Our 2014 Pacific Northwest Trip Continues in Port Angeles, Washington, and Victoria B.C.

After we had our fill of all things tulips, we headed across the bay to the Port Angeles KOA. They had opened a few days before our arrival at the end of April 2014 and were still in the process of completing maintenance projects.

Port Angeles KOA campsite

It wasn’t the finest KOA we had stayed at but the pretty wildflowers in bloom were a bonus. Since we were leaving the trailer for a night and taking the ferry to Victoria B.C., it suited us fine.

Dandelions and Daisies

Their website now lists the campground as a Journey classification, they have new camp hosts and updated amenities. Although they are open year-round, amenities and the number of sites during winter are limited.

While in Port Angeles, we had time to explore a small bit of the Olympic National Park. A short distance from U.S. Highway 101 we found Marymere Falls to be an easy roundtrip hike of 1.8 miles.

Marymere Falls Trail

There was no doubt we were walking in a rain forest when we saw tree limbs dripping with lichen, and moss clinging to the trees like a green coat. I expected fairies and gnomes to appear any minute.

Lichen draped like a sweater on tree limbs
An Alder tree (??) dwarfs the bus.

Blue Forget Me Nots and wild white trilliums poked their blossoms up through the undergrowth of sword ferns, while polished roots snaked there way around the base of the trees toward the ground.

Forget Me Nots
Bridge across rippling waters
White Trillium
Polished roots, ferns, and moss

The falls weren’t particularly spectacular, surely nothing like Niagara Falls or even Twin Falls in Idaho. But, hey, who doesn’t like feeling the spray on their face or marveling at the power of water flowing into the pool below?

Marymere Falls

We stopped at Granny’s Café for a home-style meal after our drive and hike. Granny’s history dates back to the 1950s. Their website details how each owner has honored the original vision of the restaurant while adding touches of their own. I’m sure we’d have another great meal there if we visited today.

Granny’s Cafe going strong for over 65 years

The next day we waved good-bye to the Olympic Mountains and Port Angeles as we ferried to Victoria B.C. We arrived on the first ferry to give us plenty of time for exploration.

Port Angeles, Washington, and the Olympic Mountain Range

And explore we did. First stop was the British Government Parliament Building for a tour.

Some kind of event in front of the building
Staircase inside Parliament Building
Tile mosaic floor
Queen Victoria Diamond Jubilee Window commemorating the 60th year of her reign from 1837 to 1897

Of course, we couldn’t pass up Afternoon Tea at the Empress Hotel.

The Empress Hotel
Tea at the Empress Hotel
Fresh berries with whip cream was the first course

We walked off our meal around the harbor, through downtown, and took a Dark and Stormy break at the Sticky Wicket.

Wish we had time for a 3-hour sail
Dave Harris, One Man Band, Victoria B.C.
Ferry Boat
Plenty of street art to admire
“Daddy, you’re home.”
“Them some tall tulips, Henry.”
McDonald’s everywhere we go
The Sticky Wicket Pub & Restaurant
Inside Sticky Wicket looking out

Then we went on to Beacon Hill Park, making for a long day and miles of walking. If visiting Victoria with no time to make the drive to Butchart Garden, try Beacon Hill Park as a substitute.

Beacon Hill Park is full of flowers

The garden provides visitors with peaceful surroundings to enjoy the colorful display of flowers, trees, and water features, along with geese, ducks, and blackbirds. Oh, and don’t forget the garden art.

Bouquet of flowers
“One o’clock, lady with a camera. Turn to your left. I’ll turn right.”
What you lookin’ at?
Where have all the fairies gone?
Red Hibiscus
Blue and lavender bell-shaped flowers
Okay, yellow tulips, point your faces to the right.
Monkey Puzzle tree. Watch your back.
Water fountain in the pond
Okay, here I come. Who needs a drink of water?

The Royal Scot Hotel & Suites served as our home for the night and boy did we ever have a good night’s sleep after our long day.

Royal Scot Hotel & Suites

We had plenty of time to tour the Craigdarroch Castle the next day before we caught the ferry back to Port Angeles. The Victorian era building incorporates 11th and 12th century southern French, Spanish, and Italian Romanesque elements, all evident by the arches, columns, and towers.

Craigdarroch Castle would make a great setting for a murder mystery
Inlaid tiles and wood
Fireplace detail
Stained glass window

When I heard that the man who built the castle between 1887 and 1890 was Robert Dunsmuir, I thought about the Dunsmuir House in Oakland, California, which we had visited years ago. Could there be a connection? Yes, indeed. Robert’s son Alexander Dunsmuir built the house in Oakland for his bride Josephine. Unfortunately, Alexander never lived in the Oakland home. He died in New York while on his honeymoon with Josephine who died two years later.

