Winter Weekend at Hood Canal

Dates: February 28 ==> March 1, 2020

It’s nice to have Linda as a sister-in-law; mainly because she is nice, fun, and always looking for adventures. As an additional benefit, she has friends all around the country. We started our fall trip to the south with her friends near Washington DC. This past weekend we were invited to visit her friends her friends who has a place Hood Canal, Washington. When we got there Friday evening we enjoyed appetizers and wine while we gazed out at the beautiful view from their house overlooking the water.

It was rainy in the evening and not very photogenic, but I set up my camera on a tripod for nicer views in the morning. Sure enough, it was sunny on Saturday morning and the Olympic Mountains were displaying their awesome beauty.

Olympic Mountain Range see across Hood Canal

We are getting ready for a big adventure in late summer – hopefully the Corona virus won’t be a thing then – and need to get into hiking shape. I’ve been extending my walks around home – ranging up to 5 miles with 14% inclines and elevation gains of 300-500 feet, depending on the route. But we wanted to get off the sidewalks and onto a trail, so we walked a few hundred yards from the house down to Twanoh State Park. The park has – for me – a steep grade but it rather short – just a couple of miles. It also gave Carla and I a chance to try our new hiking poles.

The incredible greenery and foliage in western Washington and Oregon makes it difficult to get large panoramic pictures on mountainsides. But I did get a chance to grab a picture of the creek at the bottom of the hill.

River through Twanoh State Park. Hood Canal, Washington

But there is plenty of moss and green things to enjoy on the trail.

Tree Moss at Twanoh State Park, Washington

On our trip to the south last fall we saw plenty of Spanish moss – especially in Charleston, South Carolina. It was actually named that by the English as a derogatory term for the Spanish explorers who – the English claimed – had scraggly beards. Both countries were trying to expand their claims on the new world so there was no love lost between the two groups.

After our hike we grabbed sandwiches from the QVC deli in Belfair before we all got together with our long-time friends who have a place on Hood Canal. We walked along the trails of the Thelan Wetlands. The tide was out but was still scenic. About five or so years ago, the state of Washington breached a dike which allowed creation of farmland at the north end of Hood Canal. It’s been interesting over the past few years to see the fresh water farm land turn into an estuary. The Union River is slowly cutting new channels – or more likely reclaiming channels that had once been filled in to allow cattle to more easily graze.

One of many bird hotels in the Thelan Wetlands. Hood Canal, Washington

Spring is trying to claim its territory

Hint of Spring in Thelan Wetlands. Hood Canal, Washington

It started to turn blustery; but before turning back to our cars, I caught a picture of the dramatic sky.

Dramatic clouds looking south down Hood Canal from Thelan Wetlands. Washington

We all headed back to Linda’s friends house where we snacked on more hors d’oeuvres.

Before dinner treats

Before long it was time to start dinner; master of the house started up the grills to cook some salmon filets and asparagus. I was in charge of roasting potatoes and Carla made the salad. It was a delicious dinner and fun with all of us – old friends and new – getting to know one another.

On Sunday morning the light looked promising so I set up the tripod again for a few pictures. After coming inside, everyone yelled “Howard! There’s a spotlight on the Olympics! I was amazed at their beauty.,

Olympic Mountains seen across Hood Canal.
Olympic Mountains seen across Hood Canal.

I’ve grabbed pictures of these mountains before but these were the best I can remember; I think it was a combination of the viewpoint and the light. Last May we were over at Lake Quinault in the Olympic Rain Forest, on the other side of these mountains.

After a great breakfast of pancakes and eggs we headed back to the wetlands for another walk before heading home. I saw another birdhouse – this one is both beautiful and functional.

Bird house on Hood Canal

It was March first and some of the plants were eager to show their stuff.

Hint of Spring in Thelan Wetlands. Hood Canal, Washington

At one end of the Thelan Wetlands there is a Salmon center used as a local meeting place. Next to that is a small learning farm with some animals. I caught a picture of a small goat.

Billy Goat Gruff at a learning farm near the Salmon Center. Belfair, Washington

After we got back to the house Carla and I did some cleaning then jumped in the car for the 3 hour drive home – the kids were coming over for dinner.

We had a great time with Linda’s friends and hope we get invited back!

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