Lake Crescent is 9 miles long and 600 feet deep, surrounded by steep ridges and peaks, which makes it seem more like a fjord. The waters are so crystal clear, you can see into 40 feet depths.
Since no one was around except motor boats fishing and pulling kneeboarders, we decided to let Chance off her leash so she could swim if she wanted.
Joe waded in the water, contemplating swimming. Him and Chance seemed to have a great time.
We sat here on the driftwood logs to have our sandwiches and snacks for lunch in the most serene setting we’ve been in awhile. It was hard to head back to the trail, but we were optimistic for better sights ahead.
There are these things calledbanana slugs secreting mucus all along the trail. They are native to North America’s Pacific coastal coniferous rainforests and redwood forests.
We hiked to the most scenic section of the trail, Devil Point and Punchbowl, about mile 1 from the trailhead. There was a bridge that crosses the Punchbowl. The waters here where amazing.
We turned around here since we still had another long hike left to do. Even from far away, our lunch spot was enticing.
As we hiked back to the car we passed a lot of families on bikes and in bathing suits. I’m glad we came here when we did for a peaceful hike along tranquil waters.
There was even an old style out house along the trail.
We crossed another bridge, this one of more stable wood, where we saw several girls taking a dip in the flowing waters of the river. We were so hot by then, we probably would have enjoyed the swim.
The hot spring pools were natural with stacked stones, mucky waters, mud bottoms and extremely sulfurous. The temperatures range from 85 to 105 degrees. The water seemed to be constantly moving so we didn’t worry about the sanitary experiences, which are more prominent in the summer months with less water flow but the still melting snow probably helped here. The smell of sulfur was present. We both were really glad to have our waterproof hiking boots so we didn’t have to worry about walking in ½” pools and streams of water. We walked by several of the hot spring pools, looking for an empty one for ourselves. Joe stepped out to a clearing to look down to the river below and saw a nude woman staring back at him in a hot spring below. We both quickly turned around to find a more suitable pool for us. I'm sure Joe was happy to see some boobies.
Due to the sulfur smell now covering me to my knees, we decided to dip into the river to rinse off. Joe really wanted to go for a swim and cool off. He went in first while I snapped photos. It was cold! A lot colder than the 2 of us thought!
Next it was my turn. As soon as my feet it the water, they turned to ice. I quickly splashed water up my legs because there was no way I was going in any deeper. The cold quickly took over my blood, rising up to my knees.
The water was constantly moving, keeping the water very cold, but it did have a nice waterfall. Waterfalls always make us think of hikes with Wes and the Raleigh boys. We sure do miss you guys. We can’t wait for you to come out and see our beautifulnew habitat in person.
Joe decided he wanted to go in the river again. He thought he would take the plunge and quickly slide underwater, but as soon as his feet hit the water again, he changed his mind. I think Joe was more excited by this cold dip than the hot dip in the natural springs! That crazy hot man.
The waterfall at the log “bridge” crossing was cool. Walking this “bridge” makes me realize I have lost a whole lot of my balance since my gymnastics days on beam, my favorite event after vault.
On our drive back out of the park to the campsite, we drove by Lake Mills, one of the bodies of water being lowered for the dam demolition. We could already see a whole lot of shoreline.
We drove back to the campsite to make quesadillas for dinner. We stopped by Albertsons (grocery store) for some more trail snacks and drinks. All our stuff was still in our campsite. I inflated the remaining air into mats and pillows while Joe started the campfire.
After dinner, we took Chance for a walk around the campground. There is a path along bluff above the shore overlooking the Strait of Juan de Fuca, the San Juan Islands and Canada.
As we walked further, we could see the Dungeness Spit. There were glimpses of Mount Baker in the distance. We made plans to head back out to this bluff trail for sunset.
This camping trip has really made it clear that our dog Chance is prissy. I’m not sure how she got this way, but it’s becoming beyond annoying. We gave her a bone to eat at the campsite. She was not interested because 1) it got dirt on it and 2) she didn’t want to lie down in the dirt so she could hold it to eat it. I had to rinse it off and open the back of the Xterra for her to lie down in and enjoy her treat. I could go on and on with countless examples of ‘Miss Princess’… She walks around mud puddles so she doesn’t get her feet dirty (I know this one is a blessing as a dog owner). She won’t drink water with dirt in it unless she is extremely thirsty or she’s swimming or hiking in it and dying of thirst. She’s afraid of plastic bags. She gives you licks and kisses in uncomfortable situations like a clingy, needy girl. She has to wear sweaters to sleep when we’re camping so she won’t shake from being cold/nervous all night. She is still shocked when she farts and has to investigate her own butt to make sure it really came out of her. She knowingly won’t let any other dog near her butt for a sniff; she’s not that kind of girl. She is the only one who can sniff dogs butts.
But I digress… Joe made a great fire, per usual. We discussed our smore-making techniques, many of my own perfected by years of training under my mother’s wings on countless fires at the cottage in Door County, Wisconsin.It’s amazing how she has the patience to make the most perfect marshmallow, evenly golden brown on all sides.
The sunset was beautiful. Most of it was blocked by clouds, but the reflected colors on the water and clouds made up for it. It started to get cold quick so we didn’t stay out there long.
We slept extremely well once Chance finally settled on a spot to sleep. Joe was up around 6am to let Chance out. I finally was up around 7:45am (I hate getting up early on the weekends and this was day 2 before 8am). I got dressed and began packing up our stuff in the tent while Joe made hot chocolate and oatmeal for breakfast.
There were more banana slugs on this trail. That’s at least 5 ½” long.
We didn’t walk far down the beach. It is 11 miles round-trip to go all the way to the lighthouse. Since it is, in theory, the same view for miles, we chose to head back and do a mountain hike.
Over the piles of driftwood is the people-free zone of the Wildlife Refuge. I’m sure this is a bird-watchers dream location.
On our drive to the mountain, we stopped by Subway to get a foot long sub for lunch on the trail.
The wildflowers were all over.
Apparently the deer don’t just hang out grazing on the mountainside of Hurricane Ridge. They roam all over the trail to Hurricane Hill. Sometimes they even follow you down the path.
We finally made it on top of Hurricane Hill. From here we could see Port Angeles, Strait of Juan de Fuca, the San Juan Islands, Victoria on Vancouver Island, Canada beyond and Mount Baker in the Cascades.
And time to capture us in this beautiful setting...
On our hike back down Hurricane Hill, people pointed out a black bear probably 500’ down the mountain. My 12x zoom couldn’t get a clear picture, but I’m glad there was that much distance between us. We saw the wildlife we were hoping to see: bears and marmots.
This is the best hike this time of the year with the wildflowers in bloom.
Here’s a video of half-way up through the hill hike to get an idea of the panoramic view.
Joe quickly grabbed an ice cream cone from an extremely popular shop in downtown Kingston. We made the 6pm ferry, not too much later than our initial plan of 4pm. We could see the downtown Seattle skyline and the faint outline of Mount Rainier from the ferry.