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Saturday, February 09, 2013

Visit to the Upper Corner of the USA

Strange beings inhabit Washington

Left Anna and her family on Thursday (thank you Ms. Anna!) taking the ferry over to Kingston and on up the coast. Stopped briefly in the little town of Port Gamble. Cute little dutchy by the sea.


The main street in Port Gamble

Birds Unlimited Garden



Further along the coast I stopped  at a tiny little coffee shop where I savored a nice cup of lavender laced coffee with expresso. Yum!

The lavender coffee shop is next to a Birds Unlimited shop. I did a bit of shopping there for a trinket or two... must support my birding buddies.





Little Down Woodpecker



I took a quick tour of the Birding Unlimited garden where fluttered little Chestnut-backed Chickadees and numerous Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers.








One of my stops along the way was at the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge. You have to hike more than a mile to get to see anything so I only hung around the little Visitor Kiosk for a bit. 

Nature display at the Dungeness Wildlife Refuge
Eventually I made it to the tiny town of Port Angeles, where I heard there was a Thick-billed Murre that was seen in the Ediz Hook spit. Though I set up my spotting scope, looking long & hard into the harbor, there were loads of birds, but no Thick-billed Murre was to be found.

A Harlequin Ducks male chatters with his buddies.
These Harlequins did a little sunbathing near the shore
Lost of Sanderlings in their pale winter feathers were all over the shoreline
There were a few Dunlin scattered among the Sanderlings



I spent the night in Port Arthur, and the next morning, bright and early I headed even further northwest. I stopped to bird a bit along the way, seeing at least ten or so Bald Eagles that littered the coastline.




The skies were overcast, but there was a lot of sky! I stopped at a bit of coast called the Whale trail, but saw no whales.  I did see some lovely White-winged Scoters, which are a cool pelagic duck.

Oooo... I wish this male & female had been a bit closer to shore

Finally I made my way up to Neah Bay, to visit the Makah Museum. The Makah have occupied Neah Bay for thousands of years, where they always existed as a fishing and whaling tribe. They lived in cedar long houses along the coast right into the last century. In the 1970s erosion exposed most of a Makah village that was once covered over during a mudslide. Volunteers and the Makah peoples themselves, dug out the village and now their findings are all on display in the Makah Museum.

Fifteen Foot Guardians on the Museum grounds
The Museum was impressive; items, such as canoes, wooden cedar boxes and woven materials such as blankets and baskets were in excellent shape. Unfortunately the msuem doesn't allow photography so I had to settle for a few exterior shots. 
 

The Makah Museum
I spent a good deal of my time at the museum having a chat with a really nice guy who it turns out was precisely the same age as myself. He was born in Leah Bay and told me all about its history and how the museum came to be. Sadly, the economic times hit Leah Bay hard, and the unemployment rate there is at a whopping, and nearly unbelieveable 70%. The kids who graduate high school have no choice but to leave their home town. Really sad, because the town itself is rather pretty and certainly chock full of history and culture. Hope things improve there so the future of the Makah tribe remains in its homeland.

After I toured the museum I headed south to the little town of Forks. Forks is nowadays best known, not for its being close to Olympic National Park. It's current fame is because it is the setting for the Twilight trilogy. Now, I'm not a big Twilight fan. I saw all the movies, but frankly, I like my fantasy to take place at Hogwarts. However, I do have buds who love the whole Twilight fantasy world , by whom I mean you Joann, and you Mommy Nancy!).

Well, I settled into the adorable little Forks Motel at the day's end, and flipped on the TV. GAK! Well, talk about your magical coincidence, ABC Family happened to show the first Twilight movie! You could have knocked me over with a werewolf's whiskers, I tell you, I was shocked! I didn't even miss the opening of the movie, so I settled down and watched the whole thing; Ms. moody teen Bella and her sparkly boy toy Cedrick Digory... I mean, Edward Cullen.  Wasn't thrilled with the movie this time either, but I sure enjoyed looking for bits of the Forks area where it was filmed. Cool.
See? I kid you not, I got to watch Twilight while in Forks Washington I tell yah!
I was so excited I wrote Joann, who requested I bring back the broomstick of the wicked witch of the West - uh... no, wait, I'm confusing my fantasies. She asked me to take pictures of the Twilight spots as seen in the movie, such as the First Beach and such. Ordinarily it wouldn't have interested me to do so, but honestly, now I'm quite excited by the prospect. Tomorrow is going to be a Twilight Scavenger Hunt. Wicked!

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