Posted on June 23, 2018
After an intensive week of family and friends, we headed back to the wilds of National Park campsites with a trip up to Crater Lake. Everything was as beautiful as expected; what we did not anticipate was the freezing cold! Snow everywhere, and sleeting rain; we huddled inside the van and watched a movie, instead of trying to coax out a campfire.
5000 feet lower, the weather was much more temperate. We’d planned to get as close to Portland as possible, to maximize our one hotel night and time in the city, but in the end decided to bail off the highway to a random piece of public land managed by the Army Corps of Engineers, right next to a dam. It turned out to be one of our favorite spots—warm and sunny, right next to a winding stream, with lovely neighbors and lots of room for the kids to run around.
The next day, we struck out for Portland. We haven’t been spending time in the types of places with kids’ museums, so we splurged on a day at OMSI, including their awesome robot exhibit. A little pizza, a little check-up for the van (all good!), and a long morning at Powell’s City of Books, and we headed back towards the coast.
So far, we’d been pretty lucky with waltzing into campgrounds and asking for a site, and Cape Disappointment was no exception. We hiked up the cape to check out the infamous entrance to the Columbia River. No huge waves were breaking over the bar that day, but we were still happy not to be navigating through the shifting sands. The history of the river mouth goes from shipwreck to shipwreck, and as we hiked past the Coast Guard station, we were thankful for all the work that’s gone into making it safe for boats like Milou.
In my mind, I consider Olympia National Park to be remote and rarely visited—because it’s so far from Wisconsin, and I’d never been there. Obviously, that is insane. Thinking we could squeeze into Kalaloch campground, right on the ocean, we pulled in optimistically around noon; the campsite is one of the few in the park that takes reservations, and it was packed. South Beach campground was not so much to our liking, so we reverted to our original plan of spending two nights in the Hoh Rain Forest, and hoped for clear weather.
We lucked out; our time in the Hoh was marked by clear skies and warmer temps than on the coast. We hiked through trees dripping with moss, and checked out the tide pools at Ruby Beach—a big contrast to the coastal conditions of Baja.
We’ve been back in the US for three whole weeks now, so we feel it’s time to leave the country again. We’re off to see friends in Victoria, BC, for a few days. We suspect clearing into Canada will be more complicated than when we were cruising the North Channel of Lake Huron, which required only a call from a phone booth.