Our Washington State Trip: Forks, WA and Ruby Beach

I’ve been meaning to continue my Washington State vacation posts ever since we got back from our trip, but there are simply so many things to say about it. I’ve had to wait until I had a good amount of time to sit and write about another one of our many excursions during that week.

So here I am on a rainy afternoon in North Carolina, exactly one month later, sitting at my writing desk while Alex is watching the Sopranos in the living room.

(As I think back to our trip, it feels so long ago and dreamlike that I can almost see the thought-bubble above my head showcasing all the memories, the edges of the background fading out into ripples . . .)

[Cue harp glissando]

After our adventures on the Spruce Trail and Hall of Mosses, Alex and I went off in search of a small, propane cylinder to use with our camp stove. We hadn’t been able to take ours on the plane due to safety restrictions, so we stopped at a little shop called Peak 6 Adventure Store in Forks for a bit of shopping.

The shop appeared to be run by a couple generation of women, and we meandered around for while, like the tourists we were. I had a great time talking with the bears out front and debating the merits of wearing a mask during an international pandemic.

“Yes, I assure you, good Sirs, you will still be able to own property even if you wear a mask. Yes, you can even still vote. Your rights are fine.”

Inside, the store was filled with typical tourist trinkets and a few camping supplies like bug spray and the propane tank we needed. I also used the opportunity to add to my earring collection, including these fantastic Tree of Life specimens:

Afterwards, we stopped by Blakeslees Bar and Grill, which was a restaurant just down the road. Our server was very kind, and the food was yummy. Alex got a “very good” elk burger that he rated an 8 out of 10 and informed me he would also recommend the Black Butte Porter to the general public.

I got the Irish nachos which were also good, colorful tortilla chips with sour cream, lots of cheese, and just enough bacon to remind me I was on vacation.

We also made a stop at Forks Outfitters Thriftway and ACE Hardware, which is apparently the place to be in Forks no matter what walk-of-life you take. If you can imagine a cross between a grocery store, ACE hardware, and a Wal-Mart in a vampire-filled town, you can probably get an idea of what the store sold – everything. So it isn’t surprising at all that we were able to find a rental bear box to store our camping food (and for just $2 a night and a $65 refundable deposit!).

As a side note, we saw a car in the parking lot that was decked out in Twilight merchandise and writing on the windows that mentioned the drivers were on a Twilight road trip. Even though the books weren’t my cup of tea, I love how much joy they obviously brought to the people traveling in the car. And how much fun to go on a road trip like that!

After our shopping spree, we decided to go down to Ruby Beach and relax (i.e., digest) for the rest of the afternoon. Ruby Beach is a beautiful, rocky beach with a great opportunity for sunset viewing (though our own weather was not ideal for it). The beach was covered in smooth, polished rocks that were easy to walk on. We passed an artist painting on an easel and a few photographers with tripods, so were not the only ones that enjoy the landscape.

There were some sections of the beach marked “impassable” on our map, as some parts of the shore that are accessible during low-tide wash out during high-tide. We didn’t have any issues, but we also didn’t stray too far from the crowd. Further ahead, we could definitely see some areas that the tide started covered during our visit, though. As black bears frequent the beach areas, we were especially keen on not getting stuck on the shore.

About 20 minutes before sunset, a huge crowd of people started drawing together (in a social-distanced way) to get a good view of the horizon. At the exact same time, the wind began picking up, and I suppose this is where the vampire thing came about. Within ten minutes, the temperature had dropped several degrees and a thick, lovely, and suspiciously-British fog started rolling into Washington State, darkening the skies dramatically.

The sun completely disappeared in a matter of minutes, and so did our hopes of viewing the sunset, but we still stayed on the beach until dark, enjoying the beach’s foreboding beauty,

That night, we camped again in Bogachiel State Park. We moved our campsite in hopes of a more secluded spot near the river (Site #38). I later deemed this specific site a definite “do not recommend.” If I thought the first night in the park was loud, the second was as if we were sleeping below an underpass yet somehow also in the midst of a college party. We didn’t mind too much as, again, we were so exhausted that we fell asleep quickly, but I think both of us would prefer a quieter location for our next visit.

The next day, we set out for our “big” (18 mile) hike. Details of which will be in my next blog post!

Have you travelled to Forks, Washington or Olympic National Park? I’d love to hear your own stories, with or without vampires :).

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