Even though I've lived in Washington my whole life, I have yet to explore the Olympic Peninsula. So this last weekend, I did! I had originally planned on hiking Big Creek, but unfortunately it is still closed due to logging operations. My back up plan was to do the Staircase Rapids hike, which was at the other end of Lake Cushman.
The whole drive was scenic. The views of Hood Canal from Hoodsport were amazing! Same with the drive along Lake Cushman. It was cloudy and a little misty, exactly how I thought the Olympics will be. The hike started at the Staircase Ranger Station and was a nice, beautiful hike next to the Skokomish River. There were only a few people out, and so it was very peaceful.
The bridge across the river made a very nice loop, but we wanted to see how far the Staircase trail went. We crossed a washed out former meadow that had been burned in August of 1985. The silver snags were beautiful and you could still see some burn marks on trees. We continued along until we came to a bluff above the river that had slid, and we weren't sure how much of an overhang there was, so we stopped. The trail continued on into the forest, but according to the map and guide book came to a dead end where a bridge across a creek had washed out years ago and was never replaced. We ate lunch, then returned back as it started to rain harder.
On the way out, we drove through the campground and all decided that we would come back and camp there. As we drove along Lake Cushman, there was a very drenched woman flagging us down. We stopped and she asked for a ride back to the boat launch since the motor on the boat she had been in with her husband and friend had died and they were forced to paddle across the lake. We had one seat left, so we gave her a ride.
She told us that they lived in Allyn and had decided to go fishing since it was sunny and gorgeous out. They had some motor troubles on the way out into the lake, but ignored them. Eventually on the way back to the boat launch, having gone all the way to the other end of the lake, their motor died. Luckily, they had oars and rowed across the lake in hopes of catching a ride back to their truck. We were the first ones to stop, and it was on our way back.
We got to the boat launch and their truck was the only one there. She thanked us many times, then went off to rescue her husband and friend. We headed back to Hoodsport in hopes of stopping at a distillery or winery. The first stop was Hardware Distillery. It was owned by an older couple who got into making spirits by their son, who is a brewer in Seattle. The lady showed us around and we had a few samples, and I bought a mini sampler box with 4 different bottles.
After the tasting, we decided we were hungry so we went to the Model T Pub, where we devoured our food. The funny thing was, that no one was in there when we walked in, but soon after, the place was packed, including the group we had met on the side of Lake Cushman. The husband came over to say thanks for giving his wife a ride back to their truck and we said it was no problem. I thought that would be that, but then the husband came back over and said that our bill was covered. We were all in shock that he payed for all of us, but we thanked him and he thanked us, and then we went to get ice cream.
It was definitely a memorable trip. I'm so looking forward to more adventures this summer.