Olympic National Park, Vampires, Werewolves and Seagulls

Seagulls lined the tops of ocean rocks at Ruby Beach in Olympic National Park. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)

It’s wet up on the central coast of Washington, up where vampires and werewolves once roamed free. The small town of Forks— where Bella of Twilight fame was first smitten-bitten by her vampire lover— receives up to 10 feet (3 meters) of rain annually. The man at the small Visitors’ Center told us that he embraces the rain and loves it. But he was real estate salesmen selling visitors on his small town in hopes of selling a house. He showed us a telephone booth covered in moss. There was no question that the moss embraced the rain.

Photo of rainfall at Forks, Wa. by Curtis Mekemson.

Peggy at (I’m not short) 5 feet 7 inches points out the amount of rain Forks had received by the middle of November.

Old Fashioned phonebooth in Forks, Wa

The National Park people were going to trash this moss-covered relic of the past that once stood at the Hoh Visitor Center in Olympic National Park. Forks rescued it.

The woman behind the counter gave us a map that outlined where we could locate various places found in the three book/four movie Twilight saga. Peggy loves the movies, which means that I have had the opportunity to see them several times. They’re okay, but an angst-driven teenage girl torn between her love for a vampire and a werewolf is a bit outside my preferred genre.

A sign in the window of the Visitors’ Center. Bella represented the .5.

Cardboard cutouts of Victoria, Jacob, Edward and Bella from the Twilight movies greeted us at the Forks’ Visitors Center. Jacob was the werewolf and Edward the vampire, if you haven’t seen the movies. I found Victoria, also a vampire, a more attractive character than Bella. More humor; less angst.

This map of visitors from around the world suggested that Peggy wasn’t the only person with an interest in vampires and werewolves. As an aside, I prefer Bigfoot, who is also known to wander the area. He will show up in my next post on the area.

On the other hand, rainforests, rugged coastlines, and restless oceans call to me in a voice I can’t deny— even if I have to keep a wary eye out for supernatural beings. I’d hoped to take Peggy into the Hoh Visitor Center, which is located deep in the rainforest that makes up a significant part of Olympic National Park, but all of the rain had washed out the roads. That figures. We were left with visiting the jagged coastline that is part of Olympic National Park on a dark day that would have had vampires calling for more. Mainly, it just threatened rain and we were free to admire interesting rock sculptures, driftwood trees, seagulls, crashing waves, and tide driven spume (foam) that left white tracks across the dark sand.

Warning about swimming in ocean, Olympic National Park

Really? Not that we were about to take a dip into the cold waters of the Pacific Ocean on a rainy day.

Driftwood log on Beach Five, Olympic National Park

Peggy provides perspective on the ‘driftwood’ you might find out in the ocean.

Driftwood roots on Beach Five in Olympic National Park

I also decided that this massive root system wasn’t something I wanted to go swimming with.

Roots of tree at Beach 5, Olympic National Park

A close up of the roots.

Photo of a bridge made out of driftwood by Curtis Mekemson.

This bridge made out of driftwood was quite ingenious.

Bridge at Beach 5, Olympic National Park

Looking across the bridge. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)

Layered rocks at Beach 5 in Olympic National Park

Rocks tilted at odd angles had once been laid down flat on the floor of the ocean. Plate tectonics brought them ashore and tilted them upward. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)

Clam carved rocks at Beach 5, Olympic National Park

These holes in the sandstone were carved by piddock clams using a rocking motion. There must have been lots of ‘rocking’ going on. Shake, rattle and roll! (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)

Curt Mekemaon at Beach 5, Olympic National Park P

A last look at Beach 5, and yes, the National Park Service has also named beaches 1,2,3,and 4. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)

Ferns in rainforest, Olympic National Park

Walking back to the car from Beach 5, the luxuriant growth reminded us that we were in a rainforest.

Nursery tree along trail, Olympic National Park

As did this tree growing out of a stump. Such stumps are known as nursery trees and are common in the rainforests of the Northwest.

Photo of driftwood and rocks at Ruby Beach by Curtis Mekemson.

An island, rock sculptures and driftwood dominated Ruby Beach.

Sea stacks in Olympic National Park

I caught this photo of Peggy admiring the rocks, which are known as sea stacks. They would have been part of the shore at one time.

Ruby Beach under dark clouds, Olympic National Park

The beach became more desolate to the south and seemed to stretch on forever at low tide. The grey skies prompted me to render these photos in black and white.

Seagulls outline rock at Ruby Beach in Olympic National Park

Coming closer, we discovered that the rocks were full of life. I was curious as to why the gulls lined up the way they did.

Seagulls in surf at Ruby Beach, Olympic National Park

I like to walk up on them and encourage them to fly for action shots.

Seagulls running and flying at Ruby Beach

The one in the middle had decided to hoof it.

Seagull takes flight at Ruby Beach, Olympic National Park

Until I got too close. I really like the pattern on the gull’s wings and the way it is kicking up water.

Twin rocks at Ruby Beach, Olympic National Park

A pair of twin rocks asked for a photo.

