Monday, August 31, 2009

Victoria, British Columbia

We had a full day of sightseeing in Victoria.  We had reservations on the passenger only express ferry from Port Angeles for the 8:10 crossing.  We got up at our usual time and arrived at the ferry terminal at the designated “30 minutes” prior to departure.

Not long after our arrival, there seemed to be some commotion behind the ticket counter, then the captain came out and announced he would take us to Victoria but would not bring us back.  Well, now.  Thankfully, he went on to explain why and to outline what we needed to do to get back to the US.  Apparently, one of the Washington State Ferries had run into the dock at Bremerton, destroying the dock and doing serious damage to the ferry.  Hundreds of people were stranded, unable to get to work in Seattle. The express ferry, a privately owned company, was asked to step up to the plate in this emergency by sending their ferries to Bremerton.
Parliament Building
As far as we were concerned, it simply meant returning to Port Angeles on a Washington State ferry.  It was not a bad swap, but the Washington ferry departure times were either 3:30 (too early) or 7:30 (later than what we would have liked).  What we liked was the 6:10 on the express.  Besides the later departure time, the crossing took an hour and 45 minutes instead of the 55 minutes for the express.  It was a very long day.
Looking up into the dome
In Victoria, we stayed in the downtown area choosing to visit the Royal BC Museum instead of Butchart Gardens.  The museum was very good; not the best we’ve been to, but certainly worth the visit.  Our ticket was good for the entire day so we wandered around until we got hungry, left for lunch, and came back later in the afternoon.
Our lunch spot right on the river
Victoria is the “capitol” city of British Columbia so, naturally, we had to check out the parliament building.  This grand old building was fabulous.  Parliament was in session so we were not allowed in the chamber.
Street Market in Chinatown
We also had plenty of time to tour downtown including Chinatown.  We found plenty of food--lunch at Canoe Restaurant, chowder and a sandwich at Sam’s deli, sweets from Roger’s Chocolates.
The Marina
This is another one of those places, like so many we have been to, that will require a return visit some time in the future.
The Empress Hotel
Tomorrow, we drive to Seattle to pick up my folks at the airport.  It will be the first day of their week long visit.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Preparing for House Guests

Today would have been our last hike in Olympic National Park.  However, we got a call from my folks this morning which resulted in our spending the day preparing for their visit.

When we arrived here three weeks ago, we organized our activities to best accommodate my parents.  As you can imagine, they are past their prime hiking years, although my mother still hikes some.  One of the things we saved to do with them was our visit to Victoria, British Columbia.  The call this morning was to let us know their passports had expired.  Gene and I have looked forward to visiting Victoria and didn’t want to give that up.  Since my parents will be here until we are scheduled to leave, our only option was to go tomorrow.

Tomorrow, of course, was the day I had planned to clean the house, do laundry, go to the grocery and get some of the food preparation done so we could spend our time visiting and sightseeing instead of doing chores.  We both rolled up our sleeves this morning and dug into that great long list of stuff to be done.  I am happy to report that just about everything is done that could be done two days in advance.

Having said that, there isn’t much more to be said about this day.  Tony and Diana are feeding us dinner and we look forward to sitting around a campfire with them this evening.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

On The Home Front

We have had a very busy, but tremendously enjoyable week.  I have used the blog posts to describe our hikes and adventures this week, but there have been other things happening on the sidelines.

One of the highlights of this week has been the opportunity to spend time with our good friends from Virginia.  We first met Tony and Diana in Nashville last November.  We were parked at our winter campground home, Two Rivers Campground, on Music Valley Drive in Nashville.  We were minding our own business when we noticed a Born Free pull into the site next to us.  Usually, we notice when we get a new neighbor, but we paid particular attention to this rig because it had an Appalachian Trail sticker on the back window.   Gene went out to introduce himself.  From the first words spoken, we were friends.  Strange how that happens sometimes. They were there for several days and over that time we visited with each other numerous times and even went for a walk on the local greenway together.  Much to our surprise, we learned that Tony and Diana were planning a trip which closely resembled ours for this year.  As a result, we’ve met up with them first in Summerdale, Alabama, then Albuquerque, New Mexico, and now on the Olympic Peninsula.

