Friday, July 12, 2024

Port Angeles, Washington

Port Angeles, an hour drive west from Port Townsend, was first reached by European explorers in 1791 when Spanish explorer Francisco de Eliza named it Puerto de Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles, later shortened and anglicized to Port Angeles.  The city developed as a small whaling, fishing, and shipping village in the 19th century and the Washington Territory Port of Entry was relocated here from Port Townsend at that time.

However, after the sinking of the Brother Johnson, a paddle steamer that struck an uncharted rock and sank in 1865, making it the deadliest shipwreck up to that time on the Pacific Coast (225 people perished), there was a loss of interest in the area, the Port of Entry returned to Port Townsend, and the town sank into obscurity.  In the early 1900s, Port Angeles developed a strong logging industry, along with lumber and pulp mills and a railway connection which supported the region until the 1970s/1980s, at which time tourism expanded when the Hood Canal Bridge dramatically reduced the driving time to the region and it developed as a gateway into the Olympic National Park.

We wander into town and admire the historical artwork at the pier.

Historical artwork

Modern artwork

The harbor is filled with ships of all kinds, including the ferry to Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, across the water and we get views of cruise boats arriving at Victoria.

Ferry to Victoria

Stoping in Victoria, British Columbia


The streets of the city are filled with sculpture.

Sculpture on the streets

The downtown consists of fabulous old brick buildings


And, stopping here for the evening, we have my first dinner of the trip, appropriately enough:  fish and chips.

Fish  and chips

Tuesday, July 9, 2024

Fort Worden and Fort Townsend Parks in Washington

Fort Worden Historical State Park is located on 433 acres (175 hectares) of Fort Worden, a United States Army Coast Artillery Corps base constructed to protect Puget Sound from invasion by sea.  Built between 1898 and 1920, Fort Worden was located within sight of one foreign fortification across the water, a British Royal Navy base on Vancouver Island in Canada.  Fort Worden was active from 1902 to 1953 and was then sold to the state of Washington and ultimately transformed into the park.

Many of the buildings in the park have been repurposed as restaurants, commercial offices, government offices (US Customs and Fish & Wildlife), museums, schools, and a bed and breakfast in the former commander's house.

Repurposed base buildings

The parade ground separates the officer's residences on one side from the barracks housing the enlisted personnel on the other, a psychological barrier to help keep the two groups from mingling except during schedule activities such as inspections, drills, and training.

Parade ground, officer's housing

Barracks on the other side

Now Peninsula College

Coast artillery museum

The park now consists of open areas, hiking trails, and water access, with lots of activities for everyone.

Fort Worden State Park

Water access

From Fort Worden we head two miles outside Port Townsend to Fort Townsend State Park, with 3,960 feet (1,210 meters) of shoreline, 6.5 miles (10.5 km) of hiking trails, and facilities for boating, fishing, and crabbing.  Built in 1856 by the US Army to protect settlers, the fort was destroyed by fire in 1894 and abandonded in 1895.  Washington State Parks took over in 1953 and created the current park.

Unlike Fort Worden, none of the original buildings remain and we walk through the parade ground over to the trails along the water.

Fort Townsend

Locations of the buildings

Parade ground

Along the water

After enjoying the scenery, we head back into the park and continue on our journey

Heading back