Good morning, friends! I hadn’t planned on blogging at all today, but I wanted to share our quick trip to Forks, WA, while it is still fresh in my head. If you’ve read my blog for a while, you know that we love a good adventure. While we relish our quiet weekends, our goal is always to get our kids out and explore our current duty station, regardless of how we might feel about it. Obviously, COVID-19 has cramped our adventurous style, but with restrictions lifting little by little, we decided to make the best of a long weekend together before Ryan leaves for his next TDY. Enter – a quick trip to Forks, WA. Located on the Olympic Peninsula, Forks itself is probably most famous for its role in the Twilight books. We, however, had a goal to go up and take a peek at the many beaches, like Ruby Beach, Rialto Beach, First Beach, etc. Spoiler alert.
None of it worked out.
The trip to Forks isn’t a hard one, but it does take a few hours from JBLM. After about 3-ish hours of driving on Friday, we ended up in Forks, only to find that all peninsula beaches were still closed. I’d looked ahead of time on my WTA app, but a lot of the messaging was conflicting, and we figured it was worth the risk, so we drove up anyway. Every single beach was closed. And I’m not talking a “recommended” closure. I’m talking all entrances roped off, side street parking coned and flagged, police ticketing all those attempting to violate it. I’ll be honest. I would’ve violated it just to take a few pictures (socially distant, of course), but we didn’t. We didn’t want to risk a fine for Ryan.
So, we settled into our Airbnb for the night (PSA – check out this cute rental in Forks if you’re ever in the area. It’s so cute and comfortable!) and made a plan to go to the Hoh Rainforest the next day. Again, the messaging about closures was conflicting, so we decided we’d try it regardless. The rainforest is somewhat on the way back to JBLM from Forks, so we figured it was worth it. We had a relaxing evening as a family away from the Pierce County area, and we made our way towards the Hoh Rainforest on Saturday. Spoiler alert.
The Hoh Rainforest was closed.
We drove about 20-ish minutes off the main drag along the beaches towards the Hoh though, and it was like entering a fairytale. The tree cover grew more dense, the moss more abundant, and the the mist over the neighboring mountains heavier. It was a beautiful day, too, so spots of sunlight would glint through the thick trees, shining off the damp mossy growth. We knew the rainforest was likely closed, but we drove all the way there anyway. Plenty of people were parked near the entrance, hiking nonetheless. We didn’t feel like violating the order and getting a fine, so we made our way back slowly and, instead, parked on one of the small side trails, and we walked a little bit in the woods, just to take in the beauty. While it wasn’t what we planned and hoped for, I’m glad we were able to see it because, I’ll be honest, I don’t know if we’ll make that drive up there again soon.
I want to share something with you; something you probably know, but something that’s easy to forget. On social media, we share our highlight reel. When you take a peek at my instagram feed, you don’t usually see the tears. I try to focus on the good in all things, rather than sharing the bummers. But let’s be honest. It’s not always that way. In fact, there were a lot of tears during this trip – some of them my own. Between my understandable frustration at the ongoing closures, Mieke being out of practice for our road trips (read: crying for hours straight), and an exhausting trek with little reward, I’d be lying if I said this trip was flawless. Of all our adventures, this was likely one of the biggest whiffs we’ve had.
Am I glad we did it? Yes. Absolutely. But it wasn’t perfect. It was frustrating, exhausting, a bit defeating, and definitely not our best. So, bear in mind when you see the highlight reel on social media, you’re likely only seeing part of the story. We had our moments, and they were beautiful, but they weren’t the bulk of the trip, and getting home to our little house on base was relaxing and good for us because, even with the bad, we felt refreshed just by getting out.
Today, however, is Memorial Day, and we’re taking the day to remember those who’ve fought and made the ultimate sacrifice for our country and our freedoms. We intend to follow our tradition from the past few Memorial Days and lay flowers on the graves of the fallen. It’s rainy and gray out today, but we want to continue teaching our children the importance of this day.
May it be a beautiful day for your family, wherever you may be.