“The mountains are calling and I must go.”
— John Muir

Looking out at the Olympic Mountains from Hurricane Ridge, Olympic National Park

Looking out at the Olympic Mountains from Hurricane Ridge, Olympic National Park

My niece is visiting from Israel, and her top sightseeing priorities are some of the American national parks.  So we took a two-day, 500-mile road trip circumnavigating Olympic National Park in Washington State.  You can get to different parts of the park from inroads along Hwy 101, and our destinations offered extraordinary natural diversity, from mountains, to rain forests, to ocean beaches.

Our first stop was Hurricane Ridge high in the Olympic Mountains.  But first we crossed the Sound in a ferry, and then drove through some pretty amazing scenery just to get to the winding road that would take us from sea level to nearly a mile in elevation at Hurricane Ridge.

Field of daisies near Sequim, WA

Field of daisies near Sequim, WA

"I see the wild flowers, in their/summer morn/Of beauty, feeding on joy's/lucious hours."  -- John Clare, from "Summer Images"

“I see the wild flowers, in their/summer morn/Of beauty, feeding on joy’s/luscious hours.” — John Clare, from “Summer Images”

Old ruin along Hwy 101 near Sequim

Old ruin along Hwy 101 near Sequim

The winding road to Hurricane Ridge

The winding road to Hurricane Ridge

The view from Hurricane Ridge is awesome, with majestic, snow-capped peaks as far as the eye could see.  We ate a picnic breakfast amidst some of the most spectacular scenery anywhere, joined by a curious (and smart, crumb-seeking) bird.  The meadows at the top were beginning to emerge from snowfields, and they were covered with tiny yellow flowers.

Parking lot at Hurricane Ridge

Parking lot at Hurricane Ridge

Mountain view

Mountain view

Picnic breakfast

Picnic breakfast

Avian friend

Avian friend

Snow-capped peaks

Snow-capped peaks

Melting snow

Melting snow

Scavenging raven (lovely feathers)

Scavenging raven (lovely feathers)

Motorcycle riders (I rarely go to a national park without seeking motocyclists)

Motorcycle riders (I rarely go to a national park without seeing motorcyclists)

My next post will be a continuation of our road trip. . . stay tuned!

Springtime at a lavender farm near Sequim

Sequim is known as the “Lavender Capital of North America.”  Each July it hosts a three-day lavender festival (www.lavenderfestival.com).  With our cool spring this year, it was way too early to see any lavender blooms in the fields during my May visit.  Still, I couldn’t help but think about lavender while I was there.

Lavender farm near Sequim

What a great spot to relax!

Hand-embroidered shirts for sale at the Sequim Open Aire Market

Lavender for sale at the Sequim Open Aire Market

Back in Seattle, I am seeing a few lavender plants with flowers already.

Lavender starting to bloom

Sprigs of lavender in my kitchen window

Watercolor sketch of lavender

Another watercolor sketch of lavender

Rural scene near Sequim -- barn with Olympic Mountains

Sequim is one of my favorite destinations on the Olympic Peninsula.  It lies in the rain shadow of the Olympic Mountains, so the weather is often sunnier than in Seattle.  I love driving along the country roads surrounding the town.  It’s still peaceful and rural. Later in summer, the lavender fields will be in bloom.  I was there on a Saturday, when the local outdoor market opened for the season.

Weathered ruin just off Hwy 101 near Sequim

Empty windows softened by moss and blossoms

Meadow with Olympic Mountains on the horizon

Dandelion-filled meadow

Old Dungeness Schoolhouse near Sequim

Barbed wire on the side of a barn

Opening day festivities (free cake!) at the Sequim Open Aire Market

Bread stall at the Sequim Market

Tempting pastries at another bakery stall

Handmade crocheted items, Sequim Market