Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Welcome to Olympic Peninsula Adventure

Welcome to the Olympic Peninsula Adventure, your source of helpful information for navigating the majestic Olympic Peninsula – a very special and unique place in Washington State and a very special place in the hearts of its inhabitants, who call the Olympic Peninsula their home. 

A few of the bragging points of Washington's "Olympics" are spectacular Olympic National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the only temperate rain forests in the United States, world-class, freshwater and saltwater fishing, Native Americans who live in maritime fishing villages, jump off point for day trips to Victoria, BC in Canada, sunny weather in the Blue Hole and easy relocation for newcomers looking for an ideal place for a second home or retirement.

The Olympic Peninsula received its "Olympic" pedigree in 1788, when British sea captain John Meares christened the peninsula's glacier-covered peaks with his inspired proclamation:

If that be not the home where dwell the gods, it is certainly beautiful enough to be, and I therefore call it Mount Olympus.

Since its English christening, the northwest peninsula has been recognized as an idyllic sanctuary worthy of a name inspired by the divine mythologies of ancient Greece. 

What a special place! From the glacier capped Olympic National Park to the temperate rain forests, which drape its Pacific coast, the Olympic Peninsula has its "wild side." World-class fishing is as close as the nearest river and saltwater beach. Native Americans, whose ancestors originally settled on the Olympic Peninsula, still inhabit villages along the coastline. 

Seattle and metro Puget Sound to the east are only a bridge or a ferry ride away. And to the north is Victoria, BC, a worthwhile trip in any season to experience "Little London."

Where can anyone find a better climate in the Northwest than in Sunny Sequim, the Olympic Peninsula's "Blue Hole," prized as a retirement community for its special weather, year around golf and peaceful living.

Relocation to the Olympic Peninsula could not be easier. Start with an experienced, reliable real estate broker, who can show you how to transfer your investments from your current location to a new home or condominium with an idyllic Sequim view, a Port Angeles waterfront, or a deck on the Dungeness River.

Olympic Peninsula Adventure Map

Olympic Peninsula Adventure Map
Click image to view larger map
Olympic Peninsula Adventure Map © 2013 Robert S. Sherby

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Blue Hole Weather


What is the "Blue Hole?" The Blue Hole is patch of sunny weather. The moniker is used by Washingtonians to refer to Sequim's weather, the area of the Olympic Peninsula known as "Sunny Sequim." Yea, I've heard of Sunny Sequim, but what is with the "Blue Hole?" Simple. Get this picture. Image you are a pilot flying a plane above Sequim on the northern end of the Olympic Peninsula. You look down and you see clouds blanketing all of western Washington, except for one area, where you see a hole in the clouds with the blue water of the Strait of Juan de Fuca within the hole. "Eurka," you shout to your co-pilot. You have just discovered the Blue Hole.
Sunny Sequim "Blue Hole"
Click image to view larger map
Sunny Sequim Blue Hole weather map © 2013 Robert S. Sherby

Pilots who have flown over Washington State are the ones who named the Blue Hole. Don't be surprised as you get to know the residents of Sequim that you encounter what seems to be a disproportionate number of airline pilots. 

Relocating to the Olympic Peninsula


If, after a visit to the Olympic Peninsula, you are bitten by the bug to consider relocating to this "Olympic" paradise, there are a number of useful steps you can take to help you toward that goal.

What are you looking for? A house? A community? A price range? An investment?

You want to know how smart of an investment can your relocation be.

Do you want to find the ideal home that is already built? Are you thinking of building?

If you want to get away from it all, do you know about environmental setbacks and drilling your own well?

As you attempt to answer these questions, you want someone with experience and expertise who can guide you, point out the ruts in the road, and help you arrive at the dream home you are seeking. 

Here are suggestions to finding the information you are seeking.

For online access go to the largest blog on the subject, Sequim Real Estate in Sunny Sequim.

Do you want a book filled with relocation information? Request the local bible on the subject, Buying and Selling Real Estate in the Rain Shadow by Chuck Marunde, who is a real estate broker and an attorney. 

Subscribe to Chuck Marunde's Sequim Real Estate and Port Angeles Real Estate Blog for home hunters.

You can start searching Sequim and Port Angeles properties right now on the Olympic Peninsula Properties Search Engine.

Tripping to Victoria, BC


Victoria, BC on Vancouver Island in Canada is a fascinating destination for visitors to the Olympic Peninsula. The capital of British Columbia looks and feels like "Little London" and it is only a ferry ride away across the Strait of Juan de Fuca. A one-day excursion is very doable by boarding the Coho ferry before 8am at its dock along the waterfront in downtown Port Angeles. Passengers can return in the late afternoon and early evening.

