Favorite Beaches in Washington? Rialto and Long Beach!

For this week’s Sunday Stills Challenge I considered the beaches in Washington and decided to share two of them with you – Rialto and Long Beach. I don’t know if you could find two beaches on the same coast as different as these two!

Rialto Beach

On Washington’s wild and rugged north coast, I only discovered it a few years ago and was so enchanted, have returned many times since. A true wilderness, it has ghost trees, giant drift logs, sea stacks and miles of solitude.

But for pure fun, head south to –

Long Beach

The longest in the world? Who really knows! But according to Wikipedia, “The Long Beach Peninsula is known for its continuous sand beach 28 miles (45 km) in extent on the Pacific Ocean side, claimed to be the longest beach in the United States.”

Longest or not, I love visiting this gorgeous beach to walk, ride, and bicycle on its shore. You can even bring a vehicle if you want to drive in for sunset! There’s room for all!

It’s even got a kitschy town where you can have fresh donuts in the morning and licorice ice cream in the afternoon, my favorite!

So there you have it – a study in opposites! And with that, I’m taking a week off from the blog. Hope you have a safe and happy Fourth of July!

~ Susanne

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood – At Mt. Rainier National Park

Yesterday we headed south to one of our favorite local attractions – Mt. Rainier National Park. It was perfect hiking weather as we started our adventure at Longmire on the Trail of the Shadows.

Afterwards we took the scenic road to Paradise, stopping at the many overlooks and waterfalls.

Christine Falls was first,

but Narada Falls was the best, from Paradise River, cascading and fanning out over the rocks below.

We’ve seen Narada many times from above but rarely from below; the short trail to the bottom is often under snow.

It was still a little bit muddy yesterday but passable. I’m SO glad we went down to feel the spray on our face and the rainbow in the mist! No wonder this one’s a favorite of visitors!

Of course, the main attraction in the park is the mountain and there are views of Mt. Rainier around every corner. That’s by design.

According to the National Park Service, the road to Paradise was planned as a “pleasure road” for park visitors, taking advantage of the glorious views and providing access to some of the most spectacular glaciers and waterfalls.”

We arrived at the Paradise Visitor Center at the base of the mountain and enjoyed a short movie and a snack.

We left the playing in the snow to others.

Then we continued to possibly my favorite view of the mountain at Reflection Lakes, which was covered in ice and snow but still managed to do a bit of reflecting.

On our return to Longmire, we passed by a mountain lake

and saw a cute marmot by the side of the road.

What more do you want? It was a perfect day. 🙂

~ Susanne

Calendula Unfurling

I planted calendula in my garden for the first time in many years, but it won’t be the last. This is how it looked a few days ago, still tightly coiled.

Then summer arrived bringing high temperatures and the buds began to open.

Today I was happy to find flowers fully in bloom.

Calendula officinalis is not just a pretty flower but it’s also an herb, good for your skin. In fact, I’ve used its dried petals in my homemade soaps.

Which reminds me, I’m overdue! The last time I made a batch of soap was early 2020 – Let Them Make Soap!

I’ll save some calendula petals for my next batch. 🙂

Sharing with CMMC.

~ Susanne

Happy Monday in the Garden with Benji

I have four raised garden beds; three of them are filled with herbs and roses; a bit messy perhaps but their colors and fragrance bring me joy.

I’ve had trouble getting plants to grow in the fourth bed. I don’t know why.

“Benji, do you have any ideas?”

“It’s vermin, Sue. Pure and simple. But don’t worry. I’m on it!”

“Are you sure, Benji? I think you’re the problem!”

“Surely you jest, Sue! I’m trying to help. Just leave it to me.”

“Okay, Benji. I give up. It’s all yours. We’ll wait and see whether the sunflowers and dahlias rise up from the ruins.”

~ Susanne and Benji

Summertime in the Garden

Finally! The summer solstice arrived this week bringing sunshine and the hottest days of the year to the sun-starved, rain-drenched Northwest. It was a busy day in the garden, but not for me, I just sat and took it all in – the birds and the bees, the flowers and the trees.

Benji joined me on my lap,

when he wasn’t otherwise occupied.