Ruby Beach sea stack in Olympic National Park

As did this bird-decorated sea stack with a hint of sun.

Ruby Beach, Olympic National Park

The sun peeked out just as we were leaving, giving a warmer feel to Ruby Beach and providing closure for this post.


WEDNESDAY: The second post on the beautiful island of Santorini.

FRIDAY: Happy holidays.

MONDAY: Bigfoot is all over the Copalis Beach area but we missed the annual Sasquatch Conference.






36 thoughts on “Olympic National Park, Vampires, Werewolves and Seagulls

  1. Great read and amazing pics, as usual. Thanks Curt.

    In case you didn’t know….

    The entire world has adopted a Serbian word “vampire” for an evil and immortal mythological creature that drinks human blood and has superhuman powers.

    In different parts of the Slavic world terms like werewolf, lampir, lapir, vjedogonja and upir can also be heard.

    Vampire is a creature from the myths and legends of Slavic nations, especially those living in the Balkans and Ukraine. It is thought to be a spirit of a deceased or a corps brought back to life by an evil spirit or the devil.

    The oldest case of a “vampire encounter” was recorded in Serbia, and the oldest Serbian vampire was a certain Petar Blagojević, who was considered about 300 years old.

    Petar Blagojević was the first “official” vampire of the modern world, and lived in Serbia in the early eighteenth century. It’s probably his merit that “vampire” is the only Serbian word generally accepted in all world languages.

    The first encounter with vampires in Western Europe is connected to a peculiar event that took place in Serbia in 1725, and Austrian newspapers of the time wrote about it. They wrote about a man called Petar Blagojević who lived in a village near Požarevac, and has allegedly risen from the grave and started killing people and drinking their blood.

  2. The last movie I saw on teenage angst was American Graffiti. Sad in so many ways that the sequel showed, “The Toad” attempting to shoot himself in the foot to get out of Viet Nam. Hmm, well I never saw the Twilight Saga, but I did see Shark Boy and Lava girl, thanks to my grandson wishing to enrich my life.

    What more could I ask for???

  3. Oh, Ruby beach! Thanks for sharing the gorgeous photos!
    I’ll take the ocean and rainforest personally, but we got some fantastic shots of our crew pretending to bite each other near the Forks city sign when we took our niece on her Twilight pilgrimage.

    • Charles Martin Smith plays, “Terry, The Toad” in both American Graffiti and More American Graffiti. He also plays the lead in, “Never Cry Wolf” an incredible tale about a naive scientist sent to the Canadian Arctic Circle to study Wolves and Caribou. Oh also Shark Boy I believe went on to play the Werewolf in the Twilight movies

      • I really enjoyed “Never Cry Wolf,” Bradley, both the book and the movie. I lived in Alaska for a while and know what it is like to wake up out in the wilderness to wolves howling. Thanks for the information. –Curt

  4. Very nice shot of the gull kicking up the water! The twin rocks look a wee bit gnarly, but definitely photo worthy. I’m hoping to finally get up to that portion of the coast this coming year. Looks like that trip is way overdue.

      • Spent quite a bit of time visiting Big Sur and driving up and down the CA coastline in the late 60s to mid 70s, then the last half of the 70s in El Dorado county (loved exploring the Sierras and old mining towns along 49 in my little VW bug.) The next 14 years had me pining for the ocean in Utah… 1994 brought me closer to the ocean (Myrtle Point, then Coquille) until NOW when I’m a mere 3 miles from the ocean in Gold Beach. (Yay!) Seems I’ve finally made it to where I need and/or want to be.

        Although I’ve wanted to travel up the Washington coast forever, somehow it never happened. We just took delivery on a new camper (see my latest post) and the first trip will be to the SW, but the next trip should be the Olympic Peninsula. Can’t wait! 😀

      • Laughing, Gunta. I spent my share of hanging out around Monterrey, Carmel and Big Sur in the late 60s and early 70s, but in a VW Camper instead of a bug. 🙂 Good times. I saw your camper… I expect you will have a lot of great times. Peggy and I are into our second Pleasure Way, a 22 foot grown up version of a camper van that comes with amenities. 🙂 We’ve wandered over North America for over 200,000 miles between the two vehicles. Love it. And I like Gold Beach! –Curt

  5. For me, Forks is usually a place to grab a bite on the way to/from Neah Bay (but not a bloody steak). I haven’t spent much time on that section of coast and haven’t been to Ruby at all – I can see that needs to be remedied. If you ever find yourself further north, you might enjoy Hobuck Beach.

      • Actually Curt it probably doesn’t rain quite as much as we like to brag it does. I haven’t had many washed out days if I look back!
        The thing is we don’t really get seasons – they are all the same with mild fluctuations in temperature and daylight hours!

  6. I have not ever seen Twilight…however, I really enjoyed this excellent collection of your photos. Ruby Beach is just so enticing. The nursery trees are a favorite of mine.
    Thank you Curt.

    • Twilight was just for fun, Rusha, but I love the northwest coast, which is obvious given how frequently I return to it. 🙂 I was sorry that the roads had been washed out into the rainforest of Olympic National Park, however. Have you ever been to the park? –Curt

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