Following the Lewis and Clark Trail to the Columbia river and the Pacific Ocean was only one part of my vision in traveling to the Northwest. The other part was to view some of the sights that my wife and I had visited almost 36 years ago when we were first married.
On leaving Oregon I put the Lewis and Clark trail behind me and followed Highway 101 along the Pacific Coast through Washington State to Olympic National Park.
It was a very beautiful and peaceful drive. I have driven the Pacific Coast Highway through California, and this was a much more peaceful experience. The Washington coast is much like Oregon. There are stretches of forests and meadows as well as sandy beaches and rocky cliffs. During my drive the weather was cool and sunny with enough morning and evening fog to make the photography interesting.
Traveling alone I could stop as I pleased to shoot the beaches and surf. The best part of using a digital camera is that I can shoot for hours playing with the composition and then go through and select the keepers. My goal in shooting ocean and landscapes is not much different than shooting events for the newspaper. The game I play is to find one or a handful of images that best communicate what I see and experience at the moment that I press the shutter.
My personal favorite beach shot was a man by the name of Jon Maxon fishing in the surf at Kalaloch Beach at sunset. I like the play of light and shadow as the fisherman casts his rod toward the sun. Jon and his family were staying at the same campground overlooking the ocean where I was staying.
The next morning I drove to the Ho Rainforest campground. In the afternoon I followed the Hall of Mosses trail which is one of the best known trails in the park, but I was disappointed with the experience. I just couldn’t make a decent photograph.
The following morning I hiked 6 to 7 miles along the Ho River trail until I decided it was time to turn back. I was carrying entirely too much photography gear and not enough water. It was a strenuous hike, and my images were just ho-hum.
On my last morning at the campground, I got up early and revisited the Hall of Mosses that I photographed the first day. In that short early morning hike, the clouds and fog hung low over the peaks and glades. I was alone and had the trail all to myself. I finally made the images I had envisioned. The light and the weather was what I had hoped for.
Leaving the Ho Rain Forest, I circled to the far side of the park to Hurricane Ridge. When I had visited years before, the low clouds prevented me from seeing anything. On this day the skies were relatively clear and I was rewarded with an awesome view of Mount Olympus and the entire Olympic Range.
When I left Hurricane Ridge and Olympic National Park, I really didn’t have a plan. I generally tried to avoid big city traffic, but I just couldn’t get this close to Seattle and not make at least a short visit. While waiting for a ferry to cross the Sound, I booked a room at a hotel within blocks of the Seattle Space Needle. As I drove toward the city, the traffic was heavy and road construction confusing, but I did manage to find my way to my hotel. I spent that evening and the next morning revisiting Seattle landmarks that were touchstones to my past.
I did enjoy my ride to the top of the Space Needle and I did make a few nice shots of lights on the water front and harbor. But my favorite Seattle landmark is the Pike Street Market. I know from Facebook comments that many remember from movies and television shows. The market is totally unique.
Yes, I did watch a fish vendor entertained customers by throwing a “flying fish” across the counter to another vendor. I also had a nice Sunday brunch at the Sound View – delightful little restaurant with a view of the harbor and the sound.
Leaving Seattle I drove south-east to Mount Rainier National Park. The 14,410 foot mountain is the tallest volcano in the Cascade Mountain Range. It is the most glaciated peak in the continental United States and mountain a very impressive sight.