Monday, September 12, 2011

A Milestone

Elise started kindergarten today, and it felt like quite a significant event, both for her and for us. I cannot begin to convey how excited she has been about this. She's talked about it for months. In fact, as we drove back from our weekend in Washington yesterday evening, she reminded us over and over that today was the big day! It's so cute she's so excited, but I'm sure that she'll be singing a very different song in ten years or so...

We had a nice weekend in Washington, although it involved much driving. We left Friday morning and drove to Coupeville and caught the ferry to Port Townsend. It was a glorious day and we enjoyed the 30-minute trip across which, by the way, only cost $14.00!!!

View of Mt. Baker from the ferry.

Once on the other side, we drove to Lake Ozette in the Olympic National Park, stopping along the way to pick up our backcountry permit and bear-proof food container. When we arrived at the parking lot, we did some last minute gear sorting and then hiked three miles in to the Sand Point beach area. The hike was along mostly flat boardwalk, which was perfect for Elise. She kept commenting on how big our packs were (ours, not hers).

As we got closer to the beach, we could hear the roar of the waves through the forest. Elise seemed quite taken by the fact that we were NOT going back to the car that night. Upon arrival, we choose a place above high tide on the sand and pitched our tent. Mistake number one: putting the tent right near the access trail for the beach (loud and drunk hikers bothered us well into the night). Mistake number two: not putting the fly on the tent immediately. Little did I know the marine fog and mist would slowly soak anything exposed as the temperature dropped throughout the evening. Luckily, nothing go too wet... Beach camping is new to me - lessons learned!

Strange tracks in the sand. We'd seen elk in this area before, and wondered if that's what made these impressions.

The beachcombing was good, but not as good as around Tofino the weekend prior. We did see a few interesting creatures, including this sea star.

Truth be told, Elise spent almost all of her waking time "minnowing", in other words, catching small sculpin with her fish net. She is absolutely obsessed with this activity right now and it can go on for hours if unchecked. In fact, she'll stand in ice cold water so long that she gets mildly hypothermic and we have to drag her out shivering. She is pleased in this picture because she's captured a couple of lunkers - one that's at least an inch long!

The sunset was beautiful...

There are sea stacks in this area, making the landscapes very dramatic.

After dark, we retired to the tent and played cards. This is the point at which my camera battery died. I put in the spare battery (carrying a spare is smart, right?) and the display said "battery exhausted! Pam looked at me and said, "You brought the charger, right?" Not to the beach I didn't! That would be trip mistake/lesson three I guess: Always check to make sure the spare battery is charged before carrying your camera into the backcountry.

Anyways, this is my last picture of the weekend. Enjoy...

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