Information about Craigdarroch Castle can be found here.

Next up we continue looking back on our 2014 Pacific Northwest adventure as we turn south along the rugged Oregon coastline.

Safe Travels

Victoria, B.C.

Day 9 of our Alaskan Cruise, found us docked at Victoria, B.C.

Good morning Victoria, B.C.

We had visited Victoria twice before taking a bus to Butchart Gardens, roaming around Beacon Hill Park, falling in love with Craigdarroch Castle, and touring the British Columbia Parliament Buildings. A stroll through the downtown area was also fun as we walked in and out of the stores and read the menus outside of the restaurants, but this trip there was no time to take in these activities.

With limited time ashore during this visit, we stuck close to the ship. A one-mile walk took us to the Empress Hotel where we had earlier made reservations for tea through Open Table. Our sightseeing in Victoria consisted only of our walk from and to the ship along the harbor.

The Johnson Street Bridge opened on March 31, 2018. The single-leaf bascule (moveable) bridge is the fourth bridge crossing the span.

Johnson Street Bridge

The Friendship Bell, located in Centennial Park at the corner of Belleville Street and Pendray, was gifted to the city by Morioka, Japan, on May 19, 2015. The bell marks the 30th anniversary of the cities of Victoria and Morioka, Japan, becoming twin cities.

Friendship Bell

We might not have been able to get to Butchart Gardens, but there were plenty of colorful plants and flowers along our walk.


We also walked past Fisherman’s Wharf, a colorful collection consisting of a fishing fleet, live-aboards, float home dwellers, and transient vessels along with commercial operators.

Fisherman’s Wharf

We arrived early for our reservation so we hung out in the hotel’s lobby. Jon read while waiting.

Jon busy reading

I, on the other hand, picked up the camera and gawked at the architecture, the stairs, the windows, and a view of the Parliament building.

Empress Hotel Lobby
Lobby through the railing
Hallway to hotel and restaurant
View of the Parliament building from the Empress Hotel

By the time we settled into our seats for tea, I was so immersed in the quiet atmosphere that I forgot to take photos. A piano playing in the background, white tablecloth and napkins, and an attentive server combined to set a pleasant mood. It was an expensive treat, especially since we upgraded to the rose champagne, but oh so worth it when the three-tier tray piled with mini pancakes topped with cream cheese and smoked salmon, scones, and other treats arrived.

Back on board we went up on the Lido deck and watched the horizon of Victoria B.C. fade away.

Victoria, B.C., skyline

As we neared the open sea, the pilot boat pulled alongside to pick up the pilot that had steered the ship through the channel.

Pilot boat

We kept busy during our last day at sea. There was a presentation by the head chef, with assistance from a couple of his sous chefs, and the head maitre d’ on stage where we learned about how they made the food for all the passengers and crew members. Afterward, they took us behind the scenes into the galley that seemed to go on for a mile. The tour ended with the chef and maitre d’ signed copies of the Princess Cookbook. Ongoing was the end of cruise sale where passengers (including us) picked through tables piled with clothing and other goodies.

The library seemed like a quiet place to relax after the presentation and shopping. Situated along a narrow walkway opposite of the Crown Grill, the library was not the quiet spot I had envisioned. Sounds of a violin, bass, and piano rushed through the open doors from the piazza. Clapping ensued when the musical tempo increased. Jingles and jangles of keys on belts and patters of feet cushioned on carpet announced crew and passengers that passed by. A crew member slid a folding table on its side. Another pushed a luggage cart. A couple’s hush tones snuck in from a table nearby. A boy explained something to his father. Mahjong game tiles clattered against each other. Cards shuffled. Laughter erupted. Knives sliced against a butcher block. The murmur of several conversations melded into a cacophony. Couples and groups gathered in front of the restaurant waiting for the host to seat them.

Cruise ship library a hub of activity

We headed back to our cabin to pack and get ready for our departure the next morning.

Taking a 10-day cruise was just what we needed to relax and set aside all of our household chores, fifth-wheel maintenance, and technology for a few days. Our interest in Alaska has us thinking about a trip in our RV so we can explore in more depth. Another cruise to Glacier Bay might also be in our future.

Safe Travels

Waterton National Park

Waterton Lakes National Park in Alberta, Canada, was our next destination on July 13, 2017. We made Crooked Creek Campground our home away from home for a short two-night stay. Fortunately, we arrived around noon, which gave us plenty of time to drive into the park and have a look around.

Waterton Village

Waterton Lakes borders Montana’s Glacier National Park and is part of the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park created in 1932 and designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995.