Besides our hiking together this week, we have shared meals together, both at restaurants and cooking in.  We’ve celebrated Tony and Gene’s birthdays. Since they are heading down the Oregon coast when they leave here, they have picked our brains about what to do and see.  They live full time in their small Class C, which is something of great interest to us.  There is no end to the conversation comparing and contrasting big rigs to small.  We have eaten too much and we have drank far too much wine.  There is no such thing as too much laughter.  We have had a glorious week.

In between the hiking and visiting, has been the chores of daily life.  It’s funny, but we still get comments and questions from family and friends (people who have seen us in this full-time RV lifestyle for almost 4 years, but who have no firsthand experience of their own) about how we spend our time.  We are not in vacation mode.  We have a home to maintain with all that that entails.  We have laundry to do, groceries to buy, food to prepare and the mess to clean up.  We have the vacuum to run, the bath to clean.  Our home is a little different from most, of course.  Homeowners may have grass to mow or shutters to repair; Gene has holding tanks to empty and, since the outside of our RV is much like a car, it must be cleaned and waxed periodically.

We have been busy with the Peanut this week.  He is all better, now.  He’s back to his old charming self, ripping and romping through the house when he’s not sleeping or trying to get somebody to feed him.  He still has medicine to take morning and evening and that can be a challenging time for all involved.  I’m not sure if I ever said, but his problem seemed to be a herpes type event.  Apparently, cats can have herpes virus which will remain dormant until something sets it off much like fever blisters in humans.  Cats don’t have fever blisters, but rather exhibit upper respiratory symptoms of sneezing, coughing, runny eyes and nose.  Most likely, this was his problem all along.  Unable to rule out a bacterial infection, however, he is still on antibiotics.

We have stayed at home all day today doing a few chores here and there, but primarily focusing on the upcoming visit of my parents who will arrive on Tuesday.  All must be in readiness for house guests.

We plan to hike tomorrow; it may be the last opportunity since my parents will do much better in the car than on the trail.  We’ve saved all our sightseeing “tourism” type stuff for their visit.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Sol Duc Falls

We awoke to a cloudy day, but with no rain in the forecast until tonight we packed up our gear for a hike to Sol Duc Falls.  The Sol Duc area of Olympic National Park is a few miles past the western end of Lake Crescent.  Our trailhead was located at the Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort.

Sol Duc River
Sol Duc Hot Springs was a thriving resort in the early 1900s with an elegant hotel.  Visitors came to soak away their cares and ills in the thermal pools.  After only 4 years a fire destroyed the elaborate hotel.  Today, a concessionaire manages the resort inside the  National Park.  Behind the small main building which houses the gift shop and restaurant are four pools.  Three are hot mineral pools filled by piping in water from the hot springs and a fourth pool of fresh water for swimmers.  There are also several cabins for rent and a park service campground.
A backcountry picnic shelter

We followed our trail which skirted the west side of the Sol Duc River for 3 miles.  A footbridge provided access to the east side of the river and our best view of the falls was from the bridge.  We found a bench for our lunch break.  For our return trip, we chose a trail on the east side of the river.
Sol Duc Falls

Lunch at the falls
We made two stops on our way home.  The first was at Salmon Cascade.  We had heard the salmon were gathering in the pool below the cascade before continuing their journey up river to spawn.  Sure enough, we saw a group of about 8 circling in the water below the cascade.  We waited, but none took that leap up the falls to higher water.
Salmon Cascade
Our second stop was at Granny’s Restaurant.  You know we couldn’t drive past there without stopping for another blackberry milkshake.

Two long hikes two days in a row has my lower extremities feeling the pain.  Tomorrow will be a rest day for me.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Spruce Railroad and Lake Crescent

We managed to find one of the easiest hikes within Olympic National Park--the Spruce Railroad Trail along the north shore of Lake Crescent.  During World War I, a 36-mile length of railroad was laid along the shore of Lake Crescent to move spruce logs to the mill.  In those days, spruce was used in the construction of aircraft.  As it turned out, the war ended before the rail line was completed.  However, it did play a roll in the logging industry following the war.

