I planned to do the complete circuit around the Olympic Peninsula over several days. Instead of unhooking and hooking up and because my truck can go places that my trailer cannot, I left my trailer at Elma. Also I would enjoy a couple days in budget motels, needing only a clean bed and bath. I’m somewhat selective in choosing a budget motel, having stayed in some really awful places while hiking. I check the reviews on line, and examine the outside. In Fork, a once nice old-style motel had deteriorated. There was a large flower garden in the front that had been weeded. The gazebo had been painted recently. Remodeling was underway. Pulling in, I spied a large pile of materials and tools undercover. I asked for one of the rooms that had been completed. It was very clean. The remodeling effort was basic: painting, patching, new bath liner, and such, but adequate. The new owners, from India or Pakistan, exhibited the best traits of immigrants: hard-working, enthusiastically improving their place to make a better living for themselves and their families while contributing to the community.
I had started early, leaving Elma around 6, arriving at the Ranger Station early. I had breakfast at the Mercantile across the street, a basic breakfast of sausage, over-medium eggs, chunky potatoes, sourdough toast, and coffee. I complemented the cheerful waitress/cook on the eggs being done perfectly. On my way out, I noticed a rack of jackets for $20 and purchased one, a blue flannel with a heavy liner that I would wear the next several days. It was damp, raining now and then, chilly and sometimes windy on the Peninsula.
I stopped to visit the nearby world’s largest spruce tree, 58 feet in circumference where a young couple from Michigan agreed to be my models for scale. Hey Michael and wife! whose name I forget (he gave me his business card). Shortly thereafter I met Teres-a from Maine by a waterfall who also gave me her card. Hey Teres-a!
The next stop would be fourth beach and Ruby Beach. I had promised my friend Richard to have a beer on Ruby Beach, but it was rainy, so I carried my coffee down. The trail at the beaches for some reasons always ends in a pile of rocks. Why the logs pile up there, when areas a couple hundred feet do not, I cannot understand. Are these logs washed down the small streams that the trails usually run alongside. So small are these trails, that I cannot imagine anything the size of these massive logs washing down the narrow stream ways.
The hardest part of the trail down to the beach is climbing over these logs, without slipping, falling, or the log rolling. I quickly learned that in some cases, the best way was to cut sideways where, perhaps, there might be a shorter way across the logs. Forging ahead was the long, hard way through. Once through, at low tide, there were many starfish, mussels, and other creatures living in the tidal areas to find, provided one was willing to climb over the rocks. Watch out for the green algae, it is the slipperiest. I met Stefan and Astrid, Hey!, from Austria, and running into each other again at dinner. They invited me to sit with them. He shared some of his amazing pictures, including one of an eagle scooping up a fish that he had taken at Third Beach.