Many years ago, in January 1987, we arrived in Washington State after spending three years in Bad Toëlz, Germany (West Germany at the time) located at the foot of the Alps and approximately 30 miles south of Munich. Although my wife had been in Washington as a young girl, I had never been to the Evergreen State and had no idea of what it would be like, other than, of course, what my wife told me of her time here. Little did I know when we arrived that Washington state would grow on us, particularly me. In those years since, we have traveled to many locations within Washington, both east and west of the Cascades. But of all the places we’ve seen so far in the state, Ruby Beach is my favorite.
Last week we made plans to go to the coast on Saturday and around 10:00 am we were on the road in my wife’s “new” used 2003 Ford Escape. All week heavy fog lay in the Puget Sound region and by the time we turned off I-5 onto exit 104 in Olympia, the state capitol, to Highway 101 westbound the fog was beginning to thin in places but still holding it’s ground as everything around seemed like an 18% grey card. It wasn’t until we were some miles from Aberdeen that the fog lifted and we saw blue skies and high fluffy clouds. The air even smelled fresher, different from where we lived in Graham. About 45 minutes later we began to see definite daylight and soon everything began to turn blue. It seem for once the fickle Washington weather was going to be clear on the coast just as predicted.
As we leaving Aberdeen my wife saw a greenhouse built the way she’s been trying to explain to me. Even though she would draw it out I never really quite saw in my mind what she was explaining, which, I have to admit, is a bit odd for one who sees images in my head all the time. We stopped, introduced ourselves to the owner and asked many questions as I looked at how the greenhouse was built. It was quite fascinating and once I saw it, I felt rather sheepish for not grasping the concept she was trying to explain to me. Here’s two images of the outside as well as looking up at the roof.
The owner, a retired Coast Guard aviator, was quite gracious in his time with us and when we parted, we had exchanged contact information. As it turns out, he goes to our neck of the woods in Graham about once a month so perhaps he’ll stop by.
We stopped for some lunch and coffee and then off we went to Ruby Beach, the real reason we went on the day trip. I have dozens and dozens of photos of Ruby Beach, Kalaloch Lodge (about five miles south of Ruby Beach) and the Lake Quinault Lodge, about 40 or so miles south of Kalaloch.
As we were pressed for time, we didn’t stop at the Quinault Lodge (build in the mid-1920s) but did stop for a photo of the Lake Quinault river from the bridge. I believe this was the first time I took a photo from that particular vantage point and it was an incredible image taken at a spectacular time of day.
We hopped back into the car and then stopped at the Lake Quinault Resort on the north side of Lake Quinault. The resort, not part of the Lake Quinault Lodge on the south side of the lake, is family owned and is quite a way from the highway so it’s a very quiet, peaceful place to visit or stay. The owner’s son invited us out to the deck and I was awed by the simple beauty of the lake not too many yards away. Here’ what I saw.
The afternoon was flying by and we still had about 45 minutes or so to get to Ruby Beach before the sunset began. We drove the speed limit and arrived just in time for a simply spectacular sunset with the most gorgeous hues of reddish orange that I have only seen in northern hemispheres. We spent about 40 minutes there while the sun slowly drifted below the horizon. The temp was in the mid 30s by then and there was a slight breeze coming in from the ocean which made for a very brisk time on the beach. The high tide was just coming in and the sounds of the Pacific surf was memorizing.
So, this is what you’ve been waiting for…a Winter Sunset at Ruby Beach, Washington State.