Sharing with Sunday Stills.

~ Susanne

Sailing Away to Canada!


At least for the day, last week it was, and we managed to do it on the sunniest day of the week.

We spent the night in Port Angeles and took the Coho Ferry across the Strait of Juan de Fuca to Victoria the next morning.

It was an easy crossing with wonderful views of the Olympics behind us and Canada before.

After little more than an hour we arrived at our destination and easily passed through customs.

There were views of the Parliament building on one side,

and the Empress Hotel on the other, both iconic landmarks.

We walked along the Inner Harbour admiring the wildlife

and the boats, while planning the day’s activities.

Our first stop was the Royal Museum, which was already being ramped down for its closure in September. It’s a favorite of ours so we took a final look while we still could. It will be seismically retrofitted and won’t reopen for several years. Here’s a Woolly Mammoth inside.

Next door is Thunderbird Park with its colorful collection of native totem poles.

Afterwards we walked up Government Street for shopping and lunch, and amazingly I managed to abstain from buying anything despite the favorable exchange rate. Instead, we continued on a few blocks further to Chinatown, Canada’s oldest, and the second oldest in North America, after San Francisco.

Though I’ve been to Victoria many times before, I only discovered Chinatown on our last cruise, when we stopped by for a few hours.

My favorite spot is Fan Tan Alley, the narrowest street in Canada.

After ice cream (I was adventurous and chose green tea matcha) we walked along the wharf back to where we started. By then we were both exhausted (I’d have 20,000 steps on my Fitbit by the end of the day) and decided to hop on the red tour bus that took us around town through charming neighborhoods, Beacon Hill Park, and along waterfront beaches (this is an island so there are many).

We were finally deposited back at the Empress Hotel, where we did not take high tea, though we could have for $89 a person. I probably would have enjoyed it, Bob not so much. Instead, we found a place nearby for dinner,

then walked over to the magnificent Parliament building

Across the street we waited for our ship to arrive to take us back to the United States.

We left Victoria behind

and arrived back in Port Angeles, Washington, as the sun was setting.

It was an easy walk back to our hotel where we had a good night’s sleep after a long day of international travel! 🙂 The trip home the next day along Hood Canal was also wonderful but I’ll save that for another time.

~ Susanne

Watching the Eagles on Hood Canal

Three days away coming and going

on Hood Canal we saw eagles

and stopped to watch them watching.

For Six Word Saturday.

~ Susanne

Memories of Pink Rhododendrons

I like pink in small doses offset by other colors.

Like rhododendrons found in the woods.

Washington state’s flower, coast rhododendrons thrive under the dappled shade of forests, like these on Hood Canal.

In fact, pink rhododendrons remind me of childhood trips to Hood Canal to visit my grandma and grandpa. It was a long drive, and as we neared our destination, we’d see who could spot the pink shrubs in the woods first. It was a game my mother thought up to keep us kids busy.

Later, I wanted to see rhododendrons in bloom in the Redwoods, and finally did on one of our road trips to California.

They almost look primeval among the big trees, especially after playing with them in Lightroom. 🙂

Sharing with Sunday Stills Color Challenge, Pink.

~ Susanne

A Nature Walk in Green

In my last post I lamented our rainy spring here in the Great Northwest, too much for even the most hardened local. Still, it does make for some delicious shades of green.

Yesterday, there was a break in the weather so we headed to Nolte State Park.

We left the fishermen behind

and took the 1.4 mile walk through the woods around Deep Lake.

The ferns were thick and tall many with fronds still unfurling.

When we got tired the benches invited us to sit and rest

reminding us why we call this place home.

~ Susanne

Surviving Spring in the Rainy Northwest

To those who just moved here let me say, it’s not always this bad.

Yes, we get a bit of rain in the Pacific Northwest but sometimes it actually stops.

Really it does.

And trust me, you don’t want the other extreme – like last year’s brutal heatwave when we had temperatures in the hundreds for days.

So get outside during the sunbreaks; enjoy the green when you can – after all you’re paying for it.

Take a walk in the park at Flaming Geyser

Hike to Twin Falls

Bicycle the Cedar River Trail

That’s how we get by.

~ Susanne

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