Rainy Woods and Snowy Words

Thursday, April 8, 2010
It’s a scientifically proven fact: you can take the girl out of Minnesota, but the snow is going to come with. As a somewhat naïve college sophomore heading off on a semester in Ireland, I was determined that a spring semester (February – May) would be a breeze compared to the Minnesotan winters I’d been experiencing for 19 years. I was wrong. 35 degrees and rain is cold when all you have is a sweater and a rainjacket to shield you from the dampness. This is evidenced by the Hard Rock Café sweatshirt I bought that February in Dublin when it started to snow and I found myself a wee bit chilly. It didn’t just snow in Ireland though: snow swirled through the Parisian Boulevards on one weekend trip, a foot of snow fell while I was in Germany and my April weekend in Yorkshire also saw snowy hillsides. I have seen snowmen in Hyde Park. On Tuesday, it spat snow on us at the top of Mt. Constitution on Orcas Island. So I was not at all surprised to watch the beach that looked like this:
Transform into this a few moments later:
Whatcha gonna do?
The snow is more an amusing phenomenon than an annoyance or a hindrance. Sharp little hail pellets sent us running for shelter a couple times today, but other than that the snow had little impact on our day.

Yesterday turned into a transit day. We took the ferry from Seattle to Bainbridge Island and after a bookstore and bakery stop in Winslow, we hit the road to the Olympic Peninsula. After a brief stop at the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center in Port Angles, on the north side of the Olympic National Park, we continued on our anti-clockwise tour of the peninsula. We paid our National Park fees at the dropbox next to the Elhwa Ranger station. Despite having been keen to get out of the big city of Seattle, we hadn’t really prepared for a day on the road. If I’d been thinking, I would have bought a bag of groceries and thrown some big bottles of water in the backseat. Maybe not the best planning, but we did find a lovely beach along the Straits of Juan de Fuca that reminded me of Clew Bay.
After yesterday’s frustrating lack of planning, we drew a plan for today and hit the ground running this morning. We grabbed some groceries in the Forks grocery store and headed up to the wild Rialto Beach. All the signs about potential tsunamis were a little disturbing!
We left Rialto Beach and headed to La Push where we had a great three-mile round trip hike to Third Beach (where the snowy beach pictures are from.) Along the path we found all sorts of little wonders.

Hopped in the car and headed for the Hoh Rainforest.
There are some really big trees out there.
We even found where the elves are baking all those cookies!
Tomorrow we'll continue down the coast, ended up in Portland. I'll let you know if it snows.

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