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By Wednesday, November 24, 2010 ,

{A nod to Nick Thune.}

Sure we might be silly to plan a trip up to Washington at the beginning of winter. Can we say, rain? But we got a two-for-one flight voucher on Virgin America at a Giants game earlier this year. And Virgin only has a few destinations and Seattle sounded the coolest, so that's where we went. Except we hardly spent any time there.

Instead, after our 8 o'clock arrival we picked up our rental car and drove through the dark to Port Angeles. First, a few words on our rental car...

I found a coupon on Costco Travel that ended up making it cheapest for us to rent a small SUV. The picture on the coupon showed an old-ish Ford Explore so I assumed that was what we were getting. At the rental counter I was afraid the agent would try to up-sell us. He didn't - actually hardly said more than 10 words. I declined the extra insurance, signed on the line and we walked out to the spot to pick up the car. Sitting innocently in space #61 was a brand spankin' new Jeep Grand Cherokee. It was new as in 2011 with only 5 miles on it. We did our best to {gently} brake it in - a little mud, a dirt road, some snow. It had all the bells and whistles - automatic everything - locks, headlights, windshield wipers, mirrors that turned blue at night to reflect less light. Pretty fancy. Probably the nicest and newest car I'll ever drive.

Ok, on to the trip. We spent two nights in Port Angeles but really spent little time in this little town. Sunrise our first morning was spent at Lake Crescent. Sunrise looked like it was going to be a bust until right when we were about there. Lukas looked over his shoulder and saw a hint of color. Getting slightly frantic I pulled over at what might have been 'the spot', but it wasn't. Quickly I drove 100 yards to the next little road and turned down it to the lake. Perfect timing, Lukas hopped out and I parked the car. The clouds and fog cooperated nicely to be broken up enough to let some pretty colors through. Then as the color faded from the sky denser fog rolled in. Light fog rested right above the water creating an eerie foreground for the leafless trees on the other side.
On the way back to the hotel we hit up Madison Falls and Wolf Creek Falls. Madison is a tiny little walk from the parking area. Nice, but not spectacular was our conclusion. From Madison we drove down a dirt road to Wolf Creek. There was more of a hike down to Wolf Creek Falls. It was muddy too. We even saw a big cat print on the way down. At the base of the falls we could just see a hint of the cool upper falls. But to get up there we would have had to climb a sketchy 'ladder' of roots. Since that wasn't happening on the way back up the hill we bypassed a switchback to look for a trail down. We didn't find a path. We did make the hike much more difficult though as the going was pretty much vertical and soft pine-needle ground. We both had rubber legs by the time we met up with the trail again. So much for that.

For our afternoon adventure we piled on the rain gear and headed out to the Hoh Rain Forest. Guess what, it rained. While we stayed dry, our backpacks did not. Lukas couldn't see out of his glasses or really take out his camera due to the heavy precipitation. And silly me for not wearing my waterproof hiking boots. Instead I was in my not waterproof white sneakers. That meant wet feet and brown shoes. We spent the night drying everything out.
The next morning we went straight to Sol Duc. The plunging water was quite impressive. Tons of water barreled over the ledge in three big streams and fell into the steep-walled gorge. Lots of mist shot up from the spray. On the walk back out we took a little detour at a side set of little cascades. The water tumbled over bright green mossy rocks. The light was diffused and made the scene seem little like a fairyland. To add to the wonder, once we were back in the car and driving back to Port Angeles we came face to face with a buck with a big rack. He was smack dab in the middle of the road. After a little face off he moved on his way. Well, at least mostly out of our way enough that we could drive slowly by.

We pulled out of Port Angeles and started to make our way back to the Seattle area by way of a waterfall - Rocky Brook Falls. This was a tall falls with a dark rock face that the water fell straight down against. We waited around for the sun to dip below the mountains so the white water wouldn't blow out in Lukas's picture. While we waited Lukas shot the stream below the falls. A couple guys walked by us asking if we'd seen in salmon, which we hadn't.

