Blog 25, Around the Olympic National Park, and Hoquiam

Blog 25, Around the Olympic National Park, and Hoquiam

The drive around the National Park from Sequim to Hoquiam was one of the few drives I’ve not enjoyed!  It was scenic, with narrow winding roads and some lovely vistas.

The wild flowers along the way were a joy to behold.

A highlight along the way was Crescent Lake.  It was absolutely beautiful.  It’s 190 meters deep but because there is no nitrogen in the water it is brilliant sapphire blue and has exceptional clarity, you feel you can almost see down to the bottom!  This would have been a great spot to have stopped for a few days!

However, we had nearly 30 miles of recently completed roadworks that left gravel on the road to contend with.  This is bad when we are towing our car.  It’s especially bad when logging trucks are doing 60 in a 25-mph area.  It seems only a matter of time until our windshield on the coach or the car gets smashed.  Most other vehicles were respectful of the imposed speeds, but not one logging truck was!  Also, at the end of our journey we saw two very mangled cars being moved off the road after what looked like a very bad, maybe fatal car crash.  Very sobering.

Hoquiam is a small settlement of 8700 people, and the RV park is right on the Hoquiam River.  Tomorrow we are heading off to explore.

RV life as a visitor to the US is like a box of chocolates.  Sometimes a journey is boring and repetitive, sometimes ridiculously beautiful.  Sometimes we arrive somewhere and it’s so different to what we expected, often much nicer.  Hoquiam is one of those chocolates that everyone else left in the Roses box at Christmas time, the one with the pasty orange centre.

We’ve been for a walk around the town.  There was hardly anyone to be seen mid morning on Saturday, and those we did see had a cigarette hanging out of their gummy mouths.  People are driving around in old pick-up trucks and the houses are dilapidated with barking dogs in the yard.  It has an old steel mill town on the edge of Pennsylvania vibe and admittedly it’s cloudy, grey and drizzling but even the huge baskets of pink petunias that line the main streets can’t lift the sadness and gloom from this town.

There are a couple of nice old looking buildings, one is the theatre/cinema.  It looks like a museum relic but is still functional.  I’ve only seen old ticket booths and phones like this in movies!  You can see from the old photo how grand the building used to be…

Hoquiam is a Native American word meaning ‘hungry for wood’, so named because of the great amount of driftwood at the mouth of the Hoquiam river.  This place came about from logging, first started in 1872.  It is recorded that the timber industry here reaped a great bounty for a few well-placed individuals.  Some rushed to the Klondike for gold, others here to the wider Greys Harbour area for timber.  The now derelict railway, which still exists in pieces right by our RV park was laid in 1889 and created a boom time here, tripling the population to 1500!  Now there are federal logging restrictions and the depression that took hold here in the 80’s lingers on with 19% unemployment in 2020, the US average being 6%.

All along the river bank are remains of wooden infrastructures where jetty’s and mills once stood long ago, processing the timber, -and when the timber was over supplied it was pulped.

The neighboring town is Aberdeen, famous for being the town where Kurt Cobain was born.  It’s larger than Hoquiam and has more to see so perhaps we’ll head over there tomorrow on our bicycles.

Well, it turns out that husband had some accounting and general admin to get completed so I rode over to Aberdeen, heading for the Walmart on the far side of town.  Most towns have a description under the name as you enter and with Aberdeen it’s ‘Come as you are’, in tribute to Kurt Cobain.  I want to say some good things about Aberdeen so I’m going to sit here and ponder…

The Walmart was very nice!

…otherwise it was much the same as Hoquiam.  Downtrodden with nothing to see or do.  I feel I’ve now explored the area extensively after the 8 miles of cycling and lots of walking, but my view stands, sad.  It’s not surprising that the music sound that was born from Kurt Cobain was ‘Grunge’!

The following day we decided to go for another walk and then stay productive.  Husband cleaned the car and coach and I went blackberry picking.  I already had some in the freezer so having bought some foil pie dishes yesterday I baked 4 blackberry pies.

Heading off tomorrow for Portland, Oregon when we will be singing ‘we’ve got to get out of this place, if it’s the last thing we ever do…!