A nature lovers paradise

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All I can say is that I am planning another trip back to the wonderful Washington State. Washington is a nature lover’s paradise, from the tiny little fungi to the massive old growth trees. It was such a perfect way for us all to recharge and revive ourselves at the end of the year. I wanted to capture Whidbey Island in all its glory and our memories of this wonderful getaway.

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Getting used to the island we did some exploring down to the most southern end of the island, Possession Beach which was quite small though full of small wonders including a harbour seal washed up on the shore that had been attacked by birds revealing its skeleton and inside – with the kids it was an anatomy lesson right there on the beach. My favourite is photographing the log sculptures washed up on the beach they are so picturesque and make excellent props in photographs.

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A view from our house was this beauty Mt Rainier sitting at 14,410 above sea level so it is visible from all over Seattle. This snow covered beauty revealed herself the morning we were leaving for Deception Pass, and we finally enjoyed a clear morning to see this glorious mountain and have a beautiful sunny/shady day.

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An hour drive up north was Deception Pass State Park where a Discovery pass is $10 for a day and you can see as many as you can fit in. The best deal is the annual pass for $30 that is if you are planning to spend more time wandering in the woods. If you are prepared for hiking here with a raincoat with a hood you are so set! Across the water, from the car park, we saw the Olympic mountains on the horizon. That particular morning the navy jets were doing their flying training over the mountains and in the second image you can see the black speck above the mountain which is a jet plane.

We did lovely 2-mile return hike up to the Deception Pass bridge via lots of trails to calm beach inlets along the way. Once we finally reached the bridge it was suggested that we walk on the windy bridge then I realised I had a slight fear of heights and quickly turned around! :/

On our way back to the house we stopped by Fort Casey and checked out the lighthouse in all its Christmas glory. In the darkness of an early winters evening, we drove across the 525 (the main freeway) to Coupeville to see this super cute historic town with lots of stores set in historic buildings it is definitely worth a visit, just for its quirkiness.

On Christmas Eve we took a drive over to Port Townsend via the ferry to check out what we could of Olympic National Park. The park is gigantic just like any national park and takes days to explore which is part of the magic. I really want to go to the Hoh Rainforest though in the time allocated it was too much driving which is a 2-hour drive from Port Angeles yes from the Twilight fame. I am already planning our next trip to Forks (again from Twilight) so we can check out the rainforest and explore this incredible park. We travelled past Dungeness National Refuge and went for a hike to the spit which is gigantic at 5.5 miles long and getting bigger year by year with a wild beach with huge waves on one side and a birder’s paradise on the other with the calm waters.

We made it to the Olympic National Park visitors centre in Port Angeles and spoke to the staff about what it would take to explore the vastness of this place. Hurricane Ridge required chains this time of year so we took a wander to the forest behind the visitors centre for a tiny peek into the grandness of this National Park.

On the way back before driving onto the ferry we checked out Port Townsend for some pics and then the trip back on the ferry was magical with the sun setting with many colours painting the clouds. I love this blue house we drove by,Ā complete with a dragon wind compass.

Christmas day came and we really were working up an appetite for our shepherd’s pie, wine and chocolate feast. We walked up the beach on a 3-mile walk to as far as we could go and turned around. It was an excellent beach for dogs off their leash and my favourite was a black pug with a neon pink puffer jacket – styling! The kids loved climbing the trees on the beach and enjoyed us daring them to jump from the log and land on the beach, Missy here got some air but landed right in the water on the shore – oops cold feet!

Our last day on the island was a very windy 3 degrees celsius so we decided to have a picnic in the woods. The kids were super keen to go so we grabbed the opportunity and off we went. This morning after my shower I looked out the window and found this buck out in the garden enjoying his breakfast. Today we went to South Whidbey State Park for a wander through a magical old growth forest! The trees were breathtaking and I was in awe of the nature that exists in this small little forest from the tiny fern leaves en masse to the 500-year-old cedar.

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I am hugging an old growth giant, to take a picture in all this shade and green was quite difficult to get the light right and it is hard for the kids to hold my heavy lens so this is the best I could get including the bag as a prop for size comparison šŸ˜€

Everything is covered in green moss or ferns it was such an incredible and soul fulfilling experience sharing space with these trees who have been here for so long. The fungiĀ were everywhere especially where trees had been cut or fallen, I read this interesting article about the future of some of the old growth trees in the campground and why the campground is closed.

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We found the 500-year-old Ancient Cedar and I am giving it a blurry virtual hug as you cannot go near the tree so people do not harm it and the roots. The forest was saved in the 1970s by a group of tree huggers (my people) who literally hugged the tree to save it from logging. My boots are now trashed after all the trail walking over mud, sand and rain and theseĀ Tevas really did an awesome job keeping my feet warm on all these hikes!

So what the heck have I been doing?

Here are some pictures of what’s been going on in the crazy month of May! From the kitten to the Maker Faire to Sequoia National Park – there are some of my favourite pictures of the month.

Bella on the fence

Bella our new addition to our family is getting bigger by the day – she is over 6 months old and still as cute as ever. She has lost all of the collars I have given her so far, which are 3 including her safety tag from the cat rescue place šŸ˜¦ So here she is sporting a new neon pink and purple collar which she still has, yipee! She is such a wanderer that she needs to keep a collar on so people know she has a home.

Please be kind to the forest
Electric Giraffe
Tapigami

The above pictures are my favourites from the Maker Faire… I was volunteering to work at the FabMo booth this year and we did a couple of crafts with the kids and the adults. The craft I was working with was decoupage with tiles to make a collage and the other craft was an owl made out of a fabric sample on card – which was a lot of fun though I stabbed my finger with a staple and my owl was a bit bloody! Still we had a wonderful amount of people visit the booth when we crafting with the tile and people were so happy with what they made too šŸ˜€

Ash and I were very excited to see General Sherman
‘What the hell man’ we made it to the waterfall – yay!
Hug a sequoia today
The first time I had ever seen a marmot in my life – so cute!!

My what an amazing place Sequoia National Park is! We camped at the Lodgepole campground that we booked in January and it was just such a beautiful place to be, surrounded by masses of trees and wild animals – we even saw a bear on the road as we were travelling up the mountain to 6700 ft. The highlight was to see so many sequoia trees in the big trees grove where we hiked over 4 miles through the forest from the Giant Forest Museum to the General Sherman Tree. So many massive trees just so big that to capture them on camera is nearly impossible so you need to add people to get a sense of perspective of how giant these trees are. The General Sherman tree is the largest living thing on earth by volume and what a mob of people were there to visit it – I wonder if all the people visiting the tree support conservation efforts and make a difference to the environment, let us hope so! As you can see in the picture we had to take the shot with the ton of people in the background – my son and I were very excited indeed!! We did a family friendly hike the next day from our campground which was around 4 miles return to a waterfall high up in the sky, well it felt like that after we had hiked through the small rocks and under the massive boulders to get there. The reward was a big drink of water and some snacks while checking out the view. The kids did the hike without a problem and it was so easy to just take off from the campground and hike. What I loved best about Sequoia National Park was that you could hop a shuttle to the major stops and take a hike from there and catch the shuttle back to the campground, it makes life so much easier when you don’t have to drive from the campground to hike around the forest. Oh and the wild animals, apart from the bears the deer and the chipmunk, I loved seeing the yellow bellied Marmot – what a joy to see such a furry critter bounding about on the rocks.

Looking down into the valley between Sequoia National Park and Kings Canyon National Park