Exploring Olympic National Park

100T1002When we hit the road for our cross-country trip to our new life in the Pacific Northwest, it was with the knowledge that we had the support and love of our family and friends–and that they were coming to visit!

We hosted my in-laws for a couple of weeks in early September and then welcomed my parents for a long weekend in mid-October.

My mom really wanted to see the Ice Caves but because of the unusually warm summer they’ve been closed. Instead, she researched some places we could explore on the Olympic Peninsula in different areas of the Olympic National Park.

There are so many things to see and do on the peninsula and we only had a day so we were limited. We started early in the morning with a beautiful ferry ride from Edmonds to Kingston and then headed west for the mountains and Hurricane Ridge.

We didn’t stay too long but we did walk two of the smaller trails and enjoyed the views of the much diminished but still impressive glaciers.

The weather only somewhat cooperated so although we had almost no rain, we did have gray skies (I know, welcome to Seattle, right?) However, they had been calling for rain all week so we actually lucked out that the few drops we did experience happened when we were driving from place to place and not while we were out hiking!

Here are a few pictures from the ferry and our first stop.

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From Hurricane Ridge we continued west to Lake Crescent for our lunchtime hike. We had packed a cooler in the morning with homemade Italian subs, veggies and other snacks so we didn’t have to waste time stopping for lunch at a restaurant. We loaded up Brian’s backpack and set off for our wooded hike to Marymere Falls.

There was some concern that the falls might not be as impressive given the dry summer–some of the falls are just a trickle. We were fortunate that Marymere was still flowing, although not as heavily as usual.

There were others hiking as well and we took turns sharing the one bench near the falls so we could enjoy our lunch. The trail looping around to the lower falls was closed for safety reasons, but we were able to look out from both vantage points.

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After hiking back out to the lake we drove to our last stop so we could hike out to see Sol Duc falls.

These falls aren’t as high, but I found them the most powerful and interesting of those we’ve seen in Washington thus far. The river winds around and the water pounds down into the ravine from three different points. The rocks are beautifully sculpted and smooth, and it’s incredible how the water has carved out such a long and narrow cut through the rock.

We walked across the bridge and explored the other side, and Brian and my mom practiced smoothing out the water in their photography for some beautiful shots.

The sun was already heading down as we finished our stop so we headed back across the peninsula for home. We made our final stop for a seafood dinner in Port Angeles and then perfectly timed catching one of the last ferries back to Edmonds.

My mom researched so many other things to do in the park, not to mention all the things to see and do if you make it all the way to the west coast to see Forks, the rain forest and some of the world-renown beaches, so we will definitely be back!

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4 thoughts on “Exploring Olympic National Park

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