The roar of the nearby ocean lulled to one of the better rests of late. When I woke I fell to thinking snout what to do today. I had thought to rest but there didn’t seem to be much to do here beyond the beach. While I live Washington beaches I do get out to them now and again. I wanted to spend a day in the rain forest and the route guide informed me that the next destination, Lake Quinault was a great place for that. I then saw it was only 33 miles to the lake so I decided I’d go for it.
But first breakfast at the Kalaloch Lodge. Again I ended up with French Toast and potatoes but these were crunchy toady and chopped new spuds. Cost here was $14 to compare to the $8.60 at Hungry Bear. Not any better either. The view was superb on a bluff overlooking the pounding surf and the gray misty clouds. After breakers I hit the local store for supplies then packed up. With a short riding day ahead I explored camp for and hour or so before leaving. I walked a good way up the ocean beach which was nearly deserted at this hour. I find the ocean clams me and fills me with a sense of peace. But always with a hint if melancholy. From the beach I did a short nature trail into the woods, with its many shades of green, dripping moss and some truly large trees. As it was in all the parks signs from the big November 2006 storm was everywhere with fallen trees and broken paths.
Just a bit after 11am I hit the road. 101 only follows the coast for about 4 miles then it curves inland. Those four miles were nice, gently rolling with glimpses if ocean. When the Quinault Indian Reservation is encountered to bends eastward and returns to rolling hills, second growth forest and clearcuts. Some steep-ish climbs around the midpoint and lots if chipseal in thus section. The burnt off most of the clouds and it warmed up. I was beat but I kept a decent enough pace that I made it to North Quinault Lake Road in less then 3 hours. I got supplies at the grocery there then headed down.
I do mean down, a goodly descent down to the lake. The shoulder-less road wended along the lake edge mostly deep in trees. I outpaced the sun here and returned yo the cool mists. As I passed July Creek Picnic area unease sat in. I was supposed to camp at July Creek Campground and I feared it had been closed. I cycled another two miles down the road to the ranger station (closed) and determined that I had passed the campground. I rode back up there and found signs of the old campground but it seemed not to have been repaired from the big storm. I knew there were campgrounds on the other side if the lake so I headed out. Of course now I had to climb out.
I manned my way back up and once back on 101 it was totally blue skies and warm. It wasn’t too far to South Lake Quinault Road which of course turned out to be pretty hilly itself. Two miles in I came on Willaby Campground and pulled in. It said there were no showers but there was at a laundromat(!) at another campsite. So I rode on. I came upon the Forest Service lodge and the little town area by it. Falls Creek campground is right there and would have Bern the ideal place to stay. Alas it was closed. And so was the next campground half a mile or so up the road. So I rode I to the town area and got a root beer float and a grilled cheese and a bit of groceries. Then back up to Willaby.
Of course all the sites overlooking the lake were taken, well one was free but was between kids and teens. So it was closer to the entrance got me but around a bend from the road. I set up and then took the mile long waterfront trail to the Falls Creek Campground. I found I was put of cash and I went back to the store, but they had no ATM. In fact the nearest one was two miles back up the road at Amanda Park. D’oh.
I walked back made veggie soup for dinner and retired. It was supposed to be a light day and it wasn’t too bad but all that backtracking added up.
Total miles: 49