In the 1980s the Park Service converted a 4-mile section to trail.  The trail follows the shoreline, but is generally several feet above the surface of the water.  The trees are tall enough now to obstruct the views of the lake.  However, occasionally the trail will drop down and jut out to the water’s edge providing a fantastic view of the lake.
Devil's Punchbowl
This massive crescent-shaped lake lies completely within the National Park.  As low as we were today, we could not fully appreciate the crescent shape.  So far we haven’t found a trail that rises high enough above the lake to offer a complete view.  Lake Crescent stretches 9 miles in length and reaches a depth of over 600 feet.
Gene on footbridge at Devil's Punchbowl

The old railroad tunnel.  Trail goes around the tunnel.
One of the most impressive points along the trail was Devil’s Punchbowl.  The trail uses a footbridge to cross Devil’s Punchbowl and from there we could gaze down into the depths of the crystal clear water.  Our guidebook says you can see down 40 feet, but I don’t think so.  Still, it was quite impressive to see fish swimming several feet below the surface.  We were fortunate to have passed this point early in the day.  On our return trip, there must have been 75 folks enjoying the sunny afternoon dangling their feet in the punchbowl.  There were a few hearty souls actually swimming in these cold waters.

We have a hike planned for tomorrow with friends, Tony and Diana.  The weather may change that plan.  We’ll see.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Dungeness Audubon Walk

Well, I think we have survived another birthday.  Like I mentioned in my last post, we had chores on the agenda for yesterday.  I did most of my “to do” list, but the birthday boy elected to take it easy on his special day.  At one point, I even found him napping.  He got a few special treats--an omelet for breakfast, a batch of freshly baked cookies, and halibut for dinner.

Railroad bridge, part of Olympic Discovery Trail

Tony and Diana found a bird walk for our adventure today.  The Dungeness River Audubon Center sponsors a 2-hour walk each Wednesday morning.  We met a fairly large group at the Center this morning and were led on our walk by the Center’s director, Bob. We strolled along the Olympic Discovery Trail, which passes by the Audubon Center, with binoculars and cameras in hand and eyes and ears in search for birds.  We saw several; mostly what you might see in your back yard--chickadees, swallows, Steller’s jays, a couple of hawks.  Gene and I are not bird people.  We enjoy the birds and like to watch them, but we don’t have the binoculars or camera for viewing birds.  Nor do we recognize very many, especially not western birds.  The only bird large enough and close enough to be able to see through my camera lens was the California quail sitting on the fence by the Center.  We did enjoy the outing, though, and it was something different from our usual trek along a dirt trail through the woods.
Salmon hanging on the Audubon Center wall

Display of different types of nests
After our walk and a look around the Center, we left Tony and Diana to explore Sequim. We had been there last week and are planning to go again next week when my parents are here so we passed on that for today.  I am enjoying a relaxing afternoon while Gene is cleaning and waxing another section of the Everest.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Klahhane Ridge Hike

Let the birthdays begin.  Today was Tony’s birthday.  We had a great hike today for his special occasion.  Tomorrow is Gene’s birthday.   We have chores planned for his special day.
Tony got a bandage for his nose for his birthday.
Our trailhead was at the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center.  Before we got on the trail, we chatted with the ranger on duty at the desk.  She pointed out Mt Olympus for us.  This was the first time to see the mountain.  On our previous visits to Hurricane Ridge, the peak was hidden from view by cloud cover.  Today, she was basking in the sun.  It was beautiful.
Mount Olympus and Blue Glacier in the center
To begin our hike, we took the High Ridge Trail until it intersected with the Sunrise Trail.  This is the same hike Gene and I did last week.  The trail was as good today as it was then, but with the splendid mountain views which had been lacking on our first trip.  We went out along the Sunrise Trail for about 3 miles to a grassy knoll which proved to be a perfect place for our lunch break.  Continuing on, we quickly came to the junction with the Switchback Trail.  From this point on we had a hard climb to gain the ridge.  Huffing and puffing for another hour rewarded us with fantastic views off the ridge to Port Angeles and the Strait of Juan de Fuca far below.  Behind us we could still see the glaciers on Mt Olympus.  By the way, Klahhana is a Chinook word which means “outdoors”.  Then it was back down the switchbacks to the trail junction.
View from the top of Klahhane Ridge

Diana and I opted to take the lower portion of the Switchback Trail to a small parking lot on Hurricane Ridge Road.  This was the fast trip down.  In just about a half mile, we dropped 700 feet.  The birthday boys returned to the Visitor Center along Sunrise Trail. Us girls had a couple hours to wait, but were eventually picked up by our guys.

