You can find links to any other 2016 Grand Adventure posts at the "home page."
Day 19: A dear friend of mine who lives in Seattle drove out to meet us at Seaquest State Park. We had hoped to see Mount St. Helen's in the morning, but it was cloudy. We didn't have much time and decided against driving farther into the monument knowing the weather would probably remain overcast. The children enjoyed the Mount St. Helens Visitor Center so much, though, that we ended up staying longer than planned.
We learned how kind the rangers are there. First Son left his nature notebook at the visitor center, the one with all the stamps and drawings from the first 19 days of our trip. He was despondent when we realized it was missing a few hours later. We searched the van for a few days and then, just hoping, we called the visitor center. Not only had they found it and held onto it for us, but they mailed it without charge to our home in Kansas! It was waiting for us when we returned. A big thanks to the rangers of Washington!
Somehow I managed to not take a single picture at the visitor center! We were all too busy learning about volcanoes, I guess.
At the last minute, we decided to alter our plans and stay at another Washington State Park rather than on the coast of Olympic National Park. We really needed to do some laundry and the coastal campground were very far from a laundromat. We ended up at Bogachiel State Park and it was perfect! Not only did we find a nice large site in a quiet park, but it had two covered picnic tables so we stayed out of the mist while cooking and eating.
Total driving for day 19 - 206 miles.
Day 20: My unbelievably awesome friend drove me and First Daughter into the laundromat in town on Sunday morning to start all our laundry before Mass. Kansas Dad picked us up there to go to church while my friend (did I mention she was awesome) moved our laundry to the dryers. (She's not Catholic.) We forgot it was Pentecost Sunday and, unfortunately, the pastor was speaking to his parish about a big change in their future so the Mass was very long. By the time we made it back to the laundromat, the laundry was dry and folded (again, awesome friend!).
After a hearty breakfast, we visited a real live rain forest: Hoh Rain Forest. Ironically, given all the rain we endured in the desert, it didn't even mist on us in the rain forest. I thought Redwoods was otherworldly, but the rain forest was even more so.
We missed banana slugs at Redwoods, but saw plenty of them and other slimy oozing creatures in the rain forest.
This black one looks a little like a squid.
Then, we drove down to the shore to show the kids tide pools. We ended up at Ruby Beach, another part of Olympic National Park. My friend is an engineer by training, but has volunteered with an aquarium for many years as a beach naturalist so she introduced our Kansas children to the wonders of shore-life with all the knowledge and excitement we could imagine.
I love the coast of the Pacific Northwest. I hope we make it back there someday.
Our guide pointed out creatures everywhere. The dead jellyfish on the beach intrigued the children as much as the living creatures in the pools. My favorite was the sea star.
After a long day of nature, my friend drove back north to take the ferry to Seattle and we drove into town to buy a new pair of water shoes for First Daughter. The cheap pair we'd brought were cutting her poor feet to shreds. (For those paying attention, that's two pairs of shoes we bought for her while on the trip.) Then back to camp for a good night's sleep before our foray into another country!
Total driving for day 20 - 103 miles