2019.07.09 Olympic National Park

Wake Up To Adventure

Olympic National Park coffee mug

In the Olympic National Park Visitor Center gift shop this morning, Mallory pointed out a coffee mug inscribed with “Wake Up To Adventure” and said that would be a good blog post title.  It certainly described our day!

Last night as we were getting ready for bed, KK noted that his plastic dirty clothes bag had been leaning against a vent on the wall near the floor.  After a short time, he noticed that it was melting the bag.  He showed me the vent and I said I could see the burnt plastic on the vent, and he said that was already like that.  Melting bags and luggage is a common occurrence!

This morning, KK was gathering his things from his side of the bed and bumped against the lamp cord.  There was a loud pop and then the power went out in our room.  KK says it’s a wonder nobody has ever died in this motel.  (Do we know that people haven’t?)  He went to the front desk and let them know to flip the breaker in room 114.  The manager says, “Oh, okay” and turns and takes care of it.  No questions, no surprise, no apologies.  Flipping breakers is a common occurrence!

Today is all things Olympic National Park.  The park has several different features/areas and visitors centers.  We started with a short drive to the Hurricane Ridge area, so named for its intense winds.

First things first, the entrance we used to come into the park from Port Angeles had one of the nicest signs and areas we have ever seen.  They had a parking lot so you could pull over and take your picture!  We thought that risking your life pulling over on the shoulder was part of the thrill and excitement of visiting a national park.  They also had a built-in stand for you to place your camera for group photos.  This park has it all, and we haven’t even made it past the sign.

This sign has its own parking lot
Built-in camera stand
Hello from Olympic National Park!

Mallory and I rode with PK on the drive from the hotel to the park.  PK shared some stories she had read about in the park newspaper earlier.  Turns out the current excitement in the park is that the National Park Service is airlifting mountain goats out of Olympic NP and taking them to the North Cascades NP. Mountain goats are not native to this park, and some years ago about a dozen were brought in. Their numbers have grown and they’re not too kind to the local vegetation.  So the Park Service is collecting them and then airlifting them out of the park.  We didn’t see this in action, but overheard a visitor ask the Park Ranger if today would be a good day to watch the airlifting.

We attended a Park Ranger-led talk about the wildlife and glaciers on the terrace outside the Visitors Center. There are over 100 glaciers in Olympic National Park and the ranger was able to point out several to us during the talk.

Park Ranger and Glaciers

After the talk, Mallory and I went on a short hike while the rest of the group drove on to our next stop.  While hiking, Mallory saw two marmots.  Lucky!  A visitor told the Park Ranger he had seen a bear earlier this morning on the same trail we went on.  We didn’t see any bears.  Lucky!

Hurricane Ridge: This picture contains, in order: snow, a glacier carved valley, the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and Canada.
Saw this station on our hike. Olympic Ski Patrol – Ice Station Zebra.
View from our hike. A classic snow-peaked mountain range.

We met up with the group at Sol Duc Falls, about 90 minutes down the road.  The drive to Sol Dec Falls took us past Lake Crescent, which was one of the most beautiful high mountain lakes I have ever seen.

We had lunch in the parking lot at the Falls.  There were a few picnic tables available, but we ate standing up gathered around KK’s tailgate.

The trail to the falls was 0.8 miles, and you would never have a chance to see the sun, even on a day it is not cloudy, because of the size of the trees.  It is dark and green and moist.

On the trail to Sol Duc Falls
Sol Duc Falls. It is three waterfalls in one!
Ellery and Erin checking out the falls
Mallory the Adventurer

After the falls, we drove to Forks for dinner. Before we could make it to Forks, we got stuck in a timber accident.  Traffic was stopped on the highway both directions while crews picked up trees off the road that appear to have fallen off a truck.  We were stopped for over 30 minutes, and when we finally took off, the line of traffic coming our way was a mile long.

Forks is the setting for the Twilight books, and they had a surprising lack of photo ops in the town to take advantage of this.  Erin said that at one point, tourism was up 700% in the town of Forks, due to the Twilight fame.

The last stop of the day was the Hoh Rain Forest in Olympic National Park. It was almost 8:00 before we arrived, but thankfully it does not get dark real early up here.  We selected a short hike called the “Hall of Mosses”.  This is the best trail name ever.

Family Picture in front of the Hoh Rain Forest sign. It was raining.
Moss Covered Tree
Moss Covered Grove
Trees growing on a nurselog
Massive Slug
Mallory spotted a feature that looked like a moss covered Sasquatch

One thing we noticed that everything on the forest floor was covered in moss.  Even tree limbs that you can tell were very fresh, had a nice layer of moss on it.  Don’t lay down and take a nap at the Hoh Rain Forest, you will be green when you wake up!

Ellery walked the entire 0.8 mile trail at the Hall of Mosses, and did it in oversized rain boots.  I told her I would be extremely impressed if she made it the whole way, and she did!  Great job, Ellery!

Ellery in rain boots

KK and PK did not take the hike, and they drove over to Ruby Beach to see the formations, and we met at our motel at Lake Quinault around 10:30.  We arrived within a few minutes of each other.  Great things happen when you are willing to Wake Up To Adventure.

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