Sunday, 23 October 2011

First trip south of the Border

We live about 30 miles from the US border; it dawned us on recently that if we don't explore Washington State whilst we're here it would be like living in England and never going north of the Watford Gap and, speaking as someone who didn't do that for the first 18 or so years of her life, that would be a real shame.  

So with our new found friends, Dan (outdoor guide and photographer extraordinaire - his pics in today's blog) and Cazz (ecologicial consultant and bird watcher supremo), we road tripped to the Olympic Park in Washington state (the big green patch on the sticky out bit on the left).

First obstacle was the US border guards, we'd been treated like long lost friends when we arrived in Canada with our 1 year visas, the US were not quite so welcoming, in fact really pretty rude, but at least we weren't being interrogated on illegal cross border working like the lady to our right.   We then steamed through the night to the sol duc campground and Mark and I spent our first night sleeping in the Jeep; surprisingly comfortable although not much privacy once it gets light...  

Fingers crossed for lots more of this!
A day of hot spring visitation (very relaxing), hiking along 'Hurricane Ridge' (no wind, lots of sun and the first new snow of the year), attempting to bird watch (they 'closed' the sand spit at 5pm) preceded a very weird night stay at the youth hostel in the 'historic' Port Townsend.  Although we were initially sceptical (anything over 80 years is historic in Canada and the States) it was actually very pretty, and as EVERY store had a Halloween display (several with life size 'guys' outside) it did demonstrate how seriously the North Americans take that particular pagan festival.

Yay, back in Canada!
And it allowed us to reflect on the cultural differences between the States and Canada; most people were friendly, but in a much busier, brasher way; you could buy ammunition at every corner; and although the cheese was cheaper, it was even worse than in Canada ('old cheddar' does not count as a food stuff).  

Our next trip to the US will be through the frozen Cascade mountains, Idaho and Montana to Yellowstone National Park over Christmas; hoping that not too many nights are spent in the frozen Jeep.   

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