Our next adventure {blunder} was attempting to catch the sunset that wasn't. We grabbed a bit to eat in a little town on the way. While we were waiting for the food Lukas kept watch on the sky. It kept looking better and better so when we were back on the road with our food to-go our eyes were peeled for a good spot to pull over and watch the color show. We weren't having much luck but spotted a sign that said something like "Sandy Lake next right". On a whim and a prayer that the spot would pan out we took the next right. The road took us through a stand of trees and then to an open area without a picturesque view. Behind a locked gate was a small road that led to 'Sandy Lake game area' or something along those lines. Not at all what we were hoping for and even if it was it was too far to walk down to the water. Quickly we drove back to the open area. Lukas walked out in the grasses, but wasn't feeling it. Back in the car again with the hope of maybe getting to a little water we saw along the side of the road a bit earlier. Nope, that was too far to walk too. Then past another locked gate we could see far off a little color on the horizon. Lukas took off on a run down the tree lined dirt road. I ran after him with my food in the take out container. I hadn't gotten a chance to eat - remember we were trying to catch the sunset. Out of breath I caught up with Lukas and we watched the sunset without much of a display of color. I wolfed down my food in a couple bits and we bemoaned our out of shape jog. Before hoping back in the car Lukas snapped a couple pictures of silhouetted trees against the grey blue sky.

For fun and because our nifty navigation system told us to do so we took the ferry to Seattle. Then we made our way to our fancy hotel in Renton. Fancy as in our room had a full kitchen. Fancy as in we paid about 30% of the posted price for the room. Thank you AAA and a down economy. {one thing to note: the hotel was really confusing to find because our GPS got confused. Might have been better to get human directions for this one.}
Our last full day we spent waterfalling {can I turn that into a verb?}. Well, after trying for a sunrise at a view of Seattle's skyline. {it didn't light up} First up, after grabbing breakfast, was the impressive Snoqualmie Falls - ooooo wow impressive. The path down to the base was closed for renovations, but we were just happy to marvel at it from above. It was so powerful.

Next we were off to find Franklin Falls. It was tricky to find as it was between the north and south sides of the freeway and the falls weren't signed from the road. Here we ran into a little snow and did a bit of exploring. When we first couldn't find the falls we set off into the woods and found some beautiful cascades instead. Lukas tempted fate on some slipper rocks, but he didn't fall down - thank goodness. We were able to find the little trail to the falls after our detour exploration. Franklin was pretty, but I preferred the clear cascades.

I had to make a bathroom stop next so we headed back south. When we plugged in the details for the next waterfall and were quite confused. Instead of telling us to get back on the freeway the GPS told us to make a couple turns on city streets - looked like we were turning around or something. So we drove the way we thought we should be going but quickly pulled off at the next exit. Turns out the GPS was right and we were closer to Twin Falls than we thought. Here the water spilled down the rock face and fanned out like hair. It was beautiful.

We watched a rainy sunset from Kerry Park. And I had dinner with my friend Jodie from UCLA. We had fun catching up and eating a yummy beef and cabbage stew she'd made. Oh and home made pumpkin pie!

Our last day start with a drive out to Harbor Ave that should have had a view of the skyline. Instead we had a beautiful view of fog, fog and more fog. We waited for the sun to come up but the fog only lifted slightly. We could just make out a few lights across the water. Lukas snapped a shot just 'cause we were already there, but it wasn't quite what we were hoping for.

We hit up Pike's Place Market after checking out. I wanted to bring home a big bouquet of dahlias and greens, but doubted it would make it home. Instead we bought mini donuts hot out of the oil and some za'atar. We also got some fancy chocolate covered caramels for Lukas's mom for watching the kitten.

Then we returned the rental, hopped on the plane, and our big trip was over.

Here's to more adventures!

Other little bits of my life...


  1. It looks like you guys really packed in the fun on that trip. Did you stop by Sequim, by any chance? That's my home town - one town over from Port Angeles.

  2. Megan, looks like a full trip. Love the photos. My favorite one is the foggy lake with the red buoys. Really nice.

  3. It was a really full trip, but we had lots of fun. I think Lukas may have added some of these pictures to is photography website: www.lukaswengerphotography.com


  4. Too funny! I just popped over after you commented - 1. my mom lives in sequim and my gma in PA. -2. my sisters live in Seattle 3. my last name is Waterfall(for real) and I keep meaning to go on a waterfall finding trip!
    Great pics and your recent quilt is so beautiful!! I love the design!! :)