A full day of sightseeing around Victoria's harbor can feel like a mini trip to Great Britain. All around the harbor ("harbour" in Victoria) are shops selling English teas and chocolates, Scottish woolen wear, and Irish tapestries. Doors are open at the Provincial Parliament, the Empress Hotel and the British Columbia Museum, each within a few hundred paces of the ferry dock. Restaurants and pubs invite you to come in for a rest on just about every corner. Of course, the welcome mat is out at the Wax Museum, the Miniature Museum and the Underwater Sea Gardens, again, each within stumbling distance of ferry dock.

To see more of the island that is beyond walking distance of the harbour, the adventurous explorer will find eager young peddlers with bicycle rickshaws, horse drawn carriages, tour buses, auto taxis, boat taxis and whale watching cruises to whisk them away to see undiscovered treasures.

For travelers with more time to spare than just one day it is an easy to stay over night in hotel accommodations near the harbour or zip off to a bed and breakfast inn on a nearby beach, and then return to Port Angeles and the next day's ferry.

Indian Culture on the Olympic Peninsula

Native American tribes are the original inhabitants of the land known as the Olympic Peninsula. Many moons ago, before white men moved into their neighborhood, the First People lived in cedar-planked villages at the mouths of glacier-fed rivers along a narrow ribbon of coastline, which tied together the Pacific Ocean and the inland waters of Puget Sound.

The First People named the peninsula's glacier-covered mountains Sun-a-do, which meant "protector of the tribes." Native legends sing the praises of their winged spirit Thunderbird, who swooped down from his Lair of Thunderbird atop Blue Glacier (Mount Olympus) to pluck a giant whale from the ocean and deliver it to a starving tribe on the coast.

Native tribes on the Olympic Peninsula are the S'Klallam, Lower Elwha, Makah, Hoh, Quileute, Quinault, Squaxin and Skokomish. On the North Olympic Peninsula three bands of the S'Klallam tribe – Jamestown, Little Boston and Lower Elwha – are what remain of 15 villages across the northern peninsula. The culture of the S'Klallam is best viewed at the tribal center, museum and galleries in Blyn on Sequim Bay, where the tribe operates a casino at Blyn and a golf course in Sequim, both open to the public. The Lower Elwha band invites visitors to its casino just west of Port Angeles.

The Makah Indian Reservation on the northwestern tip of the Olympic Peninsula is the most western point of the contiguous United States. One of the largest on the peninsula, it is administered from Neah Bay, where the Makah Cultural and Research Center displays artifacts of the Makah tribe's rich maritime culture. The drive to the Makah Reservation is along the Strait of Juan de Fuca, past Sekiu and Clallam Bay.

Quileute tribal members mostly live in LaPush, an active fishing village, along the Quillayute River about 12 miles off Highway 101 west of Forks. The Quileute tribal setting has received recent, international notoriety as "the tribe of Jacob" in the Twilight movie series.

The Hoh Indian Reservation at Oil City at the mouth of the Hoh River is the smallest reservation – only a mile square – and the smallest tribe. The reservation is off Highway 101 south of Forks and north of Kalaloch.

The largest of the peninsula reservations, the Quinault Indian Reservation extends from Lake Quinault to the Pacific Ocean. The two Indian communities are Taholah at the mouth of the Quinault River and Queets on Highway 101 near the mouth of the Queets River. The tribe sells excellent canned seafood such as salmon, clams and sturgeon under the Quinault Pride brand. Stop at the mini mart in Queets to stock up on these delicacies. To fish in Lake Quinault for the its famous Blue Back Salmon visitors must obtain a special permit from the tribe.




Fishing

Fishing the waters of the Olympic Peninsula is a dream that extends back to that fourteen-year-old boy who rereads his Outdoor Fishing and Outdoor Life magazines, knowing that someday he'll travel from Kansas to fish for steelhead trout in the rain forests of the Olympic Peninsula.

A bounty of fishing holes are scattered in and around the Olympic Peninsula. To get a line on the many kinds of fish and the many locations where an angler can start casting or trolling, let's begin by dividing the fishing opportunities based on freshwater and saltwater fishing. In general, freshwater fishing takes place "in" streams and lakes "on" the peninsula. Saltwater fishing happens "around" the perimeter  of the peninsula – Strait of Juan de Fuca, Hood Canal and the Pacific Ocean.

