There are lots of deer in Washington — at least the places we’re visiting!  We’ve seen deer every day, including in front of our rental cabin on Orcas.

The first four nights we spent in Dungeness, near Sequim, reasonably convenient to Olympic National Park. We stopped at the visitors’ center for maps and info; the people working there were very warm, friendly & helpful.

The rental house, the Henderson House, was unfortunately a bit on the dingy, shabby and dim side.  As an old (more than 100 yrs) house it has a ton of character & potential but wasn’t well furnished or well stocked.  (Getting more laundry detergent for the house from the management was way more difficult (and obviously low on the list of priorities for the management) than it should’ve been (instructions for checking out of the house including washing their towels & linens).)  Luckily, after hiking all day, all we pretty much needed was a place to cook, eat & sleep, as opposed to a place to sit & relax in itself.

If we visit again (and we’d love to, there’s so much to see we just got a small taste) we’d probably try to find something near Crescent Lake.

Saturday morning on our way to our first day of hiking we stopped at the Sequim open air market.  I talked to a weaver, bought some lavender lotion, and bought some wonderful Shiro plums (so juicy they squirt on you & everywhere when you bite into them).  Dave’s astronomy sleeve tattoo sparked some conversations.  We also found a lovely couple who build wonderful tables out of reclaimed wood & farm equipment & reclaimed metal — we’re thinking of custom ordering a coffee table.

Hikes:  The first day we hiked part of the Hoh River Trail, wandered on Rialto Beach, & hiked to the Sol Duc Falls — all reasonably flat but about 9 miles total (good for me!).  The next day we wandered around the meadow at Hurricane Ridge then did the Klahane Ridge Switchback trail (1.5 hrs up, about .5 hrs to get back down).  Our last hiking day we hiked out to see Goblin’s Gate on the Elwha River — gorgeous rocks and rapids — then wandered out on Dungeness Spit (a sand spit that stretches for 5 miles out into the Strait) for about .75 miles before turning back.  Every hike we saw completely different ecosystems, very interesting.

And the deer:

Deer at the beginning of the Klahane Ridge hike (scared the crap out of me & I squeeked).

Deer at Hurricane Ridge (meadow)

Sol Duc deer (she also had a fawn with her)

We’ve also seen chipmunks, squirrels,  centipedes, beetles and invasive inky black slugs.

Slug. The rangers squish them. They're invasive & outcompeting the native banana slugs.

Centipede Sol Duc trail

No marmots even though I hiked up switchbacks for 1.5 hrs just to see marmots (apparently coyotes have discovered marmots make for good eating, so the marmot numbers are down).   The views were lovely and it was an awesome workout and I got to work on my fear of heights.  And I got to eat chocolate at the top.

Klahane Ridge (no marmots)

Goblins Gate

Goblin's Gate

Sol Duc Falls

Sol Duc Falls

Gorgeous driftwood at Rialto Beach

Gorgeous driftwood at Rialto Beach

Mysterious Rialto Beach

Mysterious Rialto Beach

We also wine tasted at Harbinger & Camaraderie (would recommend both) and Olympic (okay wine, friendly people) and ate dinner at Bella Italia in Port Angeles (for you Twilight fans, that’s where Edward took Bella for dinner) which was very tasty — I had espresso smoked duck breast, Dave had Dungeness crab cakes.  (I’d really wanted to try Alderwood Bistro but they were closed the two nights (Sun & Mon) that we had open for dinner.)  Again, for Twilight devotees, Dave bought a rain jacket at Forks Outfitters (where Bella worked).

Tuesday we caught the ferry from Port Townsend to Whidbey Island.  We didn’t think we could get lost but we did take a couple wrong turns while on the way to Anacortes for the ferry to Orcas Island.  Whidbey Island is very pretty, and Deception Pass park looks gorgeous, but we (I) was a bit worried about getting on the ferry in a timely manner (I’ve heard about long, long waits) so we didn’t make any stops.  We actually were able to get on an earlier ferry at Port Townsend (I did have reservations for the 9:30, we got the 8:00 which was running late itself) and had no problems getting space on the 11:50 ferry to Orcas.

We stopped at Warm Valley Orchards where I met Maria, and purchased some of her millspun Romney cross natural colored wool (the skeins I picked also have 7% alpaca from her friend on the island who has alpacas).  Her studio and farm were lovely.  Dave entertained himself by petting the cat and dog and a lamb and two goats.  I also picked up some more Shiro plums  and some purple plums, I forget the variety.  She also had some gorgeous sheepskins but Dave is a little creeped out by the idea of the skin.  I may end up buying one or two more skeins just to make sure I don’t run out….planning on designing a vest, ribbing & some braids?  button front?

We also stopped at Crow Valley Pottery where I bought a small cup for espresso and some strawberry jam.  They had so many wonderful pieces by various artists.

Our rental cabin, Orcas Sherpa Cabin,  is adorable, warm and well stocked and cozy.  Good knives in the kitchen!  Comfy mattress!  I would love a little vacation cabin like this.  We can see the waters of the sound from the front windows, and I saw deer both last night and this morning in the yard.  This is a place you can hang out & relax in.

Today we’re going on a guided hike in Moran State Park with Natalie of Gnat’s Nature Hikes.  It’ll be nice to be with someone who can i.d. plants & give us a bit on info on the area & ecology.  Tomorrow we’re going kayaking with Shearwater to Sucia Island.

We go back home Friday….