Thursday, September 12 Through Monday, September 16, 2019
Getting to Pacific Beach State Park turned out harder than expected even though the shorter route with less traffic was taken instead of the longer more congested one.
The route went west from Port Angeles to Forks along US-101. It was raining. The first challenge was getting past Lake Crescent, a cold, blue, clear and deep glacially-carved lake inside the Olympic National Park. This amazingly winding side to side, up and down road careens along the incredibly steep slopes of the shoreline. While the road has some awesome beautiful scenic pullouts, it also has some hairpin narrow corners. To add even more fun to the driving mix, loaded and unloaded logging trucks commonly drive over the speed limit. They tailgate. However, to the logging truck drivers’ credit, they stay in their lane. It is just unnerving.
In Forks, we stopped for fuel. Linda went into the gas station and asked where the bathrooms were. The smirking woman at the desk pointed to the portable toilets outside. Not the best customer experience.
Just south of forks, the highway runs south along the windward side of Bogachiel and Hoh Rain Forests.
On the windward side of the temperate rain forests, it rained buckets. The kind of rain where the truck hydroplaned on the road through the puddles. We slowed down.
The rain let up before Humptulips. A few miles further south, a right turn to Moclips dropped us on the coast just north of Pacific Beach. Pacific Beach is a small town on the Pacific Ocean with a Washington State Park between the town and a magnificent pristine beach.
The campground can easily be seen from the beach.
Park visitors engage in a number of activities. Making sand castles is still popular.
Long walks on the beach are rewarding.
Watching the waves roll in is soothing.
Watching a child experience the ocean’s majesty for the first time and dancing for joy recalls memories.
Making footprints in the sand.
Beach explorers find driftwood and seagulls.
Kites flying high in the ocean breezes.
Ever present seagulls.
Even more seagulls just hanging out.
Crows and ravens making a nuisance of themselves.
In addition to chipmunks, there were plenty of snails coming and going.
Some snails crossed the road one too many times.
Pacific Beach State Park isn’t a large park but it is nice despite the relative lack of services.
After arriving in the afternoon, we setup camp. The weather was relatively nice. Cloudy and no rain.
Some of the campsites, like this one, are electric only. No water or sewer. Other sites are boondocking sites. Water is not provided at any of the campsites. A few non-threaded water spigots are in the campground. A line often forms at the dump station where campers can dump tanks and take on potable water.
Park showers required tokens that could only be purchased at the ranger station.
Four tokens provide 12 minutes of shower time. Two people for four nights. $16.00 for showers.
Fortunately, we bought more tokens than we thought we needed. One of the showers’ coin machine jammed and wouldn’t deliver. Lost two tokens. Left the park with a single token.
When it rained, which was much of the time, the campsite flooded. The park roads flooded in places. Water mostly drained off after twelve plus hours without rain.
Thursday afternoon the day we arrived, park employees were cleaning out the bathrooms with a gas powered pressure washer. Turns out, the pressure washer is a quick way to remove all the sand and other cruft off the floors and walls. The washroom facilities were acceptible. When we left the park, we left without emptying tanks.
The town of Pacific Beach is inseparable from the park. Cottages and houses border the park. Some are available for short term rentals. Second Street ends at Main where the gas station and convenience store is located.
For the past twenty years or so, the offspring of my maternal grandmother have gathered in town for family reunions. I’ve done day use in this park many times to walk the beach with my siblings and cousins.
I like this park. The people who camp here and/or use the beach are generally genuinely nice. While it might be nice if the park had full hookups, don’t let the lack of services become a distraction. The people and the beach more than make up for any shortcomings in facilities.
Hope to see you on the road ahead!
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