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A Cold Weekend On The Olympic Coast

Due to one of the ladies I know, I found out about the deal of the decade out at Kalaloch Lodge a couple weeks ago. The deal had gone live that morning and I got our reservations in quickly – lets just say that 2 nights in a cabin, feet from the Pacific Ocean, for $136 total is a bargain to not miss. Kalaloch is one of those places that gets often put down upon, because well, while it is a National Park lodge it isn’t exactly stellar, it isn’t what people expect – they come thinking it will be a luxury lodge. It consists of a small lodge building, a convenience store and a bunch of tiny cabins on the bluff. In the middle of nowhere. No TV, no interwebs, no phones and a faint cell phone reception. In summer those cabins go for ungodly prices of hundreds of dollars. The cabins are not fancy but they shelter you from the elements. In an area where nothing else exists.

We got in late, driving out to the coast once Ford got out of school. Once we cleared the cities it was a quiet drive outside of a couple heart beaters (mice crossing the highway? Who expects that? The deer on the other hand I am always nervous about and we saw a couple who had just bounded across near Lake Quinalt). Check in was a breeze and we drove over to our cabin. There was no moon out but the sky was so clear you could see every star up there. Standing there listening to the surf below us and the sky both dark and brilliant white all at once – it is surreal and something I miss. Growing up my Grandmother had a house on a bluff above the Pacific Ocean and I loved looking up on moonless nights. Being so dark we had no idea what the cabins looked like outside or even what we’d see in the morning. Settling in Kirk fired up the woodstove and soon we went from freezing to me opening up the window for some cold air. My husband has some good fire skills it seems – in conquering his wife’s perma frozen feet. ๐Ÿ˜› It was a toasty night in our cabin, lulled to sleep by the crackling logs and the surf.

We woke up to cold. And it turned out the cabin we were in had a view of the ocean from the main windows, a nice treat indeed!

But oh those views. There is something about being on the Pacific Ocean in the winter. And on a rare cold weekend where the skies were blinding, blue sky and 30ยฐ out.

Even the beach had frost on it:

Walker and I putzed around bracing the wind and cold:

Somewhere I have a photo of me with Ford when he was a year old in nearly the same spot.

Facing a very cold morning (and a thick layer of ice on the van) we got on 101 and drove to Forks where I got a latte to open my eyes. Since the Twilight craze started we have pretty much avoided Forks, which is sad. The town isn’t what I remember – a town for outdoors men, hunters, fishermen, hikers and whole lot of loggers with a thick layer of moss cementing life together. I cannot begrudge the Twilight series of books/movies for giving Forks a chance for change but I can mourn what isn’t anymore (hiking all day and coming in late, dumping wet gear down and loitering at the Forks Outfitters/Thriftway …. checking out the latest in Carhartts fashions ๐Ÿ˜€ ) But at least my favorite latte hut was still in business (the one in the big potholed dirt parking lot that also offers Cup O’ Noodles for a $1….a complete meal folks, Cup O’ Noodles and a hot latte! Add in a Red Bull and you can drive all night….)

Forks, we will come back. Once all the vampire tours go away. Please be soon, OK? We miss your motel rooms on the edge of town where warning signs tell you to not process your fish in the sink….

We drove out to one of our favorite beaches, Rialto Beach. The tide was just at high tide and in winter that means one isn’t going far. This section is wild, part of why we love it so much. There is a deep bench this year, causing huge waves that come slamming up. Looking North, towards Hole In The Wall.

South to James Island:

Knowing we’d be out this way I had shot our good friend Ldyblade an email to see if she was free. She lives at the top of the peninsula so it was an hour or so drive for her to come out. She came out to the beach with Rumidude (her husband and longtime hiking partner of mine as well)And she brought us a bag of the ever tasty OBC bagels. Yuuuummmmmm. You rock woman! Kirk and I had driven up the low way so we missed out on going through Port Angeles. It had been a good 8 months since seeing them so it was a treat and better yet, we did some strolling with them.

A little bundled Walker:

Walker was happily bundled up to the cold, wearing thick pajamas, a bunting, knee socks and encased in a thick blanket. He was toasty and enjoying the walking on the beach:

What I love about the Pacific Ocean is the driftwood and in winter the colors get so vivid. The reds, greens and even oranges pop out at you.

This trio of silver trees growing on the edge of land loosing quickly to the ocean fascinated me, even more so as I saw the massive widow make hanging by a thread:

Gnarled drift wood.

Ldyblade asked me if I knew about a historical area and took me over to a site I didn’t know about. Hidden in the ivy was a foundation peeking out, just barely visible. In all the times I had come out here I had never noticed it and honestly I can see how nearly no one would see it. From a quick glance it appears to be rocks in a coastal forest. Yet once this was an area full of buildings.

As we stood there a tour bus for the Twilight craze drove by us and everyone waved at us. We waved back. After all, 2 ladies and a baby staring up at a hillside is totally normal, no? And gee, there I was hoping for werewolves to come running down to the beach.

While Walker was quite happy:

….eventually we all were quite frozen to the core and warmed up in the great indoors as we drove to more beaches and said our goodbyes to L&R. We went to one of our other favorites, Ruby Beach, where Kirk and Ford enjoyed investigating the changing meanderings of the creek (it has changed a lot this year).

Ruby Beach holds a special place for me, it is where I left my Mother to rest.

In the morning we woke to calm weather. The wind had died down and the slowly moving on clouds had warmed the temperatures. We indulged ourselves with breakfast at the lodge, where our table was one of the best – this is the view from our seats:

There were wild roses still blooming (freezing temperatures are not the common at sea level) and graced the fence in front of Kalaloch Creek.

Walker was excited to be at breakfast and spent his time being a happy baby, with lots to say. I came across his vest, an REI fleece, for $3 or so at our local used baby clothing store. Talk about a find! Outdoor clothing for babies is a steal at these stores and I am always searching!

The Pacific just beyond the creek as we walked back to our cabin to prepare for leaving:

We headed home as the weather started shifting and stopped by Cabelas to check out new stuff (of which I did find new fun stuff to review!).

~Sarah

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