West Coast is the Best Coast

August 1-9 (Olympic Peninsula, WA; Mt. Erie, WA; Vancouver, Squamish, Pemberton, BC) —

From Idaho, we headed to the Olympic Peninsula to camp in the trees, hike, and experience lots of rain.

2013-08-01 Olympic Peninsula 015

2013-08-01 Olympic Peninsula 014

2013-08-01 Olympic Peninsula 023


2013-08-01 Olympic Peninsula 021

We certainly had not burned off enough calories to deserve it, but we stopped at the Oak Table Cafe in Sequim, WA for their amazing German apple pancake.  The puffy pancake was 2 inches thick, filled with apples and covered in gooey, oozy, yummy cinnamon sugar caramel.  O.  M.  G.

and, of course, with a side of bacon

With our bellies overstuffed, we then took Tigger on his first ferry ride through the Puget Sound islands.  We even got a short nap in during the crossing — you know, because all that eating wore us out.  Seriously, having your bed with you on a ferry ride is an outstanding idea.

2013-08-02 Ferry 008

We next headed to Mt. Erie near Anacortes, WA to rock climb with our friend Jayashree.   The views were amazing.

2013-08-03 Mt Erie Climbing 001

2013-08-03 Mt Erie Climbing 005

We climbed ZigZag, a two-pitch moderate climb.   The views kept getting better the higher we went.

2013-08-03 Mt Erie Climbing 008

2013-08-03 Mt Erie Climbing 007

2013-08-03 Mt Erie Climbing 011
David on the second pitch

We all made it up to the rappel station for a group photo.

2013-08-03 Mt Erie Climbing 035

2013-08-03 Mt Erie Climbing 010

Although I’m not really afraid of heights, I have a healthy respect for them and tried not to look down:

2013-08-03 Mt Erie Climbing 025

J alone climbed one more route (rated 10c, I believe):

2013-08-03 Mt Erie Climbing 016David and I then headed north to Birch Bay, WA to camp for the night before heading to Canada.

2013-08-06 Birch Bay 006

We crossed over into Vancouver the next day and ran some errands until 5 pm.   Why, you might ask, did we wait around all day?   For food, of course.  Isn’t that what everyone does?   Specifically, we stuck around to eat at Vij’s — one of the best Indian restaurants on the continent.

We got to Vij’s shortly after they started serving and still had to wait about 30 minutes for a table (Vij’s doesn’t take reservations).  Which was no big deal since Vij’s kindly serves free & delicious nibbles to all the people waiting.


I’m not sure, in retrospect, whether it was a good thing, but our waiter helped us make up our minds about what to order by suggesting that we get half-orders of each of the appetizers among which we were debating.   So, yes, we ordered 6 half-order appetizers….followed by 3 main courses.  I am not joking.   The tastes were unusual and each dish was excellent.

first two appetizers

We waddled to the car to continue our journey to Squamish.

Arriving in Squamish at about 9 pm, we found the campsites were full due to the music festival planned for that weekend.  So we camped in the Wal-Mart parking lot along with about 10 other RVs.

We climbed a few slab routes at Smoke Bluffs the next day.

2013-08-08 Squamish 002
Trust your feet, trust your feet, trust your feet

We then rode the nearby Half Nelson and Pseudo-Tsinga trails, which was a serious workout since we hadn’t been on our bikes in a few weeks, not to mention all our recent over-indulgence.

2013-08-09 Half Nelson 001

Half Nelson was truly smooth singletrack full of berms, rollers, and flowy turns that elicited whoops, hollers, and permagrin from both of us.  We actually considered doing a second loop on it, but opted for Pseudo-Tsinga instead (and wished we hadn’t).

2013-08-09 Half Nelson 015
Super fun ride on Half Nelson
2013-08-09 Half Nelson 019
Happy face

From Squamish, we headed to Pemberton, BC for dinner and then started our drive up the Hurley Forest Service Road into the South Chilcotin Mountains area.

2013-08-10 Hurley 011The Hurley is only open in the summer and is a somewhat graded gravel and rock road between Pemberton and Gold Bridge, BC.  It is famous for puncturing tires, so I prudently took a picture of this sign along the way:

2013-08-10 Hurley 028

Along the way, we stocked up on farm eggs and some fresh produce from this odd little on-your-honor market stand:

2013-08-09 Hurley 2 001

We stayed overnight along the road and finished the drive in the morning.  It took us something like 6 hours to cover 80 kilometers given the road condition, but the views made it worth it:

2013-08-10 Hurley 023

I agreed with this sign posted at the end of the Hurley.

2013-08-10 Hurley 024

Rolling into Gold Bridge, BC (grand total population of 41) on a paved road felt like we were flying.  We then headed to Tyax Wilderness Lodge for our next adventure.