Most of the people there that morning were clearly locals, which gave the place a feel that can't be imitated. Several guys were talking about (presumably small commercial) fishing spots and how they've changed over the years, and another guy walked in wearing some scary t-shirt about how if you don't hunt and kill animals then you're not a patriot. I couldn't make this up if I tried.
For reasons I cannot adequately explain, but hopefully have communicated, the Green Lantern is now one of my favorite places on earth. I still giggle when I think about it; it's just inexplicably cool to me that a real local place like this exists just outside the city. And the website says it's for sale! Ooooh, if *only* I had the money....
Anyway, after breakfast, I took off towards the southern end of Olympic National Park, which was new to me. On the way, in Neilton, WA, I passed by a "Honey For Sale" sign; it may as well have been a magnet, drawing me back, for I could not pass it up. $5 got me a quart of local wildflower honey; the hives were right on his front lawn! How cool is that?
Once inside the park, the ranger station provided tips on which hike to take; the waterfalls were all very low, so I settled on seeing some old-growth forest. The plan was then to take a quick drive around the park, stopping at several of the record-breaking arboreal specimens in the area, but that was not to be. Most of the shore roads aren't paved at all: they're gravel! That made for a much longer journey than I'd planned. I didn't leave the park until about 2pm!
Fearing for the worst, that the fog would already have reclaimed the coastline making the beaches pointless, I raced up 101 to Queets. Sure enough, the closer I got to the coast, the more fog I could see in the treetops around me. And yes, once I got to South Beach, it was there in full force, not having been burnt off. Curses!
Creeping northward once again, I stopped at the other beaches in the area, just to see if they would be worth going back to, but they all seemed to be relatively featureless. Then, by chance, I stopped at the Kalaloch Ranger Station (between Beach 2 and Beach 3), and got the best news all day: not only was Ruby Beach (the northernmost one in the area) the only interesting one, it was sunny there! Once again, the USFS saves the day!
And they were right! It was a gorgeous, bright and sunny day at Ruby Beach. I spent tons of time there, just walking around, and enjoying the fabulous location. Sadly, I have no pictures to share with you yet, but they will be worth the wait.
The plan was that the Hoh Rain Forest would be next, but (as I warned d33ann) on my way in I saw lots of less-than-impressive moss coverage, and even some *brown* moss. Ugh. It looked as bad as it did when kitschparade and I visited last year which turned out to be during a drought. Based on that, I didn't stay at all; it just looked like it would be a big disappointment.
On the plus side, I stopped for a sandwich at Hard Rain Cafe. I want to know where they get their produce, because that was the best tomato I've had since leaving Pennsylvania. The marionberry candies, however, are not recommended.
Ah, well, back to Ruby Beach for sunset. I chose my location carefully so I could get several outstanding shots to complete my vacation, and waited for the sun to approach the horizon, and bring some of that magic colored backdrop. It looked to be a good one too, as there was a lot of cloud cover near the horizon.
Then, right around 7:30pm, the sun went out: *WHOOMPH*! I swear, it was audible. That cloud cover turned out to be totally opaque; it was more like a huge wall sitting off the coast. There would be no fabulous sunset that day.
After that, it was a rush to get to Bainbridge Island to catch the midnight ferry home. All in all, an astoundingly good trip of about 800 miles.