Sunday, October 20, 2019

La Push, Hoh Rainforest, Forks, & Allens Bar Campground (WA)

It has been over five weeks since our last entry. Sorry! Mainly, the gap was due to the lack of a constant/decent cell signal and our not being overly keen to spend days utilizing the universally pitifully slow Wi-Fi at public libraries. Another critical component in posting to this blogging service is it needs to be done on a computer, and my laptop display bit the dust on our way south. We are back in San Diego (our home base), and I have my laptop hooked up to a small flat-screen TV until I can replace my display. So, it's catch-up time!

We left Fort Townsend Historical State Park in Port Townsend, WA, on the morning of 15 Aug 2019 and headed southwest on WA State Route 20 to U.S. Highway 101. We stopped in the adorable town of Sequim, WA (skwim), to do some grocery shopping and were both impressed by how clean and lovely the town was. We stopped very briefly for me to take some photos of sparkling Lake Crescent in Clallam County, WA, before continuing west. If I am remembering correctly, when we saw the first sign for La Push, I asked Margaret if we could go there first before continuing south. Happily, she said yes; so we took WA State Route 110 to First Beach. It was a steely gray-sky day with only a few surfers on the small swells and a handful of people walking the shore. After taking quite a few photos, we got back on the highway headed to Forks, WA.

James Island, First Beach, La Push, WA. Photo by Virginia.

Little James Island, First Beach, La Push, WA. Photo by Virginia.

Margaret and I had each arranged to have parcels sent General Delivery to the Forks post office and made it within an hour of the retail area closing. (I was feeling youthfully giddy after visiting La Push, and the feeling continued while in Forks. More about that further on in this post.)

Margaret had been driving for several hours, and we both wanted to find a place to camp. We drove through a free U.S. Forest Service campground on Highway 101, but it appeared full and required a Washington State Discover Pass, which neither of us had at the time. So Margaret took a few minutes Googling nearby campgrounds and found a private campground just a few miles from us. We arrived at Allens Bar Campground (Forks, WA) well after sunset; but after registering and paying the fee, we found a nice spot before it was fully dark. We ended up staying for three nights. The fee was very reasonable at only $5.00 per day, and we had a 3 to 4-bar LTE cell signal, as well. Finally! It was temperate, quiet, and the beautiful Hoh River was only 100 yards or so from our site. While at Allens Bar, we prepared several yummy meals, did a lot of reading, took walks to the river, and enjoyed the heck out of the cool weather. Margaret took advantage of that zippy signal and planned more of our trip. Oh, and one morning I got a brief glimpse of a long-tailed weasel just a few feet from the Roadtrek! It was such an excellent value that we returned after our next camping adventure in Olympic National Park.

Hoh Rain Forest Sign. Photo by Virginia.

The Hoh Campground is located about 18 miles east of U.S. 101 on Upper Hoh Road. The road was a little rough in places, but it was asphalt all the way. What wasn't all the way was our cell phone signal, which we lost about halfway in. This particular campground in the Hoh Rainforest is first come, first served. We found a wonderful drive-through site (#52 in B Loop) and decided on staying for four nights. We were next to the modern restrooms and potable water and close to a dumpster. Carpenters were at work building showers during our stay. So the campground is not only naturally beautiful, but it has plenty of amenities, as well.

Hoh Rain Forest Visitor Center Parking Area. Photo by Virginia.

I spent some time looking at the exhibits and purchased a couple of postcards at the visitor center. Since there is no cell phone coverage there, the rangers post the weather forecast for the week on a kiosk outside the visitor center. That week's highs were predicted to be in the 60s, and one to two inches of rain was expected on our third day. (Annual precipitation in the Hoh Rainforest is between 140 and 170 inches!) Well, that forecast turned out to be very accurate.

Peaches looking out the screen door at Hoh Campground. Photo by Virginia.

Hoh Campground. Photo by Margaret.

Hoh Campground. Photo by Margaret.

Hoh Campground. Photo by Margaret.

Hoh River, Hoh Campground. Photo by Margaret.

I believe I mentioned before that Margaret's Roadtrek, which had never leaked before, had developed a leak after she had some work done on it in April. So, on day two we rigged up a cover over the "house" AC vents on the roof. We got other outdoor chores out of the way, and at 2 a.m. on 21 Aug (our four months on-the-road anniversary) it started to rain. I made pancakes for breakfast, and we spent the day inside cozy, dry, and enjoying our respective reads. Yay!

The Roadrek at Hoh Campground. Photo by Margaret.

Peaches out for a walk, Hoh Campground. Photo by Margaret.

We left the lush Hoh Rainforest on the morning of 22 Aug and returned to Forks to mail some things, do laundry, and spend five hours at the Forks Library. It took that entire time to upload some photos and to start one blog post. (I think our weak cell phone signal was faster than their Wi-Fi!) Margaret drove me to a few locations in town so I could take some photos. Okay, so I wanted evidence that I was actually in Forks—the town I first became aware of because of the Twilight books and movies. And, no, they were not how Margaret knew about it!

Forks, WA. Photo by Virginia.

Forks, WA. Photo by Virginia.

Touches of Twilight in Forks, WA. Photo by Virginia.

After doing some grocery shopping at the Thriftway in Forks, we headed back to Allens Bar Campground and parked in the same spot we had previously occupied. We planned on staying for three nights but ended up adding a fourth. With that 3 to 4 bar LTE signal, I was able to publish two blog entries, write another, and publish a huge number of photos to Flickr. w00t! The weather was consistently cool (low 70s, high 60s), the surroundings beautiful (photographic evidence galore!), and that $5 per day price was hard to beat.

The Hoh River at Allens Bar Campground. Photo by Margaret.

The Hoh River at Allens Bar Campground. Photo by Margaret.

Wild blackberries at Allens Bar Campground. Photo by Margaret.

Interesting fungi at Allens Bar Campground. Photo by Margaret.

The Hoh River at Allens Bar Campground. Photo by Margaret.

A tiny frog on river rocks next to the Hoh River at Allens Bar Campground. Photo by Margaret.

The Hoh River at Allens Bar Campground. Photo by Virginia.

When we were getting prepared to leave Allens Bar Campground, Margaret's iPhone shut off and would not turn back on. That was catastrophic! She tried several things, and it just wouldn't turn back on. She ended up mapping our trip on my iPhone, and we left the Forks area that morning with the Oregon Coast as our destination.

Thank you so much for your patience and for continuing to follow our West Coast States Adventure!

NOTE: Clicking on the photos in the post will open them in a larger view (recommended!). If you want to see more photos of the beautiful places we've shared, we have them in this Flickr Collection: Over the Hill Sisters Photo Collection.


Cyn said...

Wow, what a beautiful area! It looks so cool and restful. Love the pic of Peaches in the doorway, so cute and alert. I know Forks must have been thrilling for you, Virginia. It's always great to visit places you've read about! Thanks for sharing!

Virginia Hill said...

Thank you, Cyn! You are right. It was cool and restful. Being in Forks was a rather surreal experience. I'm glad it came MANY years after the infatuation period. ;)