I have been waiting 8 months to get to the Pacific Northwest. For some reason it is the area I felt the strongest draw to. It might be the combination of beach and mountains, or how it looks so startlingly different from the terrain I’m used to. The beaches have character, they are rocky, with massive sun-bleached trees littering the shore and craggy rocks shrouded by mist emerge out of the water. The forest is thick and envelopes you in a world of green made of ferns as large as grown men, fuzzy moss on every surface and towering old growth trees. It felt like the setting of a fairytale, as though you might stumble upon the Three Bears cottage or see a girl in red skipping down the trail.
Olympic National Park is large and spread out. We were able to explore several different parts – although I probably could have spent another 2 weeks there. Our first stop was Mora Campground. Situated on the beach, we were able to explore both the surrounding forest and coastline. We walked to Hole in the Wall and Second Beach, which offered tidal pools to explore and eerie views of rock cliffs rising from the water. We also visited the Hoh rain forest – a unique temperate rain forest that receives over 150 inches of rain per year and supports more biomass per acre of land than any other ecosystem on the planet!
From Mora we headed further into the interior to Sol Duc. Here we enjoyed a day at the natural hot springs and hiking to the Sol Duc Falls from the campground. Unfortunately, upon leaving Sol Duc we discovered the bent axle we had been ignoring was getting much worse and decided we needed to make a beeline to civilization to get it fixed. Luckily, Port Angeles, on the outskirts of the park, had a nice family-owned RV repair shop that was able to fit us in. While we waited to get service done, we made use of the local library, playgrounds, and I caught up on my Twilight reading…(when in Rome – or Forks I should say). On our last day we went on a whale watching tour where we were treated to an especially energetic humpback whale who breached no less than 30 times to the delight and amazement of the crew and passengers.