Pacific Northwest Trip: Hood Canal to Portland, Oregon (May 1-2)

We planned to take two days to drive to Portland in order to do some exploring along the eastern side of the Olympic Peninsula.

Wednesday we left early to participate in the 8AM bird walk at the Dungeness River Audubon Center. The Railroad Bridge was a good vantage point to observe early migrants and resident birds higher in the canopy. As part of the Olympic Discovery Trail the bridge was very popular. Before we left, I picked up a great little book in the gift shop, Day Hiking Olympic Peninsula by Craig Romano.

Starting the birdwalk at the Dungeness River Audubon Center

Railroad bridge on the birdwalk

Red-breasted Sapsucker

Our next stops were just a few miles south of Quilcene. A short path through the campground led to a distant view of Falls View Falls and our waterfall count incremented to 4.

Falls View Falls

The Mt. Walker Viewpoint made up for in scenic value what it lacked in naming redundancy.

View from Mt Walker: Seattle at far left, Mt Rainier at far right

North of Brinnon we took Dosewallips Road west for 3 miles to Rocky Brook Falls, our fifth. A not particularly scenic approach led to a fine waterfall where we lingered, appreciating numerous perspectives of the falls from its wide base. Also entertaining were the American Dippers looking for food not just in the creek, but actually up the steep slope of the waterfall.

 Rocky Brook Falls

American Dipper at work at Rocky Brook Falls

 Rocky Brook Falls

The drive south along the Hood Canal was pretty with lots of waterfront cottages dotting the shore. We stopped for a stretch at Seal Rock Campground and looked around a bit before driving in to Olympia for dinner at the Fish Tale Brew Pub.

Excellent brews at the Fish Tale Brew Pub

Our windshield tour of central Olympia was pretty in the early evening light. We took a few pictures around the Capitol before heading to Lacey for the night.

Legislative Building in Olympia, WA

Thursday morning we visited Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge, prized among birdwatchers for its boardwalks over the delta mudflats, and we walked them all. The bird that got away was an Eurasian Wigeon, but enjoyed seeing familiar birds, including a pair of Bald Eagles in their nest. And we watched some real drama as one of the eagles got into a dogfight with a Great Blue Heron. We couldn't see how it ended, but we suspect the GBH didn't have a very good day.

Boardwalks at Nisqually NWR

Yellow-rumped Warbler

A pair of Bald Eagles in their nest at Nisqually NWR

We stopped for lunch at Berry Fields Cafe in Centralia, WA, which served some of the best pie ever, and rolled into Portland in time for dinner with Mike's family on his mom's birthday.

Berry Fields Cafe serving yummy Marionberry Pie!

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