Freshwater fishing enthusiasts stalk steelhead, cutthroat, rainbows, brooks, browns and Dolly Vardens in freshwater streams and lakes, found predominately in Olympic National Park and Olympic National Forest. The steelhead is a sea-run rainbow trout, usually return to freshwater to spawn after two or three years at sea. Cutthroat trout can be either migratory – inhabiting freshwater and saltwater – or non migratory, remaining in freshwater. Steelhead and cutthroat are some of the biggest prized fish in the glacier-fed rivers on the west slopes of the Olympic Mountains, rivers such as the Hoh, Queets and Quinault.

Saltwater fishing enthusiasts can be seen trolling herring and lures off the stern of their boats and also casting lures from shore into saltwater holes to entice king salmon, chinook and chums to strike.

Temperate Rain Forests


Three rain forests – Hoh, Queets and Quinault – are draped along the foothills of the western slopes of the Olympic Mountain Range along the Pacific Coast of the Olympic Peninsula.

Three temperate rain forests are within the boundaries of Olympic National Park. They are the Quinault Rainforest, the Queets Rainforest and the Hoh Rainforest. The Olympic National Forest. shares custodial duties with the park over some areas of the rainforest, especially around Lake Quinault. View map of Olympic Peninsula.

How To Make a Temperate Rainforest: Take a mild coastal climate, which rarely freezes in winter or goes above 80 degrees in summer, add a good dose of rain say 12 feet or so a year, add some summer fog and you have the ingredients for a temperate rain forest.

The tree which is most closely associated with the temperate rain forest of North America is the Sitka spruce. It grows in a narrow band along the coast and up western-facing river valleys from southeastern Alaska to southern Oregon, where it blends into redwood forest. Indeed, some use the terms Sitka spruce forest and temperate rain forest interchangeably.

However, when most people speak of the temperate rain forest in North America, they are usually thinking of those found in the western-facing valleys of the Olympic Peninsula. 


A temperate rain forest is recognized by the following hallmarks when found in combination:
  1. The presence of Sitka spruce.
  2. Nurse logs--usually fallen Sitka spruce upon which seedlings of trees grow.
  3. Colonnades--which are the trees standing in a row as a result of their getting a start on nurse logs.
  4. Trees standing on stilts--a result of seedlings sprouting on stumps that later decay away leaving a tree standing on the roots.
  5. A profusion of mosses and lichens.
  6. Big leaf maples with clubmoss draperies. Big leaf maples are really not that common in the temperate rain forest as they tend to be restricted to coarse, well-drained soil.
People often wonder if the mosses and lichens hanging from the limbs of big leaf maples, vine maple and other trees harm these trees. The answer is no, except for an occasional breaking of limbs from tremendous weight. In fact, these trees often send special roots out from the branch crotches into the mats of mosses and lichens and tap nutrients found there.

A temperate rain forest is more than a collection of trees, mosses and other plants. Woven into the fabric is a population of animals, including the Roosevelt elk, after whom the park was almost named. Birds such as the varied thrush, western robin, winter wren, pileated woodpecker, gray jay, junco and raven add texture to the fabric of the temperate rain forest. Mammals such as black-tailed deer, cougar, black bear, river otter, Douglas squirrel, jumping mouse and shrew dwell there. So do insects, reptiles and amphibians. There are no rain forests in the eastern Olympics. Indicator tree species for the "dry" (100") side are western pine and madrone. Big leaf maples are replaced by vine maples.

How do temperate rain forests compare with tropical rain forests? Both are the result of a great deal of rain. In tropical rain forests, the rain tends to be more evenly distributed throughout the year, although there are still "dry" and "wet" seasons. In fact, there may be two of each during the year. Rain frequently falls as strong shower bursts. In temperate rain forests, there tends to be one long wet season and a fairly dry summer where fog provides the necessary moisture. 

A temperate rain forest is more than a collection of trees, mosses and other plants. Woven into the fabric is a population of animals, including the Roosevelt elk, after whom the park was almost named. Birds such as the varied thrush, western robin, winter wren, pileated woodpecker, gray jay, junco and raven add texture to the fabric of the temperate rain forest. Mammals such as black-tailed deer, cougar, black bear, river otter, Douglas squirrel, jumping mouse and shrew dwell there. So do insects, reptiles and amphibians. There are no rain forests in the eastern Olympics. Indicator tree species for the "dry" (100") side are western pine and madrone. Big leaf maples are replaced by vine maples.

