Whale Watching with Puget Sound Express

By Cara Patten

Video By Emily Deering

Photos by Emily Deering and Bret Wirta

May 22nd 2012.

Bret, Capt Korie, Cara, Becca and Emily

Bret, Capt Korie, Cara, Becca and Emily

I arrived in Port Townsend for a day of whale watching with two friends and my friend’s dad. We had booked our trip with an experienced company, Puget Sound Express. After browsing through the whale-themed paraphernalia in their gift shop, we were led by Carly, a smiling mate, down the dock and into the boat. I entered the window-lined the boat, surprised and relieved for the warm cabin and comfortable seating. Adding to my delight was the supply of coffee, tea and renowned Blueberry Buckle coffeecake. The four of us headed towards the bow where we could all fit together, not realizing that this would be the most bumpy part of the boat.

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Marymere Falls and Lake Crescent Lodge

Story by Cara Patten

Photos by Emily Deering and Bret Wirta, Video by Emily Deering

Hike Distance: 1.5 miles – Time out: 1 hour

Degree of Difficulty: 1 – Pet Friendly: No

May 22nd 2012

Marymere Falls and Lake Crescent Lodge

We drove to Lake Crescent and pulled up to the Marymere trail parking lot, slightly tired from rising early and ready for a leisurely hike and lunch at Lake Crescent Lodge. This was the perfect road trip for me and my friends Becca and Emily. College classes had just ended and the summer just beginning.

The Marymere Falls trail is about 1.5 miles, beginning at the Storm King Ranger Station and ending up at the beautifully flowing Marymere Falls, with a trail branching off to the Lake Crescent Lodge. Its easy pace and location just off the highway makes the hike a great break.
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Hiking to Lillian Camp

By Bret Wirta-The Incidental Explorer

Distance: 10 mile round-trip – Time out: 5 hours

Degree of Difficulty: 1 – Pet Friendly: No

May 16th 2012

Lillian Camp with the Klahhane Club 2012

Lillian Camp is a lush camping area along a tumbling river. It’s a perfect day-hike in the spring when the high mountain passes are still choked with snow. The trail begins at the Whiskey Bend Trailhead in the Elwha River Valley. This is a wide corridor, one of the most well-traveled trails in Olympic National Park.

I was hiking with my favorite group of Olympic Peninsula hikers, The Klahhane Club. It was tee-shirt weather, pleasant especially after many cold and wet winter hikes. The dry trail wound though stands of young fir trees. Below, the mighty Elwha River roared, strong with snow-melt. Soon the Elwha will be free of the last of the two dams that shackled its wild journey to the sea for a century. When the cement roots of the Glines Canyon Dam are finally broken and yanked out of the ground, the Elwha will run unimpeded once more from its birth on the glaciers of Mt. Olympus to its union with the Strait of Juan de Fucca. May the huge salmon return as they once did to spawn along the river’s frothy reaches.

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Protection Island Wildlife Cruise

Story by Patrick Wu

Photos by Bret Wirta

June 12th 2012

Capt Charles's ship Living the Dream

Capt Charles's ship Living the Dream

We awoke around nine in the morning, grabbed a quick bite to eat, and then made the short drive down the road to the John Wayne Marina in Sequim. It was my pleasure to be a guest of the Wirtas on one of their many adventures into nature, for which Bret seems to have quite the eye. My girlfriend Becca and I, yawning from the aberration in our typical college student sleep schedules, benefited greatly from the fresh ocean air of the Peninsula as we, along with Bret and “Nanny,” Becca’s grandmother, were greeted by Captain Charles Martin on the docks at ten o’clock sharp. The captain is the proud owner of The Water Limousine, a beautiful 26-foot Glacier Bay catamaran by the name of “Livin’ the Dream”—a title that, by the tone of the captain’s voice as he speaks it, indeed seems to have its personal significance. “Livin’ the Dream” is used primarily for private cruises, such as this one, and the multi-hulled yacht provides a very smooth, stable ride for up to six people.

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