Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Camping at Kalaloch

It has taken me a few days but I finally had some time to draft that follow up post. 

Months ago Troubadour and his brother put a camping trip into the works.  Ideas were brainstormed and plans were finally hatched.  The final plan was to converge at the Kalaloch Campground on the Olympic Peninsula, about 70 miles north of Aberdeen, Washington.

We opted to arrive on Friday night while Brother B and his family would arrive Saturday afternoon.  We figured this would allow us time to settle in, gets thing set up, and since the sites were all first come first serve with no reservations, we'd find a spot easier on a Friday.


We left our house in Corvallis just after 9 am Friday morning.  We stopped at REI in Clackamas (Portland) for a few things.  Eno hammocks were on sale and Troubadour had been really wanting one for a while.  We also took time for a relaxing and tasty vegan lunch at Native Foods. From Portland we headed North on I-5 through Chehalis/Centralia until we turned west towards Highway 12 to Aberdeen.

(Route to Kalaloch - it look closer to 8 hours with traffic and pit stops)
We stopped in Aberdeen at the Starbucks for a nice chai tea latte to go and to use the facilities. At Aberdeen we also turned north onto Highway 101 (aka the Pacific Coast Highway). Another 70 miles and we arrived at the campground about 5 pm.  There were more campers there on a Friday than we anticipated.

The forest service also closed half the campground so that made things more difficult.  The double site we were hoping for wasn't even an option.  We managed to get the last site with an ocean view ~ A-18.  It was a wide site that we knew would accommodate the rest of the family if no sites were available nearby on Saturday.  We paid for 2 nights just to make sure. (a whopping $14 per night)  FYI - firewood is not included in that price - you must purchase wood from the lodge at $6.19 + tax per bundle or bring/scrounge your own

We set up the tent with the 12' x 12' EZ-UP shelter over it since it was forecast to rain Saturday morning.  We had dinner of vegan hot dogs and potato chips.  Yep, camping food.

Sleep wasn't great.  We each had a 1" thick self inflating pad and our mummy sleeping bags from Costco that we usually use for motorcycle camping.  While we couldn't feel the rocks through the pads, the ground was still hard.


Saturday morning we stumbled out of the tent all sleepy eyed at 6:30 am and into thick heavy mist.  Some might call it light rain. Everything was saturated and water was dripping/running off the EZ-UP.  We started the propane heater and moved the EZ-UP off the tent a little to give us a covered seating space.  Hot tea was brewed as was oatmeal for breakfast.

We decided we'd be warmer if we got up and wandered around.  We turned the camp chairs over to keep any blowing moisture off of them and took a few pictures. Notice the puddle of 'concentrated mist' on the concrete picnic table.

(Camp at the ocean they said........)

(It'll be fun they said.......)
Time for a nature walk.  There was a 0.8 mile (1.28 km) nature walk that started at the campground, crossed the highway, then continued into the rainforest.  Fitting for a soggy morning.  We are used to 4-5 mile hikes so this was an easy walk in the park.......

(One of the bridges along the walk with dubious stairs at the other end)

(Burl's on a tree)

(A view of the river)

(morning mist upon the fungus)
After the nature walk we returned to camp, had a snack and decided to walk the beach.  I put on my heated jacket for that adventure.  The mist had lightened but the wind was a little brisk. Troubadour was smart and wore his rain hat Seattle Sombrero.  The path to the beach was just on the other side of the next campsite.

(Troubadour walking to the beach)
We walked the 1/4 mile south on the beach towards Kalaloch Lodge.  People can rent cabins or shop in the little general store.  We just wandered the beach looking at the driftwood, taking pictures, and just enjoying nature.

(A seagull takes flight)

(Some areas had more rocks than others)

(Not sure what I was laughing at - my sense of style perhaps)

(Interesting driftwood)

(This driftwood still had some bark on it)

(I was laughing at Troubadour taking a picture of me taking a picture of him)

(The photographer becomes the photographed)

(Back at the campsite - photo by Troubadour - tribute to Bobskoot)
Once back at the campground Troubadour noticed the folks in the next campground (site A-19) were packing up to leave.  As soon as they left he went over to take a peek.  We decided it was perfect for us for the next two nights.  It was a smaller site, more private, had trees for the hammock, and also an ocean view.  We moved the car over to hold the spot and I wrote another check for Saturday and Sunday nights.  We knew that arriving family could have our initial spot since it was paid for Saturday night and they'd only need to pay for one more night.

(View from our new campsite - A-19)
An hour or so later the tent and most things had been moved over.  We left the EZ-Up and camp chairs at the original campsite so no one would think it abandoned and try to camp there for the night.  More than a few kept stopping to take a look.

Besides the privacy factor, Troubadour also liked the fact that the new spot had trees......

(Which meant he could set up his hammock)

(Even if one end had to be tied to the roof rails of the Subaru)
I made us some lunch of chickpea salad sandwiches and we just puttered around camp waiting for the family.  Okay, I may have paced a little bit and took a few pictures of the flora.

