West Coast Road Trip Days 3 – 6: Olympic National Park
After an easy 2.5 hour drive out of Seattle, we found ourselves in Olympic National Park, a park that really does seem to have it all. We hiked a mountain ridge, camped on a river, walked through a rain forest, and napped on the beach all within three days.
Our first stop in the park was Hurricane Ridge, where we completed a 17 mile scenic drive accompanied by a 3 mile hike along the ridge. It just so happened that it was also the morning of the eclipse — the eclipse that we COULD NOT find glasses for. We finally gave up agreed to enjoy our beautiful hike and pretend like the eclipse wasn’t happening.
As we were checking in with the park ranger on the trail conditions, she pulled out their last pair of eclipse glasses and handed them to us. The catch — she asked us to share with anyone we might encounter on the trail that might want a look. Easy! We were ecstatic. Not only did we get to experience the eclipse that we had given up on seeing, but we had the added bonus of sharing it with fellow hikers along the trail. It is a great memory, for sure.
Hoh Rain Forest
Hoh Rain Forest was lush, green, humid and sometimes felt like a different world. We camped in the forest on the Hoh River and hiked a few of the trails the next day, including one called “The Hall of Mosses”. It was so quiet and peaceful, surrounded by the trees with their lacy, multi-colored mosses draping down and the aqua blue river to our side.
Ruby Beach was my favorite part of Olympic National Park. It is one of the most beautiful and unique beaches that we’ve seen in the United States, and maybe even the world.
The beach is covered with driftwood. Not the kind that you decorate your home with, but entire trees washed up on the beach. A ton of them. So much so that you have to do some log jumping to reach the sandy part of the beach.
Once we reached the beach we headed for the large rock formations to partake in the local activity of “tidepooling“. We timed our visit to correspond with low tide, where we were delighted to find sea stars, anemone, snails, crabs, and many more sea creatures all exposed in the tide pools and waiting for the tide to come in.
Everywhere I looked I was amazed by a new sea creature, excited like a child. The water was freezing, but I somehow ended up to my knees, soaked and sandy because I just had to get a closer look. It was heaven.
We enjoyed it so much that we went back for low tide the next morning and it was even better. The tide was lower, leaving a further level of exposed rock, and there were only two other people on the entire beach, both as excited as I was.
Next up – a quick stop at Mount Rainer before we head down to Oregon!
Love from the West Coast,
Cathleen & Christopher