It’s 9AM on a Monday morning and we’re sitting patiently in the Costco parking lot waiting for the store to open. Our sweet truck is due for some new tires (cha-ching) and this seems like the day to do it. We’ll be hooking up with some friends later in the day, but for right now this seems like a good time to review our wonderful excursion to the Olympic National Park. First of all, this park is HUGE!!! (According to the all knowing Seri who lives in my iPhone, it’s 1440 sq. miles in size.) And it’s DIVERSE!! Yes, there are mountains and glaciers and beaches and rain forests and swamps and giant trees….whew – it was a lot to take in for sure. Over the three days we were there, we tried our best to get to all of the major points, but in reality only skimmed the surface of this amazing national park. In the order of appearance, here are some highlights of our trip (and here’s a map if you’d like to follow along)-
We started Wednesday morning with a quick stop at the lower Hurricane Ridge visitors center (outside of Port Angeles). It looked like “the mountain” was going to be socked in with clouds, so we put off that stop until our way home on Friday, and continued down the 101 past the beautiful Crescent Lake.
Even with just a hint of blue sky on the horizon, this is beautiful lake. The 101 takes you right along the coastline, and we stopped in near the lodge to hike out to Marymere Falls. I confess the falls themselves (itself?) were not the most impressive sight in the world
but the hike there was outstanding.
We passed giant trees
crossed rippling brooks
and discovered little treasures along the way.
Yes, a great little hike!
From there it was back in the truck for a long, though lovely, drive out to Neah Bay, and the most Northwestern Point in the lower 48 – Cape Flattery (just out of sight on the far left upper corner if you’re looking at the map)
While not officially in the park, we felt since we’d done most of the other ‘Most [whatever direction you chose]” it only seemed right that we check it off our list. Whatever list that might be!
Another beautiful (and manageable (under 2 miles RT)) hike that is maintained by the Makah Indian Tribe (the only Native Americans allowed to still hunt whales).
We’re glad we put those extra miles on the truck.
From there it was down the western coast to our accommodations at the Quileute Oceanside Resort. It was a bit of a splurge for us, but with a view off the deck like this
and a sunset like this
we felt they were dollars well spent.
Thursday dawned bright and sunny
and we off to check out the Hoh Rain Forest and points south.
We did a couple of short hikes in that area, and let me say it was a Very Green Day!
These are some amazing stands of ‘old growth’ trees,
but it was also fun to spot some of the ‘new growth’ trees that were making good use of some fallen old growth –
From the Hoh Rainforest we headed back to the coast, and then continued south to check out some of the beaches in the Kalaloch area.
I confess that this is as close as we got to the beaches on this stretch of the park. As you can see, it wasn’t much of a beach day, and let’s face it – it was a long way down!
So we continued on, with a quick drive-by of the Kalaloch Lodge, and then on around the ‘corner’ to a small (though paved) road (Clearwater Road) that would loop us up back to the 101 just south of the Hoh Forest road. (If you’re not following along on the map, just know that we chose not to go back the same way we came. What’s a couple of extra miles on the truck, right?)
From there it was back to our room (almost) on the beach and another lovely evening listening to the waves watching the fog roll in. No spectacular sunset on Thursday, but it was still a very sweet evening!
Friday dawned with clouds and drizzle, but we still held fast to our main objective for the day – driving up to Hurricane Ridge. We made a quick drive down along the Sol Duc River
taking in a beautiful hike of the Ancient Groves –
Finally, though, were on our way to Hurricane Ridge. Although we were a bit apprehensive about what the view would be, given that our drive up looked like this –
we were super delighted that once we got above the clouds,
the view was spectacular!
With that last stop a success, we were ready to head back to Port Townsend and the rig. Here’s just one last stop of a view of Port Angeles from the Hurricane Ridge road.
That’s the Strait of Juan de Fuca with Vancouver Island in the distance. Just so you know.
Phew – those were three very beautiful, busy, 500 mile, adventurous (well, adventurous for us. Probably not so much if you’re in your 30’s)days for us. We returned home Friday evening, spend Saturday getting ready to hit the road, and got an early-ish start on Sunday to try and beat some of the Seattle/Tacoma traffic. It started well –
(crossing the Hood Canal Floating Bridge)
but not so good once we got into the heart of things….
We eventually made it out of the congestion and into a whole new view of Washington –
And today we are in Wenatchee, and now that the tires are installed we’ll be heading to spend the day with those friends we met in Arizona over the winter. But after three months in the cool weather of Seattle and surrounding areas, this ‘new normal’ weather might take a bit of getting used to!
Yikes – 99?!!!! Pretty thankful for the generator and A/C!
Thanks for hanging in through this long post (you are still here, right?)! There are more pictures of our three days in the Olympic National Park HERE (loosely organized by location) and I worked hard to whittle down my selection. Still, it is pretty large. But it does cover 3 days!!!!
Thanks for stopping by!