Guillaume and I parked our tiny home in front of Brittany Yunker’s house, a fellow tiny house builder (for a full tour and photos click here). Over the next few days we explored the small eclectic Washington city of Olympia.
Downtown Olympia is full of boutique shops and a handful of small pubs and restaurants. A few of my favorites are:
- Book Store (big store variety without the attitude) – Orca Books
- Mexican Food (try the Camarones al Mojo de Ajo) – Taqueria La Esquinita
- Coffee Shop (best Coffee I’ve ever had) – Burial Grounds
- Food Truck (high end food for cheap!) – Arepa (Venezuelan Food)
- Entertainment – We attended a fun event at The Brotherhood Lounge called “The Brotherhood Takes Flight” involving a series of ariel acrobatic performances. This is a reoccurring event, so hit it up if you’re near the area!
Aside from exploring downtown, I also ventured to nearby Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge, which offers manicured walking trails and top notch bird watching.
With my scope slung over my shoulder, I trekked four miles, out and back, to the Puget Sound overlook. Along the way I spotted Great Blue Herons, Bald Eagles, Red-winged Blackbirds, Common Terns, Barn Swallows, Least Sandpipers, Common Yellowthroats, and many more. This marked one of most active bird watching sights I’ve visited yet, right after the Anhinga Trail in Everglades National Park.
Brittany took us to Mt. Ellinor, a popular day hike within a fews hour drive from Olympia. The hike was 3.2 miles with a 2,400 foot elevation change. There’s an option to do a longer hike, but we chose to start at the upper trailhead. Usually famous for her breathtaking views, Mt. Ellinor was feeling a bit under the weather the day we decided to visit. By the time we made it to the peak, the only view to greet us was the belly of a cloud.
This seems to be a pattern for us when it comes to Washington summits (it also happened earlier this month near Mt. Rainier). We ate our lunch on top of the foggy mountain, shivering from the cold breeze, and then, it began to snow.
We quickly scrabbled back down the trail, but halted when a herd of mountain goats stood frozen in our path, stupefied by our presence. The goats were quiet and majestic, their wispy white beards blowing in the breeze. I would have been transfixed by their golden eyeballs, staring in our direction, if I wasn’t acutely aware of the coiled horns protruding from their skulls. Brittany had mentioned that someone was recently killed by a mountain goat on this trail. We kept our distance and eventually they moved on.
Have you ever seen a mountain goat climb? It’s unbelievable. How can THAT animal be so dexterous?
Back in Olympia, Dee Williams invited us all over for dinner. I assume if you’re reading this blog you know who Dee is.. but just in case, click here. Dee let us climb through her renowned tiny house, and in doing so, I had an odd feeling of deja vu. Have I been here before? I hadn’t, but I felt as though I had from reading her book. Dee grilled sausages on the barbecue and we all enjoyed a few beers together. We ate in the yard, in between her tiny home and a sauna she built a few years later. Whoever said tiny housers can’t have a dinner party, obviously has never been invited to Dee’s.
At some point, I can’t say why, Dee challenged Guillaume to a pseudo wrestling match. Watching those two “go at it” was not only hilarious, but also semi-surreal. Even though we were really just getting to know Dee and Brittany, that evening was the closest thing to a family barbecue we’ve had since embarking on our journey. A tiny house family reunion. Hope we can do it again sometime.
Next, we took a detour from our route to check out an epic hiking spot.