so I don’t forget the details.  Anyway, the Olympic Peninsula was the place with multiple people stops.  Here goes stop number one.

The Ferry Show

I last left you at Fort Casey where we watched the ferry show all day long.  This time, we’re featured on the show as we load both Lucy and Bitsy on board for the ride from Whidbey Island over to Port Townsend.  I don’t have any pictures to show for it and here’s why.

We booked the vehicles separately since every foot counts, and we didn’t want to pay for the length of the towing apparatus.  The plan was for Pat and Jackson to ride in Lucy and stay inside for the whole 45 minute ride.  I, on the other hand, planned to get out of the car and roam around taking pictures.  Jackson rode over to the ferry terminal in the car with me, and Pat led the caravan in Lucy.  He pays our fare and they line us up in different lanes – big and little don’t co-mingle.  I go to check on Pat and he’s approximately eight inches from the side of a semi who’s also waiting to board.  He was afraid they were going to knock mirrors.  No way we can even get the door open, much less get the dog inside.  “Jackson, it’s you and me, buddy.”  Needless to say, I spent the voyage in the car’s back seat with Jackson’s head in my lap.  Not so bad really, but zero photos to show for the trip.

Elwha Dam RV Park

I’m guessing if Jackson could talk, this would be his hands-down favorite spot of all the places we’ve been.  This is because the place is family-owned and they live in a house on the property.  And this house is where they dog-sit for you if you’re away for extended outings.  Perfect for us to be able to do some longer day trips with friends.  After his first daycare outing, he knew more people in the campground that we did.  Add swimming in the pond and making friends with the resident dog and cat (who we called Snaggle Puss) and you have one happy and exhausted dog.


Here’s our tired baby recovering from too much fun in doggie daycare.


And how about this setup.  A Tesla towing an A-frame pop-up trailer.  I guess they don’t have to field those pesky “what kind of gas mileage do you get” questions.

Bremerton & Poulsbo

Our first people outing was a drive to Bremerton to visit our friends Ann & Steve and their son Jason, his wife Phuong, and baby Noah.  It was great to see their home perched on a hill with a water view.


For lunch, we headed back up the road to quaint little Poulsbo with Norwegian origins.  How about that Norse sailing ship?  We should have gone in to buy their chocolates but we didn’t.  Pat and Steve did go to the bakery and Pat came out with a loaf of apple cinnamon bread and something he scarfed down so fast that I don’t think I actually caught sight of it.


Steve just had to show us this little cutie.  A Jackson-sized tug complete with an outboard motor.  This was in the Poulsbo harbor with a nearby park named after some Iverson woman.  And the tattoo parlor caught out eye – ‘Thor’s Hammer & Needle’.  Didn’t inspire me to get a tat.

The big excitement of the day was the lefse that Pat also purchased at the bakery.  You’ve heard how much he and his family LOVE the stuff and our friends were all game to try it.


Lefse aficionados take the preparation steps very seriously.  Just the right amount of soft butter must be spread, followed by a liberal sprinkling of sugar.  Then precise hand rolling in anticipation of that first bite.


Pat approves.  Everyone had their own piece and they said they liked it.  Usually I say “meh”, but I have to agree that this lefse was better than the stuff we got up in North Dakota.  It could be growing on me.


Little man Noah let me hold him while we browsed in the Poulsbo shops.  Such a cutie and getting ready to celebrate his first birthday, too.

Wooden Boat Festival

Imagine our delight when we get to the Olympic Peninsula only to find that we’ll be there just in time for the Wooden Boat Festival in Port Townsend.  And not only that, but we can sail on the 104-year-old schooner named the Adventuress.  We talked Steve & Ann into buying tickets, too.  We’re very excited to get out on the water again, and especially under sail.


Isn’t she a beauty?  The Adventuress.  Photo credit goes to my friend Ann – great shot.

Unfortunately that’s all the pics we have related to the much anticipated sailing.  We got a call right before we were leaving for the festival to tell us that rough weather was moving in.  They said they’d be pinned to the dock and unable to sail due to high winds.  I was so disappointed, but that’s sailing says Pat.  It’s all about the weather and it was pretty windy and biting that day.


We did make the most of the day looking at all the beautiful boats.  And all wooden.  Pat & Steve are admiring this little number.


My favorite dinghy.


And this eye-popping orange boat?  Well, I admired the seats and said that they looked comfortable, so the owner insisted that I climb that ladder and go sit in them.  I must say, pretty comfy seats.


I stand corrected.  These sailing vessels are NOT on STANDS.  These babies are “on the hard”.  That’s real sailing lingo folks.  Pat and Steve took sailing lessons together in Florida once upon a time, so they know all the terminology.  They also like reminiscing about how many times they ended up in the drink after a failed tack or jibe.  See, I know a few words, too.


Not everyone was pinned to the dock that day.  Another schooner spent some time on the water.


A few more favs from the day.  Such fun and we got some use out of our rain gear.

Victoria, BC

My birthday fell during our time in Port Angeles and I decided I wanted to make it an international celebration.  I’d heard about the world renowned Butchart Gardens for years and really wanted to go.  My friend Ann came along for the day, too.  We dusted off our passports and took the ferry from Port Angeles to Victoria, BC on Vancouver Island.


Just being out on the water was grand and I took hundreds of pictures.  Looking back at the US mainland.


You can just make out a lighthouse on Vancouver Island waaay in the distance.


Big ships in the shipping channel and a lone seagull in the calm waters by the ferry.


After the hour and a half-ish ferry ride, we boarded a tour bus for the gardens.  The driver gave us a nice narrated tour of Victoria, BC on the way.  I got such a kick out of the tourists crowding around to take pictures of the same things with their phones and iPads.  Of course I was doing it, too.


The gardens are in a former quarry and the founder, Jennie Butchart, wanted to make the barren wasteland beautiful again.  She started by bringing in topsoil by horse and cart and even lowered herself down by ropes to plant on the quarry walls.  It’s a gorgeous 55 acres of gardens, with 900 bedding plant varieties and 50 full-time gardeners.


The birthday girl on a carousel horse.


Pat and Ann posing by one of the Japanese fountains.

A few beauties to share from the 55 acres.



And my photo of the fountain that looks just like the postcards!


Back to the Victoria waterfront we go.  We’re still surrounded by so many flowers everywhere including this killer whale on the street corner.


“Welcome to Victoria” spelled out in flowers with the British Columbia Parliament building in the background.


The Coho, ready to ferry us back to the US.


And the cute little harbor taxi.


We bid a fond farewell to Victoria at sunset.

An awesome day and one of the best birthdays I’ve had in quite a while.  So happy to spend it with Pat and my friend Ann.

Next up – More Olympic Peninsula outings with our friends Lisa & Al.