Our original plan was to go out to dinner at one of the recommended local restaurants for fresh crab, but our hike took longer than expected.  We have postponed our birthday dinner until tomorrow at which time it will be Gene’s birthday instead of Tony’s.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Catching Up on Chores

Having had a busy week, first with a sick Peanut then hiking with friends, we were in need of a day to catch up on things.  I really would have enjoyed lounging around this morning, but I didn’t want to have to wait for the washing machine.  Since doing a load of hiking clothes was critical, I forced myself out the door with the laundry basket early.  With that chore behind me, we downed a breakfast of pancakes and sausage and cleaned up that mess before heading out to the grocery.  It seemed like everything needed to be done before lunch.

When any two people get together, they bring to that relationship their individual personalities, experiences, and knowledge.  If the two people have a common interest, then they can expand each others knowledge base as it relates to that interest.  Knowledge was certainly flowing this afternoon as Gene and Tony took advantage of the other’s expertise in the hidden passages in GPS navigation (Tony as expert) and pinpointing the local weather forecast (Gene as expert).  Tony and Diana are also experts on high tech communication with family via Skype software.  We want to take advantage of that knowledge before they leave for the next leg of their journey.

With chores out of the way, we have been able to catch up on relaxing this afternoon.  Tony and Diana have invited us over for dinner this evening, so I can really take the afternoon off.  What a nice treat.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Humes Ranch Hike

This was absolutely a perfect day in the Pacific Northwest with temperatures in the upper 60s, sunshine and bright blue skies.  We could not have asked for a better day for our hike upstream along the Elwha River.

We jumped in the car with Tony and Diana this morning and made our way up the narrow, single-lane gravel road all the way to the end.  We made one  stop along the way at Glines Canyon Dam.  Gene and I had seen it earlier in the week, but wanted to share this beautiful spot with our friends.  This dam, along with another one closer to the mouth of the river, is scheduled to be removed in 2011.  This major project being undertaken by the National Park Service is an effort to restore the entire Elwha River to the spawning salmon.

Goblins Gate, a slot canyon
By connecting the Geyser Trail and the Elwha River Trail we were able to create of loop for our easy to moderate 6.5 mile hike.  We started high above the river, then dropped down several hundred feet for a mile or so along the bank of the river, then back up to the Humes Ranch.  Mr Humes and his brother and a cousin came out from New York heading to Alaska during the gold rush.  They stopped here for the winter and never left.  The house has been restored by the park service and it is a popular place for a lunch break as we soon found out when we were inundated by several hikers also looking for a lunch spot.  After a refreshing break, we continued our gradual uphill climb back to the truck.
Humes Cabin
As luck would have it, we met a ranger who spent several minutes talking with us about the Humes’ brothers and shared pictures of the homestead as well as visitors to the area around the turn of the last century.  Apparently at that time, this was the main climbing route up Mount Olympus and Mr Humes  and others led hikers up the mountain.

Besides all this information, the ranger also gave us information on the best places to get Dungeness Crab and blackberry milkshakes.  It didn’t take us long to decided a blackberry shake would be just the ticket to round out our otherwise perfect day.
A llama pack just returning from a trip
We are going to give our feet and knees a break tomorrow and take the opportunity to launder the hiking clothes.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Hurricane Hill Trail

Today, we spent with our friends, Tony and Diana.  We drove up Hurricane Ridge Road to the top for a short hike along the top section of Hurricane Hill Trail.  It was mostly cloudy today so we didn’t have those expansive views of the Strait of Juan de Fuca that are so thrilling.  We were, however, sort of sandwiched in between a couple layers of cloud.  As a result, we had a brighter day than the gloom at the lower elevations.

Our wildlife sightings included marmot, deer, and a wonderful buck.

The best part of the day was sharing it with friends.  We strolled along at a very leisurely pace talking and laughing.  Nothing could be finer.  And the great thing is we have another hike planned for tomorrow.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Tending Peanut

The Peanut was greatly improved this morning and seems to be feeling better as each hour passes.  He still has “sick eyes”, but he is eating, drinking, and beginning to act more like himself.  He is not well, yet, but is definitely on the road to recovery from whatever seemed to have been his problem.

About mid morning the phone rang and I was quite surprised to learn it was the vet who had attended Peanut yesterday.  She was just calling to see if he had made any improvement overnight.  How nice.  It did, however, confirm my impression that she thought he might not make it.  The call was thoughtful, never-the-less, and we really appreciated the gesture.  In all my years with pets, I have never had a vet make a follow-up call.  Kudos to Dr. Gordon at Blue Mountain Animal Clinic.

