Washington RV camping is some of the best camping, ever! Next up, La Push, Washington, on the west coast of the Olympic Peninsula. Dale remembers visiting as a kid and he really wants to see it again after 60 years! Will it be the same?
As Dale was growing up, every summer, his family traveled the west, camping & fly fishing. La Push is one of the places which holds special memories. So off we go.
Breathtaking is the word Dale uses to describe the beach. A rugged, sandy coast with a bald eagle flying by. Driftwood is piled up everywhere. And huge stone columns rise up out of the ocean.
What are these huge stones? Called sea stacks, they are rock outcroppings separated from the mainland shore formed by erosion. Very different than the Atlantic shore.
The rain is starting so we need to get to our campsite. Another Hipcamp!
Washington RV Camping
As we drive into the campsite, I think uh oh. A broken-down school bus and a couple of old campers dot the landscape. Then we turn into the RV section, and there are 4 beautiful spots. And we have the place all to ourselves! It starts pouring. For 2 days.
Well, this is a good time to try watching a movie on our TV for the very first time. Three hours later, I finally figure out how to get Amazon Prime connected. No easy feat! I convince Dale to watch San Andreas. One of the best, most unbelievable action-packed movies ever! And it stars The Rock! He loves it.
Plus some small-town trivia. The bronze sculptures of the baseball players at Candlestick Park are sculpted by a friend of ours. Watch what happens to them in the movie!
And the best thing? The Atlas is very cozy during the rain.
After the rain lets up, we make our way to Second Beach, below La Push. There are 4 beaches named 1-4. How clever.
One of the rangers at Hoh Rainforest says Second Beach is the best. Just the mile walk to get there is out of this world. Somewhat like the Hoh Rainforest (check out our Travel Adventures: The Hoh Rainforest, Pure Magic Plus One Incredible City), but not on as grand a scale.
The walk is beautiful & leads down to a beach with more sea stacks. They seem to be everywhere.
I wonder if any wildlife lives on these stacks? If so, what is it? And the answer is yes…but more on this in a minute.
And the best Washington RV Camping?
What turns out to be our best Washington RV camping spot? Will & Marla Waddell’s backyard! They have generously offered to let us stay on their property while we visit Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium for Wolf Week.
So what is Wolf Week? Always the third week of October, National Wolf Awareness Week celebrates wolves throughout the world. Our kind of week!
And who is Will Waddell? Will ran the red wolf conservation program for years as the Species Survival Coordinator before he retired. He is a legend among red wolf keepers. All the keepers we talk to are very jealous we will see Will & Marla. They are 2 very special people.
And their backyard is perfect. It is the first time we are using a garden hose for water & a 15 amp household plug for electricity. It works beautifully. Good to know & Gibbs likes their 2 dogs!
The red wolves at Point Defiance
Our three days at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium for Wolf Week are filled to the brim. First, we visit Point Defiance’s offsite red wolf breeding facility, about an hour from the zoo.
Natalie Davis, the red wolf curator explains their off-exhibit wolves are being bred with the hope they will be rewilded. So we are keeping our fingers crossed that some of their red wolves will be released in North Carolina.
Point Defiance Zoo has the largest population of red wolves in the world and continues to be a leader in red wolf conservation. And Natalie & her team definitely have the passion to make some good things happen!
Next, we tour the habitat for the 6 red wolves on exhibit at the Zoo. It is truly one of the best habitats with lush vegetation & lots of room to roam, On one side is Charlotte, a red wolf mom & two of her daughters. The other side houses three more of her daughters.
The daughters are just over 2 years old & would normally be leaving their parental pack to strike out on their own in the wild. However, since they’re all still together, some spats between sisters have occurred which is why they are separated. Ah, family dynamics.
Teaching a class to art students
The next morning, we are teaching an 8 am class at the Science & Math Institute which is right on the zoo’s property. I must admit I am not the most prepared when it comes to technology and projectors.
The first thing Mary, the teacher, asks when we arrive at 7:30 am to set up, is “did you bring a cord?”. Hmm, a cord for what? Oh, the laptop has to connect to the projector. Well, it turns out a cord will not help since all of their equipment is Microsoft & we use Apple.
Students start coming into the classroom & I am in a panic. How are we going to get our slides onto their screen? Finally, we figure out I can send a copy of the slides to Mary by email and she can get it onto the projector. What a close call!
Our topic is “Using Art for Conservation”. We are learning so much from the students as some of them share their conservation art projects. What strikes us is the overwhelming theme of the destruction of the planet & wildlife by humans.
One student has an eagle with fire coming out of its nostrils to represent the recent wildfires and one has a sea turtle eating a plastic bag. It is definitely sobering to see what our high school kids think of the world in which they live.
But back to the sea stacks. One of the birds living on these rock outcroppings is the tufted puffin. Puffins live in Washington? How cool. We don’t get to see them as they have all left for the winter, but we do see some pufflings (baby puffins) at the Zoo.
Puffins nest on the sea stacks during the spring, laying just one egg. Both parents, who mate for life, share egg-incubating duties. And they return to the same nest/burrow year after year.
Once the puffling (I just love that word) has fledged, they leave the sea stacks to live on the open ocean the rest of the year. Can you imagine floating around on the ocean for months at a time!
Dale’s red wolf casting
Our last day at the zoo, we help kids make red wolf heads from clay. Some of the sculptures are masterpieces! And the kids are fun to watch. Some are really shy & unsure & others are bold & jump right into clay molding.
Sat night we attend a fundraiser to raise money for red wolf recovery. Dale’s sculpture is unveiled in front of the red wolf habitat.
The sculpture is set into a frame to look like a cellar opening which is where Charlotte had her pups. Also, it is put down low so kids can touch it & learn about red wolves. Above the sculpture is a video of red wolf pups. A very cool installation! And to learn more about our donation & the entire project, read “Red Wolf Art – Please Touch”.
And how is Gibbs?
Gibbs is just trying to stay warm. He definitely does not like the cold. And we are hitting some chilly days & nights.
As we finish up at the Zoo, we are watching the weather closely. A cyclone bomb is forming off the Pacific coast with winds predicted at 60 miles an hour. Way too high for the Atlas. Our next stop is the Oregon coast, but will we make it? Stay tuned…