Thursday, August 20, 2015

Olympic National Park

Our next stop on this camping extravaganza is Olympic National Park.  I was much later than our friends in making reservations so we were unable to get a spot at the popular Kalaloch campground on the beach, as we were there on the weekend.  So instead I found a small rental on VRBO for a little mobile home nearby, about 15 minutes down the road near the Hoh entrance to the Park.  The nice thing was we would have showers and real beds for the weekend.  The little house was situated on beautiful property with a path down to the river.

On the drive there we ate lunch in the car, our friends stopped for lunch.  So we made a stop further up the road and went on a short hike showcasing some of the largest trees in the US, found here in the Olympic National Park north of Lake Quinault.  After our short hike, we stopped at our friends campsite on the way to our little mobile rental.  They were just getting set up and we made plans to get together the next day.

In the morning, we were up nice and early to meet our friends at a nearby beach for the tide pool ranger tour.  We had a great time learning about the tide pools in the area and the creatures that live in them.  The beaches are beautiful with rock croppings off shore, and at low tide you can hike to several of them.  It was windy and chilly, and these beaches aren't meant for swimming anyway, but the scenery is quite beautiful.

After a fun morning we stopped for a quick lunch at our place and then our family headed to the Hoh Rainforest inside the park.  We explored the nature trails and had a fun time hiking and playing on the fallen gigantic trees.

Over the next 2 days we thoroughly explore the west side of Olympic National Park and the coastline of Washington state.  We went up to Rialto Beach and thru the famed Forks area where the vampire trilogy, Twilight takes place.  We had fun walking the beach, climbing on rocks and driftwood. Walking the rocky beach was quite a workout.

We walked the beach in the Kalaloch area.  We had serious competitions of rock towers, and had fun just hanging out.

We explored more of the Quinault area with our friends and went in search of beautiful waterfalls. We found a few.

 Our last day had come for this area.  We would continue our trip for a few more days, while our friends had to return home, it was time to part ways.  We headed to the North end of the Park to spend a couple of days seeing the sights up there.  This park is quite beautiful and diverse, with rainforests, lakes, beaches, and snowy mountain tops.  It's no wonder it is also a declared Unesco world heritage site.

On the way to our campground at Heart O'Hills, we had to stop and hike to Sol Duc Falls.  Absolutely stunning and worth the short hike! Once we reached the Port Angeles area we headed to a Laundromat, time for some clean clothes!  With a fresh set of Laundry, a few fresh groceries, and a vacuumed van, we were ready for a few more days of camping and fun!  That night, we took Isabel and Calvin to the top of the mountain for a starlight ranger program.  They had 2 high powered telescopes set up for people to view different stars and they would switch after 15 minutes so we had the chance to view several different things, if you can stand the cold and the lines of everybody waiting to see something!  It was fun, but cold!  Savannah and Matthew stayed behind in the tent trailer and headed to bed early.  It was a late night!

The next morning we headed back up the mountain for a short morning hike before heading on.  It really is a beautiful place.  We thoroughly enjoyed our time at Olympic National Park.  And we didn't even see it all!  There is still the east side of the park to explore on another trip!

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