Olympic Journey

A good place to land

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

The drive from Bellingham to the Olympic Peninsula is long. It’s-four-and-a half hours—without traffic—to Kalaloch. Cruising down I-5, the miles are a blur. Then comes Olympia, the gateway to Olympic National Park.

Westbound we head, through Cobain’s Aberdeen, Hoquiam, and Humptulips. Lake Quinault would make for a fine stop on a less precipitous day, but we are ocean-bound. We pass through Queets—last chance for cash and gas.

At Kalaloch Lodge we arrive in a downpour, windshield wipers on high. No worries. The rains on this coastline—approximately 12 feet every year—are as welcome as the sunset, as constant and comforting as the surf. We check in and are greeted by a pleasant woman who answers our questions before sending us to our bluff-top ocean-view getaway.

We fish out keys and open the door to our calm, cozy cabin, complete with full kitchen and living room. A note from the staff awaits: “Please accept this wine and cheese plate as our gift to you.” We do.

Originally built in 1925, Becker’s Cabin Camp began as a collection of nine cabins, before an expansion in 1931 following the completion of Highway 101. Today, Kalaloch Lodge welcomes travelers in the main lodge, 44 cabins and 10 rooms in the Seacrest House.

Indecision plagues me. Do I dive into the wine and cheese? Run around on the beach? Finish unloading the car? Why not all three? We’ve been sitting for hours, so hunkering down for the night is out of the question. We came here to experience the roar of the Pacific. Out we go.

Down a stairway to the beach, our boots haven’t even met the sand yet and we are already soaked. We run, hopping driftwood, out to the shoreline to stick our hands in the freezing surf. As winds howl and waves crash, we feel alive. I’ve forgotten the drive, the worries, the weather.

Kalaloch’s beach is nearly empty. As we sprint across the sand, chilled to the core, a couple makes their way toward us, dogs in tow. I wave and smile. They return the gesture. Words, inaudible above the storm, have no meaning out here anyway. Torrents of wind-propelled rain sting my face. Hunkering down for the night doesn’t sound so bad after all.

Once inside, it’s clothes off and heater on. Shirts, socks and shoes are saturated. A hot shower and dry clothing have never felt better. We’d been outside for no longer than 10 minutes, and it was enough. Bring on the wine and cheese.

Once the flames to the wood-burning fire are roaring, we prepare a simple dinner of pasta, bread and salad. Intoxicated by the meal and the warmth of the fire, we sink into lounge chairs and pick up books. The hours slip away.

Never once during our stay do we wish for TV, phone or internet. When our power goes out sometime during the night, the fireplace and Pendleton blanket keep us warm. I awaken before dawn and look out to see coastal waves clashing. Magnificent. Then back to sleep as the storm rages on.

Without the rain, we wouldn’t know the lush Hoh Rainforest, the greens and blues of Olympic National Park and Washington state. It brings life to our rivers and streams, our forests and meadows. What better shelter from these rains than a beach house on the bluff? I can think of none. It’s no wonder the Quinault Indians named Kalaloch K’Ele ok: “a good place to land.”

For more information about Kalaloch Lodge, go to http://www.thekalalochlodge.com

Paradise Silver Reef
More Outdoors...
Bottoms Up
Expedition to a bath

It was just past noon and the sun beat mercilessly down upon an exposed stretch of remote North Cascadian mountainside where Uncle Don and I were attempting to overpower a violently out-of-control rock drill before it bounced into the ruinous abyss below.

“Hit the kill switch!” Uncle…

more »
What's the Point?
Low-tide lessons at Point Whitehorn

On a calm, gray day in March, I hiked the forested trail at Whatcom County Parks’ Point Whitehorn Marine Reserve, keen to see what the beach looked like after a recent herring spawn I had heard about. 

Hopping across driftwood onto the cobble beach at the base of the stairs, I was…

more »
Naked Truth
As bare as you dare

Holly Street gets a lot of action.

During my tenure in Bellingham, I’ve seen the one-way thoroughfare filled with a lot more than vehicles making their way through the downtown core.

I’ve witnessed a horde of lurching zombies hanging a right from Railroad Avenue on their way to Maritime…

more »
Community Boating Center Open

10:00am|Community Boating Center

Bard on the Beach

4:00pm|Vanier Park

Scrubs Camp

8:30am|Bellingham Technical College

Perspectives from the Port

11:30am| Northwood Hall

Wellness Wednesdays

12:00pm|Skagit Riverwalk Plaza

Wednesday Farmers Market

2:00pm|Barkley Village Green

Sedro-Woolley Farmers Market

3:00pm|Hammer Heritage Square

Group Run

6:00pm|Skagit Running Company

Backdoor to Baker

6:30pm|Prime Sports Institute

Brewers Cruise

6:30pm|Bellingham Cruise Terminal

Thomas Harris and Kevin Woods Quintet

7:00pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

Summer Funny

9:00pm|Upfront Theatre

Village Books
Community Boating Center Open

10:00am|Community Boating Center

Bard on the Beach

12:00pm|Vanier Park

English Country Dancing

1:30pm|Bellingham Senior Activity Center

Blues and Brews

5:00pm|Hotel Bellwether

Community Pint Night for Planned Parenthood


Fiction Writing Group

6:00pm|Village Books

Elizabeth Park Summer Concert Series

6:00pm|Elizabeth Park


6:00pm|Ciao Thyme

Joe and Carol Young

6:00pm|Chuckanut Center

Life Between the Pages Dinner Book Club

6:30pm|Evolve Chocolate + Cafe

Mediterranean Mezzes

6:30pm|Community Food Co-op

Balkan Folk Dancers

7:00pm|Fairhaven Library

James and the Giant Peach

7:30pm|Anacortes Community Theatre


7:30pm| Bellingham Theatre Guild

Good, Bad, Ugly

7:30pm|Upfront Theatre

House Concert with Yogoman and Bongo Jac

7:30pm|Chuckanut Center


7:30pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

Trove Web Village Books
Community Boating Center Open

10:00am|Community Boating Center

Bard on the Beach

12:00pm|Vanier Park


7:30pm| Bellingham Theatre Guild

James and the Giant Peach

7:30pm|Anacortes Community Theatre

Wild Things

9:30am|Marine Park

Plover Ferry Rides

12:00pm|Blaine Harbor

Valley Writers

1:00pm|South Whatcom Library

Ferndale Farmers Market

2:00pm|1750 LaBounty Dr.

Peace Vigil

4:00pm|Downtown Bellingham

Fourth Friday Art Walk

5:00pm|Historic Fairhaven

Whatcom Cultural Arts Festival

5:00pm|Fairhaven Village Green

Orca Month Kayak Tour

5:30pm|Waypoint Park

Harper&I Dance presents Through the Decades

7:00pm|Mount Baker Theatre


7:30pm|Maritime Heritage Park

Writer's Block, PainProv

7:30pm|Upfront Theatre

Comedy Benefit for Mt. Baker Planned Parenthood

9:00pm|The Shakedown

see our complete calendar »

Village Books Support Vertical Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1 Trove Web