Amanda Park, Washington to Forks, Washington
Distance: 75 miles
Campground: Riverview RV Park
Cost per Night: $44.16
Duration: 3 nights
Weather: 56 and sunny
This was basically a travel day. We had a slow and easy morning before we finally packed up and hit the road.
The weather couldn't have been nicer for our drive along the coast. We stopped at a trailhead just off of Hwy 101 and I wandered out along the path to the bluff. (Rod stayed behind since the truck bed was full of our camping gear and the parking lot was fairly busy.) I spotted 4 or 5 minke whales, which was a great treat. I've never seen this type of whale before and at first I thought it was a school of dolphin and then I wondered if maybe they were orcas. They were much more energetic than the gray whales that we see cruising along the Oregon coast.
The minke whale is a black/gray/purple color. Common minke whales (Northern Hemisphere variety) are distinguished from other whales by a white band on each flipper. The body is usually black or dark-gray above and white underneath. Minke whales have between 240 and 360 baleen plates on each side of their mouths. Most of the length of the back, including dorsal fin and blowholes, appears at once when the whale surfaces to breathe. (Wikipedia)
The trail to the bluff was almost completely deserted as I walked among large Sitka spruce and lush ferns. Many of the trees were covered with large burls. I've only seen this on trees in the Pacific Northwest, but apparently it can occur just about anywhere in the world.
A burl results from a tree undergoing some form of stress. It may be caused by an injury, virus or fungus. Most burls grow beneath the ground, attached to the roots as a type of malignancy that is generally not discovered until the tree dies or falls over. Such burls sometimes appear as groups of bulbous protrusions connected by a system of rope-like roots. Almost all burl wood is covered by bark, even if it is underground. Insect infestation and certain types of mold infestation are the most common causes of this condition.
In some tree species, burls can grow to great size. The largest, at 26 ft (7.9 m), occur in coast redwoods (Sequoia sempervirens) and can encircle the entire trunk; when moisture is present, these burls can grow new redwood trees. The world's second-largest burls can be found in Port McNeill, British Columbia. One of the largest burls known was found around 1984 in the small town of Tamworth, New South Wales. It stands 6.4 ft (2.0 m) tall, with an odd shape resembling a trombone. In January 2009, this burl was controversially removed from its original location, and relocated to a public school in the central New South Wales city of Dubbo. (Wikipedia)
Olympic National Park
We didn't have very far to travel, so we stopped for lunch at the Kalaloch Lodge, which has a stunning view, but the service was extremely slow. (What is it with these lodge restaurants? The service was slow at Lake Quinault Lodge, too.)
We arrived safe and sound at our new campsite in the Riverview RV Park just a short drive west of Forks. We reserved a pull-thru site, which wasn't anything special, especially since all of the park is gravel. Had we reserved a back-in site, we could have had some lawn and trees, but at the time of planning I wasn't very confident of my skills and chose the pull-thru option over the back-in. We also discovered that the dry camping areas down near the river are nestled in the woods and feel more like camping than like spending a few nights in a parking lot atmosphere. Live and learn.
The sites at the park are level and easy to maneuver, but they're fairly close together and lack any trees or shrubs between neighbors. Each site comes with the standard picnic table and fire ring and there are restrooms with free showers, as well as a laundry facility and fish cleaning station. It's a clean, quiet rv park, conveniently located within driving distance of the Hoh Rain Forest, La Push and Rialto Beach, but there is no view of either the Quillayute, Sold Duc or Bogachiel Rivers.
Click on the photos for a larger view of the image.