Otters to Sheep

River otter (Lontra canadensis) family with two adults and two juveniles in Puget Sound.

We left Port Townsend this morning and were sad to leave the Olympic Peninsula. We love the area and it is close to Jason for visiting. This morning, while still camped at Point Hudson, I noticed some river otters in the water. I grabbed Dart’s leash and the camera and I sat on a hunk of driftwood on the beach and watched the otters until they came ashore and disappeared. It was a family with two adults and two juveniles. They were too far out to get good pictures, but we have a couple here to post. They were a joy to watch. The adults kept getting food and lifting their heads above the water while the juveniles scrambled around them, perhaps not sure what they were supposed to do. Regis came out to photograph also. I also saw a bald eagle on the spit. It took off with a dead seagull.

River otter adult with two juveniles.
River otter adult with two juveniles.
River otter adult with two juveniles.
River otters with two adults and two juveniles.

It was a wonderful gift of the day to see the otter family on our last morning at Port Townsend. Our plan was to drive to Ellensburg, Washington to camp and then head to Gingko Petrified Forest State Park to see if we could see some bighorn sheep. We originally planned to camp in the park, but camping was closed although the park was open for day use. We altered our plans and stayed in a private KOA campground in Ellensburg which is about 30 miles away from the park. After setting up camp, we headed to the park. I wasn’t expecting to get to see the bighorn sheep since I already had the opportunity to see the otters in the morning.

At this point, Dart must have been truly miserable. He had the longest drive in the RV for awhile and perhaps thought he was in for some relief before we packed him up into the Jeep after setting up camp. After we got to the State park, I missed the turn to the visitor center and took the next one and lo and behold, we saw sheep. I thought I would not be so lucky since I got to see the otters in the morning. It was too much to ask for one day. Wahoo!

Bighorn sheep lamb (Ovis canadensis) in Gingko Petrified Forest State Park.

While we stopped to watch the bighorn sheep, I noticed a rocky/dirt road into the park that was closed but you could get a permit. It gave a phone number for me to call and I did and it gave me the code to get through the gate. We put the Jeep in four wheel drive and headed out on the road. It was terrible. It was so rocky we couldn’t drive more than a couple miles an hour. Dart was, of course, miserable. After driving in a short way, we got some good views of bighorn sheep before they exited stage right. Once we realized we impacted their behavior, we stopped the Jeep, but they wandered off anyway. After they left, we kept going.

Bighorn sheep in Gingko Petrified Forest State Park.

We didn’t go far. I was certain Dart was beyond miserable and the road was no fun to drive, so we turned around and headed back. We headed to our usual place in the park to see the sheep, but there were people there and no sheep. Therefore, we were fortunate to have missed our turn and saw the sheep. We headed back on a scenic route to our campsite and saw lots of wind turbines along the way.

In Ellensburg, we went through a drive through to pick up dinner. We have had salmon the last two nights and we were going to have salmon again tonight. Having a lousy hamburger tonight wasn’t too bad. There is a story about all that salmon that may be boring but here it is. Regis went to the grocery store very early in the morning and the fresh seafood was not out and he picked up frozen seafood instead. We left some salmon out to thaw. I went to the store later to pick up a prescription and the seafood was out and I picked up a piece of fresh salmon too big to eat in one night. We have had fresh salmon the last two nights. I love salmon, but don’t mind skipping a day.

It was chilly most of the time we were on the Olympic Peninsula. As soon as we got close to Snoqualmie Pass, we began to see sun. By the time we crossed the Cascades, it warmed up. It was in the high 70’s today in Ellensburg but it felt hot after all those chilly Olympic Peninsula days. We better acclimate quick because I suspect it gets hotter as we move forward.

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