Monday, August 11, 2014

A Month in Sequim, WA; It's Been Three Weeks Already?

When planning our summer in Western Washington we anticipated temperatures in the 60's and 70's, good temps for our favorite activity: hiking. We've actually had a bit of a heat wave (desert lovers will roll their eyes over this) with temps in the 80's. Fortunately there are plenty of forested trails within an hours drive of Sequim.

One of those forested trails is the Humes Ranch Loop along the Elwha River. The Elwha River had been dammed for 100 years and efforts have been underway to remove the two dams since 2011, with complete removal anticipated in September 2014. This is the largest dam removal project in recorded history and a goal of the project is to enable all five species of Pacific salmon and four species of trout to return in the numbers seen before damming (400,000 salmon per year as opposed to 4,000).

About 95% of the trail is in the forest with a short section along the river and also passes by a couple of historic cabins dating to the late 1800's. It's best to hike the loop counter clockwise so you take the steepest part downhill.

The Elwha River is a lovely shade of blue and has a wide floodplain.

At Goblin's Gate the river makes an abrupt turn...

...and the water is funneled into a narrow rocky channel.

Further upriver we could see how incredibly clear the water is.
The river is at least 10 feet deep in this pocket.

Historic Humes Ranch.

Historic Michael's Cabin.

One morning we headed into the mountains anticipating a 6 mile hike in the forest when our way was blocked by this downed tree.

Closer inspection revealed it had been cut halfway through allowing it to fall across the road. We learned later that local logging supporters use vandalism such as this to protest attempts to expand the Olympic wilderness area.

We attempted to move the tree but too many other trees were in the way.

We ended up doing a short local hike at Robin Hill Farm where we suprised this cutie in the forest:

During one of our Sequim countryside drives we discovered a place to access the coast at Marlyn Nelson County Park. This park sits at the convergence of Sequim Bay and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. One morning with a very low tide we took a walk on the beach, heading South towards the spit that encloses Sequim Bay. It's about 1.5 miles to the spit and starts out with a bluff on the land side that gives way to an open wetlands and then a lagoon so you get to experience a variety of habitats.

At low tide there is plenty of rocky beach to walk on but very little of it was hard packed,
so even three miles RT is a workout.

Here the bluff side becomes wetlands.
Lots of driftwood along the beach.

The Olympic Mountains provide a stunning backdrop to this driftwood tipi.

This week has also included some social time. We finally got to meet Jim and Gayle of Life's Little Advenutres! They are avid hikers and bikers too so we've long wanted to meet up with them but our paths have always been just a little off. And while we did not have an opportunity this time to hit the trail together, we did have a great dinner with lots of spirited conversation and I am sure our paths will cross again somewhere, sometime.

We also met up with Jim and Gayle and the crew they camp with as well as former San Diegans Angela and Debbie at a Farm Store Stomp at Nash's Organic Farm in Sequim. Fun, casual, homey atmosphere at the barn!

Barn Dance at Nash's Organic Farm.

As mentioned above, long ago San Diego friend Angela and her cousin Debbie joined us at our campsite for a few nights. They pitched a tent on our site and we shared dinners and a hike on the Dungeness Spit. We had an excellent sunny, minus tide day on the Spit and chose to hike about half of the 5.5 mile spit. Here, the sand was firm and easier to walk on than the beach we'd hiked earlier in the week. Though it's a relatively flat beach walk, there is plenty to see along the way.

Colorful container ship.
Tons of driftwood to capture your imagination.

Hermann's gulls with their bright red beaks.

Hans, Angela and Debbie enjoying the sun and sweet breeze as the Spit stretches out in front of us.

Shimmering in the distance across the tidal flats lies the New Dungeness Lighthouse.
It would be an 11 mile round trip hike, had we chosen to go all the way out there.

Mt Baker is a specter across the Strait.

A truly fabulous dinner of fresh ravioli and grilled veggies with good friends!

Super moon rise over Sequim Bay.

A larger view of this lovely Bay.


  1. So glad we finally met! By the way, the ODT does run all the way from the casino to just a couple blocks from downtown. It looked like we rode just above and behind your RV park, but not sure if you would have access from there.

    1. Yes, it goes just above our park. We have walked the portion between our park and Sequim Bay State Park. The bummer is that so much of that part is right next to the highway.

  2. Time do fly fast when you have fun, as shown on your beautiful pictures. Your summer hangout will definitely be on our list in two years.
    It is always fun when we met fellow bloggers!

  3. What a way to enjoy the and Hans have had some awesome hikes in a beautiful place. The view of the bay is stunning! And what huge happy smiles...I love it!

  4. Very exciting that you finally met Jim and Gayle! Hopefully, we will catch them somewhere out west as well. Looked like a fun time together.

    The river is beautiful that you hiked along. So good to hear that they are removing the dam. Boy did the salmon numbers ever drop with the dam.

    Soft sand hiking is the pits! Glad you found some firmer sand for the other hike. Love Hans on the tip!

    Your time is moving right along. It is amazing how fast a month goes. Enjoy your last week:)

  5. I almost jumped up and screamed WAY TO GO when I heard that the river's dam was being removed and the fish would be free. 400,000 that just sounds so great! This is the best news I've heard in a long time. After that I settled down to enjoy your really beautiful pictures of the hike there. Love your walk along the beach, I took notes on how to get there. As I said to Jim and Gayle, it's great to see two sets of bloggers whose blogs I read. I have faces to put with the names. You are SO up to date, you even have the super moon and much better pictures than mine.

  6. Can't believe you've been in Sequim for three weeks! You're finding so many great hikes (although it's a serious bummer about the vandalism on the trail). How fun that you've met up with friends, both new and old. We would have enjoyed that barn dance -- we used to go every month in Ashland.

  7. Nuh-uh! Three weeks already? I've noticed the "warmer-than-usual" temps up north and glad there are lots of shaded and waterside places to hike. the river photos are beautiful - so clear and deep! When I first saw the tree down I thought "see if the truck can move it" - so I really laughed at the next picture! Great minds :-). Enjoy your final week!!!

  8. What a treat to meet fellow bloggers. We are planning a visit to Sequim next year during the Lavender Festival and you two are giving us so many great ideas for things to do. It has been in the 90's here at Teddy Roosevlt NP the last couple of days but is raining today with the forecast of cooler weather to come. :) So glad to hear that the dam is being moved. I too agree that hiking through loose sand is not my idea of the ideal hike.

  9. Looks like you are having lots of fun in such a gorgeous area. We loved Sequim.