How do temperate rain forests compare with tropical rain forests? Both are the result of a great deal of rain. In tropical rain forests, the rain tends to be more evenly distributed throughout the year, although there are still "dry" and "wet" seasons. In fact, there may be two of each during the year. Rain frequently falls as strong shower bursts. In temperate rain forests, there tends to be one long wet season and a fairly dry summer where fog provides the necessary moisture. 

Olympic National Park


Welcome to Olympic Peninsula Adventure Map, your source of information for traveling around the majestic Olympic Peninsula – a very special place on the planet and in the hearts of its inhabitants. Spectular Olympic National Park at the center of the Olympic Peninsula is the sole UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Great Pacific Northwest. This global treasure is crowned by the glacial peaks of Mt. Olympus, known as Home of the Gods. Its western slopes are draped by three rain forests. The Strait of Juan de Fuca on its north joins the international jewel to Canada. Hood Canal to the east is the gateway to Seattle and metropolitan Puget Sound.

The Olympic Peninsula received its "Olympic" pedigree in 1788, when British sea captain John Meares christened the peninsula's glacier-covered peaks with his inspired proclamation:

If that be not the home where dwell the gods, it is certainly beautiful enough to be, and I therefore call it Mount Olympus.

Since its English christening, the northwest peninsula has been recognized as an idyllic sanctuary worthy of a name inspired by the divine mythologies of ancient Greece. 

What Captain Meares did not realize when he nominated the white-topped peaks as Home of the Gods, was that the native peoples, who inhabited the nearby coasts, had long revered the spirit powers of the same majestic mountains, which they called Sun-a-do, protector of the tribes.

Three short years after Captain Meares proclaimed the divine residency of the mountains, British explorer Captain Vancouver entered a notation in his ships log, identifying the land around Mount Olympus as Olympic Peninsula.

In the 1840s the forested land and snow-capped mountains were officially recognized by the young United States government as the Olympic Peninsula. In succeeding years individual peaks on the Mount Olympus massif were named by mountaineers for Greek, Roman, Germanic and Norse gods.

The names of Greek gods gracing the peaks of Mt. Olympus are AthenaAthena OwlAphroditeApollo, Aries, Circe, Hermes, Icarus, Pan and Poseidon. The Roman god of merchants, Mercury, is immortalized on his own peak. Germanic and Norse gods, whose name badges are pinned on Olympic Mountain peaks, are Baldur, Bragi, Freki, Frigga, Geri, Hugin, Loki, Munin, Steipner, Thor, Mimir, Valhallas, Valkyrie, Vidar, Vili and Woden.

One of the most powerful spirits for the native peoples was Thunderbird, whom they knew to live in the Lair of Thunderbird on Blue Glacier high atop Mt. Olympus. Their legends sing the praises of the winged god who swooped down from his lair to pluck a giant whale from the ocean and deliver it to a starving tribe on the coast.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Horses and Ranches


Is there something in the grass of the north Olympic Peninsula that helps horses to thrive? Or, in the water? The air? What explains the attraction to horse owners to relocate their steeds onto the farms, paddocks and stables on the grasslands west of Puget Sound? Maybe it's the saltwater. Or, the positive ions in the air. Could it be so simple as horse owners love to live with their mounts on The Elysium Fields, which were described by Homer as a heavenly place located on the western edge of the earth by an ocean stream? This could make sense given that this wonderland is in such close proximity to the Home of the Gods atop Mt. Olympus in nearby Olympic National Park. 

There is no need to speculate on the cause. The fact is that the north Olympic Peninsula is a favored breeding ground for horses and horse lovers. Spread out on the grasslands surrounding "Sunny Sequim," beneath the northern foothills of the Olympic Mountains, are idyllic settings for horse ranches. A glance at a local map shows the extent of the fertile soil enriched by the Dungeness River spilling from the mountains onto what looks like an immense delta along the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
Click image for larger map

The Olympic Peninsula is a healthy environment in which to raise horses. The extensive riding trails in the foothills of the mountains in Olympic National Forest are a never ending source of adventures. Kids can show their mounts at local country fairs and 4H events. Whether boarding, breeding, or simply enjoying a rewarding relation with a horse or a herd, the paddocks and stables are peaceful homes for horses and are valuable investments for horse lovers. For individuals considering a relocation to a small horse farm or to a fancy, white fenced spread, search out properties in the Sequim Real Estate blog.

No one reason explains the attraction of horse owners to the north Olympic Peninsula. The variety of reasons inspiring horse lovers to resettle on the Olympic Peninsula is as diverse as the number of breeds of horses.