(Queen Anne's Lace and bee)

(a pretty weed, I mean daisy)
Family arrived right about 5 pm.  Hugs were given all around and we said hello to our niece and met our nephew for the first time.  Time was spent setting up their site.  It worked out perfect since they had a large 2-room tent and the site could accommodate it.

They had hot dogs for dinner while I tried something I'd seen on the interweb.  Make a burrito out of a flour tortilla stuffed with rice, beans, salsa, and vegan cheese then wrap them in heavy duty foil.  We cooked them over the campfire and had a nice hot dinner.  The tortillas were crispy and the filling hot.  Would do that again.

The kids roasted marshmallows before heading to bed.  The grown ups drank a little beer and watched the fire before getting to bed about 11 pm.


The ground did not get any softer overnight, but we woke to cloudy skies and no mist.

We heard no stirrings from camp next door so we decided to start a fire and heated some water with the Jetboil for tea.  A little time later our niece came over to see if we wanted to move our fire to her camp and have breakfast with them.  While we didn't 'move' the fire over, we did go over and visit.  Brother B made the kids pancakes for breakfast and once again we had oatmeal.  

We like oatmeal for camping. Nice and easy and no clean up. I make little one portion ziploc bags at home with oats, almonds, dried cranberries, and cinnamon.  I forgot any sugar so we swirled in some homemade blueberry chia seed jam for sweetness.

After breakfast we headed a few miles north to Ruby Beach.  The forest service worker at the visitor's center on Friday let us know they'd be down at the tide pools.  Although the tide was starting to come in by the time we arrived, it made for some fun beach walking.

(The view approaching Ruby Beach on the path)

(Troubadour skipping stones)

(The water was quite reflective)

( A lot more rocks at Ruby Beach compared to our campground beach)

(More interesting driftwood)

(We found cairns stacked on both beaches)

(And a lot of dead Velella Velalla jellyfish - more on that in a separate post)

(I loved the contrasting colors on this piece of driftwood)
We did see one starfish.  Sadly someone had taken it from the water and it was sitting on a piece of driftwood. We thought about returning it to the ocean but it was too far gone and we didn't want to get caught carrying it since picking them up is kind of a no-no.

(Sad starfish out of water)
Back at camp we had some lunch.  We had leftover chickpea salad on rice cakes and I also topped a few rice cakes with spicy hummus and avocado slices.  A favorite snack/breakfast of mine.

After lunch we went on the nature walk again.  The rest of the family hadn't been on it and it gave the kids some exercise.  It was a little drier this time around.

The sun finally came out after the walk.  It really warmed up and everyone was happy.  Time for walking on the beach and flying kites!!  It warmed up enough we all changed into shorts.  The sand was so toasty warm beneath our bare feet.

(Troubadour relaxing at the beach - one of my favorite pics from the trip)

(We brought the kids some kites to fly, they sustained flight by themselves)

(Troubadour flying his kite)

(There were a lot of crab shells on the beach with dried out jellyfish all around)

(Troubadour letting his brother B have a turn with the parafoil kite)

(Another velella velalla not quite dried out yet)

(Brother B on the left with the parafoil and Troubadour on the right with the stunt kite)
Before long it was time to head back to camp and think about dinner.  We made vegan Field Roast sausages roasted over the fire with hot dog buns and tortilla chips on the side.  Simple and easy to fix. While the kids roasted marshmallows for s'mores Troubadour decided to roast a banana with some chocolate.  It was a success.

(Banana with dark chocolate roasting over the campfire)
The sun was starting to set.  The kids were trying hard to stay awake and we were drawn to the setting sun over the ocean.  We don't often see beautiful sunsets at home because of the mountains, but the coast is a different story. These were all taken from the campsites.

(On a diagonal, just because I could)

Fade to black.  Troubadour took some fabulous sunset photos with the other camera.  The Olympus and its 'magic' settings; soft focus, dramatic, and the like.  I'll let him post those ones up.

We sat around the campfire for a bit until we were all nodding off.  We were tucked in our sleeping bags by 11 pm.  No, the ground did not get any softer by the third night either, sigh.


The rest of the family had a long drive ahead of them to get through the border crossing into British Columbia then back to the Okanagan, so we were up fairly early.  The camps were packed up by 10am and hugs and kisses goodbye were given shortly thereafter.

On the way home we weren't in too much of a hurry so we decided to take the Highway 101 option south to Hebo and cut inland from there.  As we were sitting in stop and go traffic in Astoria I spotted a Whispering Giant by the Youngs Bay Bridge. I knew there were two in the state after looking them up last year, but had never actually seen them.  Thank you Fuzzy for informing us about these wonders.  Without your links I wouldn't have ever known about them.

(Whispering Giant by Peter Wolf Toth  1987)
 We arrived home just before 6 pm. Basil was happy to see us.  We were happy to see him, but also the soft comfy bed and hot shower.

(Home via Highway 101 to Hebo then inland)
I apologize for the length of this post.  In hindsight, I probably should have divided it into a few posts.  Oh well, might as well get it all done at once.

- Au Revoir

" It always rains on tents.  Rainstorms will travel thousands of miles, against prevailing winds for the opportunity to rain on a tent." - Dave Berry