Location: Ilwaco, Washington (and various other areas around the Olympic Peninsula)
Adventures rarely go off without a hitch. Despite countless months of rigorous planning and scheduling and attempts to prepare for any number of scenarios, there are always events outside of our control- unforeseen circumstances. That being said, we’ve never had a disaster quite like the one that occurred two weeks ago.
As many of you know, that weekend we were ready to fly to Sweden for what we believed would be the adventure of a lifetime. The trip was planned more than 6 months previous and we were (prematurely) celebrating our stellar low-fare rate from NYC to Stockholm on Norwegian Airlines. We’d just have to make it from Raleigh to New York. No problem!
The day before we were set to leave—in what has otherwise been an unseasonably mild winter, I might add—a blizzard hit the East Coast of the United States and North Carolina declared a state of emergency. People were suddenly flocking to grocery stores and buying up bread and milk. The roads remained unplowed for more than 24 hours. RDU shut down entirely.
Despite delays and failed transfers, I had never been forced to cancel an entire trip.
However, after a good cry, K (always the optimist) pointed out that we could refund/exchange our New York tickets. “If we wait a few days until this weather clears,” he said, “we can still go somewhere.” We picked the first destination that popped into our heads—the Pacific Northwest. Two of our best friends live in Seattle and it was still warm enough that we could take some time to camp along the coast. We ran the idea by them and they were thrilled, promptly sending us a list of potential campsites at Washington State Parks.
One of the state parks immediately caught our eye—Cape Disappointment! It was too apropos given our circumstances. Plus, they had yurts for rent!
After spending some time with our friends in the city (post to come later), we headed out towards the rainy Olympic Peninsula. We stopped along the way for “a slice of cherry pie and a damn fine cup of coffee,” care of Twede’s Diner and Special Agent Dale Cooper of Twin Peaks fame.
We pressed on and managed a hike up to North Head lighthouse, which gave us an incredible view of Long Beach Peninsula, before it began pouring. Thankfully, our yurt was huge and cozy, and we could warm ourselves and dry our clothes by the heater. We fell asleep listening to the soft patter of raindrops on our skylight. The best part was, thanks to the rain, we were some of the only park visitors. We had a whole state park to ourselves!
The next day, we took a morning dip in the ocean tidelands before taking the scenic route back along Highway 101. After stopping for a morning espresso in South Bend, we climbed up North towards Olympic National Park, stopping to take in the breathtaking views at both Quinault Rainforest and Ruby Beach.
The Rainforest was extra lush and green thanks to the weather, and we made it to Forks just before sundown. The micro-climates in this part of the country never cease to amaze me.
All told, we visited state parks, national parks, mountains, beaches, and a rainforest in just two days of travel. Not too shabby, especially considering the rest of the circumstances surrounding our trip.
Just remember, life never gives us what we can’t handle.