Base in Sequim for north Olympic Peninsula explorations

On the trail: Olympic Peninsula, part IV

Below: Moonrise over the John Wayne Marina, Sequim, WashingtonMoonriseJohnWayneMarina1434

You’ll pronounce Sequim wrong. The name, pronounced “skwim,” is derived from the native S’Klallam tribes, and means “a good place to hunt.”

Although that refers to the abundant wildlife in the area, it’s also a great place to base yourself for northern Olympic Peninsula adventures.

Here, you’ll find the Dungeness National Wildlife Area just north of town, with access to the Dungeness Spit, the longest — at 5.5 miles — natural sand spit in the nation, leading to the New Dungeness Lighthouse in the Strait of Juan de Fuca. It’s a fascinating hike out to the lighthouse, but do it at low tide.

A segment of the Olympic Discovery Trail runs through town, over the historic Dungeness River wooden bridge listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The trail runs from Port Townsend to La Push, and is a great way to explore the north peninsula on foot or bike, if you have the time.

And, if you love quiet coves for your sailing craft, you’ll want to dock in the beautiful and upscale John Wayne Marina. The land was gifted by the late actor, and it’s a full-featured marina with docking, fuel, restaurant and public access beach.

While there, make reservations at the tiny but exquisite Dockside Grill. We shared a beautiful appetizer of crab in a very tasty sauce with Parmesan toast points that was so generous that Lana got at least one more meal from it.

For the main course, Lana opted for a perfectly prepared cedar-planked rib-eye steak, rubbed with coffee and spices and served with jalapeno garlic butter, with potato and veggies, a huge tender cut that got her two more meals as well.

I had cedar-planked salmon topped with a generous portion of Dungeness crab, cooked to absolute perfection with triple-citrus Riesling butter. Both meals were prepared using the very finest ingredients, the highest quality you can get, and the tastes were magnificent, tender and delightful. A fantastic meal, the best one we had on the coast, in fact on the entire trip, and the price was exorbitant to say the least: with tip, this feast topped $160.

More about Sequim and the northern Olympic Peninsula in my next post.

Summer travel schedule takes shape

Travel will be a full-time job this year, as I’ll be writing and photographing fascinating features for publication from my adventures through Idaho, Washington and Oregon as well as treks across the United States. Look for regular trip reports from every possible stop.

Here’s the schedule as it now stands. Family will be staying in, and caring for, our home and garden while we’re gone.

June 23-26: Family caRaft105Portfoliomping on the Payette River in Cascade, Idaho. Hoping much of the gang can come for this lovely and scenic spot for fun and games.

July 7-30: Olympic Peninsula loop, from east to west, starting with the Hood Canal communities and including most attractions all along the peninsula, including Port Townsend, Sequim, Port Angeles, Lake Crescent, Neah Bay and Kalaloch. We’ll wander into the Staircase, Dosewallips, Hurricane Ridge and Sol Duc areas, with the Hoh and Quinault rain forests major stops. From there, we’ll head south into the Pacific Coast Scenic Byway and explore the Tillamook Coast before heading home via Portland and the Columbia River Gorge.

Aug. 7-Sept. 9: Still tons of planning to do for this cross-country driving trip from Boise, Idaho to rural Boxford, Massachusetts for a family visit. Once there, we’ll be going into New Hampshire’s White Mountain National Forest and into Ogunquit, Maine for a taste of the beautiful east coast. So far, after Boxford, we’ll be camping on Cape Cod and at Newark’s Liberty Harbor, in sight of the Statue of Liberty. We’re looking at  harbor cruises and visits to Manhattan by public transportation. From there…who knows? We’ll meander back to Boise as fast — or as slow — as we can.