Mountains, rainforest, and beaches all in one national park! The Olympic Peninsula was mind-boggling given its variety of ecosystems. It also felt far away after having stayed on an island across the sound from a huge city. We were out there. And though the mountains and hot springs and rain forests were lovely, we all are most in our element on the beach. The kids moods, their faces, their imaginations, their curiosity never runs out. They search, and wrestle, and run, and build. They sit and ponder. They find things. They watch things. They are comfortable and confident. All light as air. So our time on the beach, though creating the biggest pile of wet clothes that would never dry, was our happiest.
We saw grey whales feeding, we went birding and saw more fog than birds, we went tidepooling and discovered hermit crabs, anemones, sea stars, and urchins. We learned you must get 100 inches of rain annually to be considered a rainforest. We saw the invasive black licorice slug. We climbed countless trees and admired the nurselogs. We saw the salmon running. And we watched for the green flash at sunset from our campground overlooking the vast westward endless ocean.
- We stayed: Sol Duc campground (hook ups!) and Kalaloch Campground (five stars, went to sleep to waves every night)
- We explored: Hurricane Ridge, Crescent Lake, Sol Duc, Hoh Rainforest, Ruby and Kalaloch Beaches
- We hiked: Marymere Falls from Lake Crescent, Ancient Groves Nature Trail, the Sol Duc Falls Nature Trail, High Ridge Nature Trail (with views of Mount Olympus, Strait of Juan de Fuca, and the Cascades in the distance), Hall of Moss and Spruce Nature Trail, Ruby Beach, Kalaloch Creek Nature Trail and Kalaloch Beach
- We beached: Kalaloch Beach (aka our backyard) and Ruby Beach, and we soaked in the Sol Duc hot springs if that counts as beaching
- We read: We finished up Snow Falling on Cedars that we had started on Bainbridge and started The Egg and I, that though quaint and cheeky, some of the Native American references turned me off pretty early on. Really enjoying The Good Rain and I’ll continue reading it, appropriately, for my final stops in Washington.
- Next time: Port Townsend, Cape Flattery, Rialto Beach, Second Beach