The Prince of Wales Hotel, a National Historic Site, is a nice little chateau-style inn that serves afternoon tea from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. each day complete with a three-tier curate stand filled with little sandwiches and other delectable items. We weren’t ready for a meal so we bought Frappuccino’s instead.

Prince of Wales Hotel

Waterton Village is a typical resort area with restaurants and gift shops. We drove through the Townsite Campground, which looked like a great place to stay with extra wide spots that included full hookup, electric and water only, or tent camping. Some sites will accommodate both an RV and a tent, which is rare in most campgrounds. Ninety percent of the sites are reserved six months in advance. Only ten percent are available on a first-come-first-served basis.

View of Peaks and Waterton Lake From Waterton Village
View of Surrounding Peaks From The Village
View of Prince of Wales Hotel From The Village

Cameron Lake

The next day, we drove to Cameron Lake. The drive took us through twisting turns, each with breathtaking views of the mountain peaks, forested areas, and an abundance of wildflowers. Several times on the drive we asked, “Is this the right way? Did we miss our turnoff?” The Akamina Parkway map didn’t seem to correspond to the route we traveled and took longer than I had expected.

Along the way, we encountered the roadkill clean-up crew. The bear stood at the side of the road for a few seconds before he ambled over, snatched the dead rabbit between his teeth, and disappeared into the forest.

Roadkill Clean-Up Crew

A few miles later, we came across a few deer munching on something in a parking lot. It must be a popular place because they were there when we drove in the other direction several hours later.

Grazing Deer

When we arrived at Cameron Lake, only a few cars were in the parking lot, and the rental store had not yet opened. We saturated ourselves with a generous spray of Off to prevent the flying insects that hovered around us from flying into our eyes or opened mouths. We walked along the short lakeshore trail that skirted the west side of the lake. A sign that warned us this is bear country made us a bit leery as we trekked down the trail and stepped over what looked like bear scat. Onward we pressed as we made our presence known. Thankfully, no bears lumbered through the brush to ruin our day.

Cameron Lake – Along the Right Side is the Lake Trail
Bear Scat


Could This Be a Bear Track?

Rowe Creek Lakes Trail

The 3.9 km (2.4 miles) hike looked doable except we didn’t realize it would be all up hill. We loved walking through the yellow, white, pink, and blue wildflowers.

View From Rowe Creek Lakes Trail
Rosy Spiraea
Daisies Are Among the Numerous Wildflowers in Waterton Park
Rowe Creek Tumbles Over Red Rock

I was glad I had worn long pants and long sleeves. There were several places where we snaked our way through thick vegetation that reached five to six feet.

Bear Grass was in Full Bloom

We stopped for a snack at Lower Lake and had to fend off aggressive squirrels that, if given the chance, would have scampered onto our laps to steal our cashews and dried fruit.

Lower Rowe Lake – Alpine Lakes Have Such Clear Water

Red Rock Canyon

Our last stop of the day was Red Rock Canyon where visitors climbed the rock walls, cooled their feet in the icy creek, and walked the trails on either side. The argillite rock walls contain about 3% oxidized iron, which gives them the rich red color. Although there are erosion and danger signs about climbing on the rock walls, people either did not read the signs, or they choose to ignore them.

Red Rock Canyon

Our short visit to Waterton National Park piqued our interest for another visit someday, perhaps combined with Jasper and Banff. We called a few places for reservations, but none were available. July isn’t a good month to find RV space without reservations, so we headed west to catch a glimpse of more Canadian scenery before dropping back into the U.S.

Frank Slide

When we left Waterton, we took Highway 6 north and then highway 3 west through Crowsnest Pass. About an hour into the drive, Frank Slide loomed in the distance. At 4:10 a.m. on April 29, 1903, 90 million tons of limestone rock broke away from Turtle Mountain. Within 90 seconds, large boulders had buried the eastern edge of Frank, a mining town, the Canadian Pacific Railway line, and a coal mine.

Frank Slide Area
View From Behind of the Extensive Boulder Field

It was hard to comprehend the slide’s power as I looked up at the bare space on the side of the mountain, the boulders on either side of the highway, behind me, and beyond. I could almost hear the deafening rumble and feel the earth shake as boulders crashed into cottages, crushed business buildings, covered a cemetery, and stretched for 1.2 miles across a road and railroad tracks. Approximately, 70 to 90 people perished in the slide and many of them are still buried under the boulders. The exact number could not be determined because no one knew how many transients may have been in town or whether people who had said they were leaving town had actually left. The cloudy, misty weather enhanced the somber feeling that came over me when I thought of the people who had died, and the survivors whose lives were changed forever.

Next up: Coulee Dam, Hanford project, and a guided tour of a decommissioned B-Reactor