Golden sunlight, blue skies, peach coloured clouds, and crisp mountain air
We arrived in Port Angeles without a clue as to what we’d be doing over the next four days. The original plan to go on a hiking trip was scrapped so we found ourselves in a crêpe restaurant mulling things over. Little did we know that sitting at the next table was a woman who couldn’t wait to pounce on us with ideas. Thanks to her we had the chance to see a stunning sunset from Hurricane Hill in the Olympic National Park.
There’s no other culture that embodies hospitality like the USA. Aside from family and friends, we’ve been helped throughout our trip by folks who have given us directions when we looked lost or just chatted to us on the bus. We’re doing our entire trip on foot, lifts, or by public transportation so it’s been a challenge to get around.
Back at the crêpe restaurant Betty is about to make her move. Just as we’re settling up our bill she chimes in with an invitation to join her at her table if we’d like to get some local sight-seeing tips.
A private tour
We were both surprised and delighted to be offered insider information and were over there in a flash. Betty turned out to not be from Port Angeles but comes here fairly regularly. She rents a room in her niece’s home and drives over when she has time to visit. As a retiree and lover of this wild part of Washington she was the perfect person to give us advice.
There were some definite must-visits in her book but after chatting it became clear that getting to see them all was going to be difficult on the bus. Betty’s solution? Take us along on a whirlwind tour of a few of her favourite places.
Half an hour of driving up the mountain
After driving us out to Lake Crescent to admire the blue of the lake and the mosses hanging from the trees she brought us back into town. It was a few hours until sunset and that’s when she really wanted to show us something special.
Betty and her niece Melissa picked us back up again at 6pm and after a half hour of driving up twisty mountain roads we arrived. Not at the main Hurricane Ridge centre but further on at a parking lot at the trailhead for Hurricane Hill.
We arrived just in time to watch a spectacular sunset
To get the best view it took another ten minutes to walk down the path and up a steep hill. Deer were feeding in grassy patches under the trees and the temperature was starting to drop. As we trudged up the hill I realised that I could see my breath. Summer is nearly over.
As the sun fell over the mountains’ silhouette Betty played Simon and Garfunkel on her phone. I snapped photos and a few videos and Josh mainly chilled out and watched the show. Despite the temperature dropping nearly to freezing he seemed fine in his board shorts and flip flops.
We’re thankful for meeting Betty
There is a lot of distrust of strangers and for that we’re thankful for the kindness we’ve received from everyone on this trip. Betty’s tour of all things beautiful near Port Angeles is at the top of our gratitude list though.
After watching that amazing sunset she brought us back down into town, fed us homemade crab stew, and afterwards we all had a great time talking and drinking. I’m even about to walk over to their house to drop off some fleece leggings I borrowed from Melissa.
Nature and friendships recharge the soul
I love the smell of the trees, the quiet of the land, and the crispness of a September evening on the top of a mountain. In a week we’ll be heading back home to the Isle of Man but the energy we’ve collected on this trip is coming back with us too. Memories of time spent in the wild outdoors and also of times spent with family, old friends, and even some new ones. I truly believe that a good life is a simple life and that nature and friendships recharge the soul.