Not wanting to run off and leave the sick one alone, we opted to hang around the old home fires today.  Having done most of our chores yesterday, other than a load of laundry, we have had the day to relax.  Our friends, Tony and Diana, came over about mid morning to pick our brains about where to find what around town.  I guess in RVing circles, if you are parked some place for 10 days you become the “expert” on the area.  I’m not sure they got the information they were seeking, but we sure had a good time talking and laughing until early afternoon.

If the Peanut continues to improve, tomorrow we will be out and about again.

Cat Emergency

Peanut is fine, but we had us a real cat emergency yesterday.

Peanut thinks the whole world should be us at 5 AM.  Well, maybe not the whole world, but at least his mamma.  I have no illusions that it is because he wants to spend a few quiet moments with me.  I know all he wants is someone to feed him and I’m the only one sucker enough to bow to his wishes.  Yesterday, when 5 AM came, he didn’t get up.  Since he has me so programmed, my internal clock said “it’s coffee time”.  Even when Gene got up at 6:30, Peanut still opted for the bed.  That was when we noticed he really didn’t look too good.

He wouldn’t purr and seemed like he could barely hold his eyes open.  We let him rest and went about our business.  Our friends and fellow travelers, Tony and Diana, were due at our campground later in the day, so I put dinner in the crock pot and ran the vacuum.  Gene went to the grocery for a couple items.  All the while Peanut was content to sleep.  He got up once to make a trip to the litter box, but that was the extent of his movement.

After lunch, we decided he must be a sick kitty.  We searched the internet for symptoms of feline urinary tract infection, since that is a common ailment in male cats.  He didn’t seem to exhibit any of those symptoms.  I rubbed on his head a little and noticed his ears were very warm.  Another internet search turned up a vet and off we went.

Now, Peanut is not fond of vets and he has a very long memory when it comes to bad things that have happened to him at the hands of a vet.  The cat seemed at death’s door until we went into the examination room.  He immediately went into attack mode and no one, not even me, could get near him.  They finally had to catch him in some kind of net contraption and sedate him.  He made noises we’ve never heard him make.  It was awful to watch and I almost cried, but if I hadn’t been afraid he was going to die, I would have just brought him home.

After he was asleep, blood was drawn and x-rays were done.  No evidence of anything that would make him feel so ill and have a temperature of 106.  The only indication that something might be brewing was a slight elevation of his white blood count.  Since he hadn’t eaten or drank any water all day, the vet was concerned that he might not eat or drink, so she injected some fluid under his skin to help stave off dehydration.  She also gave him an antibiotic to combat the infection which might have caused he white blood count to be high.  After a couple hours, we headed home with a very groggy cat and a bottle of antibiotic.

The sedative finally wore off enough for him to wobble, literally, to his food bowl in late evening.   About 11 PM, he decided he’d had enough sleep for one day and got up.  Gene and I, on the other hand, just had to crash.  We both got up several times in the night to check on him.  As far as I know, what time he didn’t spend turning over his water bowl, he just sat in the corner of the kitchen.

He’s not well, but he is greatly improved from yesterday.  He moves around on his own and he’s back to purring when you pet him.

As for our friends, we had a great reunion.  We haven’t seen them since Albuquerque, and it was great to spend the evening catching up.  They did the honors of putting Washington on our map.  They will be here a week, so we are looking forward to lots of laughs and together time.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Elwha Hot Springs

This has been one of the warmest days we’ve had since arriving in Port Angeles.  There has been a beautiful clear sky, as well, all day.  It would have been a perfect day for a great view from atop Hurricane Ridge.  However, the road up there is closed due to a slide which happened on Sunday.  The ranger told us it is expected to be reopened  tomorrow.
Madison Falls
After staying close to home and doing a few household chores yesterday, we were ready for a little leg stretcher today.  We started out doing a very short walk up to Madison Falls at the Elwha Valley entrance to the park.  It was a pretty little waterfall, but the most fascinating thing we saw along the way was a huge stump.  My kitchen is smaller than that thing.  Gene braved the spiders and got down inside to give an idea of how deep it is and he also stretched out on one side for an idea of how massive the tree must have been.

Our trailhead was 5 miles up a very narrow gravel road.  We got about half way up and decided we weren’t too keen on taking a chance of meeting oncoming traffic.  We turned around and headed back down.  We made one stop at the Glines Canyon Dam for a close-up look at Lake Mills.  It was beautiful and very peaceful in the early morning.
Lake Mills as we drove by in the early morning

Unwilling to risk the drive up the gravel road to the trail we had selected, we stopped at the ranger station for advise on other trails in the area.  The volunteer manning the office was very knowledgeable and almost too helpful.  He had many suggestions.  We finally decided on the Boulder Creek Trail which went to the Elwha Hot Springs.

