Olympic National Park

September 4, 2013, Trip: Park No. 47!
View: Park No. 47! galleries

Meet our mascot: Tigger! He sits on the dash and as long as he’s smiling, life is good!

As many of you know, we are on a “quest” to see all national parks in both Canada and the US. This past Labour Day we visited number 47 of the 59 parks: Olympic National Park right here in our backyard. Strangely, although we have lived near Washington State many times and now live there, we have not been to the two parks right in this state.

We took off early Friday morning and got to the main visitor’s centre near Port Angeles when it opened and begin our circle route of the park. You cannot cross the park but rather you must travel Hwy 101 around here using “spoke” roads to enter the park at different points. There is also a section along the coast.

We explored many of the regions of this bio diverse park. We began with Hurricane Ridge where we hiked to a point where you can get a 360 view of the area. You can see across the Juan de Fuca Strait to Vancouver Island and although Victoria was covered by clouds, we were able to see Sooke Harbour.

Next we drove along the Lake Cresent Road to the Sol Doc Hot Springs region. We got a campsite and then hiked out to the falls – very nice. Then we went to the Hot Springs Resort for about an hour; very commercial and quite “sulphury” smelling. Not that nice really.

Next day we headed to the Coast and walked along Rialto Beach (a mostly rocky beach) in the Mora region and it was fantastic. The sky was clear today and it was perfect. We did a hike out to Hole in the Rock and back. We also enjoyed a “beverage” sitting on the logs on the beach.

Next it was inland to the Hoh Rain Forest Region – moss like you’ve never see before. It was a beautiful drive up the glacial Hoh River. Did a hike there as well before heading back to the coast and checking out the fantastic sandy beaches of the Kalaloch region. It was amazing – Ruby Beach was wonderful but Beach 1 we had all to ourselves and we enjoyed a long walk.

That night we couldn’t get into a park campsite as they were full so we left the park and headed up a forestry road to find a spot to ourselves.

Sunday morning we headed east to the Lake Quinault region where we saw the world’s largest spruce and the another maple grove of mossy trees. There are cool “nursery logs” in this park – these are fallen trees that serve as breeding grounds for new trees. Quite amazing.

We then had to head south in order to get to the east side of the park where we hiked in the Staircase region. A beautiful drive along Lake Cushman. That night we camped in a forestry campsite beside the Hood Canal before heading home Monday morning.

The weather cooperated for the final long weekend of the summer and we loved being out exploring in Tigger again.

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