I apologize for neglecting the Blog for a few weeks. When that happens it usually means we’re having so many adventures that I can’t keep up with the photographs. After our Stikine River trip we were busy getting the boat ready for winter, and then we headed out in the RV to explore Washington’s Olympic peninsula – Port Townsend, Port Angeles, and the Olympic National Park.We started at Port Townsend, camping right on the beach where the Strait of Juan de Fuca meets Puget Sound, on the site of the former Fort Worden.In the photo below you can see the Point Wilson lighthouse, a tall radar that tracks shipping in the Strait and the Sound, and Mount Baker (in the distance on the right).Fort Worden is a lovely property, now used as a conference/event center and a woodworking school. Besides its fame as the shooting location for “An Officer and a Gentleman”, it was an important artillery installation for coastal protection in the early 1900s.
We hiked around the concrete structures where the 10″ barbette guns were mounted and fed with ammunition. The guns weighed 63 tons each, and could fire a projectile up to 7 miles! These guns were designed and built in 1898 – and we were amazed at the technology available at the time to build such weapons.There were a number of gun emplacements as well as some mortar wells nearby. We tried to imagine the thunderous noise when these guns were fired. Many of the Fort’s guns were removed around 1918 to serve as railroad-mounted weapons for WWI, and the rest were decommissioned in 1945 since ships and eventually aircraft could do a better job of coastal protection than the stationary guns.
We hiked all over the Fort’s grounds, through forest……the parade ground, and the artillery museum. Living in the land of glaciers, we’re attuned to signs of glaciation so we were quick to spot the impacts of ice ages on the land. Scientists believe that glaciation began about 2 million years ago and that the region has had at least 6 cycles of advancing and retreating since then.
In addition to the Fort, we enjoyed walking around the town of Port Townsend checking out the shops and cafes, and especially the wooden boat school.
From Port T we headed west to Port Angeles, on the Strait of Juan de Fuca and across from Victoria, British Columbia. Port A became our base of operations to unhitch the truck and do some exploring, and our first stop was the ranger station in the Olympic National Park to figure out how to best spend a week. Olympic is a huge park with mountains, rain forests, and wild beaches. It’s much more spread out than we appreciated, and we left plenty of things for future trips.
We headed up to Hurricane Ridge for some hiking, and got a quick reminder that we’re used to living at sea level! Ah, but the views were gorgeous and worth some huffing and puffing.If you look closely at the above photo you can see Victoria in the middle distance, and the town of Port Angeles on the lower right. We were so happy to have perfect weather after the cool rainy summer. We even enjoyed watching the Olympic chipmunks (a distinct species)……and deer……and beautiful wildflowers.This was just the beginning of exploring the park. Stay tuned for much more, and a bonus day trip to Victoria, BC.