Back in the day, the Elwha Hot Springs (spa and resort, I guess) was a very popular spot with folks from Seattle seeking adventure, rest, relaxation, and the soothing mineral waters of the hot springs.  When rules and regulations changed in regard to water purification and safety in public pools, the owners abandoned the resort.  Later, when the federal government acquired the land as part of the park, they demolished all the buildings associated with the Hot Springs.

Today, the Boulder Creek Trail follows the old roadbed, mostly paved, to the Hot Springs.  There are seven small pools, some so shallow you barely get your foot wet.  The seventh pool is the best and it is deep enough to sit down in with room for six or eight people.  The whole area was quite crowded today.  I would have made a few pictures, but many of the folks were so scantily clad I thought is best not to.  Besides, you couldn’t see the pools for the people.  We found a spot for our lunch break then headed back to the truck.
Lake Mills from above

On the way home, we stopped at Observation Point which offered a great view of Lake Mills several hundred feet below.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Turnip Greens and Black-Eyed Peas

I’ve been a few places in my lifetime and I’ve eaten a lot of stuff from a lot of areas.  I enjoy Mexican, Italian, German, Thai, Indian, Chinese, and Greek foods.  But at heart, I’m just a simple southern girl and I can’t think of much better than fried chicken, meatloaf, or roast pork with turnip greens (or collards) and black-eyed peas, limas, or white beans.  A good chunk of cornbread would just put all that right over the top.

The RV lifestyle is a wonderful thing.  It has afforded us the blessing of being able to experience the various local cuisines of this great nation.  One of the real pleasures we get is going to the local markets and groceries and seeing the kinds of foods available in  the area.  On this trip, we have especially enjoyed the fresh seafood available in the coastal regions.  But as good as those regional specialities may be, sometimes I get a hunger for good old southern cooking.

Our regional specialities are not always available outside the deep south.  I don’t think there is a black-eyed pea in New England.  Those folks eat far too many potatoes.  They should throw in a few black-eyed peas just for good luck.  It is incredibly difficult to find turnip greens in North Dakota and they may be nonexistent in Alaska.  This is one of your basic health foods.  Perhaps the research team didn’t have turnip green in mind specifically when then said “leafy green vegetable”, but that is exactly what turnip greens are--leafy and green, the darker the better.  They’re health food.  Well, maybe not so much after they’re cooked to a pulp with pork fat back, but they were once leafy and green.

This RVer may have to consider the availability of certain southern delicacies and stock up before wandering off to the far reaches of civilization for today I was greatly distressed at not being able to find “the basics” at the local supermarket.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Barnes Creek Trail

We found a nice little hike for today.  Our trailhead was located behind the Storm King Ranger Station, only about 15 miles from our campground.  We got a relatively early start--so early, in fact, that it was still quite chilly out.  We started out with ear bands and gloves.
One of many small cascades along Barnes Creek

From the trailhead we followed Hwy 101 for about a quarter mile before we turned away from the road and into the woods.  After a mile, we came to the very popular trail to Marymere Falls.  Our hiking guidebook suggested we just forget going to the falls because they were always so incredibly crowded.  We didn’t want to skip them altogether, but we did save it for the return trip.  We continued to follow Barnes Creek for 2 more miles crossing Barnes Creek once as well as a couple tributaries.  Lucky for us, there were footbridges for crossing.  We found a nice spot by the creek for our break and a little time to bask in the glory of the creation before turning around and heading back to the truck.

A great spot for a break

On our way back, we stopped at Marymere Falls.  The falls did not have as much water in them as many of the falls we have seen lately, but they were very tall, plummeting some 90 feet which made them pretty spectacular.  However, the guidebook was quite right--it was very crowded.  There was one large group of older teenagers who appeared to be without adult supervision.  The guys jumped the fence and scrambled down the hill to get close to the pool.  Aside from it being obviously dangerous, they were also contributing to the destruction of the beauty of this special place.  Where are the rangers when you need one?
Marymere Falls

At home now and having had our showers, we are prepared to while away the evening in our recliners.  Ahh, life is good.  Thank you, Lord.