Day 2 – Last Night we arrived at our little loft studio that we rented through Airbnb. What an absolutely delightful little place. It’s a self-contained studio apartment with everything that you could possibly need for a couple of nights. Nickole was our invisible host, but always within cyber distance if we needed her. If you’re interested in learning more about her Airbnb, you can access it at Loft 205 at 3 Rivers at AirBnb.
So this was our one full day to adventure in Forks WA. Turns out it’s famous for three things. Its logging history, it’s where the Twilight books by Stephenie Meyer were set, and apparently it’s also Sasquatch Central. So those three were on our agenda for today.
But before we got to the big three in the afternoon, we drove out in the morning to Hoh Rainforest Visitor Centre. This is one of several Visitor Centres that are part of the Olympic National Park system (in fact we will be visiting a second one tomorrow). This place is beautiful, there are a couple of short circle walks you can do, and one long 18 mile hike (one-way). Since our time was limited, we knew we could only do one of the shorter circles, so we asked the park ranger for his advice. He recommended Hall of Mosses, which was notable because it really shows the old growth forest that creates a canopy in the sky and an amazing variety of mosses and lichens below. These grew not just on the ground but also on every available trunk and branch surface. You’ll need a NPS pass to visit, we paid $30 for the week.
After our short but interesting walk, we headed out of the park just after 11 AM. That’s when we realized what a really smart idea it was to get to the park before 9:30 AM because the cars were lined up for miles waiting to get into the park. There are only so many parking spots, and even with cars parking on the shoulders of the road, the park rangers just have to monitor the number of vehicles that are in there at one time, otherwise it would become an absolute mess in the parking lot.
Just after we left the park, we stopped in at the Hard Rain Café and Mercantile for a quick lunch. They had your basic options – sandwiches, burgers etc. – but what really made this place special was how welcoming and service-oriented the owners were. If you’re looking for a simple lunch place, we recommend this place highly.
Then back to Forks. The town’s claim to fame is that they are the logging capital of the world. I don’t know if that’s actually true, but the Forks Timber Museum was fun.
Of particular interest is the fact that the entire building was built by a carpentry class at the local high school with help from volunteers. Through photographs and artifacts, they show the life and livelihood of the pioneers who came to this area of the country and started homesteading. $3 pp.
After the Timber Museum, where else but the Forever Twilight Collection! This is a small museum that contains a collection of the original props and costumes from all five movies. There was a lineup to get in to this place, we had to wait about 30 minutes. It is a popular destination! Al watched the movies while he was growing up, but Merge, believe it or not, hadn’t seen even one, or read the books. So she got a crash course in the museum on the storyline from a very helpful docent. If you also don’t know, Stephanie Meyer’s books were all set in Forks WA. Nickole very kindly left DVDs of all five movies in the room. So later that evening, we watched the first one! The museum is free, but donations gratefully accepted.
Now it was time for number three of the big three. There was no museum for the Sasquatch, but right in the centre of town there is a store called Sasquatch, the Legend. We couldn’t resist stopping in.
Now at this point, you might think we were done with museums, but we’d heard of one that Merge simply couldn’t miss. So off we went to John’s Beachcombing Museum. Yes you read that correctly — beachcombing. We met John, the owner, who has been beachcombing for over 40 years. When he retired from his plumbing business several years ago, he turned his shop into a museum of everything he has gathered over the years. The flotsam and jetsam that washes up on the shore is mind-boggling. In addition to the usual things like floats and slippers (!), there are also some very unusual things. Did you know that 1,200-1,500 containers are lost every year off cargo ships? They fall into the ocean and at some point the waves break them up and the goods wash up on shore. John’s found lots of those! Apparently, if you pay more, your containers get packed lower on the ship, so there’s less likelihood of losing them. Who knew?! Here are some photos of the more unusual things John has found over the years. As crazy as this sounds, this little museum is worth a visit. $5 pp, cash only.
After a full day, we returned to our lovely apartment to have dinner. But we did make a quick trip after to La Push First Beach to watch the sun set over the Pacific.
We will be leaving Forks tomorrow, and heading to Sequim (pronounced Sk-wim). But not directly. Along the way, we will be stopping at the Sol Duc Hot Springs, getting some quick vistas of Lake Crescent, and we’ll also check out Hurricane Ridge Visitor Centre.