Saturday was our final morning at the ocean, and so I awoke early to head out for one final walk along the beach. The night before had been a high tide (as well as a beautiful sunset), and so it was really cool to see all of the sand completely smoothed out again. By contrast, Saturday morning was a low tide, and so I was able to walk out farther than I have in the past.
We got some coffee and breakfast from the little on-site coffee shop and relaxed for a short bit before packing up and hitting the next stage in our adventure. Our next port of call was Port Angeles for the North Olympic Discovery Marathon. My wife is running the full version of the marathon and I’m running the half. Our plan is to stay here for two nights before catching our plane back to Minneapolis.
Because we knew we’d have some time to kill, Lisa suggested we check out the north side of Olympic National Park, as there is an entrance and path into the park on the south side of Port Angeles. We had a slight mis-communication, as I thought we were going to hike around the visitor center right near town, but Lisa wanted to head into the inner visitor center to check out the paths around there.
We started up the 17 mile road, and quickly realized that this path was not just into a deeper part of the park, but also to the top of it. The road suddenly became very winding and we found ourselves heading up, up and up. It took about 40 minutes of driving along a slow mountain road, in a conga line of cars, but we finally made it to the summit, 5500 feet higher than we started.
One thing that not everyone knows about me, is that I tend to get mild vertigo. The journey up the side of the mountain, moving back and forth as we rose, was a bit much for me. When we got to the top I was feeling very uncomfortable, and it took a while for my heart rate and unsteadiness to settle down. Once my feet were on solid ground and I was able to focus better we were treated to some amazing views. The massive mountain ranges of Olympic Park were spread out in front of us.
It was really an amazing site to see. On the other side of the ridge we were able to see all the way into Canada. This led to a funny moment when we got back down the mountain. My phone beeped with a text message that welcomed me to Canada, and informing me that my cell phone plan worked the same in Canada as in the U.S. Apparently, when I was on top of that ridge I picked up some Telus signal and our phones decided we had crossed the border.
Before we headed back down I took some shots of the deer on top of the ridge. There was an entire herd of them grazing in the meadows and they were completely accustomed to humans. You were required to stay on the paths, but the deer came right up to the edge to graze, and had no fear of any of the people standing there.
The trip down the mountain was much easier on me, and I got to practice my downshifting driving skills. I only had to use the breaks a couple of times the entire way down, and was able to use the paddle shifters to keep us at a constant speed. As someone who grew up in a much flatter place I was kinda proud of myself.
Once we arrived back in Port Angeles we hit up some lunch before getting our packets for the race tomorrow. Our motel room was waiting for us so we dropped out bags in our room and walked into downtown to hit up a small brewery and candy shop. I think I’ve already earned two more levels on the Bar Explorer badge in Untappd and the trip isn’t over yet! We also managed to nab a great deal at the local outdoors shop on a new running hat for Lisa; a Columbia on clearance for 50% off.
The evening consisted of a light dinner and resting up. Lisa has an early start for the full marathon in the morning, and I’m not that far behind her in the half. This trip is starting to wind down, with only a couple more days before we’re back in the Midwest. It’s been an amazing journey, but I know I’m going to love getting home again too.